Splash.FM, a Klout for music discovery, opens up beta

New York-based social music startup Splash.fm opened up its site to the public Tuesday, allowing anyone to sign up and discover new tunes. The site allows users follow friends and tastemakers in a Twitter-like fashion, share songs with their own network and “splash” the song recommendations of others to show their approval.
Users who “splash” a lot of songs and whose recommendations get reshared by others will over time accumulate a high “Splash Score,” which is something like a Klout score for your music curation skills. Splash.fm co-founder Jason Fiedler explained the Splash score to me via email:

“I think a Klout-type score is extremely powerful for two reasons. First, it quantifies something that is extremely abstract- influence. Second, the ability to compare people’s influence as a score creates competition and a gamification layer that drives further engagement. We’re all ‘virtual narcissists.’”

Splash.fm was about two months in private beta, and the site imporved a bunch of things for its public debut, including the algorithm for the Splash Score. Again, Fiedler:

“The most important thing we’ve learned from Klout is that user’s cannot lose confidence in the score… ever. We have worked extremely hard on our algorithm to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Splash is allowing its users to upload songs to the system, and Fiedler told me that dring the private beta, three out of four songs were submitted by users. The site tries to detect commercially available music that hasn’t been shared by the artist, offering up 30 second previews instead of full songs.
But most of its music is available as a full MP3 download, and Fiedler told me that artists have been eager to share their music on Splash.fm. He added that the site wants to integrate YouTube and Soundcloud to add even more music to its catalog.