|The Fifteenth Annual Interactive Audio Conference
PROJECT BAR-B-Q 2010
|Group Report: Making Music Magical Again For Fun And Profit|
|Participants: A.K.A. "The Hocus Pocus Focus Group"|
Rory O’Neill, Club Penguin
|Aaron Higgins, Sound Trends|
|Kevin Brennan, Dolby||Wayne Chien, DTS|
|Karen Collins, University of Waterloo||Facilitator: David Battino, Batmosphere|
Brief problem statement:
Other people do not care about audio as much as we do. How do we delight them so we can grow the industry?A brief statement of the group’s solutions to this problem:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Today’s audio technology is sufficiently advanced to border on magical, but even a true wizard will fail to captivate his audience without a sense of theater. We theorized that the ability to draw in, engage, and amaze the audience is one solution to the lack of engagement with music. To define what could make musical experiences engaging, we analyzed “magical” experiences, both theatrical and real. We developed a list of characteristics of magic (see below) and then mapped those to audio scenarios.Expanded problem statement:
Audio (music, sound) is undervalued by many consumers—as is evidenced by the widespread acceptance of the MP3 format. We identified four tiers of audio consumers: passive consumer, music follower, amateur musician/producer, and professional (see the EduMusiTainers report from BBQ 2008). Audio is often marketed to the professional, and music production is typically limited to amateur producers and pros. So how can we get the uninterested consumer interested in listening to music, and the listener to become an amateur creator? In other words, how can we increase the engagement that people in general have with music and sound?
While previously we’ve believed that the average listener would want higher fidelity, for the majority of consumers, we believe that audio quality improvement is not the main opportunity for growth in the industry. Today’s audio quality is sufficient for the majority of users. Rather, the largest opportunities lie in developing more engaging methods of creation, distribution and consumption of audio. We believe that a growth in the enjoyment in production and consumption of music will lead to a deeper understanding of, and appreciation and desire for higher quality audio equipment and delivery formats.Expanded solution description:
As noted above, based upon the report from 2008 by the ”EduMusiTainers,” we divided the market into four segments in a hierarchy of involvement, ranging from active to passive.
Our goal is to move everyone up one level from their current state, making listeners into music followers, followers into amateur hobbyists, and the hobbyists into professional musicians.
With the goal of making music more engaging, we looked to a variety of interactive performance art forms. After much discussion, we settled on exploring magic, since the audience often participates and it generates a sense of wonder that lasts beyond the performance. We identified seven key factors of magic.The Seven Key Factors of Magic that Make it Appealing
We then developed a product idea, with an example of how these principles would work in the context of this example.The Product: Pika-tunes
Pika-tunes (a nod to the popular children’s character Pikachu*) is a mobile application that allows people to transmit and share small, meaningful audio clips with their friends and family. This can be short messages, the equivalent of SMS/text messages but with the verbal nuances missing in text. It could include, for instance, a baby’s first words, “good night” from a mother to a distant child, friendly “miss-you’s” to friends, etc. This could also include sound effects meaningful to the users: a sample of the river by the family cottage, a foreign street soundscape, etc. An element that allows for the rapid construction of short musical clips would be included, so that users could send a musical clip—such as a MIDI file of a song that they both like, or custom-made songs.
*(“Pika” is Japanese for “shiny,” which suggests the sparkle of magic. The cutesy Pikachu character also ties in with Peter Kirn’s keynote speech, in which he noted how the most popular audio gadgets are small and cute.)
How the Seven Key Factors of Magic map onto Pika-tunes:
Based on our idea and discussion of examples, we then developed a series of principles that developers of musical products can draw on:Design Principles for Magical Musical Products
We also came up with these other possible applications of our ideas:
select a section:
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