Vertigo lets people become a radio host for their circle of friends

Listening to music has largely transformed from a social experience to an introverted one since since the invention of headphones. Subway riders sport them to tune out a monotonous commute, students sneak them in during lectures, business professionals use them for conference calls and most of us wear them to prevent disturbing those around us when we want to hear some tunes. Looking to liberate music from its reclusive connotation, a fresh-faced startup has emerged to bring community to the on the go listening experience.

At the intersection of music and social sharing, Vertigo is a new app that gives users the power to share their music with the world beat-for-beat, in real time. Using its patented technology to bridge separate Spotify accounts, individuals can tune in to what their friends or family are listening to as a means of sharing the ‘soundtracks to your life,’ even if they’re hundreds of miles away. Simply search for a song, album or playlist and start your live session – you’ll be able to keep your session open for everyone to tune in to, or invite specific people.

“Almost as well as we remember certain smells, we’re able to reference moments in our lives through music. We’re able to recall what family vacation that was, or who we were with during a specific moment because of what we were listening to” says Vertigo Media’s Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Greg Leekley in an exclusive PSFK interview. “For such a universal language, its weird that listening to music feels segregating. Vertigo therefore isn’t inherently a standalone social platform, nor a music one by itself – it’s a bridge addressing the divides between listening to your favorite tracks and sharing the experience.”

Coming from a Fintech background, Leekley’s work with Vertigo channels his days as a DJ from high school, where he privately invested in a couple of bands. While he jokes that he realized even at the time that his contribution was more so a charity case than an actual investment, ultimately he affirms that it helped him recognize the plight of the artist – streaming.

Before the likes of Apple and Napster had reinvented the way people purchased (and therefore consumed) music, audiophiles had to buy songs by the album. When Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud then hit the scene years later, their services further restructured how payment was handled in the industry.

“It was so disruptive to the music industry, whose entire model was completely opposite of how finance works—it switched from a one-size fits all approach to a custom tailored model. So I asked myself this question, ‘what would happen if a song was a stock?’” Leekley recalls. “Suddenly my mind was racing. What’s the trading system of stocks? Where’s the NASDAQ or Bloomberg of music? It doesn’t exist. Aha! So Alex and I started throwing patents left and right.”

Nowadays musicians make more in concerts and t-shirt sales than they ever do selling their core product. Leekley’s goal with Vertigo is twofold: help artists get the funding they deserve, and drive the discovery and social distribution of music. He calls the mission an ‘exercise in what’s the reason music is being boxed up?’

“It’s a win for the content creators and content consumers. It doesn’t have to be one versus the other, which is what its been in the past. Previously, what the consumer’s wanted was very dangerous to the quality of work of the artists and their labels and distributors. Why can’t everybody win?” Asks Leekley. “People should be paid for creating the soundtrack to our lives.”

In addition to the basic functionality of sharing content, Vertigo’s patented tech also enables live commentary through videos, photos or text overlays – similar to how Snapchat built its millennial magnet. While many have tried and failed before Vertigo to build a social media network around music, with $10million in funding under its belt and a firm understanding of what its target audience wants, the company may have just introduced a new layer to the listening experience, should it stick.

“The young demographic doesn’t separate what happens in their virtual lives from what happens in the real world” says Leekley. On entrepreneurship vision he concludes, “The right ideas need the right nucleus for things to gel – which is your team, you have to get it right. We’re on a mission to allow people to share life through music.”

Vertigo

Listening to music has largely transformed from a social experience to an introverted one since since the invention of headphones. Subway riders sport them to tune out a monotonous commute, students sneak them in during lectures, business professionals use them for conference calls and most of us wear them to prevent disturbing those around us when we want to hear some tunes. Looking to liberate music from its reclusive connotation, a fresh-faced startup has emerged to bring community to the on the go listening experience.