Today Rome-based music streaming service Stereomood debuted a redesigned website with a whole host of added features to help users find curated playlists based on their mood. The company provides a music platform that lets users tune into music produced by independent musicians and labels based on their mood or attitude at the moment, or they can listen to trending playlists, and access playlists hand-picked by both the company and the community. The company, which was founded by former MTV Italy staff in 2008, closed an initial seed round for an undisclosed amount earlier in the year from Innogest SGR and Italian Angels for Growth.
“From the beginning we started promoting just emerging artists and independent labels. It was great, what we saw was that thanks to our organization of our playlists, for the users it wasn’t important for the music you are listening to have famous names, like Lady Gaga or Madonna, but it was important that the association be with the right mood,” co-founder Eleonora Viviani said in an interview. “So if you’re listening to relaxed music, that it be the right relaxed music, it’s not so important what the name of the artist is.”
The site aggregates music from over 150 music blogs and websites, which is then curated to create playlists that can be discovered via the site’s mood search engine. Mood choices can include anything from ‘relaxed’ to ‘doing laundry,’ ‘jazzy’, or, alternatively, users can also type in their own mood in the ‘I feel’ search bar. Music-lovers can also submit their own playlists and share them with friends. Stereomood aims to position itself as a launch channel for up and coming musicians, letting them upload and submit their music for review by the company’s curation team.
In terms of how a song fits with a given mood, playlists are created through an algorithm that takes into account how the user interacts with a particular song, through sharing, how long they listen to it, and other factors. Other features added with launch of the new website provide a more comprehensive listening experience through integration with other services like Songkick to provide artist bios and concert listings, and integration with lyrics tool Musixmatch is coming later this year. It also adds a feature called ‘Mood Flip’, which lets users change the playlist to an opposite mood, say from ‘relax’ to ‘funky.’
“You can collect your favorite song and add the song to your own playlist like the old mix-tapes we used to do when we were young. Now you can more easily share your mood first, so if you’re listening to ‘relax’ you can share your emotion of the moment,” Viviani said. “We introduced new features for the tagging tools that allow us to construct the playlist, so the users while listening can assign tags like ‘dreamy’, ‘relax’ and ‘piano’, we analyze this on our backhand and decided how a song is more relaxing than another.”
The company provides its music streaming services for free and makes money through on-site advertising. It got an average of one million unique visitors to its old site every month, and hopes to boost that figure significantly with the new redesign and added functionality.
However, there is no shortage of music streaming services available, with well-known and established players like Grooveshark, Spotify, and Rdio that in addition to providing popular music, already have indie channels and artist launch platforms highlighting new or under-the-radar artists. Where Stereomood may hold an edge is the unique combination of a complete focus on independent artists and record label with the ability to search and trend music based on mood, and its free platform vs. paid subscription models like its competitors.
The company has both an iPhone and Android app available, and Viviani said they currently have a large user base and artist submissions from North America, Russia, and Asia. It plans to grow its ethnic music offerings with more advanced filtering mechanisms that let listeners combine moods and tastes all in one, looking to go as far as providing playlists to cater to the city the user is in or how the weather is. With another round of funding to be announced soon, the company will be looking to add features that let listeners find great new emerging artists, and hone in on the right sound for the mood and moment they find themselves in.
Update: At the time we interviewed them Stereomood stated they would be partnering with Musixmatch later this year for song lyrics – that partnership is no longer planned.