Whyd, a music discovery website, is an app I really enjoy and which I try to write about when something happens. Whyd started out as a “Pinterest for Music”, letting people pull together playlists from all of the services–YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.–from the internet, but is growing beyond that into a broader music discovery service.
Yesterday Whyd released its iPhone app, but I want to talk about the vision for the company, which I talked about with co-founder Gilles Poupardin over coffee.
Whyd is cool because it fulfills a real need: there is more music than ever online and freely available, but it is locked up in several content siloes; letting people pull together playlists from all the different services is pretty cool and useful.
But with the Whyd community growing by leaps and bounds, Poupardin told me that the vision for the company is now broader than simply a music bookmarking service or even a music social network: it’s to be a “human Pandora “, allowing people to discover new music that they wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.
This is a really big problem that still hasn’t been figured out. Plenty of people are trying, and nothing–algorithms, your social network, curators–seems to really work. And yet the way most people experience and want to experience music is, frankly, by having somebody pick music for them. I consider myself a fairly cultured music lover, but half the time when I fire up Spotify I don’t want to have to do the effort to pick something. A big part of the appeal of radio is precisely that someone else picks the music for you. And music discovery, if done right, has obvious business implications, since discovery of marketable stuff is highly monetizable.
This is all something Whyd gets. Whyd is using its social network and its human curators, plus algorithms, to build a human-powered recommendation engine. I still think this all has a lot of potential and I’m excited to find out what next.