Sometimes it pays not to be first to the party- just ask Friendster and Myspace. Winner of last night's Los Angeles Hottest Showcasing Startup, Plug.dj is hoping such is the case for their web app to Turntable.fm.
Plug.dj is a real-time social media experience that unites users in a virtual room while users take turns DJ'ing. Sound familiar? Where these services differ, however, is their ability to distribute content via YouTube and Soundcloud internationally without copyright fees.
Although Turntable has established itself as the leader amongst the social, dancing avatar services, having launched only earlier this year, Plug.dj has gotten off to a bullish start – over 220,000 registered users across 180 countries. Add to this a victory in Tech Cocktail's Hottest Showcasing Startup in LA, Plug.dj is one to keep on your radar.
We caught up with Alex Reinlieb, co-founder and COO at the Los Angeles-based music startup to learn more.
Tech Cocktail: Who does Plug.dj target?
Alex Reinlieb: Our target demographic is international music fans between the ages of 18-40. Every day we're finding more interested parties and are quick to innovate and iterate our product to grow a strong cohesive community within a variety of segments.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Plug.dj? What do you enjoy most about working on it?
Reinlieb: Our mission is to build an international community where people can enjoy music and videos together in a socially interactive environment. We all have a strong passion for music and technology and are dedicated users of Plug.dj. It's incredibly rewarding to build a community where people can share music and videos and spend a considerable amount of time on Plug.dj every visit.
Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?
Reinlieb: Since Plug.dj is a socially interactive environment, we're competing for the attention of our users that spend time playing games and watching other media publishers. We differentiate ourselves by enhancing the experience of traditional media consumption by providing an addictive socially interactive environment where users can watch content together with international cohorts.
Tech Cocktail: What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in Los Angeles?
Reinlieb: The biggest advantage is that Los Angeles is the home of media content and it has a burgeoning startup community.
The biggest disadvantage is that while Los Angeles has a growing startup community, much of the capital is focused in some other areas like Silicon Valley.
Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your Plug.dj. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?
Reinlieb: We've had many debates over product direction and the value we aim to deliver to our users. We dealt with it by getting closer with our community by spending a considerable amount time every day interacting with our users in Plug.dj's virtual rooms to learn what's of most value to them. As a result, we have a better, more relevant product and a dedicated user base.
Check out Plug.dj for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below.