LuckyPennie Brings Music Discovery, Local Tastemakers To The iPhone

If your Spotify friends have terrible taste in music, newly launched iPhone app LuckyPennie may be for you. This L.A.-based startup is hoping to re-imagine the way people discover music, including not only new songs available for streaming or download on iTunes, but those performed by local bands, too.

The company was founded by a trio who have backgrounds in music, including Dr. John Wolanin, a Ph.D whose passion for music saw him writing his dissertation on using music as a therapeutic tool, and connecting with clients through music to get them back on the road to recovery. And on the side, Dr. Wolanin was in a band of his own.

Team-LP-crop(logo)Meanwhile, co-founder and CTO Joe Ladon (previously director of mobile development at also has a background in music technology and theory, while LuckyPennie’s third co-founder Jonathan Lane (who co-founded NextSpace in L.A.) is a musician, too, and ran a music distribution business in the past.

Says Dr. Wolanin, “we’re actually toying with the idea of forming a band together.”

(He’s not really kidding.)

With LuckyPennie, the idea is to build a mobile music community where you can share and discover songs, concerts, photos and notes with others, and be able to connect with those who have similar musical tastes. You can add users to your “crew” or chat with them in the app itself.

The app’s main screen is meant to serve as something of a community bulletin board of things happening around you which you can filter by distance and content type. (Right now, this seems biased to the West Coast scene, it appears. It could use a bigger feed of concerts across the U.S. to get things going.)

More broadly, the app also lets you see what’s new and what’s trending, and soon, the app will introduce more social features, as well as a framework for building up your “cred”.


The idea, the co-founder explains, is that you’ll be able to establish yourself as influential about your local scene, and one day other users will be able to easily follow those who are knowledgable about a given city’s music scene.

Today, however, the app is focused on more general music and concert discovery, where you can buy concert tickets, and either preview tracks or play them full-length if you’re a premium Rdio or Spotify subscriber. This is available in the app’s “Radio” section, available from the side menu.

LuckyPennie launched just yesterday in the iTunes App Store, and is a free download. The company is basically bootstrapped with a little bit of friends and family funding to help them get off the ground.

It’s worth noting too that the app is beautifully designed, with screens and menus that move around fluidly in ways I wish other startups would consider copying. However, the main feed is also a bit busy for newcomers as it lacks separations between posts, the filtering tools and navigational elements. It can be a lot to take in at first.

But given that LuckyPennie is only a day old, it’s worth giving the company a chance to figure things out. After all, if your Facebook/Spotify friends are listening to awful stuff, you could use the help.