Saunter aims to be ‘Yelp for music’

This startup creates a domain for people to share musical reviews, recommend artists.

Saunter is putting a digital spin on the most classic form of recommendation: word of mouth.

The newly launched music blog is built upon the foundation of democracy and community, describing itself as “Yelp for music.”

Saunter is a growing community-based website that focuses on putting a vast amount of music at fans’ fingertips, while founders Adam Kearney, 25, and Dave Harbage, 24, leverage the copious amount of information available on the Internet to expand users’ music knowledge.

“What we’re trying to do is help people filter through the noise,” Kearney said. “Word of mouth was how I always discovered my favorite artists, however, it is incredibly inefficient to do this all the time. I want people to search word of mouth to discover artists like Yelp helped me discover new restaurants.”

The interactive website has 2,400 genres ranging from punk-jazz to folk-metal, 2.3 million artists and 6.5 million free songs to stream – all of which are still growing.

While researching new artists on the website, there’s also the option to read or write reviews on concert-going experiences and albums.

“Yelp wasn’t a site that people originally [visited] to check out ratings,” Harbage said. “People went to just write about their experience. That’s what stage we’re in. It’s called the single-player mode.”

Harbage said the website is up and fully functioning, but once it surpasses the single-player mode and any minor kinks, it will be free to step out of the beta version.

Neither creator has what most perceive as a typical background for a tech startup.

Kearney has a bachelor of arts in political studies and psychology. And though Harbage has a bachelor of arts in mathematics, this seemingly unviable match resulted in serendipity.

Kearney described himself as the “humanist” contributor of Saunter.

“I was completely non-technical trying to start a tech company,” Kearney said. “I met [Harbage] in August 2012 through a mutual friend. At the time, [he] was the [chief technology officer] of another company. We would meet and discuss Saunter. Soon it dominated our conversations.”

As the “humanist,” Kearney manages everything dealing with the public, including arranging the March 1 launch party in Philadelphia where more than 100 music bloggers showed up, contacting each new person who signs up with a personal email and now heading out to California to network with approximately 200 music bloggers.

Harbage takes care of the technical work, like building a massive database from online sources to create a mesh of artists that have connections for users to filter through.

However, despite their opposing positions in the maintenance of Saunter, it is counterbalanced by their passion for music.

“It is very difficult to express my relationship with music – it has given me a lot throughout the years,” Kearney said via email.

“It’s fun to work with someone who has the same level of intensity,” Harbage said.

Within three to six months, they hope to have an app available for consumers.

“We are focused on building a great product,” Kearney said. “I am not spending too much time or effort meeting with investors.”

Nodyia Fedrick can be reached at

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