Music startups are nothing new. But what if I told you that one of the guys involved in creating the song “Jai Ho” (otherwise known as the Slumdog Millionaire song) teamed up with one of the guys who helped make the audio in the iPhone to create a music startup? Would you be interested? Of course you would be.
That’s NoiseToys, a new startup by three Standford graduates (who just moved to New York). The main idea is to turn music listeners into music influencers. That is, to make music of a social experience in a more meaningful way than it has been up until now.
And how do they do that? By turning it into a game.
The game is called “HitMaker” — it’s an iPhone app. Basically, it turns you into a music executive looking for good, new music. Another way to look at it is that this is like fantasy sports — but for music. You find the music, and you own it. The key to help bolster a song is to promote it on your social sircle. If someone else decides they like the song you shared, you get credit for that.
You get 30-second previews of songs from iTunes if you don’t own it — and you can decide if the person who promoted it was right. ”Music is meant to be played,” is their tagline.
Co-founder Vivek Agarawal is the one who worked on “Jai Ho” (and other Bollywood music) in India following his graduation from Standard. Co-founder Mehul Trivedi, meanwhile, was busy working at Apple on the Core Audio working on OpenAL (the audio counterpart to OpenGL) used to drive audio in games on the iPhone. Co-founder Shalin Mantri has a less glamorous history, but it’s probably the most important work to what they’re doing now — for the past year, he’s been at Stanford doing experiments on social influence.
———-Q&A With The Judges—————-
Jason Calacanis, CEO & Founder, Mahalo
Brad Garlinghouse, President, Consumer Applications Group, AOL
Tolman Geffs, Co-President, JEGI
Megumi Ikeda, SVP, Peacock Equity Fund
Shervin Pishevar, Founder & Chairman, SGN
Q: What’s the consumer benefit?
A: The friction on Facebook Walls is a one-way message, but to be social this has to be a conversation. It’s also a game, it’s fun. And you have a rank among your friends. You can see your score.
Q: The social gaming element is a good thing. I think you could push it further into the game field.
A: Yeah, the demo is a bit short, but there’s more in there. There’s a royalty system for example. There’s a stock element too. If you find someone new, you get them cheap, and you can make a lot of points in the game.
Q: Is the virtual currency tied to real currency?
A: It’s all virtual right now. There will be other virtual goods too, which you can convert this to virtual goods.
Q: You should have shown an iPad app. HSX has tried this before, but it burned money. Focus more on the game mechanics.
Q: You should decide what you should trying to be good at.
NoiseToys is building mobile applications around content discovery. NoiseToys is currently working on Apptitude, a friends-based app discovery service that lets you see which iPhone apps your friends have. It’s available at http://www.apptitu.de Previously, NoiseToys released Hitmaker, a game around music promotion, at TechCrunch Disrupt. Hitmaker reached #9 overall in the App Store in October 2010 and currently has over 150,000 users.