Handing back the keys to users: the Openwhyd music curation platform case
Since its inception in 2012, Openwhyd (formerly known as whyd.com) has been striving to empower music collectors with a solution to curate hidden gems across the numerous streaming services such as SoundCloud or YouTube, keeping these precious track listings in one single place. Our users community is at the core of our service, and we wanted to give back to them by handing them the keys to Openwhyd. By open sourcing our code we provided our users with an opportunity to participate in maintaining and developing the future features of our platform. But the costs involved with sustaining Openwhyd were still to be found… What if OpenCollective was our solution?
Whilst Whyd was officially created in 2010, the musical turn of the start-up really took place in 2013. Initially developed to aggregate and provide a new user experience to explore the wide variety of web contents, the integration of music streaming sources to our code quickly raised the need for a platform that would allow anyone, from individuals to music festivals, to create playlists of tracks from various streaming services accessible from one single account online. So we imagined, designed and developed a platform and an iPhone app that would both be a repository for musical hidden treasures and a discovery media for music lovers. All our users tracks are uploaded and classified by genres and popularity in Openwhyd’s main music feed, allowing users to comment, like, save or share tracks from the community.
When, in 2014, Whyd start-up decided to switch to a hardware oriented strategy and imagined a voice controlled speaker (which heavily inspired Apple’s latest release since then…), Adrien, our lead developer, made one single request: give back the platform to the ones it really belongs to, our users. Openwhyd wouldn’t exists without its community of music lovers that uses the platform everyday to curate and listen to their favourite tracks. It became an evidence to hand out the keys of the platform by open sourcing our code and allowing them to contribute to the development of the future Openwhyd.
However, this didn’t solve the big question: how could we fund our project and maintain the platform live? Whilst we managed to find volunteers to give some of their free time to maintain and develop the platform, we still needed to find cash to pay for overheads such as hosting. As OpenCollective puts it “funding is oxygen for most organisations”, but setting up or managing a non-profit to handle the cashflow seemed complicated and highly time consuming for the volunteers team. Using OpenCollective enabled us to quickly and easily set up a collective page to raise and manage fund transparently, a key value of the Openwhyd project. As each expense is listed on the page, our backers can keep track of what we’re doing with their money. In less than a week, we managed to raise enough funds to cover the costs of the next 4 months thanks to our generous community!
Even if there is still a long way to go to maintain, develop and fund Openwhyd in the long run, OpenCollective provided us with a great tool that helps us take our first steps as a non-profit start-up.
Discover Openwhyd on openwhyd.org
Join our backers community on opencollective.com/openwhyd
Follow Openwhyd on www.facebook.com/openwhyd/