Apps & Mobile

Song Sharing App #nwplyng: Incubated In India, Heading To Silicon Valley

Nwplyng-logo#nwplyng is a recently updated mobile app designed for sharing music that's supported by a much larger vision and long-term plans. Drawing on the best in mobile features and practices, #nwplyng has been described as a SoundTracking with gamification or a Foursquare for music.

The #nwplyng Backstory

Yesterday I spoke with #nwplyng Founder and CEO Utsav Agarwal who filled me in on the tale of his days in Los Angeles, learning about the music and entertainment scene, his return to India where he incubated #nwplyng at Startup Village and his plans to return to the States.

In India, Agarwal had been involved in the music industry managing bands. He then moved to Los Angeles where he accumulated work experience in music and entertainment and also took classes at UCLA Extension which introduced him to a number of music professionals.

Unfortunately Agarwal got caught by the working visa crunch and had to return to India. Before his return, he took a trip across the U.S. in the summer of 2011 where he came up with the idea of #nwplyng which he describes as similar to SoundTracking with gamification and which also draws on elements of Foursquare.

Back in India, Agarwal and associates incubated the app at Startup Village, a unique incubator, and received seed funding from MobME Wireless, one of the creators of Startup Village.

With a focus on U.S and European audiences, Agarwal is now seeking funding for a move back to the States. In fact, they're already incorporated in Delaware to facilitate that process.


The #nwplyng App

#nwplyng is a free mobile app available for both iOS and Android.

The focus of #nwplyng is on sharing songs to Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare with the option of adding photos and location. Shared songs are added to the #nwplyng newsfeed where users can then like or comment on the selection.

Currently the app uses previews of songs provided via iTunes with Rdio and Deezer integration in the works. If a video from YouTube or Vevo is available it can also be viewed in the app.

Gamification includes levels such as "Rookie" and "Street Performer." As one checks out the newsfeed and shares songs, "records" are bestowed such as the "Top 40 record," as indicators of progress. If you're the top person sharing an artist, you become the "Manager" of that artist, similar to Mayors in FourSquare.

If you hear a song that you wish to share, music identification is provided by Gracenote. You can also search for particular songs within the system.

More features are planned such as music discovery using hashtags and artist accounts with dashboards for seeing activity and identifying fans. The possibility of rewarding folks sharing one's music or identifying possible tour locations will then be possible.

Other options in what Agarwal described as potentially a year and a half long development schedule include an app for the Chrome browser, a web-based version of the app and additional features that will make #nwplyng easily accessible and eventually as useful to artists as possible.

Though there are many challenges ahead for Agarwal and the #nwplyng team, they're moving forward with a graphically pleasing app that's built on solid principles of mobile design and usage.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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