HERE | NYC
Frank Sinatra said it best "If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere."
What this kid from Jersey didn't tell us was just about anyone can put on their vagabond shoes and get to New York City. The talent pool is growing daily, so how do you actually stand out and make it HERE? You have to know someone.
"How Do You Even Find Work?"
My wife is a gainfully employed freelance musician working the Broadway circuit. One night, I was helping her apply for a full-time job as a music director for a large NYC based non-profit choir. After logging on to LinkedIn, it was immediately apparent she had not applied to a job in 8 years (her profile picture looked like it was from a throwback JCPenney portrait session). She always had work, so the realization that she did not use LinkedIn elicited my response, "How do you even find work?" and she promptly replied, "Word of mouth..."
It was 2019 and freelance musicians had to use multiple products to communicate efficiently and find work. Musicians needed a way to connect and display their talent for potential employers in a digital space. The features musicians were using with email, Facebook, and Instagram could be aggregated into one social network specifically designed for this user.
NYC Pit Musicians
I conducted user interviews with multiple freelance musicians working the broadway circuit to validate the need. It became apparent musicians were using multiple platforms to network with contractors, producers, and other musicians to find work opportunities. Our users are NYC pit musicians who vary in age, gender, and ethnicity, but share an ultimate goal of performing on Broadway. Some users have reached this goal and would use our product to find subs or mentees, but most are still striving toward the goal to work professionally as a musician frequently enough to make a living. The hindrance of multiple jobs has made it difficult to socialize and network outside of their working hours.
What Do They Need?
Through user interviews, synthesis, and building user personas, it became clear that the most successful way to find work as an NYC pit musician is through word of mouth. It’s important in a musician's career to initiate effective and rewarding relationships. I determined my MVP is an application that allows NYC performance musicians to virtually meet and network with other musicians in the area to find work. A product aggregating the most used features of the platforms our users already subscribed to would be a more efficient way to network.
A Professional Swipe Right
What started as an idea to create a “LinkedIn” type of social network for musicians to find work quickly pivoted to resemble a product more along the lines of a dating app. Networking for musicians was an appreciably more personal experience. I conducted multiple usability tests with low and high fidelity wireframes and implemented changes based on the problem areas I observed. In theory, the user base we were speaking to has already adopted the culture of swiping right or left to show interest or disinterest respectively. In addition to the parameters the user chose, the app will get better at determining the type of musician they are shown based on swipes.