There were rumours of Spotify being interested in buying SoundCloud. The deal was abandoned and Spotify is rather preparing for an IPO. Since I’m amazed by both companies’ product lines, I was inspired by the possibility of such an acquisition. Spotify and SoundCloud bring joy to their users in their own special ways. Music streaming is a highly crowded market, competition is getting even more serious since the emergence of Apple Music. Let me guide you through how I imagine the winner combination of SoundCloud’s and Spotify’s services.
Lacking each other's best features
SoundCloud focuses less on monetization and more on the community. SoundCloud Go's user experience has room for improvement, its design aims to be super clean at the expense of its functionality. Despite the fact that I personally love Spotify’s divisive design, I have to admit, it’s a bit cold and dark. In my personal experience, Spotify's dark interface attracts more men than women. Also, contracts and licenses of record labels make Spotify less adaptable when it comes to user-generated, altered content.
Thoughts you can read in this case study are based on my experience and research. They may differ from others' opinion.
My design process for Mii
Through the merge of SoundCloud's and Spotify's features, a delightful and powerful platform could be born. Derived from my own aesthetic taste and personal beliefs of how this product should look and feel, designing Mii was a much more nonlinear journey than I first thought. The process emerged from my research and experience using both companies' apps.
The stages of my process are Ideation, Product Strategy, Market Research, Features, Visual Elements, User Interface, Interactions and Prototype.
Market Research & Article
I've conducted my research on Spotify, SoundCloud and the offering of their services. Collected information includes user base, yearly growth, revenue, public financial details, predictions and a competitor analysis of other products like Deezer, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Prime Music. The story below contains the basis for my thinking while the other link leads to the shortened version of my market analysis from 2016.
The article contains no strict data, only conclusions made from my experience and research.
My concept is designed around 4 aspects of music streaming. Discovering new songs, artists, albums and playlists is an essential feature. A detailed profile section provides more ownership to the user. Identifying new music comes handy more often than I first thought. Shazam is doing a great, inspiring job at this. Nonetheless, keeping data in-house would be extremely beneficial. The last key feature is something that every music consumer needs on the planet, a personalised music library.
Visual Hierarchy & Components
Putting together a page including all the agreed design items creates a visual reference for the product. This will also break a comprehensive document into more manageable parts. An initial and approximate colour palette can speed the process up dramatically.
My aim was to make a balance between dark and light tones on the interface. Screens that include a list of elements have light colours while screens that have a clear focus on one element have dark colours that give more prominence to the content. Overlaying cards provide a natural yet unique flow to access contextual information.
Transitions & Interactions
Motion can help human beings to communicate better with a machine through an interface. Animations can reduce cognitive load for the user. They make an interface feel tangible and realistic. For example, the quick transformation of the sound wave into a still line contributes to a polished experience.
For the best experience on mobile devices please install the prototype on your home screen.
Despite the growing numbers for mobile streaming, listening to music on a desktop device remains a common user behaviour. It serves as a more detailed base for our music collection. Now that soon wearables will be able to store and play music too, this platform will become more of a tool for organising and discovering music.
Delightful music streaming for consumers and producers
Music is a form of self-expression, speaking for us, shaping our identities. Being social in music streaming is not a choice, it’s a must. When I thought about my concept, the merge of SoundCloud and Spotify seemed to produce an ideal balance. Mii would be built around a more connected community where user experience would be seamless.
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