Caktus Wants to Make Music Discovery Social Again

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It seems like everything’s going social these days. Just last week we wrote about Startup Bus company TrustVino, who is trying to put your friends’ favorite wine recommendations on your phone.

rsz_incontentad2The new music app Caktus launched on Sunday at SXSW, and they’re essentially doing the same thing with music.

You sign up through Facebook or Twitter (on your iPhone or iPad). In the app, pins are dropped on a map to show where your friends are listening to music. You can see the song they’re listening to by hovering over the pin, and play a sample or buy the track from iTunes. If you already have the song on your phone, you can listen to it in the app.

The company ran a 6 week beta with 50 users, mostly in the Indianapolis area. In that time, they saw 10,000 plays through the app. That kind of traction got them an invitation to launch and SXSW.

“The app came about because my brother always got to the bands first,” cofounder Dane Regnier told me when we talked at SXSW last weekend. “Once we moved away from each other, it just wasn’t easy to share what music we were listening to anymore. Caktus makes that a lot easier.”

Obviously passionate about what he’s built, Regnier was bouncing and talking fast, quick to explain features and data points from the app.

“We’re social-first,” he said when I asked about Spotify’s stream. “No one else did it that way.”

Most social apps bank on building a huge user base they can then market to. Caktus is going a different way by jumping on the Apple affliate program to bring in revenue.

Despite being “social-first” Caktus will have an uphill fight to battle other discovery methods like Spotify, Pandora, or basic word of mouth. Still, the app is beautifully designed, and like a lot of new music startups, independent artists and bands are a big focus for them. Those little guys can often get lost (or screwed) on the bigger platforms.

Check out Caktus on their website.

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