Rockbot is a social music service that replaces traditional offerings like jukeboxes or Muzak for businesses. It allows business like restaurants, fitness clubs and bars to stream up to 6 millions from their library. Once you download the app on your iPhone or Android you can check in to your favorite spot, discover what’s playing, and influence the music.
Since launching at last years SXSW Music Accelerator, Rockbot has picked up The Gap, World Gym, Burger King as well as lots of local bars and restaurants in the U.S. Rockbot also allows independent artists to add their tracks to its library and get heard at local venues through its close integration with Tunercore. Here is an interview I had the last week with the start-up’s Co-Founder, Garrett Dodge.
Where did the idea to create RockBot come from?
One of my Co-Founder was in the bowling alley and tired of walking to other end of it to use the jukebox. We started asking ourselves, why can’t you interact with a jukebox from a bar with your mobile phone?
As we started building the application and talking to the different venues, we realized there was much more of a need than just a jukebox controller. So through discovery we evolved the product to a full music service that’s appropriate for any type of venue.
How does it work?
We host about 6 million songs in the cloud right now and we deliver a custom stream to each business. Essentially any business can create a library of music and playlists for continuous music play while users can recommend their favorite songs.
How are recommendations sent to the venues from the consumer?
The venue can run our stream through any device with a browser whether it’s a computer, iPod, Google TV, or iPad. From the customer side; they download the app, check into the venue, look through the venue’s catalog and start selecting the music they want to hear.
Do you have any direct competition?
Not really, there are other companies doing home party apps but no one has created a music service for businesses.
How much of the core product has changed since last year’s SXSW Music Accelerator?
It’s involved a lot. When we were selected for the accelerator last year we were really only running in one location for a month. It was all alpha. It was working, but it was almost like a home party app. We did some parties last year at SXSW and got a lot of feedback, and when we got back we really started building out the product and we really started picking up venues in the last fall.
Why are you so passionate about RockBot?
We saw a need, and I think like a lot of people who build apps we built it for ourselves. After you build it, you figure out if your passionate enough to wake every day and work on it for 15 hours a day for years or if it was just a fun idea. We started building it and got hooked on it.