Kilian Valkhof (Lystener) – Interview (Part 1)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on July 8, 2010

Last week I caught up with Kilian Valkhof from Lystener, a startup offering an innovative way to find and share lyrics that I had reviewed the previous week.

We talked about his project, and also about his relationship with music. A special emphasis was placed on the way he perceives lyrics, of course.

This is Part 1 of the interview. Part 2 (where we talk about music) can be read here.

Kilian Valkhof, The Creator Of Lystener

Kilian Valkhof, The Creator Of Lystener

Full Name: Kilian Valkhof
Age: 22
Web App: Lystener
Position: Founder

PART I

THE  WEB APP

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

I’ve always had a problem with the way lyrics work. Some music players can display lyrics and that’s great, but there’s always one that doesn’t work as well as it should.

You can also google lyrics. This means you have to type in the artist and song title (because somehow they’re never copyable from music players) and find a working site that doesn’t have a bunch of ads and spam. Then, if you want to actually do something with the lyrics, like, copy them, most sites block that too! If you want to share lyrics on facebook, for example, you end up typing them yourself.

Lystener fixes both these problems. No typing needed to find the lyrics to the song you’re listening to now, because I just ask last.fm what you’re playing, and it updates automatically. When you select the lyrics you like, you can post the part you selected to facebook or twitter with a single button.

What was the original launch date?

I launched it on monday the 28th of june, after a week of private beta.

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

Twofold actually. People love the application but the lyrics database isn’t really big, so if you’re like me and listen to lots of unknown stuff, you’ll have to do without lyrics every now and then. There are ways to easily add them though, and I’m going to expand on those to make adding lyrics yourself even easier. When you have lyrics though, people are delighted because everything works very smoothly, reading lyrics, selecting lyrics, sending lyrics, it all happens in one flow.

As far as countries go, English speaking countries lead by a large margin.

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

On the list are adding lyrics on the site, simple user accounts so you can get a list of all your favorite songlyrics, and some general leaderboards. I’m open to any and all suggestions though, so let me know if you have ideas (shoot me an e-mail via kilian@lystener.com)

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?

I see more problems for labels than for musicians. Musicians will manage fine, and I think even better, because of the internet. The cost of distribution goes down, reaching fans is dead easy. The labels are the ones that historically did both these things, so they need to find something new to justify their existence.

The internet is absolutely amazing for small bands. Through sites like thesixtyone or hypemachine it’s become too easy to find cool small bands and support them.

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

Just build something you want to use, and get it in front of people as soon as possible. Lystener got private beta users before it even displayed the entire lyrics to songs. Beta users will know the difference between “broken because it doesn’t work” and “broken because you’re still working on it” and come with great solutions and suggestions. Just get it out there!

Continue to the second part of the interview: “Music & You”.

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Kilian Valkhof (Lystener) – Interview (Part 2) | MusicKO
July 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm

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