Keep your ear to the street
Designed and built for Philips sound, the 'You Need To Hear This' Spotify app is about music discovery, but in a whole new interface - crowd music recommendation through the act of listening.
Discovering music that people are listening to right now in any geographic location. I've heard East London is cool, what are 'they' listening to? How about on Bedford Avenue? Across Tokyo?
Discover new sounds
Around the world music tastes vary. New artists or trends are breaking in a neighbourhood somewhere - but you don't know unless you are there. The 'You Need To Hear This' app allows you to tap into what is being listened to - anywhere.
Users can easily select the place they want to listen to by typing in a search location, or dragging the search radius.
You can search for anywhere in the world.
Cities. Countries. Or even specific streets.
Not just places within major western cities. The likes of Tehran have great choices too.
Press and hold the circle
Listen to what you want
The search area can be easily adjusted on both mobile and desktop. Allowing a user to listen in to a whole city or country, or solely a city block.
Dragging the handles on desktop increases and decreases the search area, while pressing and holding handles the search on touchscreens.
All location playlists for that moment can be easily captured as standalone playlists for future listening.
To keep things looking fresh, the interface responds to the colour of the artwork.
Changes in highlights, backgrounds and accent colours, bring continuous themes in keeping with the music you are listening to.
Beyond the music
Engagement time of people listening to music is great, but also understanding the listeners is better.
How do music tastes break down, and where are people interested in listening to?
More than just how much music they listen to, where are the trends being set, and where are people interested in.
Individual, city, and country level profiles demonstrate diversity, adventurousness, freshness and mainstreamness in music tastes at each level.* Data sample taken pre-launch
Something to talk about
These along with what genres, bands an artists have been listened to, can be utilised to find content published around the web, that a city or individual appear to be interested in.
My role covered a wide variety of this project. From concept, UX, design, all the way through to final build of all components (web-version, iOS version, Spotify version, custom analytics dashboards etc.), web-services and the server setup on which it runs.
The backend is running on a Mongo/Express/NodeJS setup.
It uses NodeJS for it's high concurrency, especially useful with many users during testing consistently making multiple requests in short spaces of time due to curiosity of tracks. MongoDB was selected due to it beautiful geospatial queries, allowing us to easily store geolocated track listens, and query against them to include in returned playlists.
The backend handles converting natural language text from the likes of status updates, into something usable, with the artist/track information, using some natural language processing along with number of other steps - a similar setup is detailed further on the Philips Tables project. It is also integrated each version of the application with EchoNest, to handle taste profiling and related content.
The iOS version of the application handles streaming tracks through either or both Soundcloud and Spotify, dependent on the user login status. All users can stream tracks available from Soundcloud, and if a user has connected there Premium Spotify account, additional tracks available only on Spotify are visible in their playlist and streamed from Spotify accordingly. Integration with Spotify on iOS utilises their LibSpotify SDK.
The web version of the application streams tracks solely through Soundcloud, and the Spotify version solely through Spotify.