If you love music, you need to know about Splash.fm, a social discovery music site that is currently in private beta with 3,000 testers who are, in the words of co-founder Alex Gatof, “obsessed with it.”
Gatof and co-founder Jason Fiedler are friends from high school who already have one startup under their belt, a carbon credit exchange platform that tracked energy usage in your home – and won a Wharton Business School competition.
“We started Splash.fm, because there is no easy way to share music with friends,” Gatof told me during a demo. “We have been compared to a Twitter feed for your music, but it’s so much more.”
Basically, Splash.fm lets you find music based on who you know rather than what it sounds like. You can see what songs your friends are listening to, click on the song to “splash” it (think “liking” or retweeting), and leave a comment. Users and songs are scored from 0-99 – rankings are based on how many follows, how many resplashes, and how many people are buying/downloading that music. Songs are also ranked by what is popular over a given time period.
When I asked why social discovery for music, Gatof replied, “We felt like music was a great opportunity – so many people have a desire to access music and share it, but there is really no easy way to do that. We feel like we can expand this, that there has to be a better recommendation source across your life for everything – books, movies, food, etc. – in one place.”
It is important to point out that they do have revenue model in place – Splash.fm keeps 5% of the sale of downloaded songs.
Splash.fm also allows artists and labels access to analytics, including heat maps of where a song was first played, and geographically, where certain songs are most popular.
For now, Gatof said they are focusing on growing their loyal user base. Their target market is college kids, and word of mouth has been their biggest asset so far. Plans are to officially launch next month at SXSW.