Record Mob is nearing its launch, and Raine Maida is clearly excited about the prospect. The Our Lady Peace frontman is one of four partners who have been working on this new application (a "discovery and lifestyle app”) over the past year, and it’s being cleared for takeoff now.
Reached by phone in his current Santa Monica base, Maida tells FYI that “We’re really close. We’re just doing a final user testing with 250 people this week. The app is pretty much there, just a few tweaks. It is releasing on Android as well as TBOS and we’ll be good to go by mid-Feb.”
He describes the mobile-based multi-channel network app as “a discovery and lifestyle app, for music, arts and culture. There’s nothing like this right now. We’re building a Mob of people around the world who’ll be our creators and hosts. They are influencers and tastemakers in their communities, the people who like the best new music, best new pizza, the best new beer.
It’s also about a community, about building something really authentic, that has shared values. The four partners in this company have the same ethos, and in my case this is also about building a platform with something of a social conscience to it.”
One of Maida’s partners in Rocket Mob is noted Calgary indie musician Jay Sparrow. “I met Jay through a video director a couple of years ago,” Maida recalls. “He had an idea based on a platform that is not really close to what it is today, but I really liked Jay and the idea that we both grew up in the music biz, seeing the paradigm shift and watching the digital age take over.
There is a shift and consumer behavior has to adapt. I don’t think the music biz has been great in adapting. Having this insider knowledge we were able to build a core team with two other partners.”
Maida sees the personal touch as crucial. “I don’t want some fancy algorithm to tell me what to listen to. I use Spotify and Apple Music. I like them but they’re more like jukeboxes to me. I don’t get that human connection.”
"We produce content on a low budget with high quality. We’re very dynamic and we do live streaming as well. It is host based and really exciting.” He cites VICE as a reference point. “I’m a huge fan of VICE and what they’ve done , but I think if they were to start today it may look something like Record Mob.”
Maida also stresses that “we are a Canadian company. Our tech offices are in Calgary, even though I live mostly in LA. Jay is our head of content and he’s on the road a lot.”
Music, especially of the independent variety, is the key component of the app. “ We have an enormous affinity for music. Independent music in general is marginalized on the bigger platforms. Within our ethos is supporting independent music. We won’t be too niche, but you’ll see a much stronger presence of independent music on Record Mob than anywhere else.”
"I’d say 70 % of the content will have music in there somewhere. It is so integral to the platform and our lives. We have a celebrity chef in Toronto who is a music fanatic. He did a piece on a sick pizza place with a friend of his, who’s a DJ. Music is everywhere, so it’s easy to connect to music on a lot of fronts. If we have a guy in LA do a piece on the new Jordans being released soon, maybe that won’t have music.”
Maida has already hosted a segment, “a piece on a friend in LA, Alex. We did it at my favourite sneaker shop out here. He’s a true independent artist, and his father is a really famous author. For Record Mob, as long as it’s interesting and we feel our audience and our community will engage with it, then we can try it. We are very nimble and agile.”
He stresses the international reach of the app too. “We have three Canadian hosts, with others from the UK, Brazil, LA, Austin, Philly, Brooklyn. It will become more global as we launch. It has to be global these days. There is so much great music and culture happening outside our backyards.”
To Maida, “one cool thing about Record Mob is that I’m getting exposed to great bands, like Port Juvee from Edmonton. The platform to me blends the two things I’m most passionate about, music and humanitarianism.”