DJZ, a much heralded electronic dance music site, launched on Halloween as planned and it's a beautiful thing. Ultimately rather simple with an unsurprising range of content, the design of the site sets it apart and gives it an energy to match its content. The DJZ TxT app is the big surprise but its the graphic look of the site and the fact that everything "just works" that makes it a winner in its initial incarnation.
DJZ, a site that got a lot of attention upon announcement due to the leadership of Turntable.fm's Seth Goldstein, a million in seed funding and advisors like DJ Shadow and Paul Oakenfold, launched yesterday and is getting another wave of attention. My overall impressions are extremely positive so let me get my two grumbles out of the way first:
They claim to be a site for Generation Z which is, by most definitions, mostly still underage. Does that even make any sense? And why does every article I read take that statement at face value?*
I registered with the site using my secret DJ identity, which you'll hear about when the time is right, yet haven't yet received an invite. Perhaps they're waiting to launch membership features but shouldn't I have gotten a quick news blast about the site?
That out of the way, it's refreshing to see a beautifully designed site that doesn't mimic designs now attributed to Pinterest and makes a strong graphic statement that carries through the whole site.
Currently Featured DJs
I'm impressed that they launched with so much content already on the site. It makes them look well-established and deep in the game.
At the moment, the pages load quickly and the site's organization is clear and to the point.
Though the DJs featured on the homepage skew a bit heavily to the pop end of EDM, the genres listed in the video section include House and hip hop which at least acknowledges the history of EDM that predates such figures as Skrillex. Obviously the pop stars are going to be the big draw but I'm glad they're not ditching those who came before and who will continue doing their thing.
The DJZ Player, which gives you the option of listening to everything they've got or focusing on streams based on which famous DJ you like, launches immediately into action and "just works" as Steve Jobs used to say.
DJZ TxT Demo
Artists A-Z presents a selection of DJs each with a graphic of their faces which is a nice touch used for the DJZ team as well. They lead to individual profiles which combine what is now a normal mix of social media feeds and audio selections but looks a lot more interesting than competitors due to the design.
Upcoming Events are powered by Songkick which is a smart move. Sections that require a lot of artist/management updating to be successful take a long time to build so this is definitely the way to go especially at the beginning.
DJZ should be adding some kind of social layer or other membership feature based on the newsletter signup process. Also:
"In the future, the company may work with artists such as Snoop Dogg to Justin Bieber to create customized mix components. DJZ has also committed to pushing actual DJ video tutorials to further the EDM education process."
"As for monetization, Goldstein says a blend of sponsorships, media partnerships and in-app purchases should allow the startup to capitalize on the targeted youthful user base."
This is a really strong start for DJZ and a nice example of how to launch a content-focused site. Honestly, except for the DJZ TxT app, everything else is what you'd expect on such a content site. But it all works and it's well-designed, something we see far too rarely.
*Note: According to Ben Sisario, writing for the NY Times, Seth Goldstein believes Generation Z "are the ones watching YouTube videos by the tens of millions but who cannot afford a trip to the big festivals like Coachella or Electric Daisy Carnival." So this is a site for the stay at homes? I'm still not buying it. It seems like more a line you feed to investors and early sponsors.
It would be a more convincing statement if they weren't targetting media outlets for coverage that are only read by grownups and boring people in the music industry. When I see the outreach to Gen Z, I'll reconsider my position. That said, they're clearly targetting media that will help them with investors and that's understandable but leaves audience outreach to a later date.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.