A new startup called Cull.tv has launched to create non-stop playlists of music videos optimized for a 10-foot viewing experience. For those who remember what it was like to turn on MTV and watch music videos all day: Cull.tv is kind of like that, except better. That’s because it uses technology to serve up streams of music videos that are not only are tailored to the viewer, but actually sound good together.
Videos can be navigated in a few ways: as a continuous stream based on user preferences, based on videos posted by friends on Facebook or from a growing list of curated playlists. The site doesn’t just crawl the web for available videos, but has technology to discover semantic relationships between videos and delivers them based on a sense of “flow.” As a result, it’s able to combine its recommendation technology with human curation and editorial-based entertainment programming, enabling a set-it-and-forget-it atmosphere for end users.
Cull.tv isn’t alone in trying to tackle the problem of providing a non-stop, 10-foot viewing experience for videos. Companies like Redux, Shelby.tv and even YouTube Leanback are building recommendation engines for continuous online video streams. Nor is it the only startup focused on playlists for music videos: Muziic and Tubeify give users the ability to build playlists based on their musical tastes. And, of course, there are options like Pandora and Last.fm for streaming music recommendations. But none of these options focuses solely on combining recommendation technology with music videos and displaying them in a 10-foot UI for viewing on the big screen.
Founder Katherine de Leon said in a phone interview that members of the Cull.tv founding team decided to create the company after they were unable to come up with satisfactory background music for a holiday party. “We realized we could either spend hours creating a video playlist or babysit a laptop all night,” de Leon told us. So the team worked on designing a technology solution to the problem. With that in mind, the founders raised a small $100,000 friends and family round in December, and began development on the on the project in January. The team is now in the process of raising an additional $800,000 to continue development of the platform.
While creating automated video playlists for parties is a noble pursuit, the Cull.tv team sees a more fundamental need for a leanback music video experience to replace what MTV used to provide. “We all grew up watching MTV in the ’80s and ’90s — you know, back when they actually played music videos,” de Leon told us. Without a comparable channel for no-nonsense viewing of music videos, and with discovery and playback of music videos online still mostly a siloed experience on sites like YouTube or Vevo, Cull.tv seeks to fill that gap.
Cull.tv is currently in a closed beta, but GigaOM readers can test out the service for themselves with the following referral link: cull.tv/join/gigaom. Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments!