New social media venture has Westmont ties

Published: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 2:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 10:21 p.m. CDT

WESTMONT – Just two weeks after its launch, a new social network based in Westmont has already reached more than 2,000 users.

Zaptones, created by Burr Ridge resident Ryan Salvino and Brian Padove, of Hammond, Ind., allows users to communicate with one another through audio clips and photos.

Salvino said Zaptones users have news feeds of recent posts where they view different Zapshots, or photos paired with the music quote at the same time.

“Right now, it’s a social network where people can go create accounts and start following friends and inviting friends,” Salvino said. “There’s an active feed where you can go through the Zapshots, view the different photos and listen to the audio quotes.”

Zaptones is based in Westmont with an office on Blackhawk Drive.

The social networking site is different from Facebook and Twitter, according to Salvino who said Zaptones brings a whole new way for people to communicate with one another.

“It’s a stronger form of expressing and communication,” Salvino said. “That combination [of photos and music] is really powerful.”

The site’s music library comes from an agreement with iTunes, according to Salvino.

“We have quite a library [of music],” Salvino said. “It’s more dependent on the licensing through iTunes but we were able to use their whole library for the use of quotes.”

Padove and Salvino, who played baseball together at Butler University, came up with the idea for the social network the summer after graduation in 2012.

Salvino, who studied communications and pre-med in school, said the two were walking along North Avenue beach in Chicago when he received a tweet that included “#wildcatsounds”.

“Then Brian [said] well that would be really cool to have the sound in the tweet,” Salvino said, adding that people post music quotes every day. “That’s where the idea came from and a week later I called Brian and said let’s do this.”

After coming up with Zaptones, the two knew they would need a team to execute the business plan.

“It’s a huge task that [we knew] would need a whole team to work together to complete,” Salvino said, adding that they are have a team of eight people – Salvino’s twin brothers and some close friends.

“They’ve been helping with creating a library and revising all our features you see now and soon on the mobile application,” Salvino said. “Kids from 16 to 25 years old are going to want [Zaptones] and we need people in that age group to come up with the ideas.”

Currently, Zaptones is only available on the Internet but the group is expecting to launch its mobile application this winter.

Padove, originally from Hammond, IN, said it’s a good tool for people to show how they were feeling at that point and time.

“A lot of people are spending an hour at least at a time on it [Zaptones],” Padove said. “You’re finding the perfect quote and posting one photo at a time, it’s addicting.” 

Right now, the goal is to get the word out while they continue to develop the mobile app. Long term, the goal is to make Zaptones into the one place people can use lyrics as a language and expression.

Padove said the significance of Zaptones is that it allows and helps people express themselves.

“A lot of times people don’t really want to say how they’re feeling or they’re nervous to outright say how sad they are,” Padove said. “We think it really helps when the artist is saying it and it gives that insight better to how they [the users] are feeling.”

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