Currently, you can listen to music in Spotify. Or iTunes. Or YouTube, Soundcloud, Rdio, and any of a dozen other places. Listn, however, is aiming to aggregate all those musical silos into one simplified place to enjoy music — and chat about it.
Today, the company announced a $500,000 seed round, and a new partnership with Rdio.
“Contrary to most music apps that offer no way to interact with services outside of their own mobile experiences, the Listn platform ties together all of the users’ music in one place and lets them listen to all of their friends’ music, whether they have that music on their phone or not,” the company says.
It’s an ingenious idea, one that I first stumbled across when the startup graduated from Montreal accelerator FounderFuel’s November, 2012 demo day. When you launch the app, it scans your music library, and then links each song to the “most appropriate” source, whether it’s iTunes, Rdio, Spotify, or YouTube. You can then share your music with any friends you choose, and browse other friends’ collections, since any rights issues and copyright violations have conveniently been addressed by those very same music sources.
“Listn embraces the openness of the mobile web and its potential to bring people closer together,” Mike Schmidt, cofounder and CEO of MFive Labs, the company behind Listn. “Just like Instagram helps people share experiences through pictures, Listn connects people through music by enabling users to browse each other’s music collection, whether they are best friends or even strangers.”
Inside the app, you connect to the music services you use, and then play, listen to, like, and comment on music that your friends have curated.
Essentially, it’s social music, in a way that no other network can provide, without the barriers of those individual networks, and with the social features that many of them (iTunes, I’m looking at you) lack. The question, of course, is whether Listn will be able to establish a large enough community in its own right to make the community work for all users, including new joiners.
The new partnership with Rdio should help.
“We’re extremely excited to work with the Listn team,” said Chris Burton, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships Manager at Rdio. “Their approach is a clever way to work in tandem with the copyright and licensing issues often faced by other popular music services, making our services absolutely complementary.”