New music app Cymbal actually knows you

By: Tom Tappel – Staff Writer

I love that I can stream movies instead of studying for accounting or hit four buttons on my phone, and, 20 minutes later, a pizza will show up. But, there is a limit to what technology can do. Or at least sometimes there should be.

A lot of websites and apps claim to be on the cutting edge when they tell you their algorithms will find you new friends to add on Facebook, new Twitter accounts to follow and new songs to listen to. Spotify and Apple Music both claim to know you, to know your preferences when it comes to the songs you’ll jam out to, but do they really?

Most of the music on my phone is from friends, not an algorithm, telling me to check out a new band they heard (from their friend) and fell in love with. I got into Walk the Moon when my friend showed me the “Anna Sun” music video. I got into the Avett Brothers when my friend played “Salvation Song,” on a mission trip in South Dakota. I got into Twenty One Pilots when “Ode to Sleep” kicked off the copy of “Vessel” that my friend lent me my first year in Marycrest.

Friends have a connection to you that no one else can really understand or imitate. That’s the idea behind Cymbal, a new music app that utilizes your network of friends to expose you to new songs and artists.

Cymbal is essentially an Instagram for music aficionados. You can create an account that is connected to another social media platform, such as Twitter and Facebook, so that you can quickly follow friends who you are connected to on other sites. The app has a feed that you can scroll through to discover songs that your friends have posted – this song is called their “cymbal.” On your personal page, you can pick your own cymbal through a search bar that is connected to Spotify. The major difference between Cymbal and other music or social media apps, is that you can only post once at any given time. With Cymbal, the song you pick is one you really like and want to show off. It’s that one song you play at every party if you can get your hands on the DJs phone. This simplifies the discovery of new music, since you aren’t flooded with a dozen songs that your friend may have listened to passively while studying or cleaning up the house. It’s the one song that they have chosen to specifically share with you and their followers. The limited access to posting forces users to think about the music, themselves, and the friends who want to hear it.

Your cymbal isn’t just a song that comes on shuffle or one that you might skip on another app. It’s the song you sing to yourself in the shower or to your floor-mates in the stall next to you. It’s the song that just gets how you feel about that guy or girl you met in class last week. Your feed then turns into a playlist, ever-changing and hand-crafted by your friends, while your home page turns into the soundtrack to your life.

Music has the power the change minds and touch hearts. Shouldn’t your friends, the people who constantly change your mind and touch your heart, be at the center of new musical experiences?

Follow me on Cymbal: @TappelPie.