Returning to the dating scene in 2022 has been a great experience for me. After my last relationship, I took 4 years to simply focus on myself and my son and to allow myself to fully heal from devastating heartbreak. People often asked how can you be celibate for so long. I don’t know. All I know is I had no desire to emotionally or physically invest in anyone. I needed a break.
However, I’ve now moved into a new phase. Now, I’m allowing myself the openness to follow my spirit and make human connections. I’m paying no attention to rules or conventions. Race, age, occupation, even some of the physical like height, all that’s out. Clearly, they’ve never served me well.
This time around I decided to search for intellectual and spiritual synergy. How do we see the world? How do we connect to it? How do we navigate life? What are we doing to make positive impacts? When you smile do I see and feel warmth? When you look at me does it make me feel beautiful? When I look at you do I feel safe? Does it feel like we are freely in our authentic selves? Are you a gentleman? Do you treat me the way I feel a lady should be treated. Those are the types of questions I’m using to decide if I’m going to invest my energy in a man. I’m so glad I made that decision because it’s been a beautifully wonderful experience.
What People Want in 2023
For women like me, the number one challenge in dating is always where do I find someone. When we’re young we seem to meet men everywhere, in school, at work, at the club, taking out the trash…LOL. As we get older, it becomes a bit more difficult. We typically don’t frequent the types of places where we’d meet guys in the past. Also, let’s face it, we simply don’t have the same instant physical appeal as in our younger days.
The social difficulties of dating were really put to the test during the pandemic and we had to learn to be more creative in meeting potential suiters. I tried meetup groups, online conferences, even virtual game nights, just hoping to try my luck.
Now, the world is open but the dating scene is still a bit different than before the the pandemic. People are still not going out as much as they used to and for many of us our priorities have changed. Like myself, many people are throwing away their preconceptions about what their mate has to look like, where they have to come from, and what they have to do for a living. We are looking for meaningful connections in 2023 not just someone to have fun with. So where do we turn.
Well, for starters, many of us are using dating apps. However, simply swiping left and right based on superficial profiles often doesn’t cut it. Many people, myself include, find the use of traditional dating apps tedious and draining. I’d say at times it’s felt soul-crushing. How can you really tell if you and a person could connect with just a profile of pictures and catchy blurbs written with a lot of padding.
One of the questions we often ask someone we’re interested in when we first meet them is what type of music do you like. I know back in the day, the first thing I’d do is check out a guy’s CD or record collection. It was very important the Sweetback be there if we were going to be a good fit. What do you mean you’ve never heard of Sweetback? No bueno! Haha.
Rachel Van Nortwick, CEO and Founder, Vinylly, is bring the awareness of how music shapes, defines, and connects us to online dating experience.
Q&A with dating expert Rachel Van Nortwick, CEO and Founder, Vinylly
1. How has dating evolved since the pandemic?
There have been a few different waves of dating trends since the pandemic. As the pandemic set in and it became clear we were going to be disconnected socially for a while, dating app usage surged and Zoom dates had potential matches talking online for hours. This was a positive that came out of that time as people shared more about themselves sooner rather than later and if deep relationships formed, they had staying power. As restrictions lifted, people were able to go to social activities including bars and restaurants, reuniting with friends and friends of friends, leading to more casual hookups, and people whose relationships ended due to pandemic pressures, also entered the dating scene at a time when it was a collective “spring break” of sorts. People had a lot of time to think and work on themselves during the pandemic and if they did strike up something casual or even a serious relationship, they went into it knowing what they wanted and didn’t want. People have become less tolerant of the superficiality that can be found on traditional dating apps. They are still in high use, but fatigue is real.
2. What current dating “trends” are we seeing, and what will “trend” in the new year?
We will be coming out of cuffing season which can also be “settling” season, when people feel they need to have a +1 to take to parties or family events, or to break up the doldrums of winter, but as spring sets in, there is always a renewed sense in working on oneself and finding the right mate. Current trends seem to be around finding someone with deep shared interests and attitudes towards what matters in life. As mentioned, the pandemic had us try new things and dive deeper into our own likes and dislikes, and finding matches that enjoy a similar lifestyle is going to be a trend that will stay with us. Liking to go to restaurants or enjoying working out doesn’t seem to be enough of a commonality anymore–it’s about are we on the same page about how much we want to work vs. travel, are you a nester who wants to limit alcohol and DIY your place with wallpaper and plants, or do you want a partner who can support a new side hustle, or be up for anything if it means adventuring and living one’s best life?
3. As the founder of Vinylly, why do you think music is the key to matchmaking?
Vinylly was developed to serve a large segment of the population that weren’t having success with traditional dating apps. Music preferences are a top criteria in finding a mate and an app did not exist that matches based on music compatibility. In going back to the idea about the importance of matching on lifestyle, for a lot of people, the music they like is a large part of their identity–meaning they have genres or artists that have played an important role in defining them or providing happiness or they love going to see live music and want someone that loves going to shows too. Get someone talking about the music they like or watch people at a concert for their favorite band–you will find people putting their emotions on display and being authentically who they are. Music is an expression of what moves us, and our choices reveal more about us than a hastily written bio ever could.
4. What makes music scientifically proven to help singles find love? Please refer to scientific statistics, etc.
If you think about what people did during the pandemic, music became a comfort and a priority–people sang together from balconies in Europe, others streamed nostalgic music and shared playlists or watched livestreams together from their favorite artists. Studies have concluded that when people share in music together, it creates dopamine in the brain, lowers cortisol, promotes empathy and communication, and heals social divisions. Research shows that music provides brain-to-brain social connections and that music isn’t mere entertainment, but instead is a core feature of human existence with important social implications.
5. What type of music is most popular in helping people find love?
Vinylly users have varied taste in music, within their own preferences and across our userbase. Because these days most people stream music and listen to playlists and not just a single artist at a time, people’s preferences have expanded into multiple genres and subgenres. The music preferences that deliver the best potential matches are the ones that the user prefers—not any specific genre or style. What is more important in finding love is finding a match that appreciates music in the same way–i.e., do you both like to see live music, and how often, are you audiophiles, do you have any dealbreakers, etc. We ask these kinds of questions on Vinylly because the role music plays in one’s life isn’t the same for everyone. Dating app users aren’t used to the idea of being truly themselves on a dating app but we are focused on giving users the ability to put all of their music DNA out there, because that is how they will find real, meaningful matches.
6. Can you give us a briefing on how Vinylly works? Is it free?
Vinylly is a free inclusive dating app that matches users entirely on music compatibility. Within a few minutes, users can create a profile through our music profile generator or if a user chooses, a sync of their Spotify streaming history. These combined with a few questions about the role music plays in their lives, enables Vinylly’s proprietary algorithm to provide “high volume” matches. Users have the ability to create and edit their playlists, browse matches and press “play” when they want to connect, as well as chat (we provide music-related conversation starters if they choose) and get concert tickets for first dates all without having to leave the app.
7. Can you brief us on a Vinylly success story?
We have had a lot of success stories on Vinylly, but we had a couple who met on Vinylly realizing they had each attended the same concert by themselves but didn’t connect and through the app, found eachother and saw the same band together the next time around.
8. How is Vinylly working with concerts/events to further help people connect and find love?
When promoters, touring artists and venues partner with Vinylly, single music fans can connect before and during the concert. Data shows that the majority of concertgoers are not likely to go to a concert alone and this is an obstacle that Vinylly can help concert promoters overcome. Music fans seeking concert buddies (or relationships) can join the Vinylly community to meet people, as the app provides a natural way to chat about music and buy concert tickets. Vinylly has partnered with promoters by providing a dedicated area close to the stage on site where single music fans can mix, mingle, and potentially find their match. We have a community of raving music fans and we love to return value back to users in the form of music discovery, tour announcements and discounts on tickets.
Although I’ve been enjoying dating these past few months, especially my Lifetime Channel-esq Iberian romance, I’m still looking for my permanent life partner. I think Vinylly is a brilliant concept. I’ve started using the app this week, and I’m excited to see what happens with my connections. Let me know what you think of this concept, and definitely let me know if you try it. I’ll keep you posted on how things work out for me.