A new app called Playlist, aims to make music a more social experience than offered by the major music platforms like Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify, for example. In the playlist you can find others who share your musical taste and join group chat where you listen to playlists together in real time. You can also collaborate on playlists.
The app, supported by Stanford's StartX fund investment, was founded by Karen Katz and Steve Petersen, both Stanford engineers and serial entrepreneurs. Katz has previously founded AdSpace Networks and another social music platform, Jam Music. She was also a basic leader in Photobucket, and founded a company called Project Playlist, which was like a Google search for music back in the Myspace period.
Peterson has meanwhile 35 patents and more than a decade of experience in digital music. In the early 2000s, he created the software architecture and ran the team at PortalPlayer Inc., which ran the iPod music player and later was sold to Nvidia for $ 357 million. Afterwards, he was CTO at Concert Technology, a technology incubator and intellectual property company focusing on mobile, social and digital music.
"The world has gone social, but the music has been largely left behind. It's a real gap," explains Katz, why the founders wanted to build playlists 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, she says.
The idea they met was to unite music and messages by synchronizing streams, allowing people to listen to songs while simultaneously chatting while they do.
During last year's beta test period, the playlist (which was listed under a different name on the App Store) saw an enormous number of commitments due to its real-time nature published by of ] Average  60 interactions per time – like  likes, follows, goes together, adds and  adds ] creates, "says Katz.
Under the hood, the app uses a lot of technology beyond just its synchronized streaming. It also utilizes machine learning for its social recommendations, collaborative plays, big group chats and behavioral music programming, and features" Music Match " algorithms to help you find people who listen to the same things you make.
The social aspects of the app involve a followers / trailer model, and presents playlists from the folks you follow in your home mate, like a music-focused version of Instagram. A separate Discover section allows you to find more people to follow or participate in other popular listening and chat sessions.
At the launch, the app has a directory of over 45 million songs and has a music license for the United States. It plans to make money through advertising.
The core idea here – real-time music listening and listening – is interesting. It's like a Turntable.fm for the Instagram age. But the app sometimes overrides things it works. For example, if you import a playlist from another music folder, it involves switching to the current app, finding the playlist and copying the sharing URL, and then switching back to playlist to paste it into a popup box. It gives you a way for you to add your own custom image to the playlist, which feels a bit unnecessary as a standard album art.
Another strange choice is that it's hard to find out how to post a group chat after joining. You can curb the playlist as a streamer or you can minimize the player, but the ability to "go" is tucked away under another menu, making it harder to find.
The player interface also offers a heart, a plus (+), a split button, a muted button and a bouncy button all on the bottom line. It's … well … that's a lot.
But Katz says that the design choices they have made here are based on extensive user testing and feedback. In addition, the app's younger users – often college students, and not much older than 21 – those who require all the buttons and options.
It's hard to argue with the results. The beta app purchased over 500,000 users during the last test period and these users are transferred to the currently available Playlist app, which has some 80K installations from last year, according to Sensor Tower data.
The company also plans to exploit the assets acquired from the old project playlist, which includes around 30 million email, 21 million Facebook ID and 14 million Twitter IDs. A "Throwback Thursday" campaign will reach those users who give them a way to listen to their old playlists.
The startup has increased $ 5 million in financing (Convertible Notes) from Stanford StartX Fund, Garage Technology Ventures, Miramar Ventures, IT Farm, Dixon Doll (DCM Founder), Stanford Farmers & Angels, Zapis Capital and Amino Capital.
The Palo Alto-based company is a team of six full-time.
Playlist is a free download for iOS. An Android version is in the work.