Feature Friday: Dedicate A Song

Yesterday I dedicated a song on Piki to my friend Whitney. He DM'd me and said "I haven't had that happen to me since the days of call-in radio shows".

Dedicating a song is my favorite feature on Piki. It is generous, fun, and viral.

I did it this morning with my daughter Jessica.

I picked a song

Dedicate to someone


And then at the bottom of the dialog box, I typed in her name

Dedicate 2

That's all there is to it. She gets notified and ideally comes back to Piki and listens and/or picks some more music for everyone else to hear.

Virality is critical to make a social app spread. But the viral features must also be fun and meaningful. Dedicating a song is both and that's why I do it so much.

By the way, Piki is now available on the web (and iOS). Android is coming soon.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    i can’t decide if all these services are geo walled gardens to keep the barbarians of the world out, or to keep the natives in.

    1. fredwilson

      you have a hobson’s choice to make as a music entrepreneur. play with rights holders and screw over the international users. or go roque and risk getting shut down.

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        Can’t there be some sort of way were you’d set up different local companies who each deal with their own local legal system instead to licence music rights?The code for the platform is then itself owned by another company that license it to each local “turntable.fm”…Or is it as much of a clusterfuck whether you’re trying to get a licence to stream from your own country or globally?

      2. William Mougayar

        How much does it cost roughly for these international rights?

          1. William Mougayar

            Wow. Merci.

      3. kidmercury

        Rogue is the only real option. As more and more go rogue, it opens up new strategiesthat make it easier and more viable.

        1. pointsnfigures

          problem is, if there are only a few rogues, it’s easy to shut them down. Need thousands of rogues. Kinda like civil disobedience.

          1. Richard

            With apple and google are already on board and 5 billion a year in royalties at stake, this is not likely.

          2. kidmercury

            yes, this is true. i think as the situation deteriorates, we are going to see the rise of rogue networks — organized systems for going rogue and making it safe to do so.

        2. Richard

          Hard to go rogue when the music is concentrated in the hands of just a few players (universal, Sony).

          1. kidmercury

            i didn’t say it wasn’t hard, just necessary. 🙂

      4. Richard

        Sure doesn’t help when the number 2 music owner (Sony) is so dependent on improving fcf due to its ineptness in the hardware space.

      5. John Revay

        Hobson’s choicehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Learn something every day here @ AVC – even on Feature Fridays..

        1. JLM

          .I will see your Hobson’s Choice and raise you Occam’s Razor.JLM.

          1. jason wright

            Occam, that’s someone i know a little bit about without first having to consult the Goracle. All things being equal the simplest explanation is invariably the correct explanation for any given observable phenomenon.Therefore, the music industry is run by greedy b’stards.

          2. fredwilson


      6. testtest

        rather, got yourself a dilemma.from wikipedia: nor is it a choice between two undesirable options, which is a dilemma.or go roque and risk getting shut down.there’ll always be people willing to take that risk. agree or disagree, you still have sites like The Pirate Bay.

  2. William Mougayar

    Virality must provide value to both the sender & receiver. In this case, it does that & it’s a good thing.

    1. btrautsc

      Agreed. Virality for the sake of virality is sleezy. Virality to the benefit of the original user is the key.

      1. awaldstein

        example of virality without user value that was successful please…

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Yeah, I’m wondering too … I just don’t see something going viral without user value being created. I don’t think it’s possible – my brain’s hurting thinking about it.

        2. David Clarke

          Stuxnet 😉

        3. ChuckEats

          all the crappy apps that obfuscate the downloading of address books (and subsequent emailing of everyone) to start.most facebook app timeline updates (i don’t care what most of my friends are listening too) – twitter gets this right w/ cards – if i’m interested, i click on it for more info.these are viral in the sense they spread very fast, and some people might find value. but, i suspect, most people do not.

          1. awaldstein

            Thnx…virality by definition is a baton handoff. Light touches across multitudes.Whether the value is deep, superficial or crowd influenced, my point was that nothing spreads unless the crowds wants it to.Otherwise its like saying that things that are really popular suck. You (and I) may think so but obviously many don’t. Popularity is a value metric as in the value of something gone viral.

  3. William Mougayar

    To international users who want to use Piki on their iPhone, install TunnelBear & you’re set to go. Then you activate the US VPN in Settings. It’s very easy to setup & takes literally 5 mins. There’s also a desktop version.You’ll also need a US iTunes account, but you don’t need that for the desktop. For that, you can buy a “Vanilla MasterCard” & register a 2nd account with a US zip code.

    1. leapy

      Alternatively, I rent a cheapo US cloud/slice server and set up a VPN connection through it. Choose one with a decent bandwidth allowance and you’re good. It works for desktop, android phone, home media server. I don’t know about iPhones….

      1. William Mougayar

        Is there a link example for doing that please?

  4. awaldstein

    Radio. Dedicating songs. Hanging in the record store for hours.All nostalgia to me. Going to rewatch American Grafitti tonight!http://www.imdb.com/title/t

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Great film.

      1. awaldstein

        Yup….When I was in Grad School in Vancouver i worked at a hacked together ‘underground’ radio station, cold calling officials and getting them on tape.Love the gestalt of radio generally.

        1. pointsnfigures

          ” I hear college girls really put out.”- Eddie

    2. Anne Libby

      College radio!

      1. awaldstein

        Actually more like ‘pirate radio’. Remember this old flic:–>http://www.imdb.com/title/t…What I was doing in Vancouver was part of the very early hack/pirate radio movement. Non affiliated, wacko stuff.

        1. Anne Libby

          I have never seen that movie! Will have to check it.And my exclamation was more to the last time I remember radio dedications. That said, back in the day, WHPK (Chicago) had a bit of pirate DNA.

          1. awaldstein

            I really loved radio. Grew up with it. Worked at pirate stuff for a bit during my college hippy days.Then for awhile ran the Wash State LIbrary for the Blind as a community service for that population. Talking books and the like. I used to have reporters go out to stores and see how they were treated and invariably when in studio for the interview their dogs (seeing eye..) would sit quietly and chew the cables and shut us down. Week after week 😉

          2. Anne Libby

            Me too, Arnold.Flipping stations on a short road trip recently. It wasn’t too satisfying….(though it’s funny to see what lives on in the Classic Rock format.)

    3. William Mougayar

      Bingo. That’s why my favorite streaming app remains TuneIn Radio. I can pick from thousands of international stations and you’re transported to the country where it’s playing and let it be.

      1. Richard

        It’s a good one

    4. LE

      “Hanging in the record store for hours”Hanging in the hobby or computer store for hours. Or hanging in the Barnes and Noble for hours. I used to really enjoy that. I remember specifically enjoying that, looking forward to it and feeling good buying a few books.I wonder if there is a way to adapt that to the wine shopping experience. Most people buy wine (at least where I am) like they are picking up something at the convenience store.

      1. awaldstein

        yes, you can indeed spend 20 minutes one on one buying a $20 bottle of wine from any one of 50-100 shops in NYC.the issue is, and I’m certain of this (almost), is that most don’t want to. most want to spend 3 minutes one on one or call in and and say, send me a mixed case.not an issue, just market reality.learning, i, that is Arnold, is not the market or a market of much size.

      2. ShanaC

        That would be amazing – especially because the bottles in terms of buying is not such a transparent thing

  5. LIAD

    kinda genius. infusing the viral behaviour you want to encourage with a little meaning. harnessing a little nostalgia, overlaying a sense of gifting.a strong example of how to turbo-charge really quite bland functionality.

    1. jason wright

      you’re getting this service, in Oz?

      1. LIAD

        I’m in London, not Oz.Have never seen/heard about the service before.My comment is based purely on Fred’s description.

        1. jason wright

          i’m not employed by the music industry.i thought London was already full. UKIP thinks so.

  6. Tyrone Rubin

    aahhh another music service not avaialbel here in South Africa, was just getting excited to try it.

  7. William Mougayar

    There’s a new cool feature on Piki where it listens to & identifies a song you’re playing elsewhere (like Shazam) & you pick it in 1 click. I just used it and dedicated a song, but couldn’t tell if the recipient is notified on Twitter or via Piki?

    1. fredwilson

      notified via email i believe

  8. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I can’t use any of these neat music apps for more than a few minutes without killing my phone battery. I know a lot of Android phone owners with this prob.

    1. andyidsinga

      heres my ded. to avc land : think ” get your startup on the front page of avc “: http://m.youtube.com/#/watc…( second time in a few weeks reminded of is tune )

  9. JLM

    .Not to be rude and change the subject — said after having been rude and having changed the subject — sorry.But our Freddy is in the Pantheon of the VC Gods starting at shortstop, batting lefty for the New York Yankees at #16.Gotta love that recognition and well deserved considering the guy didn’t do a deal for 3-4 weeks, no?Congratulations, Fred Wilson, bar owner extraordinaire.http://www.forbes.com/midas…Nice plug for AVC.com also. Enjoy you celebrated groupies. You deserve it.You will now be returned to your regular programming.Sorry.JLM.

    1. falicon

      The most interesting thing about that list is that it’s a ‘top 100’ but there were only 64 ‘big deals’…these are the names on that list that are important ->Facebook, Skype, Meraki, LinkedIn, Twitter, Ruckus Wireless, Workday, Pinterest, Bazaarvoice, Green Dot, Qihoo 360, Nicira, Square, Palo Alto Networks, Instagram, Guidewire Software, Groupon, Cornerstone OnDemand, Fortinet, OpenTable, MySQL, 21Vianet Group, LifeLock, Kayak, Lookout, Yammer, Zynga, Fusion-io, Dropbox, Vocera, Spotify, Tudou, Millennial Media, MakeMyTrip, ExactTarget, Angie’s List, SpaceX, Tableau Software, YY, Imperva, HomeAway, ServiceSource, Ubiquiti Networks, VANCL, Box, Buddy Media, Force10 Networks, Airbnb, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Proofpoint, Nimble Storage, Liberty Dialysis, Pandora, Admob, First Republic Bank, Qlik Technologies, Showroomprive, Tesla, Renren, Kiva Systems, Enobia, Splunk, Dangdang, Xiaom

    2. andyidsinga

      Bing Gordon should go by the nickname Bing Googon. /nonsequitur im here all week.

    3. JamesHRH

      These lists are typical backwards looking, lagging indicator media misinformation.How can Breyer be #1 when his big deal occurred almost a decade ago?The person who is #1 is the person who just led an A round in the next FB. That list, an insider’s list, would be a forward looking, leading indicator.Still, being known as the Twitter guy has to be a good thing 😉

      1. ShanaC


        1. pointsnfigures

          not clean tech probably. biotech won’t explode like a software startup due to the FDA and time to market. You have to identify a trend before it happens-with a big market. Maybe coinstar? I have a few in my portfolio that I think are pretty decent but we won’t know until 2018.

      2. fredwilson

        i agree completely. i refuse to even read the midas list. it is garbage. i appreciate the nice words from JLM but i won’t click that link and i had no idea until now that i was even on it. utter garbage of the highest order if you ask me.

    4. LE

      Love the “to be sure” disclaimer:”While our system is not perfect, we have improved it again this year. We believe it is the best analysis of the venture industry, which typically is very private about its returns data.”Separately though, regarding lists like this, I am all for whatever PR can be gained from appearing on a list like this, there is nothing not to like.But the other things that Fred does to get his name out in the startup community way overshadows anything that he gains from being on this list. The list of course is helpful for getting investors as is being the guy who did twitter.

    5. jason wright

      Sorry (an Englishism said on all occasions – e.g. “sorry, but you’re standing on my toes, sorry”), but is there a VC Hall of Fame somewhere, and how would one nominate a candidate if there is?

    6. ShanaC

      I feel like this is old news.Though Mazel tov to you fred

    7. David Clarke

      Great achievement. 2 comments on this: (1) shocking that in 2013 only 2 of the 100 – Theresia Gouw @ Accel and Mary Meeker @ KPCB – are women, and (2) given Fred’s gracious & ongoing acknowledgement of the role of his blog in his investment thinking, how can we put together a syndicate and get into USV as LPs,,?!

  10. Matt A. Myers

    Very smart.Also, I’d try A/B testing highlighting the “Dedicate to someone” text to a light to bright green colour to see what happens.

  11. Matt A. Myers

    It’s virtual reality — facilitating real-life actions in the digital realm.

  12. sachmo

    completely off topic, but have you seen any of the news regarding the Cooper union… ? completely tragic mismanagement of the school’s endowment, and loss of a truly unique educational opportunity in the United states higher education system.

    1. kidmercury

      lol i don’t understand how those kids are protesting. maybe i should protest my apartment building for charging me rent.

      1. sachmo

        you probably would if your condo board had a huge endowment and mispent all of the money.

    2. ShanaC

      shanda. Makes me suspect that they are worried enough to sell to NYU (please don’t)

  13. jmcaddell

    Cool. I joined up, username jmcaddell… my first pick, “The Fold” by Ivan & Alyosha.

  14. LE

    Yesterday I dedicated a song on Piki to my friend Whitney. He DM’d me and said “I haven’t had that happen to me since the days of call-in radio shows”.Interesting I wasn’t aware of this societal change at all.(I don’t remember a time when men dedicated songs to men???)What’s interesting though is looking at the man/woman difference in another light. I just bought a small bottle of Patron for a real estate broker that I dealt with (who was also one of the sellers of the property). I told the story to my wife and why I did that [1]. Now I’m sure that if the recipient were a pretty young woman instead of a man she would almost certainly have been jealous thinking of possible ulterior motives.[1] His response was “wow shouldn’t I be buying you something?”.

    1. jason wright

      what does “DM’d” mean?

        1. jason wright

          lightbulb. merci.

      1. ShanaC

        direct message

        1. jason wright


  15. ShanaC

    I don’t know why – but I’m feeling awkward choosing songs – this might be because the initial song I wanted wasn’t in the database (and for some reason is very hard to find)

  16. James Fayal

    I’ve been loving Piki since Fred introduced the app on AVC. I hope they make a roku version soon.

  17. pointsnfigures

    on a totally different topic, I won’t be able to go to this but anyone in NYC might be able to. Last year, tix sold out in four days. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/e…. It’s the Southern Foodways Film Festival at the Big Apple BBQ block party.

  18. Alex Liddell

    i tryed that app for tunein radio,i was amazing i like it a lot,you also have good scanner ones to,and all of this was on my blackberry phone,ok i had to buy some of them.i think the apps are getting more and more better,like that guy who sold is app to apple or miscrosoft,made a few million i think.i cant mind is name or were he was from.