We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Van Nortwick and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, how does your business help the community?
Vinylly is a dating app that is focused entirely on creating connection through music compatibility. Studies have shown that when we listen to music, our brains release dopamine, which in turn makes us happy. For many, that enjoyment is heightened by sharing it with someone else. Connections made through music can be very meaningful, especially if music plays a big role in someone’s life. Vinylly ‘s user experience is straightforward and simple with minimal steps. It uses streaming music data plus questions about music habits to match users who value music as a core compatibility requirement. Vinylly provides access in the chat function to suggest live-streaming concerts for its users to attend as well as live concerts when they return. Swipe-based dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble rely on unverifiable bios, physical proximity, and superficial attributes which can result in dissatisfaction or in perpetual swipes vs. meaningful dates. The “old guard” of dating sites, like Match and eHarmony, charge expensive monthly fees, and their complicated, time-consuming surveys can be unpopular with users. Vinylly’s algorithm allows users to connect on deeper, more genuine personality attributes.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started going to concerts when I was 15. I snuck out of my parents’ house to see the Grateful Dead and was grounded the rest of the Summer, having to pass up tickets I had to other tours at that time, like U2’s Achtung Baby. I have always been obsessed with music and have now been to over 500 shows spanning all genres. I have long been especially interested by the shared DNA of songs and bands, how music is connected and how music connects so many of us, This was before I even understood the science behind this.

After a career in consumer and tech marketing, and with the proliferation of streaming music services with digital playlists where you could easily discover and share music, I saw the opportunity to create a dating app that would connect people entirely based on music compatibility. I wanted it to be data-first, not superficial, like other dating apps. It’s been a journey to build and continue to improve upon, but it’s a true joy.

Vinylly is a brand that music fans or concertgoers will connect with positively vs. as an offshoot of another dating app or social platform. Most people don’t like to mention the dating apps they are on; many people are embarrassed by certain brands, but it is a means to and end. Vinylly’s team are music lovers building a product *for* music lovers and they will trust us to bring them relevant, valuable offers and experiences.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Phoenix is a special place because it’s warm and welcoming year round. Even when it’s cold to us Phoenicians, aka, below 70 degrees, you can reach out and touch a heater at most places. So there’s no excuse not to be outside. I have lived here for over twenty years so will try to narrow it done to some of my favorites.

Go get breakfast or brunch at Valentine, (I’d recommend the breakfast sandwich with a side of Valentina) then cruise up 7th Ave and check out all the vintage stores in the Melrose neighborhood. Make sure to make a pit stop at Thunderbird Lounge. You can walk or bike this area. A great hotel to stay at is Rise which is nearby-it’s mid mod and tropical. Get the spam musubi if you want a snack. They have vinyl from Stinkweeds Records in their lobby you can listen to in your room and if you want to buy records, you can walk to the Stinkweeds store. For dinner, go to Neighborly on 7th St. and get the prime rib, then close it down at Pomeroy’s. Play pool, play some music on the TouchTunes and if you are still hungry, get the sliders.

Another day should include wandering Roosevelt Row and Grand Ave in downtown Phoenix. Prior to, grab a coffee and deshebrada burritos from the Rebel Lounge, a music venue with a rich history in Phoenix, who was clever enough to also become a coffee shop during the pandemic. They have become a purveyor of some of the most incredible burritos perfected and dropped off by a local woman. They’ll heat them up for you while you check out the venue space. (Maybe you’ll come back for a show that night) On Roosevelt and Grand, take your time wandering into the stores and breweries and don’t miss Pueblo Life, a wonderful plant store with a coffee bar in back. For dinner, you’ll need to have booked a reservation prior, but head to Killer Whale Sex Club. It’s dark and stylish–the hip hop is loud, but the place is rock and roll. The food changes but it is always fun. Grab a drink from the vegetal category on the menu.

I’d recommend getting in a hike or two–Camelback and Piestewa Peak are for everybody else–check out Trail 100, located in Paradise Valley. It’s moderate, with plenty of flat and you’ll have views of the city. Grab coffee before or after at LGO or Little O’s in the Arcadia area. After the hike, go to one of my favorite venues-Shady Park in Tempe. “It has everything…” (could not go without a Stephon reference)-a beautiful outdoor space for daytime live music, usually electronic which gives off European garden vibes, and is attached to a trendy but doesn’t-know-it’s-trendy Asian bar and restaurant. You can flow back and forth between the two. Get the poke. Then keep it going at SunBar, just a few blocks away for electronic music with top global DJs into the night.

If you can squeeze it in and it’s the right time of year, catch a show at Mesa Ampitheatre, where music is outdoors but intimate.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have worked with developers who have been instrumental in bringing my vision to life, as well as talented visual and web designers. The biggest shoutout however, goes to my CTO for bringing his technical utility knife to Vinylly. Vinylly is an app with complexity combining APIs, community and an algorithm and we were pioneers in our space. Vinylly couldn’t be where it is today without his expertise.

Website: vinyllyapp.com

Instagram: @Vinyllyapp

Linkedin: /vinyllyapp

Twitter: @Vinyllyapp

Facebook: @Vinyllyapp

Youtube: Vinylly

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