Herd.FM is one of the many company’s that I have spoken with over the last few months that is looking to solve the problem of with music discovery. Herd differs in its approach because it focuses on solving the problem by creating a unique,100% mobile experience. The start up was part of Microsoft Biz Spark SXSW Music Accelerator program in 2011, but has made some drastic changes from geo-locative music discovery to a “pure” mobile music discovery service that focuses on sharing. Below is an interview I had yesterday with the start-ups CEO, David Nam.
What inspired the creation of Herd.FM?
The inspiration of Herd.FM came from a group of music lovers coming together with the same problem around sharing and discovering music with our friends on our phone . We all know it’s broken. To date all the great discovery services were created for a browser experience which wasn’t representative enough to the new behavior of mobile. They were isolated and forced people to bounce between apps….
To date, sharing and discovering music with your friends on your phone takes over 2-3 apps and over 9 steps with no reward for doing this other than the kindness of your heart of wanting to share great music with your peers. We’ve tied sharing and discovery together, by rewarding every share with a kick-ass recommendation based on what you’ve shared and the music you like.
How would you explain how your service works to someone who isn’t technically savvy?
Herd.fm is the easiest and only way you will want to share music with your friends on your phone. It’s as easy as texting.
How does it work?
Herd.fm scans your music listening history from your iTunes and your music sharing from your Facebook and displays what is most current and popular with you for you to…
1. Choose your music
2. Choose some friends
Immediately after sharing your music we reward you for sharing music with your friends by giving you an awesome recommendation based on what you’re shared and the music you like (based on your listening and sharing behavior).
How does Herd.FM differ from other music discovery apps?
We are mobile first. Most if not all music services were created for a browser experience first, but mobile has become its own behavior and not an extension.
We are the only app that rewards people for sharing music – a behavior by nature that has never really been rewarded for doing. By doing this we want to create a compulsive behavior, not to just get people to share great music, but to discover new music every time they come to the app.
To be honest with you… There is no real app that focuses on discovery… Shazam is killing it with being able to fingerprint music and discover a song in the moment, and you can see from their exponential growth they are doing something right – they are relevant.
Herd. FM’s ethos is music discovery needs to be relevant to be valid… With so many services stating that they are discovery… How? Discovery with music should be positive to be deemed as being discovery… Having to sift through lists and lists of music people have shared – that you don’t know… isn’t solving any problem, you’re just translating the same browser problem to mobile… We are here to solve that… We are your music discovery “shit filter.”
I noticed that you guys have made some changes to the app since launching a year ago. Can you talk about that some?
The old app was around geo-locative music discovery. It was a great feature and so much so that we got invited to compete at the 2011 SXSW Accelerator (against services like Root Music) and during the launch, marketing and curation of the app we realized that location is an important feature, but shouldn’t be the central focus of how people discover music, why? Because by doing this we were creating a new behavior for a known problem…
So we took a step back and evolved the app to be more user-friendly and tied to a known behavior, sharing music – everyone knows how to do that. We did keep location in the app and shifted it to be more about the user; we call it a ‘Trak Journey’. Now for the first time a user can see how influential they are based on the music they share. Every time a user shares music with their friends and they share it with someone else we show you on a map where that song has gone in the world, so you see a visual representation of how wide-spreading your music influence is. I just shared a song and it went to a small town in the UK… To me that is self-gratifying to see that I’m helping people discover new music and makes me want to share more music.