Why Music-Based Social Networks are Doomed

Crowdmix’s whole pitch is that fans want to be part of communities built around artists, where they can connect with other fans, presumably to chat, make friends, find dates, see shows, etc. All great, but here’s the problem — the bigger the artist, the less likely you are to have anything in common with their other fans. Think of a niche band or genre — if you like some obscure form of metal, for instance, there’s a reasonable chance that you might have other things in common with people who like that niche band or genre. But unfortunately, a service just for people who like a weird indie band doesn’t make enough to pay back all those investor millions — so they need to build fan communities for artists like Justin Bieber. And not to pick on the Biebs, but his average fan probably doesn’t have all that much in common with another average fan, and no one really wants to be part of a group with thousands of random people who only have a big, unreachable pop star in common.

Add to this that many niche communities are fairly well-served in terms of places to connect — Meetup is still a massive platform, and those old-school message boards still serve a function as well. When you take everything into account, Crowdmix seems to be a perfectly well-done product in search of a problem.

I don’t want this piece to be taken as an attack on Crowdmix, especially because other social music networks aren’t doing all that well, either. Cur, which was pitched as a lower-cost streaming service that had social features, hasn’t launched yet and has also been beset with executive turnover and setbacks. Of the roughly one million “meet people and discover bands” apps I’ve been pitched, no one has broken out of the pack. Blackplane, which was supposed to replicate Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters network for other artists, never got airborne.

Social networking around music seems to be a feature, not a product. The Bumble/Spotify partnership, where you can match based on music tastes, is cute and fun — it is in no way central to either product’s core, but a nice little add-on. Apple Music could rebuild Connect to create some more social features if it wanted to, and maybe Spotify will add a few more social integrations for fun — but they’ll never be something either company massively invests in.

As I said above, I’ve only seen one demo of Crowdmix, and maybe they’ve got something super special and secret up their sleeves that will make me eat my words and sign up. But the road to success as a music-based social network is riddled with obstacles that so far, and so far no one seems to have figured out how to overcome them.

Article Appeared @https://medium.com/cuepoint/why-music-based-social-networks-are-doomed-fcedbcd0f990#.nd93ksn7t

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