AudioVroom is a personalized streaming radio service that recommends music for users based on Facebook likes, IOS Device listening history and other services like Pandora. This is one of the few new music services that I could actually see myself using on a regular basis.
AudioVroom is another finalist from the SXSW Music Accelerator program that I reached out to and they kindly accepted my interview request. I had a great phone interview a few days ago with Co-Founder Sam Alkan as she was making her rounds in Silicon Valley. I was pretty excited to be interviewing my first female entrepreneur on SoSoActive, but I could tell by the tone in Sam’s voice she was all about the business.
Kelland: How did the idea for AudioVroom come about?
Sam: This is basically a two year old venture in terms of the time it took to develop the product and the algorithm. We came up with a unique yet simple service that looks up your musical preferences on IOS devices, Facebook and other services like Pandora. Our whole concept is looking up your digital history and trying to curate a very relevant experience. We are a lot different from a music downloading or streaming service because we are more focused on creating a more personalized experience for the listener.
Kelland: What would be the advantage of using a computer generated music recommendation service versus the normal discovery process?
Sam: For the mainstream audience its a lot of work. In my case, I spent about about ten years working in corporate America and never really had the time to go and discover new music. It’s a lot of work using all of these different services. Even Pandora which is probably the most simple service available to day requires a lot of effort.
Kelland: What are some of the challenges you face being a female in a male dominated culture.
Sam: Lol.. That’s a great question. I worked in corporate America doing hedge funds for years and I’m sure you know that is a very male dominated culture. So I guess I never really saw myself as woman. When your smart and passionate about what you do people really respect who you are. Actually being a woman has really helped me, because as I am negotiating licensing deals with a lot of the record labels I am usually talking to another woman.
Kelland: How did you go from the finance world to working with a music start-up?
Sam: Well I was incubating this idea for a while with two tech friends of mines. They needed a lot of direction with the business side of things and as time passed things just sort of grew organically.
Kelland: Is there anything you hope too gain out of attending SXSW this year?
Sam: Honestly, we have been in very stealth mode since last summer. You know we could of went public with the fact that we was the first music orientated service to use Facebook’s mobile platform for third-party apps. We finally went public with that last October. We weren’t really visible until November so this will be somewhat of a coming out party for AudioVroom.
Kelland: I think you guys really have something special going on from a design and usability standpoint.
Sam: It’s funny that you say that because we did some testing on groups between the ages of 25 and 60, and the one thing we kept hearing was how great our interface is.
Kelland: Yeah, I was listening to a Snoop Dogg song and actually discovered a song from a underground rapper out of LA named Jay Rock. I thought It was pretty cool cause, I have heard a lot of his music but that song was a first and it was really good…
Sam: I’m so happy you say that because I think indie artists are gonna benefit hugely from our service.
Kelland: Where do you see music going in the 5 years?
Sam: I think the very typical answer is it cannot get stuck in this emailing or tweeting a song format. It has to be more about about an “ambient discovery process. I call it ambient because it captures the moment. Its already happening we are just capturing your tastes and curating it for you.
Kelland: What platforms is it currently available on?
Sam: Its in html5 so it can work on any web browser. It’s optimized for apple devices, but we will be creating an Android app in the next few weeks?
Kelland:How is the money made?
Sam: A couple of ways. Advertising is always the easy way, but from a user standpoint we will have a point system where users will be able to purchases based on that. Eventually we may go into a subscription based service in the near future.
Kelland: Where would you like to see AudioVroom at in the next five years?
Sam:AudioVroom has the ability to reach a very large deomographic. Any age group, any background, or nationality would benefit from our service. We would love to build a presence in some of the larger countries like India and China. I think we would phenomenoly well in those areas.