Understanding what our members need

We know that in order to design and build a service that people really want, it needs to be based on what people actually need.

<i>PRS for Music</i> Journey Map

We know that in order to design and build a service that people really want, it needs to be based on what people actually need. With that in mind, the first thing we needed to do to kick start our digital journey was to understand what our member's needs and pain points were, so that we could plan our work around solving their problems from day one. Sometimes you have to put yourself in other peoples shoes to understand what’s really going on.

To do so, earlier this year we fully immersed ourselves in our members’ lives for 7 full days. We followed, interviewed and socialised with members in their homes, live music venues, rehearsal spaces and studios, combining ethnographic research (observing people in their natural environment), creation of new ideas and quick concept validation. In a short space of time, we gained valuable insights into what our members needed, iterated our ideas and tested out lots of new concepts to give us a plan of action for the coming months. You may recognise this approach from the likes of Google, Nokia and Microsoft who use similar techniques – it’s basically how we figure out what people really need. This approach is called the Field Studio.

Who we met

We recruited members who represented not only different genres of music and stages in their career, but also those who used different practical tools (such as mobile apps to do their work) in order to represent a cross section of our membership as a whole. Our participants included:

14 writers and performers
8 publishers
3 managers/writer reps

The key activities

Observations and interviews

We observed and interviewed members at work, in rehearsals, studios and at home, and asked them to share their view of the musical world around them - from the main activities they carried out on a daily basis to their personal relationships and the tools they used – anything from paper to mobile and desktop applications.

Whilst this part of the approach was focused on building our understanding of our member's needs, it also gave us the opportunity to share initial ideas that could start to help solve the problems we knew they were already facing.

Live performances

Band performing at a gig

Getting your work out there is obviously a key stage in the journey of any piece of music. In order to understand what happens before, during and after a piece of music is performed, we needed to immerse ourselves in the activities surrounding live performances. We attended live events, met with and interviewed performers, fans, managers and venue staff to start to fill in this part of our members musical journey. This was a lot of fun too!

Creative workshops

This part of the Field Studio was dedicated to identifying and validating new ideas that helped to meet our participants needs. We sketched, discussed and shared the ideas we’d generated over the past few days and, with our participants help, prioritised and developed these further, giving us clear direction and next steps.

Following a workshop with the full PRS for Music team, we now have a much clearer understanding of what it is our members need and where our priorities should be placed in order to start to solve the problems they are facing.

To bring this to life, we have captured where our attention should be focused on now, next and in the future on what we call the PRS Journey Map, which spans the wall on the second floor of our Streatham office. It shows the main activities, issues/pain points and where the key ideas to solve those problems fit in to our member's lives today.

As with everything we are doing, this is just the start. We’ll be testing new services and ideas with our members throughout development, so don’t be surprised if you hear from us soon looking for your feedback on upcoming developments!

Written by

Calum Pringle

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