Splash.FM: A Crowd-sourced Discovery Platform for Music Launches in Private Beta
NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On January 16, Splash.FM, a new website for social music discovery, officially launched its first iteration in Private Beta, which has been made available only to press, industry tastemakers and a select group of college testers on an invite-only basis. Splash.FM will be the smartest, most social and rewarding way to discover and experience music.
Co-founded by Jason Fiedler and Alex Gatof, the idea for Splash.FM was born when Jason was driving back to college and by accident took his brother’s iPod. He discovered new songs and artists his brother had been listening to, but couldn’t find an easy way to remember, download, and share what he had discovered. Jason immediately called Alex, and the two began to explore a better way to approach music discovery based on the notion that nothing is more powerful than a friend-sourced endorsement when it comes to new music.
Six months later, the framework for Splash.FM was born. Essentially, the site allows users to “Splash” (i.e. share) the songs they love, and follow friends, artists and tastemakers to stay on top of the music they are “Splashing.” Splash.FM aggregates all of the “Splash” activity of those you follow into a “Billboard” like chart called the Splashboard.
Splash.FM offers a simple and social way to discover new music based on “who you know” mechanics versus a “what it sounds like” algorithm. Unlike most music streaming services, the Splash.FM platform began by building a dedicated social layer first, and music streaming capabilities second. The co-founders believe that the highest form of reference for music is when it comes straight from someone whose musical tastes you trust. “Nothing beats friend-based recommendations. It’s true with many categories–clothes, television shows, movies–but especially true with music,” says Fiedler, “There is something about the social nature of it; music just sounds better on Splash.FM.”
In addition to the social layer, Splash.FM improves discovery with game mechanics. Users are assigned a “Splash Score,” which is a ranking (from 0 – 99) that measures the influence of their music taste. The Splash Score is determined by how often they splash, how influential the users that follow them are, and most importantly, the number of “Ripples” (i.e. Re-Splashes) they receive. A user’s “Splash Score” is publicly displayed next to his or her profile photo, and there is also a chart for the “Top Splashers,” so that a user can see where he or she stacks up amongst her friends, as well as the site as a whole.
The ranking system is arguably one of the most addictive features of the Splash.FM platform, visibly rewarding those who emerge as influencers on the site and quantifying how good that user’s music truly is. In a snapshot, you are able to see how your friends rank (in terms of music influence) in an understandable way, helping users to stay invested in their accomplishments and allowing those who prefer to spectate on the site, the decision of who they should follow. With volume, just like a Twitter follower with tens of thousands of followers, the Top Splashers will also begin to build a quantifiable marketing value for themselves.
And Splash.FM is not just exciting from a music lover’s perspective; it offers several attractive assets to the industry as well. In particular, the social analytics will offer incredible insight and marketing power into the evolution of an artist’s career. These artists and labels will be able to visually monitor the location of where a song was first “Splashed,” and how that song spreads in popularity geographically. In addition, new musical talent that would have gone unnoticed will be discovered through Splash.FM. “Through the ‘Splash’ activity on our site,” says Alex Gatof, “no musical talent will go undiscovered, as artists and listeners across the U.S. now have a steadfast route for promoting the music they create and love.”
Splash.FM sources its music primarily from the iTunes library, as part of iTunes affiliate program, offering all of iTunes’ 30-second clips with a direct link to buy. Users can also upload their own content as long as its not already on iTunes (presenting a unique marketing opportunity for independent acts). As such, Splash.FM is not seeking licenses from the labels, but instead is using iTunes as a sophisticated approach to respecting the rights of artists and labels. The company is dedicated to developing additional ways for the industry to monetize its product, starting with promoting the legal downloading of full-length music.
Private demos of the platform will be held throughout the months of January and February, and are available upon request.