One interesting trend I’ve been watching over the last year or so is the intersection of social and personalization as a way to discover new videos. And, of course, how it helps users to discover new music videos. The latest entrant into the social music video discovery category is Rockify, which just launched its public-facing portal for music videos, Rockify.TV, in public beta.
Rockify.TV is kind of like Pandora for music videos, but with social hooks to help users find interesting content based on their own musical preferences, and those of friends. Like most other video sites, it takes advantage of social networks by allowing users to share the videos they’re watching with their friends, which is pretty standard stuff.
The big difference comes in how Rockify displays videos to users — like the way MTV used to do it. Once signed in, users get a stream of music videos, based on trending music, personal favorites, and personalized suggestions. The site serves up a continuous stream of content, meaning that users never have to stop and search for the next video they want to watch — that is, unless they want to.
The startup has more than 200,000 videos available in its database, although those videos are mostly hosted by and served up from other sites, like YouTube. The startup has rolled out a web app that can be accessed from HTML5-ready browser — meaning that users with iPads and other mobile devices can access it. It’s also built native apps for the Chrome browser and Boxee Box, and is working on more connected TV apps.
It’s an interesting time for Rockify.TV to launch: After all, Vevo already has licensing relationships with the major record labels, and recently rolled out a new design aimed at leveraging publicly shared social data, as well as Facebook Open Graph integration, which has helped increase user engagement. And Cull.tv, which was also doing social discovery of music videos, recently sold to Twitvid, and will used to power recommendations across other verticals as well.
That said, the Rockify.TV site is kind of a proof-of-concept for backend technology that Rockify hopes to license to publishers themselves. Its platform gives publishers the ability to provide all the same functionality that is available on the consumer-facing site, but limiting it to just their videos. Austin City Limits, for instance, has signed on to let users browse through its library of performances in a personalized, continuous way. That allows Rockify to keep its streaming video site available for free — at least for now.