Spotify does a great job at helping users find music they’ll like, thanks to features like its popular “Discover Weekly” playlist filled with personalized recommendations, and sections that point you to trending tracks and new releases. But over the years, it’s moved away from its earlier emphasis on music discovery through your social network, which leaves room for other apps to come in and fill the void.
One such app is the newly released OurMix – a music discovery service for Spotify users that helps you find what friends are discovering, then matches that up with your own interests to offer better recommendations.
This addresses one of Spotify’s failures in the past: simply being friends with someone on Facebook doesn’t mean that you also share their taste in music.
That being said, having a network to draw upon is a good way to tap into the “word-of-mouth” buzz around emerging artists, as well as help more casual music consumers broaden their horizons when it comes to music discovery.
OurMix tackles the discovery problem by continually analyzing your Spotify library to see what music you like to listen to, then it picks out songs from friends’ libraries that match your tastes. You can also choose to follow “OurMix curators” – individuals who help you connect with music from certain genres they listen to, like Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop, Indie, Electronic, etc. – in the event that your personal network is lacking.
Once a day, the app will deliver a special mix of music suggestions, and can notify you at a time you specify. You can tap on the tracks to play them in the app, then swipe left or right to indicate whether you don’t like the track or want to save it Spotify, respectively.
You can save the entire mix to Spotify, too, plus share it on social networks or via text message.
The suggestions include songs friends have saved, but you don’t already have in your own library. And no one has to manually share their songs for them to show up in OurMix – the recommendations are based on the activity already taking place in Spotify itself.
The app, of course, requires a Spotify account to work. Free users will only hear 30-second samples, while paid subscribers can listen to full tracks. However, co-founder and CEO Kishore Doddi tells us that further down the line, the team would like to expand OurMix to work with other music services.
“Our main goal, both short-term and long-term, is to help people discover music they love,” Doddi says.
Having recently popped up on Product Hunt, the co-founder also spoke about why the team wanted to work in the competitive music space. Beyond simply having a love for discovering music, they hadn’t found a solution like this, he said.
“Spotify’s native social features feel like an afterthought. Everything else requires that you manually share,” wrote Doddi at the time. “We think we’ve created an effortless way to discover music from your friends.”
The bootstraped New York-based startup currently includes four co-founders, whose collective backgrounds includes an understanding of music, design and algorithms.
Doddi and Richard Mai both previously working on an early music-sharing site, Everyone’s Mixtape (now shuttered); designer Mark Kizelshteyn worked on Ted.com and HBO GO; and data scientist Dimitri Ranos’s background includes work on financial trading algorithms and on Dstillery’s ad exchange.
For an app that’s just now launching, OurMix is really well-built. Using the app is intuitive, and it introduces its features during the onboarding process in clever ways. Instead of a clunky overlay or annoying tutorial, for example, the app just launches the timer for you, so you can set your notification preferences. It then later quickly demonstrates what the left and right swipes do.
The only problem I have with OurMix is not the fault of the app, but rather an issue of my own making: I share my Spotify account with others – including a 6-year old girl – and this greatly affects what Spotify thinks I like. Oh well!