Of 10,350 Miles Roadtrip, Music and Why #nwplyng is Hot

now-playing-logoWhile one can check into Foursquare for places and GetGlue for movies and television shows, have you ever wondered whether there is a similar app for music. Well there is one now. Its called #nwplyng and it lets you check in while listening to music and share it on it on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. The app is currently available only for Android.

Utsav Agarwal, the founder & CEO of #nwplyng believes that where you at & what you are seeing play a crucial role in music consumption habits and has applied this in the creation of the app which adds more dimensions to the music experience by allowing a user to attach a picture and location along with what you are listening to.

App Review

Using #nwplyng is very simple. Once you download the app from the Play Store. You will be prompted to login using either your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare credentials. You will then have to create a username and you are all set to begin sharing your music experiences.

There is a home page which will display what your friends are listening to. Your friends are automatically pulled from Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. You can also search for users. Each item on the newsfeed can be liked or a comment can be added to it just like with posts in other social networking sites.

The main feature of the app is sharing what you are listening to. This can be done in three ways.

You can open the app, click on the logo on the right top corner and just search for what you are listening to. You can then add a comment and even attach a picture and your location as well as attach a related YouTube video. The post can then be shared to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

While the first method was quite nice, what we really loved was that when we were listening to music on our default music player, a notification popped up, reminding us to check in. This skipped the search step and a user can then continue sharing the music just like before.

The third way to input the name of the song you are listening to is to click on the microphone on the search bar within the app and let it guess the song for you, just like Shazam.

While sharing is just one bit of the app, the app becomes more immersive by adding gamification to it. The gamification in #nwplyng has 3 levels. There are 20+ badges, called Guitar Picks, that a user can unlock for sharing music. These badges can be unlocked by sharing from different cities, sharing same artists certain number of times in a week, sharing at a particular time of the day etc. Similar to the mayor on Foursquare, one can become a ‘Manager’ of an artist by sharing that artist the maximum number of times across the globe. There are also career levels, which replicate the natural career progression of a musician within the app. A user starts off as an Air-Guitarist, progresses to Street Performer, and keeps leveling up to eventually become a Rockstar and a Legend. This is dependent on the total number of check-ins plus your follower count.

Using the app was very enjoyable and definitely added a new dimension to our music listening. We could not find any bug with the app.

The #nwplyng Journey

In 2011, Utsav Agarwal went on a solo road trip across the US from Los Angeles to NYC. It took him over 55 days because he didn’t just take the straight route but zigzagged through the country. The journey which should have been 3,000 miles long was actually over 10,350 miles. He often slept in the car, took hostels on a few nights, met strangers and travelers from across the globe, and most importantly was following his idol Eddie Vedder (from Pearl Jam) on the road for 5 back to back shows. The highlight of his trip was that he got to meet him after a show at Hartford, Connecticut on June 18.

The idea for #nwplyng was conceived somewhere in the midst of this journey. He stopped over at many National and State Parks, and would sit gazing at the power of nature while listening to music on his iPod. He felt the need to share this moment through a picture, location and music. He felt that where he was, what he was seeing and the music he was listening to had a strong correlation, and thus the journey towards the creation of #nwplyng began.
The name #nwplyng was chosen as Utsav found that were over 100,000 tweets per day across the globe with the #nowplaying hashtag. After a bit of brainstorming he settled on #nwplyng as it was legible and stood out among the sea of #nowplaying tweets.

#nwplyng has a dedicated team of 5 working on the product. Utsav handpicked each of the five to help him create the product. Utsav Agarwal, himself has a vast music business background with over 6+ years experience in India & US including gigs at EMI Music India, OML, William Morris Endeavor and TAG Strategic. He is currently the product manager and handles marketing & PR as well. He is also in charge of keeping the fridge permanently stocked with beer.
Kumar Saurav is the Android developer of the team who had founded his own tech startup and scaled it from 4 people to 30+ employees within 3 years before joining #nwplyng. The iOS development is handled by Nakul Kabra. Goutham Vel is the backend engineer who worked with MobME for over 2 years before quitting to travel to the mountains for 3 months. Manas Vaze is the product designer of the team who was chosen after the team went through 7 designers in 8 months
The company is seed funded by MobME and is among the first batch of incubatees at Startup Village.

Future Plans

The team plans to launch the iOS version of the app by the end of the month and aims to become synonymous for music sharing, just like Spotify is for music consumption. They plan to build exclusive artist pages within the app and improve the game mechanics in the near future. They also plan to bring the experience to the desktop by replicating the entire product on the web and creating plug-ins from Chrome. Utsav hopes that in 4-5 years, there will be a #nwplyng button built into cars to seamlessly share a song.

Download #nwplyng from the Google Play Store right away and let us know what you think of the app.

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