Jake Chen (Musefy) – Interview (Part 1)

I have had the great pleasure of interviewing Jake Chen from Musefy, the service I covered on its week of launch. The review is split in two parts – part 1 is found below, whereas part 2 is found here.


Full Name: Jake Chen

Age: 22

Startup: Musefy

Position: Founder

Mr. Jake Chen

Mr. Jake Chen



Tell us a little about your startup. How was it conceived? What are its most distinctive features in your opinion?

I like to think of Musefy as a virtual representation of the entire local musician community, thus providing ways to branch out and meet new characters that you would normally happen through mutual friends or sheer luck. Right now it’s only in its Alpha stage, so Musefy can only set up musicians with musical groups such as rock bands, jazz ensembles, a cappellas, and so forth. But down the line it’ll reflect all of the local elements a musician or a group might want to connect with, such as friends and fans, upcoming events, performance venues, and more.

As for the idea, I came up with the concept of Musefy after looking for a band to practice guitar with and being completely dissatisfied with Craigslist’s classified ads. To me, after using web applications such as Facebook and Last.FM where information is abundant and easily to sort though, pure text classified ads like those on Craigslist just seem very backwards. And thus Musefy was conceived. It has a powerful matching and filtering system and that is what I think sets it apart from the rest of the crowd. Using Musefy, you can stack multiple requirements to filter out exactly who you need, selecting not only from obvious things like instrument, location, and style, but all the way down to experience level, equipment, to the amount of time they’re willing to devote to a new group.

What was the original launch date?

Musefy just launched last Friday, October 2nd 2009, so MusicKO found us within a week of us launching, hahaha. And wrote a nice review, which I’m very thankful for, by the way.

What has been the response so far? In which countries has it been more successful?

Most of my friends are in the US, and upon launch I sent all of them a little note before launch, so most of the new accounts have been from the US, but more specifically from the university that I just graduated from.

The response has all been positive, but lots of people are asking for things that I’ve thought about, but pushed back for Beta. Unfortunately, even though the amount of sign-ups has exceeded my expectations, not a lot of people have been listing their groups using the more powerful functions such as the groups opening creator.

What features can we expect to see implemented in future revisions?

Musefy users will be able to connect and interact with other elements and in more ways. The next feature that we’re working on is a way for users to upload songs or videos so while groups can better gauge the talent they’re looking at, they can also start posting up their music for potential fans to listen to. After that we’re looking into implementing events and venues so that groups can have places to perform and fans can see what upcoming gigs are happening in their town.

Of course, being a musician and creating a website for musicians, I’m very open to any suggestions or ideas fellow musicians have. I have a lot of ideas already for the future of Musefy, but it never hurts to hear ideas repeated so that I can prioritize things accordingly. Oh, and thanks to that recent review of Musefy from MusicKO, blaming us for ruining any chance for future musicians to meet up in ridiculously epic ways, Musefy is going to have a “Grandiose Meeting Generator” to hopefully try to fix that, hahaha.

There is a certain tendency to demonize the Internet in the music industry. I think it is all a matter of perspective – it all depends on the uses it is put to. What is your opinion? In which areas has the Internet left an unquestionably positive mark?

Oh, I completely agree that it’s all relative, especially with something as large and as unpredictable as the internet. But that’s also why the internet is so powerful, there are so many possible connections and new directions that would otherwise be unexplored. In regards to much, I am a frequent user of Pandora, and it has provided me with a seemingly endless stream of new and interesting music for when I was churning out reports for the next day’s class. It is also because of the internet that I am able to catch up on music from my own culture without having to fly back to Beijing, I just subscribe to Youtube users that post new music videos from different bands. Even just as a worldwide method of communication, I’ve had new friends from across the world introduce me to interesting new music.

What advice could you give to anybody who is launching a music-related startup in the future? What are the obvious mistakes that should be avoided?

Hmm… I’m actually really new to this business as well, so I don’t think I’m experienced enough to provide extremely useful advice. I will however, tell them to be sure to idiot-proof everything. It’s not just music-related startups, it’s just that some people are too lazy to read the instructions. We as developers always think that our service is really simple and easy to use even after talking to some potential users, but as always, there are a couple of people that will prove you wrong hahaha. Other than that, it’s probably best to keep your distance from musical copyright issues, especially starting off, and probably forever.

But if you’re planning a startup, I hope the best for your company. You can never have enough entrepreneurs innovating and pushing the envelope, creating new opportunities and jobs, especially in this economy. Keep striving for it, with enough passion and work startups are totally within reach. And music is something easy to be passionate about.

Continue to Part 2 (“Music & You”).