Whyd, a kind of Pinterest for music, goes public

Perhaps “new” is the wrong word, as Whyd launched in November, 2012. It has remained in invitation mode until today. Doors thrown open to the public, Whyd now seeks to gain value by attracting users. the public launch corresponds to $700-thousand seed funding landed this month, according to Crunchbase.

whyd panel 300wWhyd is a so-called scraping platform. It builds its content library from sources which makeĀ their content available to other sites. YouTube and SoundCloud are the two main attractions at this point. The mechanism Whyd uses is elegant, though not novel to anyone who uses Pinterest or other scraping platforms: the browser button. When the user sees a YouTube music video, or a SoundCloud waveform that he or she wants to keep, clicking the “W” browser button automatically adds it to the user’s Whyd account. The collection is available to other Whyd users, who might find it via the genre directory, or by direct social following within Whyd.

Whyd is leveraging two fairly powerful advantages over major-league apps like Spotify and Rhapsody. First, sharing platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud contain huge volumes of music that doesn’t exist in the label catalogs. As RAIN recently noted, Led Zeppelin‘s “exclusive” discography distribution in Spotify pales compared to its YouTube presence. SoundCloud specializes in recordings by producers and composers who might not package their stuff in albums or distribute it through other pipelines. Whyd also works with MP3 blogs and any web page that contains publicly available music. (In this way, Whyd is related to the Web Playlist feature in Xbox Music.)

Why’s other differentiator is layering the service function onto the browser. This advantage will diminish over time in an increasingly mobile world that is migrating away from the computer desktop. But for the time being, engaging in a social music service without booting up a dedicated desktop app like Spotify, seems elegant and streamlined. We expect Whyd to add mobile functions in the future.

Whyd’s challenge? Convincing YouTube and SoundCloud users to build new, combined playlists in yet another social music service. We count ourselves in that target user group. Today, we’re having a blast with Whyd.

Brad Hill