Tech startup specialist David Hyman, who sold MOG to Dr. Dre's Beats for $10-15 million in 2012 and was CEO of Beats Music and Gracenote, announced the Mar. 26 launch of Chosen, a crowd-judged talent competition game for mobile phones. "For the first time, we game-ify music consumption," Hyman tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We're bridging the chasm between Silicon Valley and Hollywood."
WIth the Chosen app on their mobile, players can create performance videos or judge 15-second clips of the 3,000-plus performances Chosen will launch with. Performers can sing or play live, aided by an in-tune-singing monitor, or sing karaoke using 8,000-plus tunes. They compete to rise on a leaderboard and also to use Chosen as a springboard to stardom. "One performer will get to perform live onstage at Bonnaroo 2015 in Tennessee June 11-15," says Hyman.
Videos will also live on YouTube. "We're thinking of launching a [Chosen] recaps show on YouTube in the next six months, some YouTube 'shelves.' The dream is, we start this on YouTube, then it becomes a show on Amazon or Netflix," he explains. Chosen performers could conceivably find bigger-screen stardom. "Maybe forget network TV — is that over?" Hyman says. "I don't know, maybe I should just do this on YouTube."
Hyman says 99 percent of Chosen's users will compete to rise to glory on the leaderboard of judges. "It's all about that feeling of validation," Hyman says. "Prove to the world you're the top punk rock judge — it's like John Cusack in High Fidelity. You are the Simon Cowell of hip-hop, or Swiss yodeling." Judges judge both performers and other judges, ranked by an algorithm with three variables: ability to pick winners, ratings by other judges and number of followers on social networks.
Chosen's $6.5 million-plus funding comes from DCM, Rhodium Capital, Fosun and CrunchFund.