The location-based dating app Happn has launched a new feature that allows users to send full-length Spotify songs to one another. Happn users can stream the songs directly through the app and display their favorite Spotify songs directly on their dating profiles, though the French startup says it has no plans to use that information to influence matchmaking. Users who are not Spotify members can only send and receive 30-second clips of songs.
Happn announced the new functionality at a press conference Thursday evening in Paris, where CEO and Founder Didier Rappaport described it as a natural extension of the company's matchmaking philosophy. "Music, since maybe the beginning of the world, has been an extraordinary way of expressing emotion," Rappaport said in an interview following tonight's announcement. "And meeting people can also be an extraordinary emotion."
Happn, which is available on iOS and Android, is like a more intimate (and some would say more stalker-friendly) version of Tinder. The app uses location data to connect people who cross paths with one another, and displays both the date and location where they intersected, within a radius of about 250 meters. Like Tinder, users can only chat if they like one another, but unlike its US rival, Happn keeps a running display of everyone they cross paths with, how many times they've intersected, and a more precise indication of their location — from 250 meters up to 100 kilometers. That can create for some uncomfortable situations. Use the app for a few weeks and it becomes easy to figure out that the woman you've crossed paths with 47 times probably lives or works on your block.
Since launching early last year, the app has attracted 4 million members, up from 1 million in December 2014. It's currently available in more than 20 major cities (it launched in New York in September), and the company plans to expand to new markets in the coming months. The app is free to download and use, though men have to pay to send "charms" (the equivalent of a Facebook poke) — 10 charms for $1.99, or 250 for $29.99.
"Love is much more complex than that."
Happn's Spotify feature is part of an API integration, and not a partnership or commercial agreement. But the music streaming company has made moves to expand beyond its traditional desktop and mobile platforms. Last month, Spotify signed a multi-year deal to bring its music to Starbucks coffee shops, and it struck a similar partnerships with Uber late last year. In April, the company announced a "Playlist Targeting" program that allows brands to use listener data to target specific demographics.
For Happn, the Spotify integration could be seen as an attempt to keep pace with Tinder. With an estimated 50 million active users, Tinder's membership still dwarfs Happn's, and it has also added new features atop its standard swipe-left-and-right binary. Last year, it launched a Snapchat-like feature called "Moments," which allows users to share photos that expire after 24 hours, and in April it added Instagram integration on user profiles. And although there are dating apps that match users based on their music interests, Happn says it has no interest in using algorithms to connect singles.
"We will never do matchmaking because someone likes the same music, that's not at all our idea," Rappaport said. "Love is much more complex than that."