As consumers looking for love trial all the various dating apps on market in the hopes of finding the perfect algorithm that will lead them to The One, the swipe-to-find-the-perfect-x model is making its way beyond the dating space to other sectors, from recruitment to music.
For an industry built on collaboration, facilitating it is difficult. There are only a handful of platforms aiming to help musicians find each other out there and even less that try to solve the enormous issue of helping local talent find work.
Many popular platforms are constrained by the early 2000s model of boring design, drop-down menus and other stagnant user-interfaces (UI).
To bring these connection platforms to the modern age, Melbourne-based startup Vampr has taken inspiration from the contemporary dating app model to develop an app that allows musicians to more easily connect with each other.
The startup’s founder, Josh Simons, said the app fills a gap in the market where there exists little to help musicians and music industry members to connect or discover each other beyond the likes of music curation platforms such as SoundCloud.
“The connection area is one of the only sides of the music industry that hasn’t really been helped by technology. The actual process of meeting someone hasn’t been touched,” he said.
Simons, who is expectedly a musician himself, identified this issue while working around the world, seeing the problem wasn’t just down to Australia’s geography but rather a global problem.
“I thought there must be an easier way to connect. Any good tech comes from a founder who’s come from a pain-point and is trying to solve a problem. So I set out to fix something that I felt,” said Simons.
To research what makes a successful connection platform and then apply that to the music industry, Simons looked into what specifically competitors were doing wrong, comparing their features to that of successful dating apps.
“Why did dating apps work? There’s no gamification or fancy overhauls, it was the automation of it all,” Simons said.
Looking to separate itself from the “ugly process” used by similar apps on the market, Vampr automates the connection process by using integration with Facebook’s API in order to create a user’s profile and capture their likes and interests.
Describing this as a “one-click” process, Simons said the only manual work a user has to undertake is attaching a SoundCloud or Youtube account to their profile so that other users can listen to their music.
Users are also able to control their location radius, determining the range of who they’re able to discover. Vampr’s algorithm then provides a user with suggestions of people to connect with based on their profile information, a process which is strengthen by how much information the user provides.
“Our algorithm uses the Airbnb model, where the more information you give the better the results,” Simons explained.
Beyond suggestions, the app caters for users who want to connect with a specific type of musician by providing optional search categories. There are over forty search categories in total, which spans across a plethora of not only musician roles but industry roles too.
“It’s anything from a record label, to percussion player, to roadie, to graphic design wanting to design something for a band,” said Simons.
Simons said there are no limitations to what users can use the platform for, adding that it can even be used as a dating platform for music lovers to find each other. Despite this comment, the app’s design and marketing presence predominantly targets musicians.
To actually connect with another, the process works similar to the average social media platform, where a user can view another profile, and send a private message to start a conversation.
Opening up towards potential privacy issues, the startup didn’t mention Vampr having any privacy options, instead using an “instant audition” approach where one can quickly see all the information about another user to see if they’re the right find.
Since launching last year, Simons said the app has ramped up a user base in the thousands across 71 different countries.
To spread the Vampr name, the startup has been using a “city-to-city” approach of travelling between different major cities to market the app locally to ensure that each city is building with a sustainable user base that can continue to flourish over time.
“Word of mouth is a more positive way to scale,” said Simons.
Although the app isn’t currently monetised, Simons said the startup will look to implement a premium feature and potential cost per engagement advertising once the user base grows.
In the meantime, the startup has been bolstered by three rounds of investment from investors “across three continents”, raising over half a million to date.
Image:Josh Simons. Source: Supplied.