Building a community
31 January 2022-
When we started Sondz, we had high hopes. Our highest was — building a bona fide community. We're not there yet, but we're taking sizeable steps in that direction...
People often talk about communities, be they topical (the “film community”), specific to a subset of society (the “African-American community”) or else to an area (policemen of a given country “serving the community”). For this is the interesting aspect of the concept of community: it both references a bond that is being created in the group it designates, while also effectively excluding said group from the rest of society. We at Sondz very much choose to focus on the former interpretation, comforted by the idea that music is perhaps the greatest and most open community builder there is…
And this actually forms the basis for Sondz’ entire vision: when we created the company, our goal was always to come up with a platform on which every music amateur and/or lover and/or practitioner (be they pro or not) could gather, find information, share information. The ‘find information’ part started from the get-go, back in November 2020: from the moment we launched version Alpha, users were able to browse through 20+ million pages of content with a clean and simple design that made looking for music facts pretty easy. We then gradually added more features, such as a modal containing Youtube videos next to every song (that has a video), chronologies on every release page, related singles on every album page… the list goes on: we’ve been at it for over a year.
But we’ll be totally honest: the other parts about music fans ‘gathering’ and being able to ‘share information’ were not quite there yet. For a very simple reason: we couldn’t do it all at once. That’s what they call an MVP in tech — you start with your Minimum Viable Product, and that one did not include building a full-on community right out the gate. Indeed, it doesn’t take a real time news feed to be able to check out Justin Timberlake‘s discography — who turns 41 today, by the way… happy birthday JT! So that’s what we did: first, showcase JT’s discography (even on days that are not his birthday, to be clear), then slowly add more collaborative/community building tools. Brick by brick, just another brick in the wall…
Which is why our Beta Version, launched last November, was a clear move in the right direction (as far as we’re concerned): for the first time in our (arguably short) history, users were now able to actually collaborate to the Sondz platform. First, by adding a rating to any content page they so chose, then by going further: writing a review and/or posting any bit of trivia they knew about anything music-related. Like the fact that Queen’s Greatest Hits is the best-selling record of all time in the UK. Sondz it… And, a couple of months in, we’ve added a bunch of tiny little things to make things easier for people wanting to post stuff (like improving modal readability, working on user login…) and the first reviews and trivia are pouring in. OK — dropping in. The point is content is building, which is good.
To be clear, this is still just a beginning. Obviously, being able to rate or review does not equate to being able to contribute to artist info and/or creating your own artist page, which are all part of our grand plan. Indeed, the project remains exactly the same: eventually, we want every Sondz user to be able to contribute to any page of content on the website. Like Wikipedia. Or, perhaps more to the point, the late great platform that was MySpace. Back in the day, that is, before the company got taken over by a consortium that hired that same Justin Timberlake as creative director, for reasons that remain unknown to this day. The point is: in a not too distant future, we want Sondz to be truly collaborative meeting place for anyone remotely interested in music, which means even your gramma is our target.
So sit tight, keep rating and reviewing those pages, you should be able to do even more than that soon!