This Is My Jam
When you ask people what their favorite song is, the answer is always more interesting than if you ask them what music they like. What happens when everyone answers that question every seven days?
Songs We Love
The challenge & opportunity:
What’s a fun and satisfying way to share the song you love?
Design, product collaboration with my co-founder.
Curiosity & hypothesis
After spending 6 years working on how to recommend songs based on data, I was growing antsy that that might not be the only way, because the UXR was telling me the best songs come from friends. What does that service look like?
At the time, most music interfaces looked like a spreadsheet, so we hypothesized that doing the opposite with a full screen jam would be fun and satisfying.
Exploration & Plan
The song: We experimented with making the song a full screen beauty and built a private alpha that let people upload their own songs to validate PMF before undertaking hooking up a catalog with search.
The network effect: Since every song posted was someone’s favorite, the network effect was that the catalog was fantastic. The first time we hooked up a playlist engine it worked right away (which is very uncommon, normally there's a lot of random stuff that needs to be filtered out). As we discovered this, we leaned into how to create vertical micro networks around songs.
Context: I’d long been fascinated with designing the context around people’s songs – the ones they kissed to, danced to, chose for their weddings, learned on the guitar, would like for their funeral. As people shared snippets of why their jam was important to them, we experimented with aggregating that on the song pages for everyone who loved that song to see. In doing this, we realized we could recommend the best song by an artist, if you’re only going to listen to one.
People shared over 2 million jams, which led to a catalog of half a million songs, all hits no filler. We had amazing organic growth to 200,000 users. One of the pitfalls of this company was being at the mercy of third party APIs. Another was having to make the move from web to app on a short runway. I learned a lot and our failures became our strengths.