Hipset is a music discovery site launching today from Y Combinator’s Tracks.by that makes sure you never miss the hot new songs, videos, and other content from the artists you Like on Facebook — updates which the social network might not show in your feed.
If launched on its own, Hipset would just be a fun site for listeners. But while disarmingly simple, it’s the culmination of Tracks.by’s year-long master plan to shake up the music marketing industry. Here’s how Hipset is going to rock you.
The site launched this morning so you can go check it out Hipset now. Once you auth in with Facebook, you’ll find a single Pinterest-style grid view of all the recent posts by all the musicians you Like. That’s something you can’t get on Facebook, which deems most updates from musicians less critical than those by your friends so they’re filtered out of the feed.
In case you’re looking for a laid-back reel of concert clips and studio performances you can sort Hipset by content type, plus you can view dedicated pages for any artist. There’s also a popular feed where you can see algorithmic and human-curated picks for the best new music. With Spotify putting history’s music catalogue at your fingertips, there’s a big opportunity for Hipset to tell us what we should be listening to.
Yeah, it’s cool, but here’s how it fits into Tracks.by’s grand scheme. For the last year, its ex-Ustream founders Mazy Kazerooni and Matt Schlicht have been signing digital marketing deals to build apps and run the Facebook Pages of top artists like Lil Wayne and Drake. It also scored a seed round from investors like Dave Morin, Greylock’s Josh Elman, Menlo Ventures, and Wayne’s manager Cortez Bryant. But all the while they wanted to launch a destination site.
That’s fortunate, because the Facebook Timeline redesign cutting traffic to tab applications by up to 90%, forcing fellow developers like Bandpage to diversify beyond Facebook. If not for repping big celebrities, getting the standalone site Hipset off the ground might be tough. But Matt and Mazy are friends with all these artists and management companies, and can call in favors. So Tracks.by artists including Wayne (aka Weezy F Baby who has 40 million Facebook Likes) are going to promote their Hipset pages.
Why? Because Hipset is deeply tied into Facebook’s Open Graph. It might be a bit aggressive, but it shares to your friends every time you open a post or view a video. That means it makes artists go viral better than if people watched those same videos on YouTube.com, so thats where they want their fans going. Tracks.by will also help artists send email alerts to their fans when the have big announcements like a new single.
Hipset lets Tracks.by own the marketing channel, sucking up huge data sets and filling in where record labels are failing. With the added email marketing features and the power to massage the Popular feed, Tracks.by has the leverage attract more top-tier artists to its service arm.
And then come the ads. Tracks.by controls the feed and knows what artists you Like, so it could easily inject sponsored blocks into the grid view. If a label wants to promote the new Jay-Z single, it could inject a sponsored block featuring his music video into the feed of anyone who Likes Lil Wayne. And Hipset will let brands sponsor downloads of songs, so you could get the Drake single before its released by Liking Pepsi or watching one of its commercials.
So essentially, Tracks.by uses its connections to promote Hipset that seduces clients to its marketing service that sells ads on Hipset. That’s some evil genius-level business.
In the end, it still comes down to product quality, and the design of Hipset is still v1. If it isn’t sticky and sharable, none of this will pan out. Hipset needs to be more than just a better way to browse Facebook music updates. It needs great discovery of new artists, deals to pull in exclusive content, and viral hooks like stats you can publish about what favorite bands you and your best friends have in common.
Whether you want to be the first person on you block to hear that killer new song, or you want a more intimate connection with the artist who made up, Hipset’s got the hook up.