Take two trends: swipe-voting and short-videos. Mash them up, and what do you get? US startup Famous Media hopes you get a recipe for success. It’s working on an app called Famous for which its high-concept pitch is “TikTok with Tinder-style voting”.
Its profile on investment site AngelList explains more. “Famous merges the youthful appeal of Instagram and TikTok with wildly successful and lucrative talent competitions like The Voice and X Factor,” it says (having clearly not seen X Factor’s recent viewing figures in the UK…) “Famous combines these platforms by requiring viewers to vote on viewed content through a simple, fun, Tinder-like swiping process. Famous will democratise stardom and level the playing field for new content creators by ranking content based on quality, not quantity of likes or followers. Content creators are ranked by their percentage of yes votes, not the total number of views or likes.”
It won’t be the first attempt at this kind of mobile talent-show, however. Back in 2015, David Hyman – once CEO of Mog, the streaming service acquired to form the guts of Beats Music, which was then acquired to form the guts of Apple Music – launched an app called Chosen with a similar aim. It wasn’t a lasting hit. Like Chosen, Famous’ challenge will be to build an audience from scratch – with the knowledge that if TikTok wanted to add swipe-voting and launch its own talent contest, it would be a powerful competitor.