Vinylly Review | PCMag
Of all the emotions that music inspires, love must be at the top of the list. Consider how many songs focus on lost loves, despised lovers, celebrations of a new love, or just the good old excitement. While many dating apps target certain shared identities, shared hobbies can also encourage romantic relationships, and Vinylly is betting that a shared love of music forms the most romantic connections of all. Despite the intriguing gimmick, Vinyl has too many limits to be the first single in your love life.
Vinylly, a cute but difficult to type word game on “vinyl” and “finally”, is available as a mobile app on Android and iOS. There is no desktop version. However, you will need more than the app to get started. The service is all about connecting with other people through your musical tastes. The algorithm determines compatibility by comparing favorite songs and genres.
In order for Vinylly to know what your favorite songs are, you need to sync them with your Spotify account. You can’t even start creating a profile unless you have a Spotify account. Already this limitation has disappointed us. While Spotify is free, great, and hugely popular, it’s not the only way to listen to music on your mobile device. People passionate enough about music to use a music-focused dating app might scoff at low-fidelity music streaming services that pay artists a pittance. Vinylly says he’s working on ways to import other music sources into your profile.
Once your playlist is synced, you fill out additional details to complete your profile. It’s not an OkCupid or Eharmony-sized quiz, but it helps provide more context to who you are and what you want beyond a playlist. Enter your gender, your preferred partners and your search radius. Are you looking for concert buddies or a commitment? Upload a single photo. Answer a few questions about the music, such as “What was your first gig?” And “What genre could you listen to forever?” ”
Vinylly is a free download, and although it says it offers in-app purchases, I didn’t find any in testing. I updated my profile to a Gold account, which looks like a premium upgrade, but I haven’t been charged. I also don’t know if anything has changed or if I got any additional features. Maybe Vinylly doesn’t want to punish early adopters and waits to roll out paid subscriptions once new users sign up. It looks like all Vinylly users can currently upgrade to Gold for free, but that could change in the future, and we don’t know how much those changes will cost.
Vinylly’s musical theme extends to its presentation. The rich gold and black tones imbue an audiophile ambience. The interface mimics the music player controls as a metaphor for the sweep method pioneered by Editors’ Choice Pick Tinder. Press play on the profiles you like, ignore the ones you don’t like, and mix the ones you’re not sure into the mix. A high volume number reflects a high compatibility index.
When you like a profile, Vinylly offers a few icebreakers to start the conversation. You could start with a simple “What’s up?” But why not start making connections through music right away? Ask others what they listened to, find out which bands they consider to be dealbreakers, and find out what songs they played on their first iPod.
Digging into a profile reveals more musical tastes. You’ll see the best genres from EDM to hip-hop, favorite artists, and profile questions answered. Below the playlists, you can listen to the highlighted tracks from your match, which creates a feeling of digital privacy. It’s like playing in your own High fidelity remake.
The emphasis on music makes the profiles unique, but they also feel a bit shallow without a lot of other information. Compare that to the robust profiles found in Editors’ Choice Pick Match, which gives you a deep sense of who you want to meet. The player-focused Kippo allows for more personal expression in its nerd dating setting.
Vinylly’s most annoying limitation, however, is the limited number of users. When I first created my profile, I didn’t see any matches. After refreshing the app a few times, it put me in touch with users who, for the most part, were well outside my New York search radius. For every game I’ve seen from Brooklyn, I’ve had another from Chicago or California. This is the risk you run when using a new, unproven dating app. But unlike your favorite underground club, you want Vinylly to become popular and inundated with curious newbies.
Social distancing with Vinylly
One question Vinylly asks is “What was the last gig you saw before COVID-19?” He knows the pandemic has hit particularly hard not only singles looking to go to in-person dates, but also music lovers looking to see concerts in person. Fortunately, using the app’s coolest feature, Concert Search (which is powered by Songkick), you and your partner can search for nearby concert tickets right in the app, including virtual concert tickets.
However, that is all when it comes to virtual dating features. Vinylly does not have a video chat feature. For that, turn to our best video dating apps like Match, Tinder, Bumble, Clover and Hinge.
Save the stripe
Vinylly offers an original music matchmaking service that sets it apart in the wider arena of dating apps. That said, it’s too limited in terms of features, music sources, profiles, and actual users to be your best bet for finding love on the dance floor. Our Editors’ Choice picks for dating apps, Match, and Tinder remain the most trusted pathways to lasting love and quick adventures, respectively.
For more on dating, check out: How I Ended Up in a Tinder and Match vs. Tinder: which dating service deserves your undying love?
The bottom line
Vinyl’s musical approach to dating apps has an eye-catching hook, but it needs to spend a bit more time in the studio.
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