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Blicko: The Democratic Way to Stream Music

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Blicko is a democratic jukebox service which lets people influence their musical playlists when listening together. Each hosted music-player is called a Station. A user can connect to a station with any online device that has a browser. What began as a Thesis paper at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology has now become a platform that seeks to democratize the way we listen to music.

I had a chance to Skype with Blicko Co-Founder Jesper Ahlberg on Monday and here are the results

Kelland: Where the idea for Blicko come from?
Jesper: We began almost two years ago and the idea kind of grew when we started observing the vibes at home parties where people where using Spotify. It was always this one computer in the corner of the room and someone always would always change the song when they thought they had a better track. So the idea kind of turned into a project with me and two of my friends who were students at KTH which is Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology. We got accepted into KTH’s business incubator Student Inc. and now we are operating our business from the same place that we went to school.

Kelland: What are some of the difference to your service in comparison to a service like Spotify?
Jesper: The biggest and most obvious is that we allow more than one listener to influence a playlist in a democratic way. It’s also a digital music station or jukebox that will fit well into a public venue like a cafe, bar or restaurant.

Kelland: Are you focusing on the European market before you expand into the U.S.?
Jesper: We developed are platform without any geographic limits, however we are trying it out Sweden because it’s the easiest way for us now. We are starting to see people create stations in countries like the U.S., Germany, and Turkey so its starting to grow organically.
Our plan is to partner up with local venues like coffee houses, restaurants and bars and become their social jukebox. I think Blicko would really do well at local venues.

Kelland: What are some of the challenges that you guys are facing?
Jesper: The biggest challenge we face is we can’t provide music from Spotify to be used at public venues. So we are looking at different ways to incorporate our own library of tracks that we can sell to public venues. We actually had meeting with Spotify to talk about this issue, because in Sweden is very common that public venues use Spotify even though it’s not allowed.

Kelland: What is your overall vision for your company?
Jesper: In this year we are focusing on local venues and then we wanna look at establishing partnerships with large chains like TGI Fridays and Starucks.

Kelland: How would you describe your service to my grandma?
Jesper: I would describe it as a digital jukebox, where people can select the songs they want to hear without having to get up and put money into a machine.

Kelland: In your opinion what does the future hold for digital music?
Jesper: Streaming music will without a doubt be the most dominant form of listening to music. I rarely see anyone with cd’s because all of your smartphones are coming equipped with social music apps. Also, I think we will see music being more integrated into social networking platforms. Just a more natural integration of listening to music with friends.