Jukely is an iOS app that brings together music discovery and co-founder Bora Celik's background as an EDM concert promoter to recommend upcoming live shows in New York City. Recently he and co-founder Andrew Cornett, formerly a designer at Kickstarter, began a 3 month stint at TechStars, one of the top accelerators in the game. Together they are iterating an app that combines algorithmic music discovery with a personalized approach to curation that is described as similar to a concierge.
I first spoke with Bora Celik in mid-February, a week or two after Jukely had launched for iOS. However, our initial encounter was his reaction to a tweet of mine saying that nobody cared about music discovery.
Making Music Discovery Exciting Again
My point was both that everybody people don't use the term and that it was also overhyped as a buzzword. Despite his apparent dismay, we developed a friendly relationship on Twitter that led to our discussing the app. If the relationship hadn't developed I probably would have passed because discussions of discovery had become consistently repetitive and boring to me by that point.
However, during an hour long conversation, Bora Celik got me excited again about music discovery as he described his efforts to integrate algorithmic tools with personal, hands-on attention. Some elements of personal attention, such as providing people who recruit a group to go to a show with free passes, could be automated. But Celik insists that a core aspect of Jukely is local knowledge of venues and audiences by deeply involved humans who provide expert curation so that users don't have to do unnecessary filtering themselves.
Team Jukely Joins TechStars NYC
Since then Jukely has been under ongoing development. Recently he and co-founder Andrew Cornett, one of the first people to leave Kickstarter which is still in an exciting stage of development, joined the TechStars NYC incubator program. This places them in an elite realm, for example, this group competed with "nearly 1700 companies" for an acceptance rate of 0.6%.
When I spoke with Celic again last week, he was excited by the high quality of the mentors he had met and the general atmosphere of hard work and accelerated development.
The core of the app is the same as when we spoke in February. The focus is on providing music lovers with live show suggestions for a week or two of coming dates. Rather than an emphasis on the big special events for which some plan months in advance, Jukely approaches live music as nightlife with decisions often made the day of events.
Jukely's Foundation is Based on Building Relationships
Celik says they don't want to become a ticketing app but also feel that kicking people out to a ticketing site where they may abandon the process is not a solution. So they've developed a pass system working directly with venues that allows people to buy a ticket via the app and then be put on a list for entry. They then simply give their name or show confirmation using their cellphone for entry.
This process requires building relationships with venues and Celik says they're also now working with Live Nation so people seem to be liking what they're doing.
New personal touches are also being explored. For example, when I created a Jukely account last week, I got a message the next day inviting me to a meetup for an upcoming show. It was an interesting idea and one that I could see appealing to folks who are new in town or like to meet new people while out on the town.
Programming, Design and Lessons Learned from Music Promotion
Celik brings a background in both programming and music promotion to the development of Jukely. In the Oughts in Hartford, CT, Celik booked a variety of EDM artists who were relatively unknown in the area. He was able to build audiences who trusted his taste in music and relationships with venues who appreciated his ability to draw a crowd.
In our initial discussion of Jukely, Celik emphasized that he didn't just want to develop a usable app, he wanted to build a brand that people would love because they associated it with having great experiences. His enthusiasm for music and for creating an app that could connect audiences with musicians was infectious. Apparently his commitment and enthusiasm was enough to eventually get designer Andrew Cornett to leave still hot startup Kickstarter and go full-time on the project.
Celik understands the necessity of great design. For example, part of his explanation for not automating the process of gathering concert data by simply scraping other sites was that it resulted in poor information display and looked awful on other apps.
Today New York, Tomorrow the World?
For now, Team Jukely is focusing on New York, a large but limited market, in order to properly develop the app while at TechStars. But the long-term vision is to develop an app for concerts in many cities and, when we first spoke, that vision included local curator/concierges that would know the scene and develop relationships with venues and music fans.
It will be interesting to see how Jukely develops over time with eventual pressure from investors to grow and make a profit. Looking back over my notes I feel I haven't done justice to Celik's vision and insight but, ultimately, the proof will be in the product.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.