TastemakerX, an about-to-launch startup that will help music fans get credit for discovering the next big thing, has raised $1.8 million in Series A funding.
The company plans to launch its mobile app in early March, at South by Southwest — which seems perfect, given the event’s strong representation from both the music and tech worlds. Co-founder and CEO Marc Ruxin describes TastemakerX as “fantasy sports for music lovers,” a service where users can share their favorite music with their friends and where gaming elements encourage people to discover new musicians first.
It’s not the first company trying to give fans points for discovering new artists. For example, there’s also RockStar Motel, which bills itself as a site where fans can play the promotional role of record labels, earning a higher ranking as they create more fans for a certain artist. Asked via email about the comparison, Ruxin wrote:
TastemakerX is more like the Hollywood Stock Exchange for bands meets fantasy sports for music. We surface vertical influence, like Klout for bands, and have a multilevel game dynamic more like Foursquare. TastmakerX is a social mobile experience where photos, geo-tags and comments publish to a feed around getting credit for discovering bands early. We are focusing on building a taste graph not a record label. We focus on bands not songs.
The company says Ruxin and his co-founder Sandro Pugliese both started their careers in the A&R department at EMI records in the early 1990s. Since then, Ruxin has worked at a number of ad agencies, while Pugliese co-founded several startups
Investors include Guggenheim Partners, Baseline Ventures, True Ventures, Tekton Ventures, and AOL Ventures (which, like TechCrunch, is part of AOL), as well as angels Andrew Anker, Mich Mathews, Paul Bricault, Ted Rheingold, Michael Kassan, and Mike McGinley. TastemakerX’s advisors include John Battelle, Marc Geiger, and Ian Rogers.