Music discovery is big business - from algorithms to blogs, soundtracks to pulpy music magazines, as we investigated earlier this year, there are numerous and different ways to find the next big thing. One of the latest, though, is perhaps riding the zeitgeist more than most.
Next is, effectively, Tinder for music. Crucially, that’s music, not musicians; you can find plenty of them on actual Tinder. An iPhone app created by Tinder co-founder Christopher Gulczynski and former VP of design Sarah Mick, it uses the same swiping gestures to deliberate between acts you like, and those you don’t.
A musician uses Next to record a short video - between 10 seconds and 3 minutes - of their music. Users then watch 30 second snippets, swiping left to dismiss and right to like. If you’re into something you can follow them via the app or share them with your friends via SMS, Twitter or email.
Speaking to The Next Web, Gulczynski claims “We want to be the democratization of access to music. We’re coming from a place of real passion and wanting people to be heard.
There’s a stigma around the music industry that it’s notoriously hard to monetize,” he continues. “What we’re trying to do is circumvent that by growing a critical mass of people on the platform, by coming around the backside. If the “music industry” wants to be a part of it, we’re going to force them to play nice. Next is always going to be a home for the person with a guitar sitting in their bedroom. It’ll never grow away from that. The core of the product will always be focused on the little guy.”
At the moment, that seems to be exactly what Next is - there’s very little chance you’ll be coming across someone you’re already aware of via the app. Most uploads are bedroom amateurs covering other acts. It distills the process down to the very immediate. There’s no room in 30 seconds for much build up, and certainly no ability to contextualise a track, or learn more about an artist before arbitrarily binning them on the strength of one snippet of music. While the Tinder style interface is as addictive as ever, like with the original app, creating a real meaningful connection may be easier said than done. You’ll probably not want to be throwing away your list of trusted discovery sources just yet.