Since the launch of the iPod, listening to music has become an increasingly individualistic and personalized experience. For the first time people could take their music wherever they wanted, plug in their headphones and go. Now with algorithmic recommendations, music taste is becoming more personalized and narrow as well. We believe that this trend is contradictory to the way people actually enjoy and discover music: with and through friends. The songs that you turn up in the car have probably come from someone you care about. Whether it was a memory with that person while that song was playing or simply the fact that you like that person’s music taste.
This is where we:fm, an app that was created by a team of Stanford undergraduate students in their junior year, comes in. We don’t like the direction the music industry has taken with streaming, and are trying to do something about it by creating a mobile listening experience that fits with people’s actual behavior around music.
The first feature we felt was necessary was live listening. It allows people to listen in-sync, at the same time, to the same song. This captures the natural behaviour of saving a song through a friend when you’re listening to music together. We take the human part of music discovery and leverage technology to make it possible wherever you are. This feature has proven to work extremely well as a means for friends to stay in touch, artists to engage their fans, and individuals to plug and discover music. It became an easy way to level emotionally together. There is something beautiful about the idea that you’re all listening to the same song at the same time, and we are doing our best to capture that.
The second important feature is Music Stories. The Story format has become incredibly popular in social apps and we adapted this format to cater towards the unmet need of sharing clips of songs to show off your music taste. Keeping the feature as pure as we possibly could, we allow for users to select a 15 second clip of a song and a text caption, which they can then add to their Music Story. The clip stays in their story for 24 hours, allowing for direct personal expression through music. Users can see who listened to their Music Story and who saved which songs.
Music is meant to be enjoyed and discovered together, and in reality we’re always DJ’ing the soundtracks of our lives and those of our friends. Now, you can do this wherever you are, with the help of the newest app in the music scene: we:fm.