Archive for July, 2010 Aims To Leverage Music Videos

Ever since the temporary downfall of (once home of the most popular and meticulously crafted playlists), the loyal users who streamed their music from the FratMusic have sought to fill the void by seeking out a site that offers similar playlists. The most important connection FratMusic had with their users is that the playlists were picked by hand and altered according to music genre, giving them a leg up on the computer generated services such as Pandora, iTunes Genius, Last.FM, etc. In fact, FratMusic’s short but overwhelming success and popularity is a prime example of the business term known as “Market Fragmentation”. FratMusic has grown the new emerging market for party playlists and as a result of the demand for their service, an increase in new suppliers have entered in this new fragment of the online music industry.

For the party music lovers out there, breathe a sigh of relief. gives former FratMusic users good reason to turn up their speakers again. In the words of founder:

Fratmusic is down, MTV is too busy playing re-runs of Jersey Shore, and Youtube is drowning in ads. What ever happened to good music, new singles, and good old MUSIC VIDEOS?
Started by a group of music lovers and DJs, is bringing back music videos through instantly streaming video playlists. We scour the internet bringing our viewers not only updated music playlists, but the great videos that go along with them.
Whether people are looking to stream videos at parties, keep up to date with newly released videos, or simply looking for a good playlist – we are the place.

After the VPlaylist initially reached out to me about the newly launched site, I decided to do my own investigation. The clean and simple UI is easy to use and easy to navigate, and often emphasizes the various sharing tools which will help in the site’s organic word of mouth growth. Also, the playlist genres appeal to almost any mood and are easily accessible. My personal taste is most impressed with the lineup put together on the Mash-Ups & Mixes playlist, although this one does not offer the video component.

VPlaylist agreed to do an interview regarding the status of their launch. They are currently moving quickly with hopes of earning a chunk of this niche market.

Describe the “a-Ha” moment when you decided to go ahead and build a party playlist site.

When my friends and I throw parties, we like to play music videos on the bigscreen or project them on the wall.  People have starting to the equivalent of “cloud computing” with their music, they stream it online.  People are always looking for the newest party song, if they don’t know about it they can’t buy it, download it, stream it, etc.. I felt like I hadn’t seen a actually music video on MTV in ages.  All these combined to create the a-ha moment that there was a need for

Why did you decide to include not only music, but music videos?

I have always been a huge fan of music videos.  I was very disappointed to see all these sites popping up with decent music, but no music videos.  They add a story to the music.

What was the biggest hurdle when building VPlaylist?

Quality music and videos.  Anyone can have a good site, good idea.  But for users its all about the music.  We tap into our network of music lovers and DJs for the best songs.

How is VPlaylist dealing with licensing and other legal issues that plague the music industry?

Our plan is to grow into a legal business that does not pirate music.  We have created a business model that will generate revenue to cover the cost of royalties paid to all the music organizations and studios.

Why is VPlaylist better than other social music sharing sites such as GrooveShark, Rdio,, etc.?

Videos, Videos, Videos.  But besides that, our product offers great playlists.  The problem with Youtube, Grooveshark,, is that you often need to know a song to put in on our playlist.  Further more, many of the songs suggested are older.  We stay ahead with the newest music videos.  If its more than 3-4 months old, its too old for us.

What has been the largest growth contributer to VPlaylist? (or which do you expect to be)

People just like you.  If you think we have a good product, people start sharing.

Great! What’s the plan for the future of VPlaylist?

To develop a loyal user base that loves the content we provide.

Which tracks should we be rockin’ to this summer?

Bad music selection is no longer an excuse, checkout the video playlist collection at


07 2010

Air France Concorde Crash – 10 Years Later

10 years ago in aviation now seems like an eternity. The numerous airline mergers and acquisitions, new aircraft models released, security regulations imposed, and various other incidents have seemed to clear our memory of one of the most tragic Pre-9/11 air crashes. I’m writing about this rather unusual topic because today, July 25th, 2010 is exactly 10 years from the day when the Air France Concorde crashed on takeoff outside Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

While the crash of the supersonic airliner that could fly at twice the speed of sound has faded into the distant past of most flyers today, it’s an event that remains vivid in my memory. As a 7-year old visiting Europe for the first time, I didn’t fully understand the enormous distance separating the two continents but I did understand how we were going to get home on that hot summer afternoon in Paris. Let me explain.

My family was about to return home from a two-week vacation visiting the highlights of southern England and northern France, and we had already endured a lengthy 7 hour flight from Newark – London on the powerful wide-body DC-10 airplane. I remember jokingly discussing the possibility of using frequent flier miles to pay for the quick but expensive trip home on the Concorde,  but those thoughts vanished. In hopes of a bit more entertainment for the flight home, my older brother researched the aircraft that was scheduled to fly us home from Paris. The originally scheduled aircraft that was supposed to operate the flight was the brand new 777-200 aircraft which had just been delivered to Continental only a couple months earlier at the turn of the century. The entertaining advantage on the 777 was that everyone on the plane would have their own television to watch movies and play games, a concept that revolutionized in-flight entertainment 10 years ago.

To our disappointment the Continental aircraft that was waiting at the gate to take us back home was a DC-10. The equipment swap which took place in Newark a day earlier eventually turned out to be the source of crash which was according to investigators, the result of a titanium strip falling off the DC-10 onto the runway. After several years of investigation, French authorities concluded that a piece of titanium metal fell off the Continental plane which my family was flying home on, and then the metal caused the tire on the Concorde to explode. Once the tire exploded, the pieces of tire were ingested, which immediately started a fire in the Concorde’s engines, leaving the Concorde with no thrust and a tragic crash resulted.

My most striking memory is when we taxied to the runway past the Air France Concorde that day, I remember seeing the passengers climb the stairs from the tarmac onto the plane, self assured that they would be safe and sound in New York just 3 hours later. When my family did arrive safely 8 hours later at Newark Airport on-board the Continental DC-10, we learned about the crash and were completely confused and astonished knowing that such a tragic event had happened just minutes after we left France. In total, 109 passengers died on-board and 4 others on the ground. The crash also lead to the eventual end of the Concorde service as new maintenance requirements became too expensive for Air France and British Airways, combined with reduced passenger traffic due to the 9/11 attacks. Today a ceremony in Paris was held to honor the victims of the crash at the crash site in Gonesse, France. The two Continental mechanics who were responsible for installing the titanium strip are currently under manslaughter charges, and the ruling on the case will be determined in December later this year.

For more information on the crash, take a look at this video documenting the event-

Correction (Thanks to gvb of Y-Combinator news):
The official cause of the crash is more complex than the explanation above. According to Wikipedia
“During the Concorde’s subsequent take-off run, this piece of debris, still lying on the runway, ruptured a tyre which then burst. A large chunk of this (4.5 kilograms or 9.9 lb) struck the underside of the aircraft’s wing structure at well over 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). Although it did not directly puncture any of the fuel tanks, it sent out a pressure shockwave that eventually ruptured the number five fuel tank at the weakest point, just above the landing gear. Leaking fuel rushing over the top of the wing was ignited by an electric arc in the landing gear bay or through contact with severed electrical cables.”


07 2010

Curb Appeal

Last week I was shopping on the historic Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach. It was the early afternoon and I had just begun feeling a hunger sensation as most of the walking space is filled with outdoor restaurants. This was my first time visiting the area and I had no knowledge of the local cuisine, since I opted out of using an app on my droid such as UrbanSpoon or Yelp.  Trusting my instinct to find a tasty lunch, my friends and I began scoping out the surrounding restaurants.  We had very little luck at first, only finding uninviting restaurants with more of a fancy dinner flavor.  After a couple more blocks passed by, the hunger was increasing and we were not going to settle for plan B, the golden arches of McDonald’s.  Eventually a familiar beat in the distance began catching my attention, but it was still mixed up in the clutter of several restaurants nearby.

As we walked closer the vibrant colors of the outdoor tables and stylish décor immediately pulled me into the pizza restaurant, Pizza Rustica.  The typical pizza customer can range from young kids to grandparents but in this area of Miami Beach, they had their target demographic hooked, the 18-30 crowd. Loud music projected from their compact kitchen and the pizza was plentiful.  Not to mention another perk of this pizza place was that one slice was filling enough for lunch, allowing the customer to perceive that they are getting a great deal for one slice.

In other words, Pizza Rustica on Lincolnd Road has established a very attractive curb appeal.  In a location where the majority of there customers are one-time-only as they visit Miami Beach, they understand the importance of pulling in as many customers as possible on their first impression.  This same strategy applied by Pizza Rustica on a pedestrian mall can be applied to any website. Imagine the situation as a website:

  • Lincoln road is the main thoroughfare where people are searching for a product/service. This can be Google/Yahoo/Bing or anywhere else where customers find your site advertised.
  • The stylish décor outside is the attention-getting banner advertisement, or perhaps the well optimized site that is positioned to attract potential customers (organic traffic).
  • Music being projected from inside is the alluring design elements on your landing page that entice the customer to click further into the website.
  • The generic slice of pizza being slightly modified into a filling rectangle so that Pizza Rustica is distinguished is similar to marketing or packaging your product so it appears to be innovative.
    • Thereby encouraging the customer want to share their experience with others.

Great work Pizza Rustica! When I did go onto Yelp later that day it was no surprise to see that Pizza Rustica is the most reviewed pizza place in Miami Beach and has received numerous awards for their delicious pizza. Does your site’s “curb appeal” pull in customers from the clutter of the online search funnels?


07 2010