Earlier this week I was able to speak with Co-Founder Joel Resnicow as he was returning from the SF MusicTech Summit. Joel is a serious data geek with plans of making Rexly the Walmart of digital media.
Kelland: What is your background?
Joel: I have always been a music and digital music geek. I spent most of my career after college working with big digital media companies mostly working with data. So what struck me was that a lot of these companies were not adaptive to disruptive technologies and most of them have more data than they actually know how to use. Also, most companies don’t know how to use data to add value and make it actionable. I’m always trying to figure out a way to use data to capture an audience, create better content and better marketing.
Kelland: So how did Rexly start?
Joel: I took a little break from the professional world to go to grad school and I was just taking a look at the world to see where the next “big thing” would be. I saw a lot of distribution services for music and things being built around monetization but I saw a major opportunity because no one is really working in data. The original idea was a Mint.com for data. My idea was if one company can create a lot of opportunity with their data what could a bunch of companies do together. So combining what people do with I-Tunes, Pandora, Spotify and other site would create better opportunities for the content owners and the consumer
Kelland: I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about curated content. Why do you think its important to the consumer?
Joel: Well, there is an enormous amount of music available something like 20 millions songs, but the average library is about 2000 songs. What’s interesting is people are only listening to 10% of those songs, which means that we are listening to the same 200 songs over and over again. We are attacking this problem from multiple angles but ultimately our goal is to get you to press play and hear something new. And, that action can be a result of a friend, a blog you trust, Pandora or the Top 40 charts.
Kelland: What are some of the unique features that Rexly offers in comparison to other social music services?
Joel: Their something very unique in terms of how we look at your social graph. We actually ask who are those important people that may influence your listening decisions. Who are those people if they asked you to listen to a song you would really listen to it, and we weigh them very heavily in our algorithm. We call this your “super trust” network. Another unique aspect of what we do is this is not a new service that requires you to stop using what you are already using. We don’t want you to stop using Spotify or Pandora, we want you to use them even more and get more satisfaction out of them.
Kelland: How would you explain your service to someone who isn’t very technically inclined.
Joel: Thats always a big challenge getting someone outside of the music-tech bubble to really care. Our goal with this next launch is to provide the best listening and discovery experience available. We want to help you find music that you like in the most seemless effortless manner.
Kelland: What are some of the upcoming trends that you see in digital music?
Joel: I get asked that question a lot. People wanna hear Spotify is gonna win and Apple is gonna lose, but I don’t see it like that. I see a variety of great services and distribution channels that will have to battle it out, but there has to be some balance between a la carte and all you can eat streaming. I use both Spotify and Itunes and I probably will continue to use both. In terms of how we access content I think it will be more developer driven where developers will create the access point on top of existing services.
Kelland: Where would you like to see Rexly at in the next five years?
Joel:We want to be the place to go to when your deciding what you want to listen to, watch and read. Our vision is to be a highly personalized Wal-Mart for digital media. Our goal is to provide you with the best information to decide on what you are going to try next.