Interactive web application
100 playlists in two days
Background: Through the Fire
It was my first week outside of the United States. I was invited back to a friend’s house to listen to music, swim, and have a couple of beers. Cooled by the late-night swim, we sprawled out on the rug, with beers in hand, and resumed our poolside conversation. With no music queued up, we each pulled out our phones to find a song. iTune searches sidetracked to Instagram likes and tweet checks.
Che Harvey, my collaborator, and I talked about that experience we shared and started to wonder.
if Kanye West and Taylor Swift made a playlist together, what songs would be in it?
TuneSmash creates a playlist two people will both love. To create a playlist, two users sign in with their Spotify account, bump phones, and TuneSmash will generate a playlist that mixes the two tastes.
Research: Play Time
9 million people live in Ho Chi Minh City. The friends you went out with last Friday would probably be different from the friends you would go out with the following Friday; they would be locals, English teachers, or backpackers.
This meant we had a lot of perspectives to learn from. We wanted to learn who would use something like this? When would they use this? Why? We made a few “games” or listening activities that helped us develop personas and storymaps.
Algorithm Design: Keep It Clean
We learned that YouTube has over 1 billion users and 80% of those users live outside of the United States. Spotify only has 100 million users and is unavailable in Africa and most parts of Asia. YouTube, per our observations, is the de facto music platform for Vietnam.
TuneSmash was built with Python/Flask, Postgresql, Celery, NLTK, LibROSA, jQuery, YouTube Data API, Last.fm API, Spotify API, and Heroku. The recommender system is an ensemble of third-party APIs ontop of our own system.
Interface: Keep It Clean
The inspiration for the brand and, ultimately, the interface was our childhood. We wanted to bring a sense of nostalgia, which inherently inspires happiness. We thought by bringing a sense of fun and nostalgia our users would be more open to each other.
The other key component of TuneSmash, minus the actual functionality, is the ability to create avatars. Eventually, all products and brands must mature so, in preparation for that moment, we wanted TuneSmash to feel extremely retro and like a game.
Instead of pumping Facebook ads, we’re choosing to grow TuneSmash organically. We want this to be a product that we revisit time and time again. If we pushed the marketing, a part of TuneSmash’s organicism would be lost. So we’re growing TuneSmash by bringing it to parties.