Give it up. When was the last time your shout-out was actually a shout-out? You tweeted it, or you put it in your Facebook status, or you Foursquared it, right? Well, there’s a new service in town called Shoutomatic that is bringing the noise back for those needing to represent. And, in addition to your friends, you could get a personal shout out from your favorite artist.
Long Island, N.Y.-based Shoutomatic describes its product as “audible-tweets.” Instead of typing a 140-character tweet, users simply record spoken messages on their laptop — iPhone and Android compatibility are in the works — and upload them to Shoutomatic. “Shouts” can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, and they work like Twitter’s tweets in the sense that they can be “re-shouted” like tweets can be re-tweeted. People can also use shouts as direct messages to other users and can shout back, or reply, to other people’s shouts.
There are already ways to bring photos and videos to status updates, and you can get audio files up there, too, but Shoutomatic is making it one-click easy. If it seems gimmicky (“so crazy it just might work”, as one of my colleagues put it), Twitter isn’t really all that different, and look at how popular that is. In addition, Shoutomatic founder Norm Levy has connections in the music industry from a previous venture where he was developing a “virtual album mp3 player” as a replacement for CDs. He said record labels and artists are thinking about using Shoutomatic as a way for artists to be in touch with their fans, much like Twitter. And, says Levy, the band 3 Doors Down will be featuring Shoutomatic on their Facebook page soon.
Even craftier is the business model, which could involve selling celebrity tweets to people. Let’s say you want to surprise a friend who is really into the rapper 50 Cent. With Shoutomatic, you could buy a shout from 50 Cent, who would then record your friend a personal shout. Prices are up to the artist to decide, says Levy; he expects they could run from $10 up to the thousands, depending on the artist. Shoutomatic will also sell generic shouts from artists who record them once, or ring tones with a range of pre-recorded names. (“Hey Adam, this is Chuck D letting you know your phone is ringing”; “Hey Bob, this is Chuck D letting you know your phone is ringing” etc.) For celebrity and artist shouts, Shoutomatic will take a 25% cut, with 75% going to the artist or celebrity. Shoutomatic is also looking into advertising as a source of revenue, as well as selling accessories such as microphones or webcams.
Shoutomatic came out of Levy’s effort LifeGoRound, a “digital photo frame”, which is an online photo aggregator. With LifeGoRound, users can aggregate all their photos from all the different photo-sharing services (like Flickr, Picasa, or all the photos uploaded to Facebook) into one place. Levy says they were thinking about adding voice to the service as well, when they realized it could make for a cool stand-alone web platform. Shoutomatic just came out with the service, so it remains to be seen whether shouts will become as popular as tweets — and whether Shoutomatic can turn all that noise into profit.