Inspiration for Muse - Elevate the sound of your next project
When we made a short film a few months ago, we struggled with finding the right sound that would fit the narrative. With a tight deadline, we managed to find a friend of a friend who helped compose an incredible score for the short film. But, it was a very difficult and unrepeatable experience that depending on our trusted network. From agency work to short film to games, as makers, we are constantly challenged with how to create the perfect auditory experience for the visual experience we are creating. And sound is just as important as the visual when creating a rich experience for the user.
Right now, the way that people find their sound designer or composer is largely through "word of mouth" or someone who is a "friend of a friend." At one agency, designers post on slack for recommendations for music composers. These composers are often friends of friends. But what if you don't know anyone who composes or writes music. There is also no existing platform for 'makers' to find composers and no platform for talented composers and artists to find their next composition project.
It's time to move beyond 'word of mouth.' Muse is where artists co-create rich auditory experiences together. Muse is the first platform where 'makers' meet to create the perfect soundtrack to their next project.
What Muse does
Muse is a platform that connects 'makers' to co-create the perfect sound for their next project together.
In our demo, we will walk through the experience of what it's like to be on Muse for composers and makers, including the landing page, artist page, and what a project page looks like. There will also be a search feature where makers can look up sound designers and save them to their 'favorites' in a feature similar to Pinterest boards where users will have 'sound boards.'
We also embedded trust into the platform by leveraging the 'trust' that is already built into the LinkedIn platform where users are identified by 1st, 2nd, or 3rd connections and through "shared" or "mutual" connections as an elegant way to replicate the friend of a friend experience that users currently use today to reduce friction on the platform.
Most importantly, we want to recognize the value that sound brings to a project. We had to dig deep into our research to find the sound designer/composer for an Apple Pencil ad that we loved. We asked ourselves why sound designers/composers are almost universally ignored and not recognized for their work. We wanted to create a space where sound creators are celebrated and recognized.
What Muse is not
Muse is not Fiverr. We wanted to recognize sound as an art form that stands on its own. Composers and sound designers are artists and we wanted to recognize the value of their work. It's important for Muse to stand apart from the transactional nature of platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. Muse is a platform where long-term relationships begin and where we help connect makers. Muse is the first step of long-term collaborations and partnerships. Muse isn't about the next gig. It's about elevating sound to the next level and recognizing the brilliance of sound in projects. Think John Williams, the legendary composer, whose collaboration with both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas spanned decades and dozens of films. Miro is about building long-term relationships and collaborations among makers. Muse is where you meet your John Williams or Ennio Morricone, your sound partner for life.
How we built it
The demo for Muse is built on figma and we used Miro kanban boards for task management. We also will add LinkedIn API integration to add 'shared connection' functionality to the platform. Our team is comprised of individuals who are full stack developers, visual and interaction designers, and strategists.
Challenges we ran into
We wanted to move away from the transactional nature of Fiverr and Upwork where music and sound is traded at the lowest denomination and where artists are paid by the hour. We wanted Muse to elevate sound and composition to the next level, where we recognize composers as the artists that they are.
Secondly, we struggled with how do we convey trust between two unknown parties. We were looking for an elegant way to recreate the 'word of mouth' and 'friend of a friend' feeling and realized that we could leverage another social networking platform, LinkedIn, which uses 'shared connections.' Each artist/composer will show the number of 'shared connections' that will help legitimize and bring trust to the transaction.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're pretty proud of how much we accomplished in less than 24 hours. We built something that we would use ourselves as 'makers' and artists who constantly face the challenge of how to create the right sound for our projects. And this is our first SXSW hackathon! Thank you for having us!
What we learned
We have greater empathy for the challenges that composers face and the struggles that makers go through in trying to find the right sound for their work. We've experienced the struggle as freelance visual designers and short film makers. It's incredibly hard to find the right sound for your work. It was also helpful to think through the workflow and use cases for Muse from how search would function on the platform to how to keep the platform from feeling 'transactional.'
What's next for Muse - Elevate the sound of your next project
We will continue user research and interviews with both music composers and makers to fine-tune the platform and experience. We also have a draft journey map that we will further develop that follows a project from inception to brief to storyboard to finding the right composer/collaborator. We will also look for other painpoints that segments may be facing and how we can create a seamless experience for all users on Muse.