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Switchcam Quietly Shuts Down, Founders Take New Jobs At Facebook

Switchcam-shutdownSwitchcam shut down at some point recently yet word didn't get out till a close Facebook watcher was tipped that the co-founders, Brett Welch and Chris Hartley, were new hires at Facebook. It appears that it wasn't an acquihire and so an initially promising startup leaves the game rather quietly. Though not the first music tech startup I followed from the early stages to death, it's become a bit unsettling to start seeing the stats I read about startup survival playing themselves out in Hypebot posts.

Switchcam first appeared in 2011 at HackLolla as Veokami. It gradually developed from a way of stitching together YouTube videos of live shows to a more complicated product, Switchcam, that turned mobile fan uploads of live shows into editable video footage.

By 2012 Switchcam had raised $1.2 million and faced numerous technical issues as well as issues related to music industry and fan behavior.

Earlier this year, Switchcam pivoted to a product that gathered and presented the best social media pics and footage from live performances. At the time CEO and co-founder Brett Welch told me there were a number of problems facing Switchcam that led to the pivot:

"It was difficult to get fans to upload to Switchcam even though they were uploading to YouTube and Instagram."

"It was tougher to get quality sound recordings than they expected."

"There was a lot of confusion around performance rights and few labels were willing to figure that out for their artists."

Unfortunately the new Switchcam faced a crowded field of startups with new entries all vying to become destination sites for curated social media whether done by man or machine.

Only two months after I spoke with Brett Welch about the Switchcam pivot, he became a Facebook employee and was followed more recently by Chris Hartley. According to Josh Constine, who broke the news last week, given the lack of publicity this doesn't look like an acquihire.

While acquihires aren't the ideal exit for a startup they at least represent some level of success. Given the twists and turns Switchcam's co-founders faced, it must be tough having the news that your startup shut down come out due to a Facebook new hire tipster.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.