As someone who has lived in Phoenix, the Netherlands, London and New York, Jordan Thomas is no stranger to meeting others.
Now residing in Los Angeles, Thomas says getting to know people in the middle of a pandemic is difficult. So, he turned to Vinylly to meet people with similar tastes in music.
“When I moved to LA last January, I didn’t know anybody,” Thomas said. “The move coincided with the launch of the app, but I thought, ‘How cool.’ I can download Vinylly and just say, ‘Hey, this is me. This is what I’m into, musically.’”
App founder and Phoenix resident Rachel Van Nortwick created the free app, inspired by her lifelong love of music and experience of family and friends.
“Music played a really important role in my life,” Van Nortwick says. “I saw my friends and family struggle on other dating apps, too, sort of perpetually swiping. These same people were also really passionate about music, and that was a really important criteria for them and finding a match. I thought, here’s the perfect intersection and opportunity.”
When users sign up for the first time, they are asked to connect their profile with their Spotify account. The app then curates users’ music history and creates a profile based on the data collected from their connected Spotify account.
“Vinylly is completely based on matching through music compatibility,” Van Nortwick says. “It’s not based off of a bio that you would write or a superficial image or anything else. It’s really about music, and we take it a step further and we make it about music data.”
Additionally, the app also asks for information such as location, last concert and relationship expectations. Users vary from those who are looking for a romantic relationship to those who are looking for friends with a similar music taste.
Thomas said that although he is not looking for a romantic relationship, his goal was to find a friend to go to a concert and share music with — something he felt that he was not able to do on other generic dating apps.
“I just like how it’s all focused,” Thomas says. “The focus has been taken away from other generic things that you see in all other dating apps and friend apps and just leaning into music. It’s pretty cool.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he has not met anyone in person but has had many interesting conversations with other music fans through the app’s chat function, which costs 99 cents a month. Thomas says he enjoys how the app is almost like an escape from the craziness of current events.
“Having an app where you can connect with people just based on music taste and be able to just not talk about current events and everything and just chat about (music) is handy and a good escape,” Thomas says.
Van Nortwick understands the difficulty of meeting new people during a pandemic and hopes Vinylly gives people a new outlet to do so. She says because music is omnipresent, individuals always have something to talk about and relate to.
“It’s tough right now to meet people,” Van Nortwick says. “It’s tough right now to even meet with the people that you know, let alone try to create new relationships. Dating app usage overall is up, and I think what’s great about Vinylly is everybody can still continue to listen to music.”
Passionate about music and her work, Van Nortwick expects to continue to improve the app’s functionality and expand its device compatibility to Android users in the future.
“I just want users to be able to find people that make sense to them as it relates to their music passions,” Van Nortwick says. “I want people to find their person, and whether that be a plus-one to go to a show with, when that returns, or to watch a livestream concert, or if that’s more serious plus-one for life … that would be the most fulfilling aspect of this whole thing.”