Audio Network: Mapping Opportunities for a Music Service Provider
This project was a quick case study of a music service provider. The objective was to understand the business model, map its stakeholders, value flows and develop a high-level blueprint to visualize the various actors and touch points involved in the service. Use the insights from the research to map opportunity areas for both short-term and long-term intervention.
DURATION: 2 Weeks
MY ROLE: Service blueprinting, Stakeholder and Value flow mapping, Secondary Research, Opportunity mapping
TOOLS: Illustrator, Keynote, Google Sheets
TEAM: Ulu Mills, Soonho Kwon
Audio Network is an independent UK-based production music library. It offers a world-class catalogue of original music spanning every conceivable style, mood and instrumentation. Its client base includes all major broadcasters, independent production houses, post houses and a range of smaller corporate and creative companies.
For this project, we mostly conducted secondary research using sources like magazine articles, online articles from magazines, interviews, news articles etc. We used Google Scholar and the CMU repository to find reliable sources for research and citation and collated the key points into a collaborative excel document for review and analysis.
Findings: Audio Network's Business Model
An alternative to traditional licensing: Audios Network's business model is a response to the complex process of licensing music for creative use.
In the US, for example, issuing the rights to use recorded music outside of its original context is handled by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Producers), who issues a variety of licenses for different platforms and territories. But they just handle rights within the US; for works intended for distribution in worldwide markets or over multiple platforms, licensing becomes incredibly complicated as each country has their own rights management systems.
Audio Network circumvent this by producing their own music so that they maintain full ownership, and offering simplified licensing schemes, typically offering worldwide licenses for a one-time fee.
Audio Network offers different types of license based on the end-use of a project which are priced per track, for use in a single video or production. Apart from the revenue that comes from license sales, a big chunk of its revenue is generated in the form of royalties paid by broadcaster and publishers which audio network then splits with its composers.
Initial Stakeholder Map and value flow diagram based on research findings.
Initial Service Blueprint: identifying key touch points & opportunity areas
Stakeholder Map and Value Flow Diagram
Based on our research findings and initial discussions, I developed the final Stakeholder map and Value flow diagram. I decided to highlight the values exchange between various stakeholders using hexagonal boxes and color coding the exchanges for easy comprehension. I also highlighted the monetary flow between various stakeholders by visually quantifying the money exchange through $ icons.
Quality is the main factor that sets Audio Network apart. Audio Network hires industry heavyweights, and produces their content with real musicians and real instruments in the cradles of music culture. It has over 140,000 tracks in its catalog, and is partnered with over 750 composers in over a dozen countries.
Audio Network produces its own music so that it can maintain full ownership, and offer simplified worldwide licenses for a one-time fee. This is valuable for both Audio Network, who can retain more of the profits from licensing , and for creators, who do not have to jump through many hoops to retain licenses.
Composers at Audio Network have a stake in its success. Because of the company’s initial push to get composers on board as shareholders, there seems to be an inherent company culture where composers are seen as an asset.
Value in globalization: Audio Network’s global expansion is also a major source of value. Audio Network prides itself in its ability to provide high-quality, authentic, regional music.
In addition to a comprehensive website, optimized touch points like Integration into Adobe Premiere, YouTube monetization agreements are also key to Audio Network’s success. It allows creators to place library music in real-world context through listings on streaming platforms like iTunes, Spotify.
Audio Network offers specialized custom made music compositions and even provides custom licenses to meet more specific needs.
We developed a service blueprint to show the interactions and touch points through the service. This was especially helpful in creating an overall landscape of the service. It helped to identify actors and touchpoints involved at each step and surfaced possible critical moments which, in turn, enabled us to discover opportunity areas for possible interventions.
Audio Network has built its success thanks to its two main relationships: its strong sense of community among composers and artists, and its proactivity in anticipating the needs of creators by providing authentic, accessible high quality production music to multiple markets. If they take the opportunity to bridge those connections, we foresee an even more successful, community-centric service.
01 Metadata Management
With an ever expanding music library, metadata management becomes even more important. Search parameters can be expanded to include factors such as tempo and region. Can algorithms be used to make customized recommendations?
02 Further Integration
Integrating the service into other softwares would draw a larger customer base of amateur content creators who would draw in more royalties for composers as they don’t use the subscription model to license music.
03 Metadata Annotations
Audio network can include 'suggested edit points' in the meta data of its sound tracks (think Soundcloud comment features) to help less-seasoned sound editors find the right cut/join locations while integrating music into their projects.
04 Wider network of talented artists
The A&R team’s capacity to find the right people is imperative, and for artists opportunity awareness is extremely important. How can more qualified musicians learn about the opportunities with audio Network?
05 Feedback Loop
A better understanding of how the music is being used by content creators can improve the kind and quality of music being composed by artists. Addressing this feedback loop can be of great value to Audio network.
All brand names, trademarks and images related to Audio Network are copyright of their respective owners.
Header Image: Audio Network Source: https://www.audionetwork.com/content/about-us