Digital & Mobile, Interviews — March 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Stimulating Electronic Dance Music Scene Through Community-Based Interaction


Remember the humble CD album? A place with few of your all-time favourite tunes hiding amongst the unwanted filler. Today we’re faced with the digital equivalent, rare music discoveries surrounded by a plethora of poorly curated playlists that do very little to excite. And with the mass amount of new music available at the click of a mouse we’re met with hours of sorting through various sites to find the latest and greatest. And in the hope of discovering a new musical gem one might ask themselves, was that really worth your time? What’s a time-poor and music hungry person to do? The answer lies with Belugabeats, the latest user-driven electronic music chart.

Created by En-Ming Ong and Zenos Schmickrath – from previous startups and – Belugabeats is a user-driven electronic music playlist which relies on an algorithm that pulls data from Youtube to keep listeners in the know.

It’s a user-driven site, which means that all the songs are shared by actual people. Each time a song is added to Belugabeats, our ranking algorithm pulls statistics from Youtube and Belugabeats to assign the song a score based on how hot it is right now. Whenever a song is played or liked, it gets points. All our songs are really fresh due to the ranking algorithm being overly punishing to old songs. Rarely will you find a song in the Top 10 list that is older than one week.

We get into the mind of CEO and co-creator En-Ming Ong on the latest interaction that’s revolutionising the electronic dance scene.


Belugabeats Screen Shot


How did the idea for Belugabeats begin and how did the project draw the two of you together?

I have been listening to trance since I was ten years old and have always maintained an interest in this genre. When I was a little kid, I had the time to buy CDs, read up about these artists and really follow them. When I entered college, I had many more responsibilities and had to make new priorities, so there was no time to keep up with trance. My focus or level of commitment was definitely declining and it dawned on me four or five months ago that I did not want to give it up. I wanted to keep up-to-date with all the newest songs. In order for a busy person like myself to do so, I needed to build something that was extremely efficient and convenient to use.


Community-driven content means you have access to digital market stats, consumer usability and have the ability to pinpoint a trend as it happens. What do you do with this information?

We intend to sell our data to players in the electronic music industry. This includes record labels, concert event organizers, night clubs, and any business that is trying to offer this genre of music to sell. Personal identities will always be kept safe, it is purely just statistics.


Belugabeats is the first music chart of its kind for electronic music, what shifts have you seen since its launch?

Here is an example of a trend I witnessed. A week ago, electronica was really big due to users uploading some beats that rose to the top. Just at the beginning of this week, there was a lot of trance in the Top 3. I find it interesting because within electronic music you have all these different sub-genres and fans are very receptive to various sectors within the electronic music sphere. You see the same people pushing electronica that are supporting house or dubstep. In other words, electronic tastes are very fluid.


Should other music genres follow suit?

Absolutely. Belugabeats holds the possibility to expand to other genres. We offer the most efficient way to discover fresh electronic music and it can certainly be applied to other genres. This capability opens me to be more receptive to trying out a whole new genre because I know that what I am listening to will sound good since it has been voted up by a passionate fan base.


Where does the bulk of your content come from? Artists, fans, labels or distributors?

100% of our content comes from fans.


How did you discover new music prior to Belugabeats?

In my early teens, I would go to Tower Records and HMV every weekend to buy CD compilations. My favorites being Ministry of Sound or Cream Anthems. In high school, my friends influenced a shift to classic rock. During college and before Belugabeats I followed a couple blogs and podcasts on iTunes.


Will Belugabeats partner with streaming services other than Youtube in the near future?

We would like to partner with SoundCloud. The reason being that a lot of DJs, from unknown to famous, release their music there.


Any success stories from artists being discovered on Belugabeats? Who are you listening to right now?

Two relatively unknown artists, Project 46 and The Two Friends, were uploaded by two different users and very quickly rose to the top of our charts. I don’t listen to any specific artist in particular right now, because our charts are always changing. I keep up with whatever is the most popular.


Belugabeats launched 5 February, 2013.