I worked with the early-stage startup and music licensing platform Soundtracktor for few months in 2019 and helped establishing the UX and user journey of the agency-side of the two-sided marketplace model.
My immediate focus after understanding the business model and the two roughly defined target groups for the two-sided model was to work on the user journey of the agency side. While there was a clear workflow and value proposition for composers in place, we needed to have the same for the agency users supposed to use the product for licensing. From the outset, it was clear that an A.I. engine matching music composition with project images, stills, or video was going to be a key part of the product offering. Still, there was a lot to figure out around it, before and after the moment of feeding the A.I. and getting great feedback.
Based on interviews with creative agencies and producers looking to license music, and investigating how they were currently solving their problems and the pain points related to existing workflows. And looking at current competitors’ offerings. We soon got more clarity about the main steps involved in their work. And which steps we needed to include and offer with our product. I believe that when building a new product and being mindful of the adoption of it, suggesting a new and unique solution needs to go hand in hand with a deep understanding of the core jobs to be done. Suggesting new workflows or solutions without empathising and understanding the day to day work of the users will most often simply come off as both arrogant and gimmicky and soon erode the trust in your product og process that is pivotal to success.
Legal work and high prices
As with any business, for the area of music licensing, there is a list of particular challenges to consider. One thing is to make to sure the procedures and workflows are based on good user experience, it is also important to create and maintain a solid information architecture underneath making sure all legal works is in place, easy to understand, and done in a transparent and highly trustworthy and reliable flow and environment.
With the often quite high prices involved, we needed to put trust and reliability at the very foundation of the experience.
Three phase of the user journey
We established three phases for agency users.
1. Search and discover
Based on a piece of visual (video or image) – the A.I. engine suggests matching music compositions matching the music. This is the core ‘wow-moment’ solving, or at least assist in solving, the hard problem of the day to day work for creative agencies: finding something that works.
Searching naturally involves a lot of wasted time, so I also wanted to make sure, that we at least did what we could to minimize it. A way to do this was to move any potential deal-breaker up very early in the user flow. It’s often basic information that the user will know top-of-mind and be able to provide very easily. Like what regions and formats do the license need to be valid for. Is it within budget or not? These questions easily translates to search filters refining options at an early stage, rather than functioning as barriers and limitations ruining the experience at a later stage.
We want users to fall in love with the choice they make. If the choice for some reason is not available to them after all, we should let them know as soon as possible.
2. Lock in and seal the deal To the business this is the most important step, actually making the transaction and ensuring the fee. But it does not have to feel like this to the user. By having the user provide most of this information in the previous step, making this step easy to pass is easy, and it quickly brings them close to the next important moment in their journey, getting the files.
3. Get the files On the system side, we have a success whenever there is a good match between the agency user and a music composition. According to the jobs to be done of the agency user it’s really about getting the files and being able to move on in the editing phase and being able to create a great product of their own.
Making getting the file easy was obvious, but during the research, another important element came to light: We increased our understanding greatly of which exact types of files are needed for the user’s production phase: That could be separate stems, a capella tracks, surround sound channels, etc.
With this knowledge, we could also scale up the level of details and quality of files uploaded with a composition by the composers and in general leverage the overall quality and usefulness of content on the platform.
I’m available for freelance work and consultancy. Short and longer term. At an hourly rate or with a project based agreement. I’m based in Copenhagen, open for remote work and travelling within reason.