Robert and I are meeting Thursday to further discuss my thesis and his involvement in the music industry. This week and last I have been sharing my thesis idea with a number of friends to get practice articulating my ideas and asking for feedback.
Patrick Torres and I were exchanging thesis ideas, and he shared with me a free web-based prototyping tool called Invision. I’ve created my account and watched a few videos on the interface, but the next step is to start playing with the software.
This week I spoke with a number of faculty about my thesis to be closer pointed in the right direction with my ideas and a mentor. First I spoke with Jim Lutz, who I had for design last year. He pointed me to psychology professor Michelle Hill, who I had for two classes and mentored with. She recognized the emotional part of my thesis an connected me with Robert Loss, a faculty member of writing and literature who has a history of critical writing on music. He is a currently doing research on the way we consume music.
Matthew Mohr and I met at the end of last week to discuss possible mockup options to create an interactive interface. Proto.io is an app mockup program he recommended I use, and from the examples and program interface, it looks like a good choice.
The program is $29 a month, which brings me to my next point: I need to create a budget. This week I hope to research other prototyping software to make sure it’s the right tool for this project and start an outline for a budget.
This week I am going to start researching what Pandora and Spotify are doing on the back end and look for statistics. By looking at the way they organize their music and data, I will better understand the best way to implement a new formula. I’ll also start sketching infographics to explain how the formula will work, along with roughs of a layout for what a player interface aesthetic might look like. I made the first draft of my gantt chart:
I believe the music streaming services out there could be made better. My idea was inspired by the Music Genome Project, a collection of algorithms used by developers to organize music by finding similarities and differences between songs and artists. It is currently being implemented by Pandora Radio. While it serves the industry well, it is a very mathematical approach, and lacks the personal and human qualities of music. Music genres are organic and have hardly remained within defined boundaries, as they often borrow from one another. What if we took the responsibility of sorting music away from developers and put into the hands of listeners? This would engage them—make listeners feel like they’re contributing to the music scene—and give them better search results—more related songs, more artists discovered, and an opportunity for niche genres to become more satisfactory. Instead of proposing another streaming service, I am proposing another organizational tool like the Music Genome Project, one I considering naming “Infinity Project” or “Infinity.”
Soundcloud has a good foundation with their comments system that I like to reference in conjunction with this concept. Essentially, it gives users the opportunity to comment at specific parts of the song:
Music makes the world go ’round. It has been a part of human culture since the beginning, and it is ever expanding. Recording technology is becoming more accessible and musicians are turning their homes into their personal studios. Because music is essentially infinite, it’s a hard thing to control with just a team of developers. If the whole world is working together to curate music into collections, new music will more quickly surface itself. If a tag system is used (words to describe the music, like “theatrical” for example), generational gaps can be bridged, and similarities can be drawn between bands like Queen and My Chemical Romance, a relation one might not initially expect.
More research is to be completed, but let’s take a look at some of the streaming services already out there already and see what they’re known for:
- all client types (mobile, desktop, etc)
- social aspect and Facebook
- king of the hill
- web based
- originally king
- exclusivity (Samsung users only)
- free with no commercials
- comments on songs
- download options