Gameifying Culture with TastemakerX
All music lovers know there is a certain amount of clout and swagger that comes with being the first to discover a new band. And our desire to establish bragging rights about new music discovery can fuel a bit of friendly competition as we try to build cred within our social network. For years, I have relied on a small handful of friends to curate my music discovery, and one of the most profound and prolific of these curators to many of us in the Valley is Marc Ruxin, the Founder and CEO of TastemakerX.
One of the newest additions to the True portfolio, TastemakerX is transforming those “I heard of them first” conversations into a robust social gaming platform where music fans can discover new artists, compete against other tastemakers, and share experiences through geo-tagging, commentary and photo sharing. Launched just this morning in the iTunes app store, TastemakerX is a lot like fantasy sports—for music. The TastemakerX TScore measures a fan’s influence on new and popular music using a 100-point scale, and players build this score based on how good they are at finding new artists.
We invested in TastemakerX last November, and have had the pleasure of working closely with Marc and his co-founder Sandro Pugliese through the development, wildly successful private beta, and now launch of their website and app. Marc and Sandro both have deep experience in the media industry, and blew us away with their vision to “gameify” culture. For music specifically, the large existing horizontal social networks (Facebook, Twitter) are great for broad sharing, but thus far lack the depth required to truly establish and maintain a musical taste graph. TastemakerX allows you to maintain your preferences and sentiments over time with musicians and bands, but the app also allows you to build, maintain and discover a graph of those curators you respect most.
The TastemakerX platform can expand to so many verticals—designers, wine, even startups—providing a fun, competitive way to leverage personal tastes and influence others. We love to work with founders who have big ideas and big plans, and the passion with which Marc and Sandro built TastemakerX has us very excited for their future. Marc and Sandro, congratulations on your launch!