Moving the DJ industry online
Using business know how & UX to reimagine the DJ industry in the online space.
EIGHTFOUR was appointed UX & Design agency by Cheers France for a task in DJ digital transformation. Our job was to bring the DJ industry online in a simple, easy to use application that allowed DJ’s to be discovered & planners to hire them for events.
The event industry had been hit hard by Covid. While many companies folded, some saw the interlude as an opportunity to reinvent themselves. In close collaboration with Cheers & Development provider Sutrix, EIGHTFOUR went about seeing how we might move the DeeJay and event industry into the online space in preparation for the easing of Covid restrictions.
What we did: Over the course of late 2020, EIGHTFOUR delved deep into the world of events and nightlife. We spoke to DJ’s, their managers as well as event planners to find out as much as we could about how things operated. What resulted as the first app/platform designed to empower DJ’s to take control of their careers in a way they weren’t previously able to.
Innovation projects are always risky; partly due to the fact it’s never been done before. You can look at tangential industries where digital transformation has been done successfully for clues, but ultimately you’re banking on users seeing value and adopting a new behaviour.
Prior to Covid, the DJ scene was buzzing and the way to make a booking was always kept in closed circles. DJ’s contact numbers would be passed around in whatsapp groups as recommendations. Our goal was to open the industry to all DJ’s – both high profile and new-commers – to have their chance at being discovered on an app that’s aimed at democratising the industry.
EIGHTFOUR spent time with the three main target user groups: DJ’s, Event Planners and Administrators to understand their behaviours, challenges and expectations; also how the industry worked as a whole.
The prototype more than anything else was the culmination of a huge number of considerations: An extensive list of business requirements, European laws surrounding operating in the industry, and a decision early on that we’d need to test several stages of a semi high-fidelity prototype with real users.
Working with a brand agency that developed the logo, we developed a style for the app that was minimal, intimate & reminiscent of the nightlight scene. With so many platforms out there that adopt the default white colour scheme, we decided to go the other way & make it dark.
Oftentimes it helps to conceptualise an app as its most fundamental function. Yes it’s an app for DJ’s and Planners, but in essence what we were building was a matchmaking service similar to Tinder.
To make it work, DJ’s would be required to create a compelling profile and with DJ’s being so numerous in number, Planners would need sufficient guidance in the form of tillering to find their perfect match.
We decided early on that each user group would have essentially their own application since they were so uniquely different. For the DJ’s, the objective was to empower them to take control of their own career by allowing them to be discovered and giving them the tools to manage their time and events.
One issue we felt had to be addressed was DJ safety. Some users gave us feedback that occasionally events were a little rowdy or in an environment not as advertised. In that event, DJ’s could press a single emergency cancel button to void the booking before entering the premises and without the risk of a bad review.
Other than recommendations, social media was DJ’s bread & butter. Our app had to find a way of seamlessly integrating the media our DJ’s had spent a lifetime carefully curating on Facebook and Instagram. Not only would it offer a more immersive experience, but in terms of strategy, it offered us a way of fresh, new content every single day.
Users who we’d branded “event planners” were the other side of the coin: those who were planning an event and looking for a DJ. These users expressed a desire to make the process easy and fast, and if possible, offer a way of match making them to the most suitable DJ to spare them the inconvenience of having to wade through endless results.
For this, we designed a guided experience that asked a series of questions as to the date, time and musical preference the planner was looking for which then matched them to a series of DJ’s that matched that criteria. DJ dating in effect.
Because the idea behind the app was essentially matchmaking service, we built into the interface an extensive array of filtering options that allowed planners to easily find their perfect DJ based on their music preferences, budget, timing ‘etc’.
We knew from our research that all user groups wanted to project manage, so we had to facilitate open lines of communication through chat & instant messaging. OnceDJ’s & Planners had an event set up, they could message each other at will.
Any public app or platform has to be self regulating to some extent. That’s why we implemented a rigorous review process for both DJ’s and Planners - to review each other after the event.
Because Cheers wanted a more custom approach to the back end, we prototyped and designed a management system that enabled Cheers staff to manage pretty much anything within the ecosystem: Bookings, Finance, Profiles could all be edited and managed if need be.
We can do a lot