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NoiseToys: There is an Human Element Missing In Music Now

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NoiseToys is a San Francisco based social music start-up that specializes in making highly engaging mobile apps. The company’s first apps,Hitmaker and Apptitude, was so popular it helped the company raise 1.2M in seed funding last May. A few weeks ago we had a chance to review its newest app, Playground, and found it as a unique way for total strangers to share music tastes. Below is an interview that I had the last week with NoiseToy’s Chief Executive Dj, Austin Soldner.

Who are the people behind NoiseToys?

Its myself and two other Co-Founders, Mehul Trivedi and Vivek Agrawal. They brought me on last October and the company was launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010. Both of the guys are very technical and heavy into music. Mehul Vivek is a composer and he actually has a Grammy award from the Slum Dog Millionaire soundtrack.

How did you end up with NoiseToys?
I’ve been djing since I was thirteen years old, and I always had a big entreprenuial spirit. After college, I got back into the music scene in Los Angeles and I went to China for a few years. After that, I came back and I me Mehul and Vivek one day and it just seemed like the perfect fit.

Is Playground the main focus now?
We had Hitmaker out which was pretty successful, but Playground is what we have working on in the background and we have hopes of Playground being the flagship app for NoiseToys.

How would you describe NoiseToys?
Playground lets you create awesome playlists with your friends. Basically, you create a playlist that fits your mood and listen to it and share it with your friends. We have seen people use it in all types of ways: parties with their friends, workout mixes and road trips.

What is the weirdest use of Playground so far?
Vivek is big on the Bollywood music scene, so we have seen an explosion of users from that community having cross-country parties. It starts off as a few friends in a city like Los Angeles, and then it spreads to other cities. A few months ago we invited a bunch of our users and rented out a venue and called it BYOB(Bring Your Own Beats).

Were is the songs coming from?
We are currently using Spotify’s API and any device on our Phone.

What challenges are you currently facing?
Some of the challenges that we are faces right now is there is a lot of buzz around certain apps and companies. So are biggest challenge that we are facing and embracing is making a name for ourselves in the crowded music tech space San Francisco.

Is it neccessary for every music tech start-up to have a presence at SXSW?
SXSW is an amazing place to be able to meet people in the music industry. I can’t tell you how many people I wanted to meet and we were all withing blocks from each other this year. I think even if you aren’t launching a product, it makes since to be there to network and it’s lots of fun.

What is the long-term vision for NoiseToys?
The long-term vision for us is to continue making awesome apps that people love and also we want to have a positive effect on the music industry. We really beleive that there is a human element missing in music now and our goal is to bring people back to music. A lot of times people are on the bus listening to their iPod tuning out from the world. But, we think music historically was more social before the digital area and we wanna bring people back to that.