Music Service Design

Course: Design for Service
Instructors: Molly Wright Steenson & Daphne Peters
Teammates: Arushi Juneja, John Lee, Zahin Ali, Lucy Yu

2.27.18 | The Team Assembles

Today was our first meeting as a team. We went through introductions — both our background and our interest for the music service that we are creating together. Our team is a motley crew with a varied range of interests, but everyones is also very receptive to new ideas.

Some topics that we brainstormed are pictured here:

The different coloured post-its indicate input from different members of the group

Topics we’re interested in researching further:

  • Music service for positive mental effect (i.e. productivity/therapy/etc.)
  • Music recommendation service based on lyrics and writing style
  • Music content creation/selection service for different contexts (i.e. festivals/dance class/etc.) — filmmakers/music video producers can find people who can produce such music — matching different collaborators (i.e. Porter Robinson collaborated with Japanese anime studio)
  • Music streaming service using location-based crowdsourcing (i.e. in airports)
  • Music service platform helping DJs integrate clients’ requests

3.1.18 | Brainstorming, Scaling, and Stakeholders

We’re currently in our second meeting and discussing strategies that will help us categorize and appropriately scale our ideas; this will eventually help us reach our more focused research topic.

We’re planning to plot our ideas on a criteria matrix:

Talking to Stakeholders:

We plan to talk to stakeholders so we can create a service on the basis of research. In-context studies will help us figure out how they currently carry out their tasks, and identify what challenges they might encounter. In this sense, we are talking to the stakeholders in order to help us find opportunities to intervene, but not ask our stakeholders create the actual design solution.

We want to determine the stakeholders we want to talk to and have access to (distilled from our interested topics), including:

  • Well-being/Fitness: therapists, zumba teachers
  • Music execs: guest lecturer
  • DJ: DJs, clients
  • Content creation: AB Tech, music media students

Next Steps:

This weekend, we will be brainstorming a list of very broad questions to ask our stakeholders, and reaching out to them. Hopefully, we’ll have some feedback from some stakeholders by next Tuesday!


3.6.18 | Interview, Research, and Distilling Findings

Over the weekend, we each spoke with different stakeholders. These included people involved in a cappella at CMU, independent DJs, and a product and customer experience designer from Audio Network — Matthew Hawn.

The interviews are documented below:

Today’s interview with Matthew provided very helpful insight to our understanding of the music creation industry (thank you Molly for hooking us up!) which means that there is a high chance we’ll be exploring this topic for our music service project. We’ll meet on Wednesday to discuss our findings with the other stakeholders, and by Thursday, finalize our ideas and thoughts on the topic we will pursue.


3.8.18 | Brainstorming, Scaling, and Stakeholders

Currently, our team talked about how we can fit this project into the practical time frame. There are two phases we are considering to spend the majority of our time on: research vs. development. If we decide to focus on research, we would need to dig deeper into the issues to understand the problem space — it would take a lot of time, which could alternatively be used for developing our deliverables for the touch points. What’s the better allotment for our time?

Where we are right now:

Through talking with Matthew Hawn from Audio Network, we learned a lot about the existing problem space for services that supply music content for creative content creation (i.e. advertisements, filmmaking, etc.) — we discussed related stakeholders, pain points, and possible opportunities in this space. Currently, a major problem in this industry is the speed of music discovery — henceforth, the search process.

While it was an interesting discovery, we weren’t inclined to settle on a UI re-design as our project (that would be more UI design than service design…) Therefore, we decided to speak with more stakeholders categorized as the “middleman” of content selection— the people who select the music for creative content such as ads. As Matthew put it, these individuals are sometimes titled “music editors” or “music supervisors”, who are heavily involved in the post-production process. We’re looking at possibly connecting with individuals who are responsible for these roles and seeing what their tasks involve, and compare that to the work of a DJ — possibly discovering some overlap and opportunity space between the two.

Questions from Molly + Daphne:

  • what communities do DJ’s work in?
  • how do they currently communicate?
  • do DJ’s actually need exposure?
  • how can DJs and music discovery industries (i.e. Audio Network) establish symbiotic relationships?
  • are the DJ’s playing the music live?
  • consider the difference between a good playlist vs. good DJ-ing
  • how are live vs. stagnant settings different?

Keep these questions in mind as we proceed…

  • what brings the service to life?
  • what’s exciting?
  • what are the emerging technologies that we can build into this?

After break, we need to:

  • create service blueprint
  • outline touch points: 1 or 2 expanded? (Something in the real space)
  • consider real-life scenarios
  • make video explaining how this service works
  • carry out stakeholder case study*

3.20.18 | Continued Research and Concept Planning

In class today, our team recapped where we left off before break. Matthew Hawn, from Audio Network, sent us helpful information that might help us understand how customer journey maps may look like. We will be meeting again later today to talk with some other stakeholders in our original plan: Keith from Kobalt App, and later in the week, Nick — marketing and sales manager from Audio Network. (*Note: didn’t happen — we didn’t get a response in time.)


3.21.18 | Scenarios

We met as a group today to brainstorm 5 different scenarios, outlined below:

3.22.18 | Speed-dating Feedback

Today, we met with another group and exchanged scenarios for the concepts we brainstormed previously. It was helpful to get insight from other perspectives, and observe what people were drawn to and what was less effective. This will help shape our discussions and the output of our design.


3.29.18 | In-Progress Presentation + Updated Scenario (+ Feedback)

Today, we presented our progress to the class. Below are our slides for the presentation we made, and our ideas/thoughts moving forward…the biggest concern of which is placing this very specific concept into a larger systematic service.

Updated Scenario:

Post-presentation + Feedback:


4.3.18 | The Valley of Despair

Yup. That’s kind of where we are right now…but that’s okay. We need to reorient a little bit and widen the scope of what we’re building. Here are some things we talked to Daphne and Vanessa about today in class:

4.4.18 | The “Service” of our Service Design

Today, we’re meeting to get out of the valley of despair, and figure out a way to climb out of this uncertain trough. We attempted to figure out who we were, and what we can offer to the people who choose to use our service — what could we offer them beyond the “search” plug-in touchpoint that we proposed in our presentation?

Here’s what we have so far:

While this seems like a big improvement in the direction of developing a service that doesn’t focus on just one touchpoint, we’re still not sure what differentiates the value of what we offer from other existing services like ad/post-production agencies…But we took a stab at it anyway. After all, we have to keep going and pushing through.

Here’s an attempt at our service blueprint:


4.5.18 | Stuck, and How to get Unstuck

We worked together in class to finish up the service blueprint we started from last meeting. We attempted to map out what each step of the process would look like, identifying the touchpoints and channels, the front end procedures and back-end infrastructures. We made our best attempt at it, knowing that much of what we came up with are founded on assumptions that need to be verified.

Iteration #1 of our service statement.
Iteration #2 of our service statement.

After talking to Molly, we realized that we fell into our fear of likely overlapping with existing services. Since we’re making a lot of assumptions with our current model, a lot of our decisions are not supported by research. Hence, our next step is to gather some more research — truly understand the creative process in the ad/post-production agency business. We need to understand the business well enough to justify our decisions for our service, and why there’s a current gap (or crack) between these businesses.

Our next step is reaching out to some contacts we got hold on, and conduct some interviews before class next Tuesday. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start synthesizing some findings from our research by next class.


4.6.18 | Insight into the “Other” Business

We did a mass reach out to people that may be involved in advertising/post-production industry especially involving video editing and audio elements). In Molly’s words, we put on our “best extroverts” and hoped for the best. We’ve gotten some good feedback —

Interview Documentation and Findings

Below is our email interview with Peter, who works in advertising in NYC.:

Below is our email interview with Amy, who works at Man Made Music:


4.10.18 | Insight into the “Other” Business

After much discussion and contemplation on how to move forward with the information that we’ve gathered from research, we reached an agreement that it’ll be extremely difficult for us to identify a crack in the current business servicescapes that we are looking at. In order to proceed, we agreed to take a step back and map out what each of us know so far in the form of concept maps (shown below).

**Note: we attempted, but couldn’t even apply the Fiat service ecology model with our current service because of its level of abstraction…which reveals a huge problem.

Top left to bottom right: Lucy, John, Zahin, Arushi

After taking a look at what we had, we’ve decided to broaden our scope and open up to having consumers become actors, which helps open up many more needs.


4.12.18 | In the Process of Getting “Un-stuck”

After talking to Molly and Daphne, it seems like our idea of what the service will look like is a viable route, but there are many more nitty gritty things that we need to consider, including the financial models (how are we better than others?) the service blueprint, the value exchanges (including feedback for service), and the value flows between all the actors involved in the service. Here’s a rough sketch of what we’re thinking about:

Of course, this proposal/value flow/stakeholder map is still constructed based on many assumptions. In order to demystify our assumptions, much research needs to be continued, and are thus outlined below.

Tasks of research for next Tues:

  • Licensing — John, Lucy
  • Business/Finance Models — Arushi, John, Zahin
  • Emerging Artists — Lucy
  • *Update: Having interviewed someone who worked on a branding project with Nike, we gained confirmation that we would’ve reached a dead end had we not decided to broaden our scope (apparently there is no “process” to creative processes…it’s good that we decided to steer.

4.15.18 | Our Multiple Stabs at this B to B

Since we decided to spread out our resources tactically, we all took on different aspects to explore. We met up today to get on the same page and share insights. We each spoke with/did research on various topics: the backend of the financial model; the procedure for licensing (and the different types of licenses); how YouTubers find music / how they deal with copyright infringement; what incentivizes emerging artists to license rights for their music.

Keeping in mind what we’d left off from last time, Arushi took a stab at the business model and strategy and came up with the following:

John’s outline on licensing:

Other resources we consulted:

A friend whose YouTube channel that once violated copyright sent me a screenshot of the notification she received from YouTube.

Finally, based on today’s discussions, we’re potentially pursuing one of two ideas:

  1. “We are a service that connects low-budget content creators with emerging artists.”
  2. “We are a service that partners with YouTube and allows YouTubers to acquire rights for the music that they use.”

…or can we somehow find a way to bridge the two?

An in-progress value flow:

Some questions that remain:

  1. Why are YouTubers infringing on the rights of artists on Youtube?
  2. Will it be cheaper than i.e. Audio Network? If so, how? (dig into financial model)
  3. Can we reduce the price of licenses with artists? How?

Since we don’t have a whole lot of time left for this project, we’ll be moving towards designing the service blueprint and prototyping at tomorrow’s meeting.


4.17.18 | Another Model from Another Meeting


4.18.18 | Hashing out Scenarios

First Stab at Service Blueprint:

Content creator User Flow:

Artist User Flow:

4.28.18 | Focusing on the Making

Currently, our team is focused on producing the service blueprint, value flow, mid/hi-fi wireframes and video (script + filming) for the service. We will have less frequent updates of progress — we’re at a good place, but want to focus our energy and time on creating good work for the final deliverables. Here are some examples of what we have so far, but are still working on…

Service Blueprint (Content Creator):

Video Storyboarding:

Wireframes:

It looks a little scattered right now…but don’t worry! We’re working on weaving these segments together — soon enough, it’ll be a seamlessly sequenced service.

5.1.18 | Some Important Final Components

We had to speed right into a lot of hi-fi mockups, but even in this process, user testing was an important step that we couldn’t ignore. Having tested on different users and modifying our mockups based in their feedback gave us a lot more confidence and understanding that we’ve made considered decisions for our designs.

Notes from user-testing:

Additionally, here’s a sneak peak of our visual direction:

Stay tuned for the final design!

5.7.18 | Final Presentation