Ordinarily, our chief areas of interest wouldn’t seem incompatible, so much as completely unrelated. I work in the realm of social media, apps, and buzzed-about new bands; he deals in hard numbers, trading, and bull and bear markets. How could our worlds possibly line up?
TastemakerX (free for iPhone and web), an app we covered back when it was in private beta at SXSW, aims to find us some middle ground. The app allows you to bet on your own good taste in music, buying and selling “stock” in different artists and banking on them to become more popular down the road.
The app is as comprehensive as you’d hope for in such an undertaking, with its own virtual currency, charts of each artist’s performance over time, portfolio pages for users, and a Twitter-style following function. The performance of an artist’s stock is determined by demand for the artist’s stock within the app and possibly other factors.
I was a little skeptical of TastemakerX’s central conceit at first — why would I buy and sell stock in bands, when I could just listen to them? But after tooling around for a while and learning to think like a trader, I began to see the appeal.
For instance, I just bought 500 shares of Usher. Now, I like Usher’s music fine, but I’m not exactly a huge fan. It’s not often that I’ll actually go out of my way to listen to him. However, he did release one of the best pop singles of 2012 thus far, and his well-reviewed new album includes collaborations with heavyweights like Rick Ross and Pharrell, so I think Usher’s going to have a big second half of the year. With TastemakerX I can put my (virtual) money where my mouth is.
Like most socially-oriented apps, this thing is going live and die by its users. I’m enjoying playing with it, but it’d be a lot more fun if some more friends were on it so I could follow their portfolios and talk a little smack. (The only person I’ve been able to find on TastemakerX who I actually know IRL is my editor).
Right now, the social features of the app aren’t nearly as interesting as the meat and potatoes of its trading system. But with a more robust user base, that could change.
At the very least, maybe I can convince my dad to sign up.