Music discovery abounds on PCs, but what about mobile devices? A new update to the Herd.fm iOS app aims to help people find music better suited to their tastes.
Herd.fm originally used location as the basis for providing music recommendations. The updated app has a different approach. The app takes a person's listening (at iTunes) and sharing (at Facebook) activity into consideration. Based on a user's actual activity, Herd.fm applies Last.fm's song recommendation tool to its own algorithm to come up with recommendations. CEO David Nam (@davidnam) puts it this way: "For lack of a better term, we're your shit filter."
Listening to recommended and shared tracks is easy. A song can be heard through a 30-second iTunes preview or a full-track stream via SoundCloud. In addition, Herd.fm has something called a "Trak Journey." This cool feature allows a user to follow a shared song - via Google Maps - as it gets passed from one person to another anywhere in the world. A Herd.fm user's influence score increases each time a shared songs is in turn shared by the recipient.
It has become difficult to swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of music discovery tool. Do people need one more gadget to help find and share music? Isn't that what radio, TV, email, Facebook, Twitter and actual human interaction are for? Nam argues that mobile is a different animal and needs better tools built specifically for the way people use mobile devices. What works for the web won't necessarily work on a small mobile device, he says. "Mobile is mobile," he says. "It's no longer an m-dot in front of your website (URL). Mobile has become its own behavior. It has to own its own model, its own strategy."
Nam was head of marketing at Last.fm before and after its acquisition by CBS. Later, he consulted at MXP4 and helped the company shift to social gaming. He joined Herd.fm in June as a strategic consultant before becoming its CEO. The company was founded by James Milward, founder and executive producer of digital agency the Secret Location, Romeo Candido and Davin Lengyel.
The company first received funding from the Canadian Film Center with an early round of C$30,000 and later landed government funding of about C$600,000, according to Nam. The company participated in the 2011 SXSW Accelerator program. Nam adds the company is currently seeking additional investors.