Music Service

Music Service

4 min read.

If you have an idea for a product and seek to make it a success, you need due diligence and refinement. Even the best idea will fail if executed badly. This is an example of how a few days focus can refine and broaden an idea to give several future paths.

Serge had an idea in 2000 to make a Music Jukebox for Restaurants, Bars etc. and went on to get funding for it. Unfortunately the fund ran out of money so the project fell through. Digital Jukeboxes have been a great business for those that did build such a product at the time. The original plan was however more than making the box. Serge has been running restaurants and worked as a DJ for a lifetime, so the business was focused on solving a business optimisation problem rather than a technical improvement.

Henrik had been involved in making the technical plan back then so when Serge wanted to revive the project, we packed our bags and flew to Copenhagen.

Over a period of 3 days we did a mini Design Sprint to flesh out how the service would fit todays world.

Thinking it through

Day 1:

Next time we do a sprint we should do like Google and start out with Long term goal visualisation. We knew that we needed a product release in the near future, but there are so many moving parts that we couldn’t really move beyond the handwaving when answering “Why are we doing this project? Where do we want to be in a year?”. While I think we have a good idea of this, next time we will do the session formally to root the conversation.

Instead we started out with recapping the original idea to all start on even ground. We then identified the actors in venue music.

This triggers the story of how the actors interact, and what they want. What a great discussion we had. Everybody were getting up and adding to the visuals on the wall. Discussing while moving and interactive with a common visualisation raises the level of engagement.

We then introduced the “How might we….” exercise. Everybody writes cards that are centered around a speculative question. Sometimes you think you have the answer, and sometimes not. Even so when you have a good discussion, you can capture it by noting down on a Post-It starting with “How might we”.

How might we....?

Day 2:

After an intense first day we didn’t have the time to refine our thoughts, so we started out organising the “How might we” notes from the day before. By organising them you get to discuss which bits you all feel for, what are obvious, which are odd, and what isn’t there.

At this point we naturally started discussing how a service might work. Enter a bit of prototyping. Not the fancy kind that takes days, but the one that can be sketched during a discussion. With more time we could have made a more concrete prototype, but the risk is to gain the feeling that the product has to reflect the early prototypes.

The service would consist of:

1) A way for a venue to plan the nights entertainment 2) A way for entertainers to record sessions 3) A way to set up playback equipment for a room at the venue

We started out with the assumption that the performance playback would be done using a box provided by us. Providing a playback that works reliably every time is crucial, so using a box of our own will allow us full quality control. The alternative of an iOS app isn’t bad, but it shouldn’t be the only one.

A big question is digital vs analog audio. Most venues seem to be content with analog audio, but producing noise free analog equipment is trickier than digital. So ideally we would want to have both options.

Encoding Initial music select Box Schematic

Day 3:

On the last day we went over the plans so far and looked at legal issues such as fees required for playing in public in various countries. In Denmark we will make agreements with Coda/Gramex.

Ways to sell and market the service was probably the main topic of the day, even at this early stage.

Outcome

In the end we had a deep common understanding of the sort of product to build and what options there are for future directions. We can honestly say that design sprints are a great tool for giving your future product the best survival chances possible.