When you hear a song with a catchy beat or relatable lyrics, sometimes it’s just too good to keep to yourself. Many of us feel the need to share these discoveries with our friends, and that ability to connect with others through music led Steinhardt junior Sam Winslow to create Tunestack, a social media platform centered on sharing one’s taste in music with others.
“It started with a simple observation: friends put me on to music all the time, so why isn’t there a social network for exactly this?” Winslow said.
Longing for a space where users could curate their music taste and share it amongst friends, as opposed to simply taking recommendations from “pitchfork critics” as Winslow put it, he decided to develop the application himself. Despite having minimal coding experience, he still has a “Palo Alto mindset” — his hometown where “starting a tech company is practically a cliché” — Winslow worked to make Tunestack a reality in just two short months.
After quickly learning some programming basics, Winslow recruited the help of friends and professionals alike to bring the app to fruition. While his friends acted as his beta testers providing feedback on the app, it took connecting with a former startup founder and engineers with collective experience at Facebook and Microsoft to make the app a reality. Tunestack, which launched this past April, was built out of Winslow’s sheer passion.
“The way some people are really into film, and they get into certain actors, directors or studios — I’m that way about music,” Winslow said. I seek out new stuff all the time. Most of all, though, music is how I relate to people. If someone is into the same kind of music as I am, or just shares a similar open-minded attitude, we’ll get along.”
Winslow’s love for music and understanding of others through their taste in music is translated to the app’s interface. On the platform, users write short reviews of albums and EPs they like, with their feed consisting of songs suggested by their friends. While the app’s main focus is for friends to share music with one another, the app hopes to expand communities by connecting users with those they may not know, but who share the same taste in songs.
On the app, users can find an explore page, post tool, notification page and their personal profile. The app mirrors an Instagram-like layout but rather than sharing pictures, users share music.
The app allows users to connect their Spotify accounts to easily locate and post their favorite tunes. Currently the app is only suitable for iPhones and Apple products, so Winslow and his team are in the process of extending this feature to Apple Music and are planning to eventually create the app to work for Androids as well.
In light of the current pandemic, the app has turned its attention to COVID-19 relief through a new user referral program. Tunestack is donating $5 to the NYC COVID-19 Relief Fund for each new person invited to download the app, as Winslow wanted to find a way to use his app to give back to essential workers during this time.
While Winslow and his team hope to develop the first core user base among the NYU community, bringing recognition to its talented array of student musicians, this dream transcends the boundaries of Washington Square Park.
“Long-term, we want to be the number one place for people who are passionate about music to find content suggested by real people, not algorithms,” Winslow said.
Email Kate Slate at [email protected]