Tour Planning MVP
Product Design, Spotify

Case Study

Intro

Project Timeline: Aug 1 – Sep 16

I worked on the Creator Tribe at Spotify, which builds tools and products to empower Artists on Spotify. Creator is structured around artists' core needs: Grow, Engage, Earn, and Understand.

Background

The project around Tour Planning was initially started as a hack called Venue Recommender during one of our bi-weekly hack days.




The design approach above was not efficient in designing for a minimal viable product. Although we were addressing the core pain points of an artist's journey in the venue booking process, the system got complex very quickly and would take much longer to build than a MVP that directly focused providing artists' value.

We put artists at the center of our brand.
We put artists at the center of our stories.

Our success metric is artist value. Rather than building a product from a technology or data point of view—why not build a product that directly empowers the creative, entrepreneurial artist who wants to be in charge of her growth? Often times we build products with what we have available and then spend time marketing it to our users.

User Research

I worked together with Colette Kolenda (User Research Intern) to formulate a questionnare for our user groups: Booking Agents, Promoter and Artists. Our goal was to ask for specific examples throughout, rather than generalities.

Research Subjects Research Synthesis

After interviewing the subjects, I synthesized the research, mapped out the user journey of an artist to book venues and added streams for pain points, data points, and opportunites.

Artist Journey Pain Points

I'm focusing on two stages of the Artist's Venue Booking Journey (Venue Research and Contact Venue) because this is where the most pain points were present. Below are a few selected ones.

Venue Research

Contact Venue

Problem

Artists are not able to accurately represent their personas to venues and talent buyers. Venues on the other hand have missed opportunities in finding fresher acts to work and collaborate with.

Hypothesis

By providing artists a tool to generate an honest, holistic representation of themselves, venues will quickly be able to gauge if that artist is suitable for them.

Solution

A Press Kit

Ideation

Lots of sketching, user-flows and click-through Invision prototypes

Design

Goals


Solution

Live performance footage is highlighted at the top of the Press Kit to give promoters and booking agents the ability to visualize The Kominas presence on stage. These photos and videos are aggregated from CrowdAlbum (acquired by Spotify). By seeing the live performance data and by listening to the artist's "Pinned Tracks" in Music you [venue booker] are already being able to paint a mental picture of what The Kominas are like on stage.

Next, by showcasing their instruments, The Kominas begin a conversation with their venues about its backlines. Our research shows that bands are often willing to perform for less if backlines were provided.

Concerts—this real data is the most important for venues because The Kominas can quantify their value. For venues to be able to see that The Kominas has "sold out" multiple shows is a reflection of their influence while generating a demand to book them. Selling out at Baby's All Right in New York City is huge!

Audience Insights data gives a breakdown of gender and age distribution (data from Spotify Fan Insights). These insights assist venues to make logistical decisions on promotional materials, staging of sets, and how much revenue to spend on artists.

Real, live, and bold social media numbers allow venues to quickly glance at The Kominas's following and presence on the Internet. Finally, the calendar window doesn't directly solve the artist-venue booking problem but gives venue bookers a chance to have a discussion and an overview of the dates The Kominas are available to perform.

In conclusion, the Press Kit is an interactive, easily accessible, one-pager, that provides a quick, honest snapshot of an artist. Artists can effortlessly customize and send Press Kit to venues, helping venues make booking decisions while also increasing artists' value. Press Kit also empowers our artists by addressing their concerns regarding self-representation, and giving them the tools to take control of their own brand.

Challenges

What are the most important data points to booking agents?

A challenge in this design process was understanding the side of venues. What is the data they are looking for? What are the top three data points? How can we help them in this matchmaking process?

Next Steps

Understanding the other half of the user's [venues] needs through research and a card sort exercise would be the next important step. Next, I'd present two different directions for our "Soundcheck" (user testing). The current Press Kit solution (displayed above) is highly emotional—this design decision was made because of user behavior and personality traits of the booking agents and promoters we interviewed. However, the data points that would best present the value of an artist is in the hard numbers i.e) concert data. Therefore, creating a powerful and balanced hybrid that takes advantage of both the systems would be optimal for the Press Kit product.

Additional Ideas

What if I can customize my Press Kit with data specific to venues in LA or Madrid? What happens after the Press Kit is sent? I had began exploring these ideas in my initial flows and consider it to be a valuable problem to tackle for Artists on Spotify. Perhaps we can feed data back into SFI (Spotify Fan Insights) and let artists track their Press Kits. This will help address their pain points in the "contacting venues" stage.

Killing your darlings

There were many ideas that I was incredibly attached to from the Venue Recommender and Press Kit MVP. In the end, to make a focused product it was important to kill my darlings [designs]. My mentor Adriana shared this important lesson with me of letting go in order to truly build what reflects the needs of the user.

Takeaways

The Tour Planning MVP has been an incredible learning experience. Within a short timeline, I had the opportunity to work on a project from "start to finish", leading early research and continuing the process by sketching, wire–framing, prototyping, crafting the visual design and finally presenting my work to the Creator Tribe.

Design Experiments

When I was presented this project I was told it may be a faliure. Experiments are highly encouraged at Spotify and in order to quickly test MVP ideas we need to be open to failures and learn from the experiences. Hence, experimentation was crucial and we validated our ideas with research, prototyping and user insights early on before investing months into building it for our users.

I've learned and grown so much over my internship, both professionally and personally. Thank you Spotify Creator Design for your guidance and especially to my mentor Adriana for pushing and challenging me to do my best work! A special S/O to Ariel for introducing me to The Kominas and bringing them in to interview for this project.

If you would like to see a more in–depth process or hear more about my experience, drop me a line at hello@amrutabuge.com