You’re throwing a party and have the perfect Spotify playlist ready to go, but then someone makes a request and you can’t find the song. Naturally, you turn to YouTube. You wait for an advertisement to play. You wait for the song to load. And once it’s over, there’s an awkward lull while you set the Spotify mix back up.
This is exactly the scenario San Luis Obispo resident Sean Anderson had in mind when he created Streamus, a free Google Chrome extension that turns YouTube into a music player. With more than 280,000 users and a five-star review, Streamus has turned from a pipe dream to a real-life product, and it’s even gaining the interest of YouTube itself.
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! @YouTube contacted me. They like Streamus. They’re going to help improve it & also fly me out to meet w/ their dev team!
— Streamus (@Streamus) February 4, 2015
“Throughout this whole thing I have had to push the envelope in certain regards, breaking the rules in some ways,” Anderson said. “Because YouTube is this black box where you can’t really talk to anyone in there, I figured I would have a better chance at getting what I wanted to have happen once people started to take notice. We are at that point now where they took notice of me.”
Once installed, a user can access Streamus at the top right corner of their Google Chrome browser, making it easy to play music and browse the Internet uninterrupted. Users can search for songs directly, add them to playlists, discover new music based on YouTube’s suggested videos and share playlists with friends.
— Rua Haszard Morris (@haszari) February 5, 2015
Earlier this week, Anderson got the chance to meet with YouTube employees from different departments. Anderson got in touch with YouTube mostly based on a Reddit post, where he met a Reddit user with connections to an employee at YouTube.
“There was a lot of ‘What do we do with this guy? Do we try and hire him? Do we use him?’ It was a completely different conversation with each person I talked to,” Anderson said.
Most of the conversations revolved around the ways both parties could be satisfied, since Streamus is currently breaking one of YouTube’s rules, which states there needs to be at least a 200-pixel video playing with the audio.
Anderson began developing Streamus in 2012 in part to learn new things for his job as a software engineer at Cormat, Inc. Once the extension gained more attention, Anderson needed help to become incorporated and market Streamus.
“A lot of it has been a learning experience for me,” Anderson said. “I didn’t go into it with goals of making a company or anything like that, I was just having fun with it. I have torn it all down and rebuilt it from scratch a couple of times.”
That’s where business administration seniors Aditya Dev and Chris Oberheide come into the picture. Dev contacted Anderson with the offer to help him with the business side of Streamus for his senior project before even realizing Anderson lived in San Luis Obispo.
The two met up and added Oberheide to their team. Dev and Oberheide initially helped just by spreading the word to their classmates.
“People don’t know Chrome extensions exist,” Anderson said. “If I say the word ‘app,’ you think mobile phone app.”
Dev and Oberheide are currently working on several marketing items for Streamus, but their biggest goal is to make people understand what it is and how it can enhance their music listening experience.
Cal Poly is the top university using Spotify, meaning its students play more songs with Spotify than any other college in the country. This means competition for Streamus, but more importantly to Anderson, Dev and Oberheide, it means their target audience loves music.
“Our biggest thing with Streamus is that we just want to get the word out because we think that once people start using Streamus, they will realize how convenient it is,” Dev said. “Coolest thing about Streamus is that there is a lot of music that is not on Spotify.”
— Oli Mould (@olimould) January 21, 2015
Dev and Oberheide also work to clear up misconceptions about the app.
“Oftentimes, people associate music on YouTube with bad quality,” Oberheide said. “However, Streamus takes the top-viewed video, which is always the best quality, so the music generally sounds almost just like Spotify.”
Their senior project incorporates four main objectives:
- Research on incorporations
- A marketing push
- Using Google Analytics to track Streamus’ users and gauge marketing effectiveness
- Creating a mobile app mock-up for Streamus
“We aren’t just writing a paper,” Oberheide said. “We aren’t just getting certified in some sort of tech thing. We are trying to incorporate a business. It is cool to see this process in the real world. That’s the biggest thing we are getting out of it.”
Dev and Oberheide plan on making “party cards,” a spin on business cards, to introduce Cal Poly students to Streamus. They also plan to create a study playlist on Streamus and advertise it at the Robert E. Kennedy Library during finals week.
Looking toward the future, Anderson plans to add more developers to the Streamus team to develop a mobile application, which seems to be what the users want based on reviews. You can download the Google Chrome extension here.