A new application called Playlist aims to make music a more social experience than that offered by major music platforms such as Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify, for example. In Playlist, you can find other people who share their musical tastes and join group chats where they listen to playlists in real time. You can also collaborate on playlists.
The application, backed by investment from the Stanford StartX fund, was founded by Karen Katz and Steve Petersen, both Stanford engineers and serial entrepreneurs. Katz previously co-founded AdSpace Networks and another social music platform, Jam Music. She was also a founding member of the executive team at Photobucket, and founded a company called Project Playlist, which was like a Google search for music in the Myspace era.
Peterson, meanwhile, has 35 patents and more than a decade of experience in digital music. In the early 2000s, he created the software architecture and led the team in PortalPlayer Inc., which powered the iPod music player and was then sold to Nvidia for $ 357 million. Subsequently, he served as CTO at Concert Technology, a technology incubator and intellectual property company focused on mobile, social and digital music services.
"The world has become social, but the music has been largely left behind – that's a real gap," explains Katz, as to why the founders wanted to build Playlist in the first place.
"Since we started listening to music from our mobile phones, it has become an isolated experience, and music is the number one thing we do on our phones," he says.
The idea they came up with was to unite the music and the messages by synchronizing the transmissions, so that people could listen to songs together at the same time and chat. they do it
During last year's beta testing period, Playlist (which appears under a different name in the App Store), saw a lot of compromises as a result of its nature in real time.
"O ut of the door we saw 10 times engagement ] Pandora. People have, in average, 60 interactions ] – ] chats, I like it, continues, joins, adds and creates, "says Katz.
Under the hood, the application uses a lot of technology beyond its synchronized transmission. its social recommendations, as well as collaborative playlists, large-scale group chat, and behavioral-based music programming, and has "Musical Concordance" algorithms to help you find people who hear the same kind of things that you
The social aspects of the application involve a following / follower model, and present playlists of the people you follow at your home source, such as an Instagram version focused on music. Discover l It allows you to find more people to follow or join other popular listening and chat sessions.
At the launch, the application has a catalog of more than 45 million songs and has a music license for the United States plans to obtain economic benefits through advertising.
The central idea here, listening to music in real time and chatting, is interesting. It's like a Turntable.fm for the Instagram era. But the application sometimes complicates things, it seems. For example, importing a playlist from another music application involves switching to that playlist, searching for the playlist and copying its sharing URL, then going back to the playlist to paste it into a pop-up box. Then, it offers you a way to add your own custom photo to the playlist, which feels a bit unnecessary, since the album art is predetermined.
Another strange option is that it is difficult to discover how to leave a group chat once I have joined. You can mute the playlist that is being broadcast or you can minimize the player, but the "quit" option is located under another menu, which makes it harder to find.
The player interface also offers a heart, plus sign (+), a share button, a mute button and a jump button, all in the bottom row. It's … well … it's a lot.
But Katz says that the design choices they've made here are based on extensive testing and comments from users. In addition, the younger users of the application, often high school students and not older than 21, are the ones who demand all the buttons and options.
It is difficult to discuss the results. The beta application acquired more than 500,000 users during the trial period last year, and those users are switching to the Playlist application, which is now publicly available, which has about 80,000 installations as of last week, according to Sensor data. Tower.
The company also plans to take advantage of the assets it acquired from the project's old playlist, which includes some 30 million emails, 21 million Facebook IDs and 14 million Twitter IDs. A marketing campaign for "Throwback Thursday" will reach those users to offer them a way to listen to their old playlists.
The startup has raised $ 5 million in funds (convertible notes) from Stanford StartX Fund, Garage Technology Ventures, Miramar Ventures, IT-Farm, Dixon Doll (founder of DCM), Stanford Farmers & Angels, Zapis Capital and Amino Capital .
The company based in Palo Alto is a team of six full-time employees.
Playlist is a free download for iOS. It is working on an Android version.