TastemakerX lands $1.8M before launch of mobile app

Krystal Peak · February 8, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2435

The new startup gains Baseline, AOL, True Ventures and others to support "fantasy football" of music

A yet-to-be released Silicon startup called TastemakerX has already announced a $1.8 million round of funding for its social application.

This first round of funding for the music service came from investors such as Baseline Ventures, AOL Ventures, True Ventures, and a handful of others angels.

Since the application has not rolled out yet, there is a fair amount of mystery over just what the upcoming service will be but, according to the company, the application will marry social technology and music discovery -- can we say next evolution of Pandora?

“What music fan doesn’t want to be the first to discover the next big band and get credit for it?” said TastemakerX co-founder Marc Ruxin in a statement Wednesday. “Like fantasy sports for music lovers, players will be able to browse portfolios of like-minded music aficionados to discover new music and see real-time news about the artists they are exploring.”

All signs are pointing toward a concept where people are rewarded for discovering a band that, after sharing, gains traction from friends and other users. The company also states that the app will include location-tagging and photo-sharing features -- possibly great for when you see a band live or ever are rummaging at a music store (yes there are some physical ones left).

The company, launched in August of 2011, is planning on releasing its service at one of the biggest music/tech events of the year -- South by Southwest -- next month in Austin.

The San Francisco startup is entering an already contentious marketplace where Pandora and Spotify have been competing as the go-to mobile application of music listening, but neither has broken away as a strong company for indie bands so there may be a niche for TastemakerX to fit in.

Spotify retains 15 million licensed tracks, streaming online for free at the click of a mouse and Pandora holds roughly 1 million songs in its database. It will be interesting to see just how Tastemaker gains songs, especially songs that aren't mainstream and whether there is some artist compinsation or song purchasing model included -- or if this is considered a marketing perk to help bands gain attention. 

Co-founders Ruxin and Sandro Pugliese both had music careers, working for the A&R department at EMI records in the early 1990 and area serial entrepreneurs. 

“TastemakerX solves two problems,” said Baseline founder Steve Anderson in the same statement. ”It delineates personal taste and influence, establishing a true ‘taste graph,’ and it gamifies culture, in the same way fantasy sports leagues gamifiy professional sports for millions of fans.”

With music and ramification on the rise, TastemakerX might just be on the cusp of a great trend but, like most tech concepts, it will be the service and application specs that will determine if this is the real deal or just a fun concept.


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