30 Million Songs and Counting
As an electronic dance music fan you're constantly inundated with new music and it can become overwhelming to keep up with the waterfall of new tunes all the while discovering, curating, and maintain your music library.
Music library you say? What does that even mean these days? Do you use SoundCloud? Spotify? Amazon Music? Apple Music? Mixcloud? Winamp?
I remember spending entire days searching the deepest depths of the internet in order to find torrents, steal songs, and add them to my massive library of tunes stored on an external hard drive.
I don't need to do that anymore, none of us do, unless there's some reason you feel compelled to hang onto mp3's that take up space on your hard drive, the cloud has come along and solved this problem of storage and access to that storage for us.
It's amazing. We have access to ~30 million different songs on platforms like Spotify and Apple music, I don't even know how many individual songs are posted on Youtube or SoundCloud, but the really crazy and empowering aspect of this technological revolution happening all around us everyday is that: We basically have access to an infinite, unlimited amount of music in the palm of our hand.
Now that we have access...
Okay, let's all take a moment to let that sink in, take a deep breath, and be grateful that we live in such an amazing time and place in time and space. It really is an amazing accomplishment by the entire human race and if you know me, you know how I feel about it: The more music the better.
But with all of this music flooding our feeds on a daily basis there are a host of other issues that have arisen from our ability to create infinite access to music. Mainly: How do we discover new songs? How do we organize it? And how do we determine which songs are actually good? Bad? This process has for the most part has taken on a life of it's own and each of us seems to have our own little routine or solution that we've created in response to each of the questions I've posed above. The short answer is, sadly, we take shortcuts. Some of us, even more sadly, make frightening decisions like leaving music discovery up to the FM radio DJ's.
For those of us who care, and refuse to live a life with a subpar soundtrack, the question now becomes: How do I make the most out of my infinite music library? What is the best, fastest way to discover new music, rediscover old favorites, and quickly create manageable playlists that I can access with the streaming music service of my choice at a later time?
There's a 21-year-old college drop out in Seattle that had the same exact thoughts and in response, decided to create a solution, he named the app tapTrax. And it's marvelous. Since launch, over 1.2 Million songs have already been discovered with this app, and tapTrax been selected as a top startup to present at this year’s TNW Boost Conference
, in New York.
I'm going to tell you all about it in a minute, but first, I want to tell you a story.
I met up with Chino Lex a few weeks ago in the Pacific Northwest. I'd found tapTrax on Angel.co
, a popular online startup community, and was curious to connect with fellow music entrepreneurs in the 'Silicon Forrest,' my new term for the startup scene in the Emerald City: Seattle, Washington USA. It's undeniable that Seattle is becoming one of the hottest places to launch a tech startup and only fitting that such a powerful music app was created in a city with such a rich musical history.
Chino Lex is a relatively average guy or gal, just like the rest of us he enjoys traveling, eating great food, and listening to music. One area where he differs, was his decision to drop out of the University of Washington right after orientation.
Lex told me it was clear that "it didn't feel right" and "it just wasn't for him." Chino Lex broke into the app space in 2012 and has had hits in the Reference, Games, and Utilities categories racking up 5,000,000+ users and across 160 different apps. I'm glad he dropped out. Because it brought us tapTrax. And on that note, I thought it would be cool for you to hear the story of how Chino came up with the idea for tapTrax in his own words:
"I was in the car with my friends, and my friend was skipping from radio station to radio station in an unforgiving, 2-second, listen-and-skip kind of way. We had a problem: we wanted new music now, and fast. My pandora was out of skips, (even if I did have Pandora One, it’d loop the same songs) and Spotify left us stuck with what we know to search, and sifting through its playlists was simply too time consuming.
That’s when it hit me: Most of what we consume is bite-sized: 5-second pictures with Snapchat, split-second date decisions with Tinder, 140 character news with twitter. Why not discover music in the same, bite-sized way?
That got me digging, and working. The beta of tapTrax came out 4 months later, with a full launch 2 months after that. It’s available in 140 countries in 24 languages. "
So What is tapTrax? How do you Use it?
tapTrax allows you to quickly discover music in an experience you might be familiar with: a combination of Tinder's swipe UI and Pandora's suggestions. tapTrax suggests songs (in six second clips), based on music you already enjoys that you can "like" to quickly build new playlists as you discover. tapTrax is “active” music discovery that works on top of your favorite streaming services to help you get the most out of them. And you like getting the most out of your music don't you?
Okay, but what does that mean? What am I really talking about when I say "get the most of your streaming service"? Let's start with "active discovery."
When I say "active discovery" I'm referring to the process of actively seeking out new music, which is different from tossing on Pandora at work and passively ‘running into’ music on the stations for next 8 hours. I would also consider the time you spend reading music blogs like Only The Beat as part of your "active discovery" process as well as ‘running into’ music on the go and IDing it with Shazam.
tapTrax that doesn't compete with Spotify or Apple music, it actually enhances the experience of the streaming service of your choice by making it quick and easy to discover new music within their libraries.
Now I could explain the app to you by writing about it, but I've already been a bit lengthy in this post, so how I about I show you? Follow along below to walk through the simplicity of your new music discovery tool tapTrax:
Step 2: Open the app and login with Facebook
This step is super straight forward. Once you've opened the app simply login with Facebook (only necessary the first time) and begin searching the massive ~30 million + libraries of your favorite streaming services.
This is where the fun begins. tapTrax active music discovery presents you with a 6 second clip related to the song you searched, using their own internal algorithm to decide which track you'll hear next. Remember, the whole goal of the app is to quickly put together playlists as you discover new music. Listening to music on the tapTrax app is a feature that will be offered in the future, but for now, the app is all about discovery and playlist curation, which totally supports the idea of displaying a quick 6 second snippet of the song.
If you like the song, simply swipe right to add it to your current personalized playlist. Need some more time? Six seconds wasn't long enough for you to decide if this particular remix is worthy of your "Fall into Fall" playlist? No problem, simply hold down on the timer with your finger and you'll get an additional 30 seconds of listening time in order to make the call.
Here's another helpful screen shot from inside the app:
Before you know it, you've curated a playlist long enough to last the entire season, and probably a few of them for different situations and scenarios.
Once you feel like you've found some solid tracks from your first search you can continue on with a new search and continue to add more tracks to your playlist(s), refining them as you go.
I love the web 2.0 feel of the app, taking experiences we're already familiar with, such as the swiping feature we've all become so accustom to within dating apps (something I don't care about), and using them to create an engaging music discovery experience (something I DO care about). Personally, I found the user experience easy to navigate and self explanatory, which is obviously a huge indicator of success for any app, music discovery or not.
Right now tapTrax is only compatible with Apple Music. Any song you discover or playlist you create can be listened to through Apple Music, by pressing the GET button. But Founder Chino Lex assured me that "You’ll be able to link you existing streaming accounts such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and other streaming services in the next version, so we really complement their huge libraries, getting you to what you actually want to listen to, fast."
This will be a huge improvement and something that has the potential to make tapTrax a truly ubiquitous tool for global music lovers. Once the app is compatible with any streaming service, there really won't be any reason for us NOT to use tapTrax.
One of the unintended, yet most serendipitous experiences I had while using the tapTrax app was rediscovering old favorites that I hadn't listened to in a long time. It was fun to rapidly swipe through songs and create playlists naturally. And because the app is able to show me songs that are similar to the artists I searched for or in the same genre I can honestly say with 100% confidence that the app did help me discover new music that I still listen to today.
In a world filled with competing streaming services that don't really do much to differentiate themselves, besides Tidal, who apparently just charges more
, I'm stoked to come across an app that actually provides a solution to my music discovery and playlist curation problem (a good problem to have!). I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that tapTrax is ad-free and provides unlimited swipes. So as long as you want to keep swiping, you can.
Google's mission is to organize the web's information. If I was on the tapTrax marketing team, I might come up with a slogan like, "tapTrax: Helping the world discover and organize their music in the cloud." Now, I'm not on their marketing team (thank God) because that was a horrible slogan, but regardless of how they decide to market the app, the reality is the same: tapTrax is fastest way to find new music and make playlists.
Download it, play around with it, let me know what you think.
Check out the tapTrax website to learn more about the app and upcoming updates
Connect with tapTrax on Facebook
Interested in investing? Looking for a job? tapTrax is hiring. Prospective investors and job candidates can connect with tapTrax on Angel.co here: https://angel.co/taptrax/