Print Email Facebook Twitter CoLLab: A Co-Op Application for Music Production and Promotion Title CoLLab: A Co-Op Application for Music Production and Promotion Author Van Bruggen, H.C. Contributor Van Egmond, R. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Industrial Design Date 2016-03-18 Abstract The thesis project is originating from a start up project under the name of Phonotone. This start-up company wrote the assignment for the design of the interactions and interface of a new platform for young producers of digital music in The Netherlands. The assignment was written as a starting point for this thesis and was meant to give directions for the explorative research on the subjects of music production technique, and the context of the future user of this product. It stated that modern young music producers have many social media accounts to maintain, and pointed in the direction of developing a service where these accounts can be operated from a single dashboard. The state-of-the-art research was aimed at increasing the knowledge about the current state of technology in music production and interface design in music production software. A glossary was set up in order to explain the abbreviations and terminology that the world of music production houses. The state-of-the-art research set out to explore the new technological possibilities that artists can utilise today. One of the findings was a new product technology in connecting software and hardware using Ableton and Max. An in-depth interview was conducted to get more familiar with the target group; young music producers. In these interviews, which were conducted at the homes of the participants, the daily lives and context of these producers should become apparent. Another point of interest was the music production process. The results showed that the producers were not at all looking for a website to own and maintain, but were rather interested in quick feedback from their fans. Furthermore, the producers were looking for good connections with their fellow artists. Another interesting finding was that it was often expressed that the participants experienced that their audience on social media seemed more interested in their off-topic content instead of their posts about their music releases and news. Using these results, a production timeline could be constructed, on which the thoughts and actions of the interviewed producers were set. This production timeline was given the characteristics of the design process, containing a fuzzy front end, an ideation, a conceptualisation, and an evaluation phase. This represented the experienced process of music production for the producer. A market exploration to current music apps yielded many results in various categories. A selection, made to narrow down the results, filtered down the results; applications that enable a musician to produce and promote music, and additionally, allow the user to engage into collaboration with other musicians. From this selection, six apps were chosen for comparison; Splice - an add-on for the DAW Ableton Live, Blend and Kompoz – both desktop based community collaboration services, Speazie – an iOS mobile application for music recording and collaboration, Figure – an app for making beats and sharing the result, and Songtree – an app for dubbing over sounds and collaboration options. This comparison produced the finding that the compared applications are offering possibilities to collaborate with anyone over the world; meaning that any user can connect to any user via their project. The outcome of the interviews formed the basis for an analysis on which the interactions and experience could be designed. An interaction vision was composed out of the analysis of the results from the interviews. One of the most important interactions that followed from the analysis of the current interactions showed that the producers were focussed on content that would generate the most likes from their fans on their social media page. The earlier mentioned expressed dissatisfaction about social media exposure was labelled the ‘attention gap’. Another phenomenon showed that the producers seemed to be dissatisfied in general by the use of social media. At the same time positive remarks about social media were expressed, in respect to agenda utilities and maintaining contacts. This phenomenon of contradictory sounds was labelled ‘the Stockholm syndrome’; because the producers were held captive by their social media captors in a metaphorical way. Another important finding describes the positive attribution of collaborations with other artists by the interviewed. Benefits mentioned were that it would speed up the production process, not only in the beginning (the ‘fuzzy front end’ in which samples are sought and a set up is made) but also when finishing up a track. A new interaction vision could be formed using the current interactions analysis. The vision was set to the qualities of playing with Lego, of which a mind map was made to find the categories to base the important qualities on. These qualities, emerging from playing with Lego are: Playful exploration, elemental learning, open source creativity, and belonging. These qualities would form the basis for the interaction design of the application. The application should enhance this feeling in the use. Therefore a scenario was made, portraying these qualities in the context of the backstage. The result could be converted into several sub-scenarios, which could be used for the diverse design iteration rounds. In the first design iteration, a cultural probe research was set up to gain insights into some extra habits of the target group online and in social media. One of the findings was that important moments in their career matter to the artist and this is proudly shown on social media. To determine the user flow for the new application, the second iteration was focussed on interactions in context. A contextual observation was done in a backstage situation. The findings that were done contributed to the construction of the user flow diagram of the application. The next design iteration was focussed on the graphic design of the application. Menu layouts were explored and a test determining the association between sound effect icons and sound effect names was conducted. The results originating from this study indicated a strong association between the distortion effect and its designated icon design. This was included into the final design. The dynamics of the interface were explored in the fourth design iteration. This concluded into specific points of interest for the gestures in interaction; the playful interaction swipe and the Collab showcase planet display. The last design iteration before concluding into the final design set out to explore and re-affirm the users’ willingness to share their material in collaboration using an online survey. The results showed, as was concluded earlier after the interviews, a positive attitude towards sharing own work. The final design could be developed following the five design iterations. This was done by combining the results of these cycles and implementing their conclusions and recommendations. In this phase some more guiding decisions were being put. The application would only be made available to users on the same network. This followed the need of the producers to strengthen their connections with other artists and in combination with the set context this was the best to simplify communications. Another decision was to combine the gesture interactions for the playful exploration and the proud moment showcase of earlier applications. The result was an application that allows users to log in, search for other people on the same network, see their collaborations and explore their music. Collaborations can be made with 2 – 4 people in total. The applications’ main activity, the collaboration, encompasses a workspace to which the online sample storage of the user can be linked. Sound can be added into the project using the record function. Via the library function, the samples of other participating users can be viewed and used, but only for as long as the Collab instance is active. Collab results can be shared to diverse social media of which the accounts can be connected to the application by the user. These actions show the transition from the interactions of playful exploration, elemental learning, open source creativity, and in the end the feeling of belongingness. One of the objectives of the project was to work out a prototype in such a degree that it could genuinely test the designed interactions and could be used to verify the designed experience. The prototype was developed according to the hypothesis that the designed interactions should emerge from the combination of the app required operation interactions and interface design. This is why the focus was on developing the prototype using Adobe CS Flash in combination with Actionscript 3.0. The prototype was tested using two types of evaluation methods. One was a usability test in which the participants were informed of the project and application beforehand and were then given the prototype and asked to fulfil assignments with it. The other test was an open assignment where two participants were asked to act out the functionality of the application while collaborating on a track. The final conclusions were that the playful exploration part was experienced as smooth. The elemental learning interaction with the product emerged on multiple occasions of the participants learning quickly using the simplified icons. The open source creativity could best be described as naturally, from the results of the second experience test. The feeling of belongingness was not directly proven from the test results but could be extrapolated. This experience was concluded from the finding that the participants were quick to invent use situations and atmospheres. The attributed fun value to the application by the participants is analysed. This concludes that a playful application could be an appropriate, and possibly even a welcome tool, given that it supports the functionality needed to synthesise material that can be of use, both in playful and professional musical co-operation, and thus can aid in the feeling of belongingness. The final project recommendations are about the ideal team composition, and state that to continue the project, a number of specialised team members would be chosen. The continuation of the recommendations for the evaluation of the design proposes a different evaluation approach within a real life context. Another recommendation is to develop the application in an earlier stage, with minimal functionality, to focus on the interaction design. Subject music productionmusic promotioninterfaceinteractionexperiencedesign To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:08a5a417-561f-40a8-ba1d-2ee2a48978b8 Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2016 Van Bruggen, H.C.