Today I'm excited to be featuring an interview with Alex parish, of Tastebuds.fm. You see, Alex kinda had a brilliant idea. He wanted to create a niche dating site, but he wanted to do something that was different and meaningful. He thought that music would be a great way to bridget the two; and, having looked at the site, I must say he's executed the idea very, very well. Consider this one more service to add to your dating tech toolbox. Enjoy
Urban Dater: So, Alex, are you single?
Alex, Tastebuds.fm: I'm not in a relationship at the moment – too many late nights working on the website I think!
Urban Dater: No, really. Are you single?
Alex: Yes, really! 🙂
Urban Dater: How did you come up with this concept?
Alex: Julian (the other founder) and I first met while playing in the London (UK) based band Years of Rice and Salt. We were discussing the idea that sharing an interest, such as music, can be important to people when choosing potential partners. As musicians ourselves it's something we find important in relationships we've had in the past, so we decided that a dating website based around sharing tastes in music might prove popular. We launched Tastebuds in June 2010 and it seems people have really taken to the idea as we've experienced rapid growth, so much so that we're now working on the site full-time.
Urban Dater: The providers that are tied into your site, like Last.fm, how did you decide which ones to use and who was the most supportive of your project?
Alex: Tastebuds is not created by, or affiliated to, Last.fm but we do use their publicly available API to import a user's favourite music from their Last.fm profile. This makes it really easy to get started and quickly view your musical matches on Tastebuds. We've always been big fans of Last.fm, and as they're so heavily adopted worldwide it made sense to integrate with their services from day one.
We also work with The Echonest (http://the.echonest.com/) who provide us with audio samples that we use on our profile pages, helping people discover new music on Tastebuds. The guys at Echonest are doing some fantastic work and have been very supportive of what we're doing. We hope to work more closely with them in the future.
Tastebuds certainly isn't a site just for music snobs but a lot of our members – often those who work in the creative industries – have said that they place a lot of importance on shared music taste in a relationship
Urban Dater: What do you think a person's musical tastes say about them?
Alex: It's very difficult to make a judgement based on the music someone listens to. You may be surprised at how hard it can be to guess a member's favorite music, or genre, just by looking at their profile pictures!
Urban Dater: What music should I be listening to if I want to score with the hottest women/most popular women on your site? 😉
Alex: That'd be telling… 😉
In all honesty this is impossible to answer. The most popular artists on the site include Radiohead, The Beatles, Arcade Fire and The Smiths so searching for matches using any of these bands would give you an interesting selection of people.
Urban Dater: Do you get annoyed when someone says “I like all music”? Do YOU like all music?
Alex: Only if they can't give examples of what they're into! I think it's good to have a wide array of tastes, it keeps things interesting.
Urban Dater: What advantage does your site have over the big dogs like Eharmony and match.com?
Alex: I think the more specific dating sites are a breath of fresh air in a market dominated by a few big players who prompt you to fill in a plethora of forms in attempt to provide psuedo-scientific matching. Tastebuds certainly isn't a site just for music snobs but a lot of our members – often those who work in the creative industries – have said that they place a lot of importance on shared music taste in a relationship. To these people Tastebuds, and similar sites, are a refreshing new option as many of them would never consider using traditional dating sites.
Urban Dater: Do you see sites like yours becoming the future of online dating? Why or why not?
Alex: As meeting people online becomes more and more popular, and acceptable socially, the whole market will grow making room for all sorts of specialist dating sites.
Urban Dater: Can someone who is a techno-novice really get value out of your site? I use last.fm religiously, but the person who doesn't how can they still get the most out of your service?
Alex: Definitely! You don't have to be a Last.fm user to use the site – you can simply enter 3 of your favourite bands or artists and you'll get to see matches instantly, without even having to sign up.
Urban Dater: What's the weirdest/most interesting thing you've noticed about Tastebuds.fm's user base?
Alex: Nothing comes to mind to be honest! We have a wide variety of people from all different backgrounds who seem to be getting on and getting together! It's early days but we've already had a couple of people email us to thanks us and let us know that they've found love on the site. We expect to hear more success stories as the site gains more members, and we're looking forward to the first Tastebuds wedding – mostly to see what song they choose for their first dance!
Urban Dater: What's your site developed with?
Alex: We developed Tastebuds using Ruby on Rails. We originally started development in PHP but found we could maintain the site and deploy changes much more quickly with Rails.
Urban Dater: What are some features you have in the works that you plan to roll out later?
Alex: We're currently working on a number of new features for Tastebuds, including integrating concerts more deeply into the site, allowing our members to buy tickets and arrange dates at concerts.
- Cost: Free
- Ties in to a number of online music services
- Many users located the world over.
- Active user community.
- A truly fresh take in the niche dating site space