Swarm.FM recently won Spotify’s Hackathon in New York last month. The start up’s creator, Peter Watts, is also the developer that created the popular Google Chrome plugin +Music which received great reviews every tech blog and industry insider.
Swarm.FM augments your music by looking at the listening activities of your Facebook friends, their likes and activities from artists fan pages. The app is able to deliver very relevant playlists based on FB activities and create a central information house for artist updates within the Facebook ecosystem. Below is a interview that I had with Swarm.FM’s Founder Peter Watts. Watts who is a self taught blogger turned social music developer is one to watch, If you haven’t heard of him, you should definitely get familiar with this kid he is the next big thing.
How did you get into music technology?
I’ve always loved music and technology, so they sort of naturally came together. I started a music blog in ’06, while in high school, and from there taught myself to code, purely to try out ideas I had. I built a poster ordering website for bands, a social gig guide, tools for venues, you name it. Any time I saw a hole in the music ecosystem, I tried to plug it with tech. of course, and the problem was getting distracted by the next big idea before finishing the last one. There’s a long trail of unfinished products in my wake
I see that you’re a very talented developer and probably could have created any app that one can possibly imagine. So why Swarm?
For me, it’s always about scratching my own itches. If I’m frustrated by the way something works, I try to make it better. Especially in music. Swarm.FM is an itch I’ve had for a long time. I see so much potential to improve the way we discover, listen and share music, but until recently, there wasn’t much I could do about it. Now, with the release of some powerful music APIs, it’s possible to build a really great experience and that’s exciting
Do you feel any added pressure or expectations for Swarm since winning Spotify’s music Hackathon?
Not really. Meeting my own expectations is probably the biggest pressure! The first version that comes out is going to be fairly basic. So it would have been nice to release it on a smaller stage and iron out the kinks, but I’m still confident that people will like it and see the potential
Are there any lessons that you learned from +Music that you are applying as you get ready to launch Swarm?
Certainly. There’s a lot of support systems need to be in place. You want to think about analytics and make sure you’re tracking the right metrics from day You also want to make sure you’re collecting emails and driving people to social media profiles, so you can maintain a conversation. And be careful how you’re using APIs or you might get banned!
How important is the role developers of developers like yourself, to the future of the music business?
I think the music industry is finally embracing tech as an opportunity, rather than a threat. You’re going to see a lot of innovation happening, and that nearly always starts with just a few individuals. It’s easier than ever for a solo developer to try their ideas and make a big impact, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of that.