A couple weeks ago a native Detroiter and 15 year music industry vetertan David Baird called us up at the office, offering to let us preview a new app he, Joe Vaillancourt, Brenden Tuck, and Mark Kopulos had just created. Selocial, he described to us, is like Instagram meets Spotify and it’s the wave of the future.
We’ll be honest; it sounded like an odd concept. Users post images and then tag up to 15 minutes of music to those images. It seems that a strange amount of time, 15 minutes. It’s too short for a real playlist and much longer than we want to look at any one person’s selfie, but the result is more like a stream of images tagged with music from the user and those the user follows, which can be played continuously, much like radio.
Using music from the Soundcloud database, users can search for tracks from anything available on that site, which is cool in a way. Many new, emerging, and underground bands and artists use this site to promote their music while many of the site’s users post bigger name stuff. There are some drawbacks, however. For instance, Prince’s “I Would Die For You” wasn’t available at all, which we found to be a huge bummer and we couldn’t get the proper version of Chvrches’ “We Sink”, either. However, there were some cool indie finds from Stepdad, Javelin, and Crystal Castles. So there’s that.
The interface of the app is pretty barebones and the steam of images scrolls horizontally across the bottom of the screen. Users can create very simplistic profiles that consist of their username, age, location, and a profile picture. Users are encouraged to like other users’ mixes and to follow them, as time is added to their time bank with each like and follow a user gets. The time bank maxes out at 15 minutes.
In its newness, Selocial is experiencing some glitches. For instance, logging in has been an issue as the app forces us to create a new password with each log in and a temporary one takes quite a while to appear in our inbox. It’s also a web-based app only at this point, meaning you have to access it through your web browser on your phone if you wish to use it on the go. Users also can’t curate who appears in their feed and when, so a user must listen to the order of mixes as it arises in their feed. No function exists yet to invite friends via email, Facebook, or Instagram as of yet, either, meaning you have to use the old fashioned method of actually conversing with people to get them to sign up for the app.
It appeals to one’s sense of vanity, for sure. You can post pictures of yourself WITH your favorite songs, meaning everyone will now know how pretty and equally cool you are. In theory, that is. But, are we just creating another avenue for selfies? Will the new musical selfie now be born? Has evil fornicated to now divide and multiply?
Eventually as more people join Selocial and users are able to curate their feed, the app will become a great tool for discovering new music. Whether you follow folks with whom you share similar interests or the artists you dig most, you’ll get a healthy dose of music that’s new to both you and the world.
The problem here is, of course, that most people believe their taste in music is superior to all lesser mortals. And since users are not able to pick and choose who appears in their feed, it becomes more of a hodge-podge of electro pop, house, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop and anomalous selections of ‘90s music.
The result, however, is kind of addictive. Currently we’re unable to sign in, but we’re already thinking about which selfie will pair perfectly with St. Lucia’s “All Eyes On You”.