The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

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WY Alumni Soar: The UpNext

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          How many of you are interested in bumping some new beats while basking under Chicago’s summer sun? How about while you have one hand on your steering wheel and the other gripping your favorite cold beverage? Does that not sound appetizing? If so, you have definitely come to the right place. Founded by WY ‘08 alum Ayinde Arnett, UpNext is “the mobile game of music discovery”. It is described by Forbes as an exciting company that’s just getting started and can change the music industry for the better. “We started this UpNext journey for two main reasons. First off, we want to give up-and-coming talent a vehicle to get the exposure they deserve from distracted and disengaged listeners. Secondly, we want to let listeners put some skin in the game and give them good reason to keep an ear to the streets for what’s next”, says the young and talented founder.

           Primarily this app has been known to attract the young and adventurous. With the multiple opportunities to discover new artists and music mixed with the thrill of creating your own rankings, many keen and avid listeners have flocked to the test trials. No, it is not yet open to the public, but the wait won’t be long. At the moment there is an invite-only community of music industry folks, social influencers and general music lovers who are the first to touch this iOS app. In the fall of 2017, their user base will open up to provide more people with access to download. If any of you are young and aspiring artists, you may sign up to get your music represented, as well. Anyone interested in uncovering remarkable, fresh tunes should take advantage of this new and unprecedented gaming system.

           That’s right, not only is UpNext a music site, but it provides as a game as well. The objective of the program is to scout talent and build the best virtual record label possible. The musicians displayed are real, new, and emerging artists. Even Derrick Freeman, ‘16, will have his music represented. One of WY’s juniors, Brooke Gist recalls, “I remember hearing about when this was first broadcasted last year, and I immediately said, ‘let me try this out’”. Users are allowed to explore 15 to 30-second snippets of songs on the “Quick Discover” mode, and upon their liking of them they will either swipe right or left. How about we make a comparison to Tinder. If you hear something that is not your style or is just absolutely garbage then pull left to skip. However, if this is not the case then you may swipe right. By daring to take this path, you are not only divulging into new music, but allowing yourself to always be able to revisit that artist: all your ‘swipe rights’ will be saved to your “liked artists queue”. On that note, if a phenomenal musician happens to pop up, you have the chance to dig deeper into their profile.

           On their profile page you can view how many virtual labels an artist is signed to, how many likes and views they have received on their music, as well as how many people have scouted them. In the case that you want to become a true fan, a link to all their social media (such as SoundCloud, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) is provided under their name. Once you’re on their page you can add them to your own roster of saved artists you like. This roster is what Ayinde calls your “virtual record label”.

          You’re completely in charge. If you think someone is worth listening to you can scout them and keep them in mind. Scouting allows you to receive notifications on their performance and score so that you can keep a closer eye on them. However, if you are sure an artist is the next upcoming hit, take the chance, sign them to your label! By signing an artist to your label you increase your UpNext dollars and earn points, especially if multiple other people sign your artist as well.

          Basically, you and your artist grow more popular the more signs and listens they get. As time passes, those players who have the best record labels will also have the highest scores and points. At some point in the future the company promises to offer real-world rewards and expenses. So hey, you could be making actual coin. As the founder remarks, “Our goal is to turn UpNext into the ultimate music discovery tool! Grow with us along our journey”! Why don’t you join the buzz? Maybe you will soon be up next.

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The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.
WY Alumni Soar: The UpNext