We check out the latest music start up – KOLLEKT FM

KOLLEKT.FM is on a mission to make music a more social experience online by closing the gap that exists between both listeners on one side and between artists and listeners on the other side. The idea is simple: Just connect to people who you think have great music taste, whether it’s your favourite artist or your best friend, and let them curate music for you. Combine your newfound music into your own playlist for your friends to listen to and the possibilities are endless. Music as we know it, taken from already pretty social websites like Youtube and SoundCloud, made even more social and easier to listen to and it doesn’t even cost you any money!

I sat down with one of the founders of this musical start-up to go in depth on KOLLEKT.FM and to find out what the future of online music might look like for you. But first things first:

What sparked the KOLLEKT.FM flame?
Our love for music off course! The four of us where active a couple of Facebook pages in which people were sharing their favourite music. It was content from mostly Youtube and SoundCloud that was already freely available which was shared. These pages where a lot of fun and great music found it’s way to these pages. But as they grew more popular there also came a lot of clutter. Besides that, you also couldn’t just hit play and enjoy all the music that was on there. Something needed to be done to improve this, we felt.

Two of us were building a solution to this problem, but at that point, where hesitant to share it. One of our programmers at the time coincidently was working on something similar. We decided to meet to see if we could collaborate on tackling that problem. That one meeting became a lot of meetings and before we knew it we where coding in our bedrooms and figuring out how to change the idea into a healthy start-up.

So what idea was going to solve this problem?
The idea was, and still is, to make music a more social experience by letting the people you like and trust curate music for you. This means that the sometimes-tedious process of finding music could be a lot easier and more fun. People know which friends have great music taste and which don’t. By letting the former influence what music you listen to it becomes more social. Compare it to that radio-dj that curates music for his listeners on more personal.
Of course it isn’t confined to just your friends. Your favourite artist can curate playlists as well. That gives the artist more possibilities to share his music taste so people hear something different from the artist then their productions or live sets.

Why does KOLLEKT.FM think this will work better than, say, Spotify?
Music is a magical thing. It’s intuitive and you often can’t really tell why you like the music you like. Take a guilty pleasure for instance: You feel guilt for lack of good taste but despite that you still enjoy it, even though you’re not completely sure why.

By making it more social you can use your friends as a guide to new music and not some algorithm that isn’t always in your best musical interest. And of course you contribute to their taste as well. People are bonded by that intuition so they are more strongly connected. Compare it to going to a party or a concert where you have the same feeling of connectedness. We truly hope friendships will emerge from the sharing of music true our website.

KOLLEKT.FM is free to use. How do you work your way around things like copyright?
A lot of music is given free access to by the artists themselves. They have put it on Youtube or SoundCloud for instance. Internet, we think, has been a blessing for these artists to potentially reach millions of people with zero budget. We simply aggregate those available songs in a single beautifully designed place and help the artist faster reach the audience that is right for him. Look at it as elaborately embedding the music that’s already out there, we don’t do anything the artist doesn’t want, but help him reach his goals.

How does KOLLEKT.FM look at the music industry as it is right now?
There is a lot of space for improvement on the way people work with music as a commodity. Traditionally there have been two kinds of people in the music industry: managers and artists. Managers were the ones running the business and that’s where all the money went. And we all know the stories about rock stars that were very successful, but ended up broke because of all the money going to the manager of the band. We think that’s fundamentally wrong about the music business in its current state. Artists are the ones doing all the creative work, not the managers, so they should be the ones rewarded the most for their hard work.

The Internet changes all of that and makes it possible for an artist to do without managers (although they of course can prove to be helpful in certain cases). We want to help empower the artists by maximizing the effect of the music he’s put online. With KOLLEKT.FM we help to fuel this change by making it more social and putting it in one place. If done the right way everyone should be able to benefit and music is easily available to everyone.

Taken in a broader perspective. How does music in general benefit from your start-up?
By making music more social there is no need for the artist to, like in the old days with expensive marketing campaigns, shout really hard to everyone: “listen to my music”, or “go to my concerts”! You don’t have to address the masses cause people can now get tailored suggestions from their friends. If they like it they will engage, if not they won’t. So it’s a direct line between the artist and the listeners who are not bothered with music they’re not into. And if people are more engaged with music, they are willing to invest in quality music like concerts, merchandise or even old school vinyl.

Vinyl sales are even on the rise again. That’s because we think people want something that holds value and not some mp3 that can be copied and doesn’t really feel like it has any value. This is something that can change the music industry fundamentally and for the better.

What does the future of KOLLEKT.FM look like?
We actually only just began our musical adventure. The site hasn’t even left the beta-phase and for now KOLLEKT.FM is still invite only. We’re working as hard as we can to become available for everyone out there, but we’re not quite there yet. The time now has come to prove ourselves and convince everyone that this is the way forward with music.
We know this is a big thing but we’re giving it our best and we are putting a lot of afford and love into it. We’re certain this can change the way people think about music and it offers a lot of great opportunities for music in the future.

Want to try KOLLEKT.FM? The platform is still in a closed testing environment, but Decoded Magazine has got an exclusive invite link; just visit KOLLEKT.FM/code and type in ‘decoded’ to get access to the beta!

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About the Author

Guy finished his degree in persuasive communication and wrote his thesis on the use of SoundCloud by artists. Now he is an Amsterdam based writer for Decoded magazine. Besides that he’s involved in projects like Free Your Mind festival, Metamorphosa and his own Invite parties and he knows his way around as a DJ.