With Apple and Google doing battle for developers' hearts on in-app payments, the world of micropayments on the Web remains open for conquest, with startups vying for an opportunity to take on PayPal and Google Checkout and enable content owners to sell anything they like - from articles to documents, videos, music and photos. Last month, I highlighted Gumroad. Meanwhile, in January, an entrant called Minno, founded by a pair of former Googlers, emerged to become "spare change for the Web". Today, they announce a partnership with SoundCloud, the popular sound creatiion and sharing service, to deliver what htey call SoundRain.
SoundRain (at http://soundra.in/) empowers musicians who are already making their tracks listenable via the Web on SoundCloud to monetize, with Minno on the back-end, simply by adding embed code to their site, which adds a purchasing option to the standard SoundCloud player. In the introductory video explaining SoundRain, Minno cofounder Noah Ready-Campbell called his service "a new way to buy little stuff on the Web".
Users who want to purchase the song don't need to create a separate account with Minno. They just have to click the "buy" button next to the SoundCloud song, log in to Facebook, and the account is created. As the service is new, and looking for more users, Minno starter accounts come with $2 of credit. good for two songs on SoundRain.
Minno itself launched on TechCrunch and other blogs at the end of March as a small and simple electronic wallet. The company came up with SoundRain just over a week ago at a Music Hack Day in San Francisco, when the team integrated with SoundCloud's API.
For those artists too small or too independent for major labels, or others tired of aggressive revenue sharing from large music services, selling directly to the consumer makes a lot of sense. With SoundCloud gaining momentum and Minno looking incredibly easy to use, there's no reason you wouldn't see buy buttons popping everywhere you see SoundCloud today. And with the Web still struggling to find simple ways for premium content to live, maybe Minno is that answer. Even we dumb bloggers who give content away for free all day have got to find a good way to make a few cents on the side.