Startup Spotlight: Serendip Media
It’s overwhelming to keep up with all the latest startups coming out of Silicon Valley, New York City, Tel Aviv, and other hi-tech hubs. In order to make your life a little easier (and mine), each month I’ll write about a hot new startup that’s worth keeping your eye on.
The first startup I have chosen is Serendip Media, a free music platform that lets users create playlists based on music uploaded by other social network users. It allows users to play and share their playlists, connecting socially while listening to the music they love.
How did the idea for Serendip Media come about?
“We spent most of our childhood listening to music together, trading cassette tapes and arguing about which band was cooler: The Smiths or The Cure,” explained Ben-Zedeff, who grew up in Tel Aviv. With the rise of online music, Ben-Zedeff and Atzmon found that listening to music had become a much more solitary experience. They wanted to change that, to bring back the social element of music.
“We decided to explore whether we could utilize social networks as an information infrastructure to collect the music shared by everyone online and produce a ‘human seismograph’ of the ‘crowd’s taste,’ and then utilize that to produce an interesting, social experience for every user,” said Ben-Zedeff.
How does it work?
Ben-Zedeff explained that Serendip works differently for different types of users.
There are music listeners who simply love music but don’t want to work hard searching for good music. “They want to listen to what they like, and to be led to other things they might like by their friends or music soul mates. Serendip does that exactly, and they listen to a lot of music almost every day due to that great ‘lean back’ quality,” said Ben-Zedeff.
Then there are DJ types, who want to share their favorite music with their friends, followers, and even listeners whom they don’t know. They enjoy getting feedback from Serendip listeners and creating their unique DJ page, which shows all of the music that they have shared. In this way, Serendip serves as a platform for self-expression, allowing users to share their tastes with other music fans who can appreciate their DJ sets.
How does Serendip compare to current music platforms such as Pandora and Turntable.fm?
Serendip is a lot like Pandora in that it allows users to listen to music in a “lean-back” fashion, meaning that you can listen to music on Serendip just like you listen to music on the radio. However, Serendip enables users to interact with DJs, post comments, re-share their songs, and give them a “RockOn,” all of which makes the whole experience much more social. It is a more human experience.
In that sense, Turntable.fm is comparable to Serendip because it is also administered by live DJs. But unlike Turntable, you do not have to visit a certain room or be online at a certain hour of the day to listen to your favorite DJ’s music.
Is Serendip a useful platform for bands that want to promote their music?
“Serendip is a great way to build a personal page dedicated to your music. Getting users to add your band as one of their DJs is, to me, one of the best ways to build a fan-to-artist relationship. And through this channel, you can distribute not just your music, but you can share your views, information, and more. It’s also a great way to get direct feedback from real fans,” said Ben-Zedeff.Sagee Ben-Zedeff and Asaf Atzmon have high hopes for Serendip. When I asked them which band they would compare Serendip to, their answer was unambiguous: The Beatles. Ben-Zedeff explained, “You know, two founders, very dominant, working on their art separately, but also together, accompanied by great people on and off stage. Like The Beatles, we’re about to bring our ‘thing’ across the Ocean and around the world. And we won’t settle for less than being as famous as…The Beatles.”
We tried Serendip out for ourselves and here is our takeaway:
Sivan Cohen, the editor of our Conduit blog, frequently uses Serendip as a listener and DJ. One of the things she likes best about being a Serendip DJ is the gaming element — trying to play songs that will bring her a higher number of “RockOns.” (Sivan’s a bit competitive…) She also likes the fact that you’re not just enjoying the music, you’re enjoying other people’s feedback on your music selections. Check out her DJ page at http://serendip.me/sivanco.
Try out Serendip and let us know what you think!