17 May 2014
No more distasteful music
Being relatively new to Vancouver (about two years since I began school here), I like exploring what the city has to offer. I frequent many coffee shops, bars and new restaurants whenever I get the chance, and enough friends to agree on one place. There have been many instances that you go to a coffee shop or a bar and everything is great, yummy food, friendly staff, but the music playing on repeat is distasteful and does not complement the ambience. The customer has close to no power to change what he/she is listening to.
Recently, I got nerd sniped by this problem and went into a rabbit hole, researching any and all past attempts to solve this problem. There have been many companies trying to introduce swanky jukeboxes with multi-touch displays to engage customers. Clearly, this is a niche solution, historically adoptable only by the bigger rich establishments. The corner diner/bar/coffee shop can not afford to invest in an expensive end to end solution. There has to be a better and cost effective method to engage customers. Some meta-thinking on this topic has led to me to an idea worth exploring. Imagine having a common playlist that customers can access and up-vote songs to move songs they like further up the play queue. At the customer end, this could be a simple app on their phone, or a web app to allow for a wider range of mobile devices. The shop has a device that either uses wi-fi to enlist songs from a streaming service (like Spotify, SoundCloud, Grooveshark, although there might be some legal constraints on commercial use) or from a local disk (a usb, so that we don’t even need a display) that the customers see. The owner accesses this list from the same web app with admin privileges to limit playlists to a certain genre. Really all one needs is a raspberry pi running a web client for proof of concept.
Finals end in a week, and this seems like a deep enough problem for me to sink my teeth into. Looking forward to post updates on progress. I have always wanted to play around with my raspberry pi, and some of the music streaming API’s. This might be the best opportunity yet.
It is time to empower customers to play songs they like and give them an opportunity to discover new songs, at places they love to visit often.
If you have hacked on a similar project before (using mopidy server and a raspberry pi, I would love to hear about it in the comments below)
Til next time,