Article first published as The Bull Market for Bands: Interview with TastemasterX CEO, Marc Ruxin on Technorati.
TastemakerX is social gamification-element platform that allows users to build “stock” portfolios of personal musical tastes and trade, share, and comment on them. Okay, so that’s a lot of words, so allow me to lend along with them a more current reference. The application was highly active at this year’s Coachella music festival, where each and every artist performing at the event was featured and assigned a ticket symbol. TastemakerX’s mobile app enabled concertgoers to discover Coachella artists, trends and inspiration, and compete against one another as industry “tastemakers.”
The way the system works, users can find and introduce new bands and “invest” points in them. Technorati had the opportunity to interview CEO and co-founder, Marc Ruxin. As Marc explains, “Price is set initially through an algorithm built upon several social factors.” As a band’s stock rises, your “investment” portfolio does, as well. If you’re someone who’s identified, followed, and invested in a band from the beginning, your credibility grows within the program.
And that’s precisely whom this type of application is targeted. Ever wanted to be Dr. Dre and have “discovered” Eminem? “What music fan doesn’t want to be the first to discover the next big band?” Marc quips. Players of TastemakerX can build that kind of track record.
I’m big on gamification, the practice of using game elements in products. I’ve written much about it and even predicted this year, as being a breakthrough year for the industry. This is a step in that direction: TastemakerX has gamification elements that make it engaging and fun. Marc explains, “We built TastemakerX to be very much like a game, but with a social feed, and our own influence measurement system.” The application offers players the ability to:
- Earn points for in-game activities
- Level up to gain influence
- Complete achievements to earn rewards
- Share their enthusiasm and clout directly with artists
So what’s next for these guys? As an Android user, I asked Marc pointedly, “When’s our time?” He said it’s coming. The next product enhancement is a more robust web-portal featuring the same interactive ability as the mobile version. I’m told the new website can be expected in the next few weeks. By the way, that’s when you know you’re a visionary social media application developer, when the emphasis is first placed on the mobile experience, then later, the Web one.
Sometime thereafter TastemakerX will be Android-launched. After that? “Other veritcals,” Marc tells me. The gamification and engagement elements of TastemakerX certainly make it prime for other applications. American Idol via TastemakerX? That might be a good idea. Why not?