Shaker won TechCrunch Disrupt SF last year with its 3-D virtual nightclub built on top of Facebook, and June 8th it will finally launch in North America with the help of the music industry’s Live Nation and BandPage.
Until then you can sign up for Shaker, and when you do, you’ll get a classic album cover of Bob Marley, The Clash, or another legend remixed with your Facebook photos and data. The partnerships, promotion, and landing page all point to a big focus on music as a social lubricant for hanging out with people on Shaker.
It’s been a wild eight months since Shaker won Disrupt. It raised a $15 million Series A led by Menlo Ventures, and joined by CrunchFund, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Lady Gaga’s manager Troy Carter, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, and Israel’s Pitango Venture Capital. It also scored some more money from Motorola Mobility (now owned by Google), threw some online parties for New Year’s Eve and the NBA All-Star Game, and hosted a peace conference featuring Hillary Clinton.
Shaker’s racked up tens of thousands of requests from people wanting to set up their own place to gather online with friends, fellow activists, and sexy strangers. Many of them will get their first chance to party or mingle on June 8th at 7:53pm PST when Shaker launches its first public meeting place.
A concert may be in store for Shaker’s launch since it’s work working with Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster and one of the world’s biggest musician management firms, and BandPage, who became the de facto musician profile app on Facebook. But Shaker isn’t trying to be Turntable.fm. Instead of everyone just staring at the DJ, music is what will break the ice so Shaker users can meet each other or have something to talk about. That’s good news for the Internet, where those things can get awkward fast.
It’s actually kind of absurd that when we think of “social” online, we think of feeds of text and photos. If you’ve ever jumped on Facebook or Twitter on a Friday night, it can be a little depressing — just a bunch of updates of people doing fun things without you. Video chat services like Google Hangouts are good for small groups, but they devolve into chaos and lag once you get too many people on at once.
Shaker could seem like a gimmick to some, and it’s too silly or filled with gamification, that’s all it might end up being. But if its team can make Shaker feel like a real, natural virtualization of ourselves, it could make it cool to sit home alone on your computer. Because you won’t really be alone.