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MusicDB: A User Friendly Advanced Analytics Platform For Music Industry Professionals

Special thank you to Shelby Ivey for help with the GIFS in this page. You can check out her work HERE


Project Brief

With so much oversaturation in digital music discovery and consumption, it can be hard for music industry professionals to keep track of all of the artists that they're working with or thinking about signing. Having firsthand experience working at an agency and with various managers in the industry, current softwares at companies for tracking artists growth and social media analytics are outdated and require too much work on employees end for them to be utilized to their full potential. The goal of this platform is to give music industry professionals tools to better visualize social media and digital streaming analytics with a focus on versatility of parameters. 


Project Scope

Client: Talent Agencies, Record Labels, Streaming Services

Role: UX/UI Designer, Project Manager, Usability Testing Oversight & Analysis

Project type: Analytics Platform & Enterprise Internal Communication System

Platform: Web App, Product Extension

Project Length: 3 months

Deliverables: Market Research, C&C Analysis, Usability Testing, Task Analysis, Sketches, Wireframes, High Fidelity Prototype, Pitch Deck

Tools: Pen & Paper, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe XD


Problem: Music industry professionals don't have effective tools to monitor advanced analytics about their clients or potential clients. Current enterprise A&R'ing softwares that function both to track artists and communicate internally are outdated. 

Solution: Modernized internal system for music industry professionals specific companies. Industry professionals need to be able to get a better sense of big data trends and analytics in gauging the value of a potential investment. I'm hoping that specific companies will take data they find valuable through this application and apply it to their future A&R practices when searching for new talent.

  • Advanced search that provides an abundance of parameters that companies could benefit from experimenting with to gauge patterns and trends in listening and social media growth for artists. 
  • Concise internal communication through easy to navigate menus/pages and showing employees extremely relevant information about upcoming shows, artist's profiles, and history of communication with new artists. 
  • Provide analytic features that aren't in any other applications such as key moments where growth has randomly spiked over a period of time and aggregate the event that caused it. 

C&C Analysis

We compared Echo Nest and Next Big Sound to find areas for improvement for MusicDB. We looked at their navigation, depth of analytics, big data visualization, and overall user experience. Our main takeaways from the comparison were that the competitors had:

  • Key words that described stages of artist's growth  
  • Easy to navigate pages and polished interfaces
  • Next Big Sound had aggregated analytics for everything from listens to followers and fans across various platforms
  • Huge emphasis on big data visualization and key metrics that industry professionals will want to monitor
  • Echo Nest seems to serve as an API or open sourced library where others can create various music related applications based on their data
  • Competitive advantage would be pulling data from various streaming platforms and social media platforms and not aggregating them. 

Market Research

The overall music industry revenue at the end of 2016 was $43 billion dollars. Our main target audience is labels, talent agencies, and management teams. Across the three major labels (Sony, Warner, Universal) there are over 15,190 employees who could benefit from using MusicDB. The live music revenue in 2016 was $25 billion dollars. With live music being the most stable form of revenue in the industry today, major talent agencies (William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, ICM Partners, United Talent Agency, Paradigm) can use this analytics tool to make more quantified investment decisions regarding potential clients. These companies account for over 4,600 employees. If MusicDB were offered to these companies through a license or subscription, it would offer employees trying to make a big impression an opportunity to display their A&R'ing efforts in a real-time timestamped way. 


Usability Testing

After laying the groundwork on the first iteration of our prototype we interviewed over 30 music industry professionals and assessed how they performed on different tasks when interacting with the MusicDB platform. Based on some of their responses we were able to address different areas of the platform through various confusion, security concerns, and backend technical questions. These interviews directly impacted the final version of the prototype and helped improve upon various features and overall usability.

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User Quotes

"This page is really cool; I've definitely heard a lot of comparisons between artists, but never seen any data that solidifies speculation." - Anonymous Interscope Records

"Key moments is really awesome" - Danny Cagan Azoff MSG Entertainment

"Who an agency is tracking is very privileged, why would a company want to outsource that info?" - Anonymous WME

"This whole page is really awesome. Would be cool if it allowed you to look at these same analytics but within a certain radius."  - Madisyn Holland ScoreMore Shows


Final Solution

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Dashboard

The dashboard serves as the landing page once an employee logs into the system using their streaming credentials. Here they can see the top three up and coming artists their specific company has been monitoring. They are ranked by average employee rating. When listening to music in the system, employees will be able to rate any artists music so that the company as a whole can have a more rounded idea of what they are pursuing. Below the top artists, employees can view all upcoming shows for artists they're tracking in areas that they can manually set. Suppose a record label has offices in New York and LA, they can set the shows feature to include all tracked artists in either of those cities. Higher ups can see the digit on the right side which is an indicator of the number of employees who have signed up to go scout the show. 


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Shows

This feature allows employees at labels and agencies to see what shows are coming up from artist's that are on their radars. If a company has offices in multiple locations, they will be able to view each city/state that they're located in like above. At the bottom of the page, employees can get venue info on specific shows, request tickets through the specific shows promoters, see what other employees are covering the shows, check how the other employees at their company have rated the artist's music to get a gauge of overall interest, and even import their own show review after the show is over including adding videos or pictures from the performance. Easily send employees that are covering a show a reminder email about the upcoming show or confirmation that their ticket request has been approved all from within the app. Filter between locations if specific record label or agency has offices in multiple locations to see other shows that employees could possibly cover and scout potential signees. 


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Advanced Search

This versatile advanced search feature will allow employees searching for new artists to filter through an array of different categories to find artists and tracks that match the specific preferences. Over time, I believe that record labels and agencies will be able to notice trends and patterns that worked in the past when deciding between signing Artist A or Artist B by looking at these metrics. Employees can filter their searches by an abundance of parameters. 


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Artist Profile

The Artist Profile page displays the biography for artists as is from streaming services. Higher ups can see which employee submitted the specific artist to begin the scouting process which could be beneficial to employees trying to make an impact in their respective company. Employees can read internal reviews about the artist and easily play their tops tracks straight from this page. Among other things, employees can review their communications with the artist and their team at the bottom of the page and go more in-depth on advanced analytics straight from this page. 


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Analytics Page

On the Analytics page, users can view a multitude of high level information regarding an artist they're looking at. The first feature is key moments, where users can view individual tracks performance over an extended period of time from streaming services. They can compare two tracks with one another and on the right see what causes spikes in growth over the period of time they're looking at. Using a Twitter API, the software would bring up the highest percentage increase in growth for three days across the selected time period and searching for key words around the artist and track be able to aggregate the event that causes the spike. This can give managers/labels/agents insight never seen before about how social action directly ties into growth for an artist and help them make decisions going forward about previous patterns which helped drive growth and new listeners. Lower down, users can see social media growth and view the highest engaged tweets/posts about the artist they're looking at from anyone in the world. At the bottom, users can compare streaming growth of the artist they're looking at with other up and coming artists in the same demographic that the streaming service pulls or even established artists with similar demographics to see career trajectory and how they compare with those artists at the same point in their careers. This could help make quantitative decisions about new releases and so much more.