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Facebook App for music recommendations

and purchases for Universal Music Group was adapted by Redwerk for launch in the American market

Universal group partnerUniversal Music GroupNew York, NY, United States

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the global music leader with strong market positions in recorded music, music publishing, and merchandising.

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Universal Music Group came to us with a product in C#.NET already developed, which needed a facelift and a substantial functionality update. We grasped the codebase in no time and started development from day 1. We worked on per project basis with full customer control over budgets.

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Code we developed is working for over 80% US households delivering them local news on a daily basis.

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Challenge

Universal Music Group is the largest music corporation in the world, and one of its companies, Universal Music Publishing Group, the most important music publishing company on the planet. Its origins go all the way back to the foundation of Decca Records in 1934. Therefore, when Redwerk’s CEO was contacted by Universal’s Director of Technology with the request to update one of their products, this was a definite vote of confidence by one of the major companies on the market, which shows how far Redwerk’s team have come and what kind of a reputation they have managed to achieve.

The challenge for Redwerk’s software engineers was to update a Facebook application by Universal Music which searches your friends’ “likes” and the music they are listening to and suggests music based on their preferences. It pulls music data from an artist database and then syncs the user’s lists with their friends in order to obtain “compatibility scores”, and then music recommendations are displayed according to these matches.

The following changes needed to be done to the Facebook app in order to launch it on the American market:

Updating the Algorithm for Compatibility Score

In order to show the appropriate list of artists we had to develop an algorithm which we called “compatibility score”. This had to include some kind of data visualization showing the compatibility score and the matched titles. Data visualization had to be implemented both as percentages and visual scores (e.g. red for a no-match and green for a good match) based on how strong the compatibility was.

The initial task was to implement this solution by taking into account a variety of parameters like movies and TV shows. However, the client then changed his mind and let us know that they only wanted to focus on music. This did not correspond with the initial instructions which we received from the client.

Extending links list

The existing application supported only two links for downloading from the online stores: iTunes and GetMusic. It was our task to include links to Spotify and other external resources and to add the match score to each one of them. In order to do this, we needed to come up with some kind of structure in order to allow an easy extension of the links to other resources.

Updating the design

We were given clear instructions by the client on how the layout had to be adapted to update the look and feel of the app. There was nothing radical here, more subtle changes of colors, CSS and images. The design of the mobile version also had to be slightly modified.

Updating the database

The database had to be updated with a new list of artists, album art and music download links.

Creating the updated Facebook app

The code for the updated Facebook app had to be finished, in order to suggest music selections to artists and to enable them to interact with a greater number stores in which to buy these albums and singles.

Solution

Redwerk’s software experts quickly found a way to design and develop an algorithm to calculate the required compatibility score. We also added an additional, very practical functionality which allows filtering matches with friends by certain criteria like musical genres, with special compatibility scores based on the selection. We created an extendable list of links for albums so that in the future, more online stores and services can be added in a simplified manner. The user interface of the web app was modernized and updated according to the mockups received by the client, and the database was updated as required.

Being thorough software engineers, we also fixed a problem with critical app crashes which were present in the existing version of the software, so that the app now runs a lot more smoothly at all times.

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3

developers worked on the project

1

QA engineer

280

man-hours spent

29,923

lines of code

100%

deadlines met for launch on Thanksgiving

Results

Despite some initially confusing instructions, Redwerk’s skilled professionals managed to comply with the original requirements of the project. Programming was finished in time for launch of the updated product around Thanksgiving. Apart from the main tasks outsourced to us by the client, we also gave them a helping hand with setting up Google Analytics and the configuration of the server on which the application had to be deployed.

The end result: A happy client and a lot of Facebook users with much larger record collections!

Facebook application update
I worked with Redwerk while at a previous company. When a project popped up while at Universal Music Group, I immediately reached out to Redwerk. I knew that they had the skill set as well as the proper management to get the project delivered on time, on task and on budget. Even when the project scope needed to shift, they made sure to deliver exactly what I needed. I definitely recommend them for any of your development needs.
Michael Glykis Universal

Michael Glykis, Director of Technology at Universal Music Group

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Facebook application by Universal Music
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Music match
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Facebook application update
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Facebook music match

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