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Music & Lishash

Mesmerizing musical experiences, that help you just let all go, and cherish life to the fullest!

Shashwat Singhal
Sep 11, 2019 · 7 min read

It was a beautiful, sunny morning in Los Angeles. I had just finished my breakfast, and was about to begin the commute to my lab. Given the weather, I wanted to listen to some upbeat, soulful songs about life, during the 20 minute journey. Other than this vague idea, I had no clue about what particular song, genre or artist to listen to, and did not even want to choose. All I wanted was to just let go, cherish the amazing weather and get lost in the music!

Reality, is a sadistic bitch though! As soon as I stepped out of my apartment’s door, I was forced to choose a song/playlist to begin with, and god was that difficult! Only based on the rough idea I had, it was almost impossible to get started with anything satisfactory. Although, I used to maintain playlists for different moods and activities, I had listened to them so many times that I had become absolutely sick of them! I wanted to try something new, something surprising today! It was extremely rare for these playlists to delightfully surprise me, as I myself added each song to them; two pivotal elements of immersive music experiences: anticipation and novelty, were simply non-existent! Searching and playing songs, one by one, had the same problem; I could, obviously, only search for songs I already knew. Plus, as soon as the song finished, I had to decide the next one. Hell! I was playing music to have fun, not to waste time planning! I felt stuck with the music I had; just letting all go, and being totally immersed in my music, was definitely not a possibility anymore!

Understandably, all leading music streaming services are flooded with options to discover music. From personalized daily mixes and discover weeklies, to song/artist radios and curated mood/genre playlists, there is an overwhelming amount of music available on our fingertips. I too tried my discover weekly and daily mixes, but unfortunately, none of them had any information about my current context; songs ranged from edm, to western classical, to mainstream Bollywood: stuff I listened to usually, but was hopelessly irrelevant right now! Song based radio had the same problem; I started with “Subah Subah”, a Bollywood happy song about life, and was expecting songs similar to it, and to “Best Day Of My Life” maybe. What I got instead, were a plethora of omnipresent Bollywood romantic songs! Seriously? Are these the best upbeat soulful songs about life I can get? Why is recommended music so bland? I am 100% sure that there are several other amazing, relevant songs just sitting there, and no one ever notices them!

In a general context, majority of the people just listen to music that is already perceived as popular and safe. Resultantly, the music of new, independent, artists that express themselves with raw emotions, about concepts they are deeply passionate about, gets completely shrouded! To become popular, thousands of artists compete to either get a deal with record labels, or get featured on one of the curated playlists. These playlists, are created to appeal to a large audience, but can only accept a few dozen songs at most! What happens to the massive amount of rejected songs? They simply get lost! Songs, that are extremely good too, by the way, just not a good fit for the playlist, according to the curators. Moreover, music catered for large audiences is by definition bland; your happy music is not necessarily mine, but because of these limiting playlists, we are all forced to consume the same bland music. All of us are fundamentally different, and we should have the freedom to express, and connect with, our emotions in our own unique ways: something we at Lishash are extremely passionate about!

Anyway, after my share of the irrelevant, bland recommendations through “personalized” playlists, I was extremely frustrated, and was considering not listening to music at all!

Although, I knew that curated playlists might be bland, out of desperation, I decided to try this last option left anyway: search and play curated/user playlists about particular emotion/context. They have specific titles, so should be better than discover weekly at least, right? Try typing “upbeat soulful music about life” on your favorite music service; two things will happen probably: either you’ll get nothing, or you’ll get a gigantic list with some good recommendations hidden between mostly irrelevant ones. I got my list, and started scrolling, and scrolling and scrolling… There were just so many options that I froze, and did not know what to choose at all. This problem is called “Choice Overload”: there is so much stuff to choose from that we actually don’t end up choosing anything at all! Now, more than ever, this is a global epidemic. Nevertheless, suddenly, I saw UCLA’s Bio-engineering building standing tall in front, almost weeping a tear or two for me. 20 minutes had already past, and I ended up not listening to anything at all! All I did was plan, search, scroll and repeat. My moment was gone! The pleasant weather was gone! What could have been a deeply soulful period, turned out to be yet another drab scrolling feast. And sadly, it’s not just about music, it’s the story of our lives in general. We spend so much time looking for the best possible thing, that we do not ever enjoy what we have at all!

This is where Lishash steps in. Just imagine saying “Liz, I am looking for some upbeat soulful music about life”, and the system automatically starts playing the most relevant music, for your current context, and taste. No big lists to scroll through, no planning, no questions asked! All you need to do is just let go, and cherish your moment! We figure out the rest. We use a proprietary combination of cutting edge psychological research, natural language processing and deep reinforcement learning, to seamlessly balance between playing your favorite music, discovering new relevant songs, and reacting in real time to your feedback. No more getting stuck with the music you already know! Moreover, there are no playlists on Lishash, or any lists for that matter! Every session in Lishash is context based: playlists are just a limited window on a particular context, but on our platform, each and every song is attached to several contexts already, so we are getting rid of these narrow windows altogether! This is what makes discovery extremely intuitive and enjoyable. Any song/artist can be discovered now! That too, at the most relevant time possible. To put a defining dent on the blandness problem, we only invite new, upcoming, independent artists to our platform. Our discovery features help them gather an engaged audience, and you get to listen to the most raw, straight from the heart music possible! Bland, commercial, and soulless music is simply not supported!

We are not another music streaming company though! Our goal is not to bring all of the world’s music at your fingertips; that, Spotify is doing extremely well already. We are way more passionate about creating mesmerizing musical experiences, that help you just let go, connect to your raw self and cherish life to the fullest! Now, what does that mean?

Few years ago, I traveled to Brazil, because I was fascinated by their vibrant culture, and love for life. Sensing my passion for indigenous music, my friend Tatiana, recommended me to experience Pedra do Sal, at night. Pedra do Sal is the epicenter of a massive street party in Rio de Janeiro, infused with breathtaking samba music from local artists. The whole neighborhood is packed with enchanted humans, from all walks of life, grooving in unison, to the magical beats. Being from India, samba was totally foreign for me, and this added to the sense of discovery and adventure. As soon as the mystical sound of samba fell on my uninitiated ears, tingles started flowing down my spine! My eyes closed automatically, and just like my newly made friends, I too let myself loose, and started grooving to the beats. We all felt a part of something big, something marvelous! All thoughts, plans and worries just disappeared, and I encountered my raw inner self. There was complete bliss and serenity in that moment, and nothing else mattered! It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! We call this feeling “lishash”.

These lishash inducing experiences are incredibly difficult to find however! Tatiana made the amazing recommendation because she knew everything about Rio’s music scene, and being a friend, understood my context really well. Being a human, she can not know everything about world’s music though, or the musical tastes of every person on Earth; Lishash can! We give you the seamless ability to discover personalized musical experiences nearby, in real time, or even create one, if you want to! No more scrolling and searching on the internet for hours to discover, and plan for an event in advance! You want to have a good time, right? Why plan and wait? Go live your life right now! Lishash also makes it extremely easy to meet new friends who love the same music as you do, again in real time, and in the real world! Commuting to work? Everybody looking at their phones? No one to talk to? Just create a new Lishash Experience, and find potential friends on the train itself, and groove to your favorite music together!

Imagine the pain of going out with your folks, connecting your phone to your car’s stereo system, but not being able to find anything that all of you love. Happens every time to me, and my cousins! Unison, the most magical factor of Pedra do Sal, is completely non-existent. No more! Using deep collaborative filtering algorithms, Lishash automatically understands all of your music preferences, and gives you music that all of you will absolutely relish in a given context!

At Lishash, we dream of a world where we all cherish each moment of our lives to the fullest, without constantly worrying and planning. A world, where raw, unfiltered expression of emotions is prevalent, and we are all deeply connected to our inner selves. A world, that is content and blissful! Everything we create is a direct result of this dream. Here is how this dream started.

If you love music, and would like to build this world with us, please sign up for our free, limited period, beta version here.

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