In my diploma thesis I focused on the topic of "Social Music". I've experienced how music streaming changed the way we listen to music. We share less music with our friends and since the pandemic we also can't join a party or concert and celebrate music live together. We rather just listen alone.
Research, Product Design, Visual Design, UX/UI
Music streaming changed the way we listen to music. Most of us rarely share music or connect on it with other people. The driving force behind the digital age is algorithm. Music streaming platforms inundate you with new content and you aren’t expected or encouraged to keep track of how much you consume. The social part of listening to music has been lost, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can’t attend listening parties or concerts, never mind connecting with a larger group of friends over your jams.
The goal of “heya” is to offer a fresh and innovative music sharing platform that emphasizes the shift from our everyday world to the current online reality. A platform that creates a subtle way to interact with each other and discover new content. Shape our music-listening habits through the efforts of a new personalized hybrid, one that combines the algorithm with social interactivity data to bring people back together again. Listening to music is one of the many wonderful ways that connect us, and heya will not only reintroduce this connection but sustain it through both the good times and the bad
For a long time music was only a live event, but with the rise of technology we experienced a lot of revolutions. The change of the medium shaped the way we listened to music. From haptic content, later a few megabytes, we now have almost everything in our pocket.
Music streaming is one of the most popular ways in which consumers interact with streaming media. In the age of digitization, the private consumption of music transformed into a public good. But how is music social?
There are currently three different levels. The artists provide their music on different channels and thereby create a fanbase. The platform e.g. music streaming decides what content appears on the top and which don't. They curate certain content to the user with their algorithm. Sometimes they almost decide for us what we are listening to. As a leading part of the music industry they shape the way we listen to artists. The user is just the consumer and the platform directs the user in his habits. A real community is not really exciting
With my goal to create an application that is more social than the current services I conduct interviews with several people. There I tried to find out how they currently exchange music content and what they really like on music streaming but also what they miss.
Preparing for our user tests through the DECIDE framework.
Based on the real people we've met; helped us personalize the experience by using them as valuable reference.
Made prioritizing features and managing scope much easier.
Music gets social when we turn it into social music tech. A technology that strongly pushes to connect people trough music. I view social music tech as the products which leverage both music, something inherently social in its very nature and technology in order to uniquely spark conversation and interaction.
To build a strong understanding of the music streaming products, comparing them to popular social networks and community apps. Through this comparison I looked for ways to create a more social experience when designing Heya.
Many existing social music features appear and disappear, feeling boring and forced.
An essential part of my approach to design interactive systems is an understanding that it should put people first.
How do I send a song recommendation to a friend?
How do I find out if my friend enjoyed the song?
How do we learn what our friends are listening to?
After I brainstormed potential solutions and analyzed pain points, I created a detailed site map outlining where each of heya's features would be developed. This allowed us to get a grasp into how the platform would work system-wide.
For my monitor flows, this stage helped me distinguish the structure and constraints I would need to consider as music is send and recommend.
Validating decisions through a feedback loop with the community. The overarching goal was to identify any gaps in my knowledge, overlooked issues and friction points with the decisions made so far.
Social features in streaming services are often hidden and the most people aren't aware of them.
Push interaction with others, rather than consume the data driven content of streaming services.
→ In-App Experience
Don't leave the app to send content to others or react. Stay in the heya universe.
I began the ideation process with the main problems and started to develop how this new product might look like and how it would solve these challenges. After several rounds of development and lots of feedback from friends, colleagues and professors, I created the final wireframes and went to work prototype designing the final app.
Once I moved from ideation phase to prototyping, I decided to build the brand and a visual design guideline together to make sure that all design elements were cohesive throughout the process.
After a long three months, the final solution is a new solution that helps to interact with a community about music. For users this new service is an invaluable step up from what they currently have in many different ways:
Ring Ring! Get music recommendations right in your Music Mailbox and let your friends know if you like their jam.
There's no DJ? Nevermind start your Shared Session for your party or even during the day and add or vote for the next track.
Collect points for each interaction on heya and be the number one influencer in your circle of friends.
See what people around you and other cities are listening to. Tell the anthem of your neighborhood!
Interact with the artist and the audience in heya livestreams.
Through this project I realized how hard it is to create a community platform. In my research I already saw different attempts to create social music networks. If Apple Ping or even smaller companies like Tastebuds or Festify – it's hard to succeed. Although people are looking for more social and interactive solutions it's hard to create a new technology that the people will use in their daily lives. Since my thesis you could already see more social developments on Spotify (Listening Together, Blend) and other projects. I'm excited how we'll consume music in the future!