Six months ago, our four person team at Parallel published our latest experiment on Medium, Music together is better. Yes, real-time music listening had been attempted before, but our twist was in platform ubiquity (music service and device). By capturing the music in a passive nature, we could act as a top layer, connecting the scattered music ecosystem.
As we rolled out our Mac app that accompanied the Medium post, we were highly conscious of the main hypothesis: is music better together? We set our north star metric around how often people were listening to music together and got to work.
By looking closely at our data and conducting several user interviews throughout iterations, we discovered that our hypothesis was not as valid as we initially thought. The common bottleneck that prevented people from listening together seemed to be the psychological and social barriers associated with broadcasting personal music. Sharing intimate music triggers emotional overhead, making most users hyper-aware and cognizant of what is playing at any given moment. Our passive natured app quickly became top of mind — the fear of not having cool music to play negatively influenced listening behavior.
On the flip side of this discovery, we found from our user interviews that music intimacy problems were alleviated when the users happened to be in a significant relationship. These people are already familiar with sharing music in person, but they had limited methods of obtaining closeness during the day if they worked in different locations. Parallel acted as a medium to preserve affection across a physical separation.
Reassessing our initial hypothesis with this new data, we realized that our product was a feature and not a business. While we would have loved to continue down the path of music co-listening, we have unfortunately decided to sunset Parallel to focus on new challenges.
Thank you to those who have supported us along this journey! If you would like to grab coffee (San Francisco) or learn more about what we discovered along this adventure, send Dan a message.