You have the ability to share from You Tube Live, You Tube, Spotify, Sound Cloud, Giphy, Vimeo, IHeart Radio, TED, and Vevo, as well as your location, photo slideshows from your camera roll, or live video chat.
If people turn on their cameras, you’ll see their reactions played alongside the content.
Airtime was founded in 2011 and raised almost $33 million from top investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, GV, Kleiner Perkins, Social Capital, CAA Ventures, and Kevin Colleran.
It premiered a year later with a glitzy, celebrity-filled New York launch event. “TI wish I hadn’t been forced to launch the original version of Airtime”, but he felt required to by “this philosophy of rapid iteration and that you have to put something in the market.” It hadn’t been thoroughly tested enough for scalability or market fit.
Social networks make us lonely, and messaging feels transactional.
There’s still no vibrant, real-time place to hang out with friends online.
Parker tells me that unlike broadcast social media, “people can have the expectation of privacy, intimacy, and closeness – a kid of humanity rather than everything having to be some form of theater or performance.” At its core, Airtime is about adding 10, 20, or even 50 friends to a room that becomes your persistent third-space online.
Pop your head in any time, friends will get notified, and suddenly you’re all talking and experiencing content as if you were crowded around a desktop computer together.
So Parker shut it down, parted ways with his former Napster colleague and Airtime co-founder Shawn Fanning (still a friend and shareholder), and acquired startup studio K2 Labs to help rebuild something people would actually want.
To avoid the press, Airtime tested concepts and versions of its apps in foreign countries under different names.
Fortune discovered one of its tests called OK Hello that just did the chat room, not the simultaneous content consumption. The sense of urgency and liveliness is what makes Airtime feel different.