Spotify Distribute

OVERVIEW

This project focuses on the development of a music distribution service called 'Spotify Distribute.' It is a new way for emerging artists to release their music on mainstream streaming platforms.

METHODS

Topic Map
Screener Survey

User Interviews 
Affinity Map
Persona
Journey Map
Competitive Research
MoSCoW Map
Design Studio Sketches
Wireframes
Prototype
Usability Test & Report

TOOLS

Figma
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop

TEAM

Marilyn Shi

Ash Burke

MY ROLE

UX Researcher 
UX Designer
UI Designer

IMPLEMENT

IDEATE

SYNTHESIZE

RESEARCH

the design process

IDENTIFYING

THE PROBLEM SPACE

As a team of UX designers, we wanted to explore how individuals who upload music across more than one streaming platform engage with those platforms.
 

RESEARCH & SYNTHESIS

USER INTERVIEWS

The team and I kicked off our research phase by creating a screener survey to help us identify and connect with potential users that we could later interview. The qualifying criteria we looked for was users who uploaded music frequently within the past year. We were able to identify and interview five different emerging artists about how they engaged with music streaming platforms. 

DISCOVERING THE DISTRIBUTION SERVICE

From our user interviews we learned a lot about the process of uploading music to mainstream streaming platforms, one most importantly being that it wasn’t anything like we had imagined. Artists who wanted to get their music onto mainstream streaming platforms had to go through a music distribution service first, by law. In other words, it was illegal for artist to directly upload/release their music onto mainstream streaming platforms.

Music File

Distribution Service

Music Streaming Platform

KEY INSIGHTS GATHERED INTO A PERSONA 

Based on the data we collected, we created an affinity map to synthesize and analyze it. The affinity map helped us to find common trends across all of our users as far as their observations, quotes, and insights. These common trends were then used to develop a persona that represented all of our users, including their needs, goals, pain points, and behaviors.

Persona:

JINX

Age: 25

Genre: Indie/Rock

Occupation: Musician 

I do everything I can to be discovered on

mainstream streaming platforms.

Goal:

Wants his music to be discovered, wants his music to be on 

a mainstream playlist, and wants to network.

Need:

Needs to be paid for his music, needs financial transparency,

and needs comprehensive analytics.

Pain Point:

Dislikes the robotic feel of the distribution process and finds

self-promotion to be difficult. 

Behavior:

Uses a distributor to post his music across multiple streaming

platforms, and does all the promotion himself.

FINDING AN OPPORTUNITY

With the development of our persona, we found that we couldn’t move on to our problem statement because we weren’t sure what the biggest problem was for our users. It was clear that the needs, goals, pain points, and behaviors of Jinx seemed to span across both the music distribution service and music streaming platforms. 

 

To pinpoint an opportunity, we created a journey map of Jinx’s journey engaging with both the distributor and music streaming platforms. We found great opportunities within Jinx’s journey during his ‘Upload for Distribution’ stage, and his ‘Promotion’ stage. Although we were able to identify opportunities within both of these stages, due to timing and limited resources, we decided as a team that the ‘Promotion’ stage was just too huge of a realm for us to solve for at the time.

"I got the release

date I wanted."​

"I don't really know what I'm doing, or who to talk to about it."​

"Self-promotion is painful."​

"I got onto a good playlist!"​

"I do all of the

promotion myself."​

"Oh wow, a new follower!"​

  • Choose a release date

  • Record track

  • Choose distributor

  • Complete required items

  • Receive presave link

  • Send out presave link

  • Promote on social media

  • Send out blog to editors

  • Check for updated analytics

Make Music

Upload for Distribution

Promotion

Check Analytics

ACTIONS

EMPATHIZING WITH OUR USERS

Now that we knew we wanted to focus on an opportunity within Jinx’s ‘Upload for Distribution’ stage, we pulled key quotes from our user interviews that were associated with the stage to help develop a problem statement.

“It’s really important to pay attention to the uploading process. Otherwise, you’re on your own.”

“I would like to see more transparency with payment. I also need help understanding financial statements and my royalties….I don’t know how much a spin is worth.”

“It wasn’t a great experience, not a human experience..”

“I’ve never spoken to someone... It was super automated.”
 

“You need to take a lot into account, like text conventions, your song bio...they’re strict with conventions and won’t let you go forward if you don’t...do everything right.”

“Financial equivalence is ...one of the murkier elements across the board of the process.”

THE PROBLEM STATEMENT

Emerging artists do not get individualized support from their distribution services. 

As an emerging artist, Jinx wants more individualized support from his distribution service.

How might we help Jinx get specialized support to get discovered on mainstream streaming platforms? 

IDEATION & IMPLEMENTATION

DESIGNING A PROPER SOLUTION

Considering our problem statement, we knew that our proposed company was going to be a music distribution service. To help us check out the landscape of the music distribution service industry, we identified our competitors and placed them onto a competitive analysis matrix to see where our proposed company would land. With help from the matrix, we determined our proposed company’s greatest potential was to improve our users’ experience when they release their music to a distributor.

FEATURE PRIORITIZATION

Understanding where we landed on the competitive analysis matrix, we then selected features discovered from our user interviews and in common practices that we uncovered during our competitive landscape research. We sorted out these features onto a competitor/comparator analysis chart, and then created a MoSCow Map to see what features our proposed company must have, should have, could have, and won’t have.

Must:

  • Upload song[s]

  • View financial statements

  • Live chat for client support

  • Digital distribution to Spotify

  • Instant notifications

  • Guides & FAQs

  • Account/Profile

Could:

  • Photo upload

  • News & Events

  • Marketing tools

  • Testimonials

Should:

  • Schedule client support

  • Pricing plans

  • Music licensing tool

  • Settlement Reporting tool

Won't:

  • Song analytics reporting

  • Shazam registration

  • Digital distribution to other streaming platforms 

THE PROPOSED PARTNERSHIP

With the amount of data we collected, we determined as a team that we wanted to partner with Spotify to develop a distribution service that will allow users to upload their music directly to Spotify’s mainstream streaming platform.

5/5

 

users consider Spotify’s criteria and deadlines when deciding on a release date for their music

 

5/5

 

users said their top priority is be discovered by more listeners, namely on Spotify

 

5/5

 

users considered Spotify’s playlists to be crucial to their success as an artist

 

CONDUCTING DESIGN STUDIOS

Talk about wht the goals were to get out of the design studio, in terms of support, financial transparency, and a human experience

IMPLEMENTING DESIGN CHOICES

Here are the design choices we made based on support, financial transparency, and a human experience

Design Choices on Support

talk about how we made design choices that circled around giving the user the support they need during the uploading process

“You need to take a lot into account, like text conventions, your song bio...they’re strict with conventions and won’t let you go forward if you don’t...do everything right.”

Design Choices on Financial Transparency

talk about how we made design choices that circled around giving the user the financial transparency they need to see how much money theyve made?

“I would like to see more transparency with payment. I also need help understanding financial statements and my royalties….I don’t know how much a spin is worth.”

Design Choices Human Experience

talk about how we made design choices that circled around giving the user the human experience they need (talking to a real person)

“I’ve never spoken to someone... It was super automated.”
 

USABILITY TESTING

TASK 2

Check your total royalties from the album, “Head in the Hills.”

TASK 1

Begin the upload process, then ask for help from customer support.

TASK 3

Schedule a phone call on Tuesday the September 2nd, at 10am with your Account Manager.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM OUR DESIGN CHOICES

For Task 1 we moved the description of the ‘Questions’ button and the actually button closer to one another so that users would immediately be able to associate one with the other.

For Task 2 we changed the way the albums listed under ‘Recent Projects’ looked in hopes of making them look less like buttons that the user can click on. With this change, users are more likely to go the ‘Royalties’ section to view their royalties on the album “Head in the Hills.”

For Task 3 we changed the text above Julie’s schedule to indicate what kind of call our users would be making with Julie.

PROTOTYPE

FINAL THOUGHTS 

We plans to come together again to flush out more detailed designs of the desktop site. Figure out how the account managers would be assigned their artists, whether that be by area or genre. As well as test out our high-fidelity prototype with more

music artists

Copyright © 2020 Nyesha Viechweg. All rights reserved.