March 11--Thousands of music fans attended the massive SnowBall Music Festival this past weekend in Winter Park, Colo., featuring some of the hottest names in the electronic and hip-hop scenes.
But you didn't have to be bundled up in the crisp Rocky Mountain air to soak up such acts as Pretty Lights, Porter Robinson and STS9. In fact, thanks to the more than 1,230 Instagram photos aggregated by Portland startup Stublisher, you could peek in from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.
The social platform is the latest to offer an alternative to the Facebook way of creating online connections and fostering social interaction. Stublisher compiles a mammoth photographic diary of live events in real time, capturing moments, perspectives and experiences.
"We're building out a piece of the social graph," says Stublisher co-founder and chief executive Kyle Banuelos, referring to the term that recently gained currency with Facebook's introduction of its social graph search. "How are you connected to people with whom you've shared experiences?"
A quick look at the Stublisher platform offers a sense of its range and usability.
Users can find photo galleries of various music, sporting and other events, including those taken at the Cadillac Golf Championship, the South by Southwest festival, and last week's Alabama Shakes concert in Portland. Click on a gallery and a scroll of unedited Instagram photos unfurls.
Banuelos says Stublisher's platform allows users to freely share photos with people they don't know, prompting an introduction and possibly further dialogue between strangers.
Like a lot of social media platforms, Stublisher's appeal is equal parts social idealism, preciousness and the urge to record our lives for public consumption.
But the platform is also gaining business traction, Banuelos says.
Stublisher was founded in July by Banuelos, Chief Product Officer Billy Vinton and Chief Technology Officer Zachary Collins, and has raised a tad under $100,000 from various investors, including the Portland Incubator Experiment. Banuelos says the music industry presents Stublisher with the chance to master its technology as well as cement a user-base and revenue model before moving to new spaces.
Music acts and festival organizers, he says, really want comprehensive photo diaries of their events for their websites because the photos are a connective tissue to fans and the public. But producing them requires staff and resources most don't have.
Stublisher can offer to customize and edit these photo albums for music acts, festivals and other event organizers. Banuelos says the startup is pre-revenue but has already offered its services for free to numerous artist management companies, digital strategists and ticket brokers as a way of building up a future revenue network. Some of these include Vector Management, which used Stublisher at a Kings of Leon concert, and Ticket Cake, which partnered with Stublisher when it sold tickets to events at the Sundance Film Festival.
Entrepreneur and business consultant Pinky Gonzales, who has invested in the startup, says Stublisher is also exploring advertising.
"Each photo represents a content block where you can have an ad or video," Gonzales says. "But the strategy is to have an ad or something related to the event or musician, not a random banner ad. It could be merchandise or a similar event sometime in the future."
The three founders are very much products of the social network era. Banuelos and Vinton are 23; Collins is 18, and a high school senior in Holland, Mich.
Banuelos, who attended the University of Oregon but did not graduate, first got the idea for Stublisher after wondering why he and others held on to ticket stubs from music concerts.
"It's really about an emotional experience," he says. "What happened at them?"