The Phoenix-Based Dating App That Matches People According to Their Taste in Music

Founder Rachel Van Nortwick.EXPAND
Founder Rachel Van Nortwick.
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The days of matching with someone on Tinder who loves your absolute least favorite band are over, because Vinylly is here.

The recently launched, Phoenix-based dating app doesn't ask you a billion questions upon signup, nor does it require a phone number, email, or Instagram login. On Vinylly, you sign on with your Spotify account, and your music preferences are the basis for all matches made on the app.

Founder and CEO Rachel Van Nortwick says the idea for Vinylly was born out of her love and passion for both music and marketing.

“I wanted the music to speak for itself and to be what connected the individuals, versus some of the more superficial types of apps that don’t really lead anywhere,” she says.

Van Nortwick says she saw people in her life who were on dating apps, but none of them were making any real matches. They seemed stuck. But what better way to make a deeper connection with someone than to bond based on their taste in music, which is a big part of many people's lives?

She says music’s power to bring people together was a huge inspiration for her.

“Music spans so many demographics, from age to gender to background, so I just thought, ‘This is the perfect connector,’” she says.

And Vinylly uses music to bring people together in more ways than just the app itself.

The company is partnered with the charity Musicians On Call, which brings musicians into hospitals to perform for patients to raise morale and increase patient comfort. Famous artists like Bruce Springsteen and Kelly Clarkson have performed for Musicians On Call, but it’s common for local artists will perform, too. (The organization has switched to a virtual performance model during COVID-19.)

Van Nortwick also says the app isn’t necessarily created just to help find soulmates, but also can be useful in finding concert buddies or casual friends.

That’s how Sarah Tew, a 23-year-old user of the app, utilizes it in her life.

“I’m in a serious monogamous relationship right now,” she says. “I’m really just using it to find new friends and make new connections with people.”

She says she used to use apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble but found them a bit repetitive and impersonal, but she liked that Vinylly offered the opportunity “to see somebody’s music tastes down to what they were listening to that week.”

Tew says she also likes the music theme of the app, with the option to “skip” a profile, “shuffle” one to the back of the line or “press play” on someone you’d like to talk to.

That’s where the subscription comes in.

“It’s a 99-cent flat rate to chat with as many people as you want per month,” Van Nortwick says. “But right now, we’re doing a promotion where you have three free messages.”

But she says the ideal Vinylly user won’t be on the app for long.

“We want to bring people together, and if we’re doing that, then we’re super happy about that,” she says. “We don’t want you to perpetually be on the app and not finding a connection.”

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