- by Derek Dellinger
“Music is the declaration of atmosphere for a venue,” said Rami Korhonen, CEO and co-founder of Playmysong. “Our goal is to eradicate random music in the world.”
Korhonen describes Playmysong as the “Foursquare” of music, with maybe a touch of Turntable.fm as well — crowd-sourcing the role of the DJ to smartphone wielders with a simple, free app.
Playmysong allows an iTunes library to be set up as a digital jukebox, controllable by anyone else who’s downloaded the app. Playmysong is of obvious interest to bars and clubs, but because set-up is so simple, almost any business could make use of it; coffeeshops, retail outlets, or music venues are just some of the more obvious applications. Home users can host more interactive parties, and shrug off the pressure of coming up with a good playlist themselves. And because all music played through the service must already be in the host’s iTunes library, there are no added licensing headaches for anyone involved.
For users, Playmysong offers the chance to pick a bar by musical preference as well as drink specials. For businesses, it means a whole new way of engaging with customers.
“Say you go to a bar and you want to hear Green Day. You know it’s going to be 15 minutes until your song is played, you only have so much of your beverage left, so you go and get another round,” Korhonen explained. “It helps to engage people more, and that way they spend more time there and become better customers.
“People are falling in love with sharing everything over social media. Playmysong is an even more exciting way of doing that, because not only are you saying ‘I’m here,’ but also ‘I love this music, I’m going to play it right now for the people around me.’”
Any old-fashioned jukebox could exert the same pull, but with integration into Facebook and other social media, Playmysong also acts as free advertising for the host. Korhonen cites Idle Hands, a bar in the East Village of Manhattan that has been hosting 'Playmysong Mondays.' The night it debuted, the service racked up more than 100 plays.
“Fifty-four times that night, people posted to Facebook to tell their friends ‘I just played this song,’” Korhonen said. “Now, if the average Facebook user has 200 friends, the bar just got thousands of free advertisements that night.”
And for businesses looking to take full advantage of that advertising, Playmysong offers a “Pro Stereo Package.” For an annual fee of $420, Pro users can enjoy fine-tuned control: displaying a business logo within the app, or customizable messages sent to users after requesting a song — advertising, for instance, upcoming events.
The jukebox has always had its pitfalls — potentially bar-clearing pitfalls, like someone queuing Never Gonna Give You Up to play for three straight hours. Playmysong fortunately dodges this scenario by giving the “host” a few simple controls. A slider in the app limits how many times one user can request a song, and another establishes how many hours must pass before the same song can be played twice. So unlike a regular jukebox, there’s no risk of an intimidating biker gang hijacking the playlist for a whole night.
When users are trying to decide where to go out for the night Playmysong offers another benefit — the app quickly reveals what kind of music is playing where, and users can choose a destination accordingly.
Playmysong for iOS devices is available now in the iTunes store, while an Android version of the app will be ready in February. In the meantime, the service can be used through Playmysong’s website with any web browser. Playmysong is available internationally as well, with bars in Helsinki, Finland already using the service, and an official launch in Germany coming in January.