Inspiration

I believe that the area has been solved for mobile photography by Instagram, location-based social network by Foursquare, TV Shows / Movies by Telfie, and Messaging by WhatsApp. Music hasn’t covered the area in such a way as of yet. And MySpace isn’t evolving anymore because it is as out-dated for music as Flickr is for photography.

What it does

Canary is a social network for music where you check-in the music you listen to and let it keeps a record of that data to let you know things like how often you listen to a particular music, artist, or genre and how your music taste changes over time.

There are lots of interesting possible features. One is to have personalized top charts based on what you listen to and who you follow.

How I built it

To keep data of a large user base securely and safely and not let any unauthorized user to access the data, yet also making seamless connections between the authorized users of the application is a very complex task that requires processing huge amounts of data coming from different users and storing them in the right node of the database.

Each data is stored in multiple nodes of the database so that each user has their own unique set of data that they can write and read.

This makes it possible for each user to generate their own personalized top charts based on:

  1. The music that they check-in.
  2. The music that other users check-in that they follow.

The personalized top charts are auto-generated and updated as new data is added to the News Feed of a user. The number of check-ins in the News Feed are calculated, then the number of the same check-ins are calculated. The checked in music with the most check-ins in the News Feed is displayed at the top of the charts, followed by the music with the most check-ins after that, and so on and so forth.

Challenges I ran into

Canary is made with keeping the artist’s hard work in mind. Many music that people mostly download are free of cost and illegal. That’s unethical of the people to not pay the artist for the work he has done, and illegal for the company to provide free music.

To keep Canary safe from both legal and ethical issues, it is proposed that the artist be only promoted and full-featured music may only be listened by the users as the artist permits. The rest of the music that users check-in can promote artist within their followers by letting users to a 30-sec preview of the music. If they want to purchase the music or watch the music video of a particular song, they’re directed to online music stores like iTunes Store and YouTube to watch the music videos.

Furthermore, the data and information that each user shares with Canary is also permitted by the user when the user signs up, and if the user wants to read more about the information that they are asked to share before they sign up, they can do so by reading the Privacy Policy and Policy FAQs documents of Canary.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The core objectives which have been implemented are:

  • Design a basic database model for BaaS (Backend As A Service) consisting of tables for users, connections, and music, and relationships between them.
  • Design and implement a user-interface that would keep the UI/UX consistent regardless of the platform.
  • Research and understand audio-fingerprinting for recognizing music and searching the database automatically.
  • Test among the stakeholders and note any suggestions.
  • Research on gamification and the methods game mechanics can be implemented in a social network.
  • Design a PBL (Points, Badges, and Levels) system to implement in the project that would let users be engaged by earning virtual points, badges, and competing with friends via levels.
  • Arranging graphical assets and coming up with complete branding for the social network that will cover design elements from the logo and typeface design to the complete GUI and applicable animations.

What I learned

Canary is a chicken-and-egg problem in the sense that it won’t be attractive to users till it has a lot of users and I plan to overcome that by letting user’s advertise canary when they share their check-ins and badges to their social media accounts.

What's next for Canary

Monetization:

There are four ways Canary can be monetized:

  1. Embedding AdMob in user’s newsfeed.
  2. Joining iTunes Affiliate Program and then linking each song to the iTunes Store with the Affiliate ID.
  3. Letting artists sign up as verified artists, and then letting them sponsor their music to the people who are more likely to listen to them. The sponsored music will be displayed in user’s newsfeed.
  4. After having enough data, the data can be sold to other companies via APIs.
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