A little while ago we introduced readers to Whyd – a social network oriented around sharing & discovering music. It’s handy bookmarklet allows users to easily share music they discover on the web (namely, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc.), and users on the network can follow friends and music influencers to discover new music. Currently a five-man team, cofounders Gilles Poupardin and Jie-Meng Gerard describe Whyd as a tool is specifically designed for a certain type of music lover, one who spends their time on many different sites searching out the newest music.
Targetting users who currently share their music via Facebook and Twitter, Whyd feels a lot to me like the new MySpace – sorry, not the “New MySpace,” but a MySpace 2.0. Believing that music lovers need their own platform, Whyd recently released the first version of their recommendation engine, which recommends new users to subscribe to. If their recent praise in Lifehacker is any sign of user adoption, then I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
An avid music lover, I asked Poupardin about his recommendation engine, which sets Whyd apart from any other player in the online music space, if only because of the fact that, instead of recommending artists, songs, genres, radio stations, etc., it recommends me people, the same way Facebook and Twitter do. I asked Poupardin why he chose to recommend users instead of content, and here’s what he had to say:
Most of the recommendation engines on the market rely exclusively on algorithms to recommend contents – We believe in music recommendation powered by people and curation. This is just the way it works and it has always worked, even before the Internet. You discover tracks by sharing and listening to music with your friends, attending DJ sets or festivals.
Music is too emotional to fit with algorithms. Music is made to be shared in a friendly and human atmosphere. If I love a very specific type of Rap music how could a machine make me discover this promising MC that nobody has heard yet? Discovery is powered by music selectors and people we identify with and follow. This is exactly how Whyd works: Music lovers hunting the best of the newest music for the enjoyment of their subscribers.
The service is currently invite only, however Rude Baguette readers can sign-up with this exclusive invitation code. I have been using the service for the past few months, and have been loving it – you can check out my profile here.
Despite its desire to stay invite only, the network has been growing quickly – Poupardin told me last week that the company saw 30% growth last week alone (in part due to some great press coverage) – it’s quite difficult to stay small when you’ve hit the nail on the head of something huge. Some may argue that the days of new social networks are over; however, with the recent press around teens rejecting Facebook coming out, it seems social networks are still in flux. And considering the fact that there really is not great place to share & discover music and music lovers, I think Whyd’s going to find itself in a pretty unique position in the online music industry.