Be it listening to one of your favorite Pearl Jam songs or a new band you have been listening to lately, the first reaction you would do is share it with your friends to let them know about it. A gamification concept for Music is something which was missing for a long time in the mobile app industry and #nwplyng seems to be one of the applications trying to achieve this.
#Nwplyng (I had trouble finding that name in the Play Store) is founded by Utsav Agarwal and funded by MobME and tries to add dimensions in to the music consumption of the music loving people. The application has added a social layer to it when it greets you and asks you to sign in with any of your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare accounts to get started. Once you select your desired username for the application, you are on to the news feed type experience in the application which displays what your friends on #nwplyng are up to and what songs they have played recently. You can like/comment on it keeping the experience just like any other social network now a days.
How does it work?
When you play a song on your mobile, #nwplyng recognizes the music and pulls out a notification to help you share with your circle of friends. You can add your own thoughts before sharing it on Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare along with a relevant YouTube video/picture attached to it. The other work around is to search for the specific song within the application and share it via your social networks.
In an email conversation with Utsav, he explained that #nwplyng was his brainchild resulting from the need for an application which lets him share his music over anything else. He stated “If I’m facing this problem, there must be many others who want a solution to this as well“. From there on, it was always about making this process as immersive as possible.
The gamification comes in when you unlock badges each time you check in for a song and you get to be the manager of your favourite band when you check in 10 times (viz a viz Foursquare concept). Utsav explains that new badges are to be added in the near future, badges that are genre specific (for eg: if you play Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains often, you’ll unlock a Grunge badge), and badges that are artist specific (for eg: if you play certain 10 tracks of Incubus, you’ll unlock their badge). Also, the application plans to add real world incentives for managing artists, unlocking particular badges or simply being a loyal user. Those rewards will be in the form of free tickets, discounts on merchandise, meet & greet, exclusive artist content, etc.
The application does not spam you with emails by default (which I really appreciate) on every badge unlocked or promotion. Spamming by applications for every damn achievement is a major turnoff for me and I like that the application does not do that). You can surely check the options if you do not mind the unnecessary emails from the application through ‘Settings’.
How good is #Nwplyng?
The application scores at the simplicity of the user interface. It intends to do what it is supposed to do i.e Share (or flaunt) what you are listening to currently with your friends. The only thing which might be a hindrance for the application is the traction among the users currently. The app could also have used the ‘recommended users to follow’ feature when logged in at first. Because if none of your friends have used this app, it looks more or less like a barren land.
Also, the ‘Add Friends’ feature could also have targeted to invite your Facebook or Twitter friends to the app to increase joining via peer recommendations. The ‘Add Friends’ feature does not help me in any way in finding new/known friends on the app. Clicking on the ‘#nwplyng users’ takes you to a search box in which I have no idea which user to search for, so a recommendation feature would have really helped. And then based on the type of music you are listening to, can be utilized to create a recommendation engine to connect with like minded people.
The application does fulfill its end objective, but some features could have been added to make it better. After a certain amount of checkins on your songs, (and spamming my friends on Facebook to what I am listening to), it does get repetitive without any real incentive at stake. That is where the app developers would have to re-think if they want to monetize the application in the near future (And Utsav and his team are surely working on it)
When asked if he wants to venture into an app service on the likes of Dhingana and Gaana, he adds that he‘ll look to collaborate with them to cross promote, stream and share. However, he added that music streaming comes with a huge burden of upfront cash burn and a business model that hasn’t yet figured itself out completely. He prides themselves in understanding the ‘music sharing’ market, and plans to capture that over the next 3 years.
Kudos to Utsav and team for building out a simple application which can be loved by any music listener. The application on the Play store has had around 500 downloads and indeed been loved by the users (Google Play User Reviews). You can try this application on Play Store.
Let us know what you think about the application in the comments.