Upbeat is a music discovery platform that optimizes music for users based on their music preferences determined via a 5-point rating scale. It is a social network for music lovers that recommends new artists and matches users with a shared taste. Ester was tasked to deliver a distinct and sharp UI/UX design and create various marketing materials for investors.

Upbeat was created by Ryan O’Leary, a musician in his own right, and Adriel Estrada, a tech enthusiast and product manager. Ryan O’Leary, Upbeat’s Co-Founder and CEO, comments on the reasoning behind the creation of Upbeat:

We’ve created a system that organizes the world of music based on each fan’s taste in music. Fans get a fun, interactive taste-in-music social network.”

Their mission is to help music fans discover new artists and bands through a specific algorithm that allows narrowing down of the search, as well as supporting the artists in promoting their music and making it easier for them to access their particular audience. The users can rate songs via a 5-point scale – the more songs they rate, the easier it is for the system to calculate their preferences, get their Match Score and find people who like the same music on the “Fans Like Me” leaderboard. They can look up the artists and add them to their profile, simplifying the mechanism even further. The listeners can also share the songs with other “fans” and friends that follow their pages and get their feedback on them. Upbeat uses Spotify’s API, so the users need to have a Spotify Premium account to be able to listen to the full songs on Upbeat.

Artists get an effective, music-focused promotional platform with direct targeting to relevant fans based on their taste in music.” - Ryan O’Leary, Upbeat’s Co-Founder and CEO

Upbeat is a platform that is equally beneficial and valuable both for the listeners and the artists. Unfortunately, marketing the music can be incredibly challenging for musicians for a variety of reasons: targeting for broad and general audiences can be inefficient and unproductive, the complex marketing mechanism can be hard to tackle for musicians who have no experience with it, and the inevitable large expenses don’t guarantee a successful campaign. Upbeat offers musicians a clear and cost-efficient way to reach the audience through Spotify streams – whenever artists add their music on Spotify, they can also add it to their Upbeat page. Upbeat offers a mechanism of targeted promotion based on individual taste, thus reducing the pool of listeners and reaching out to the users who are more likely to become interested in the given artist.

Commencing work on the project, one of the first challenges for the Ester team was establishing the basis of the Upbeat identity. Before beginning the project, Upbeat had already had their logo created, so the Ester team had to build the visual identity of the subsequently developed solutions drawing on from that. Purple became the dominant color used for both mobile and web apps. It is always present in the interface in some capacity – fully as a background, as a gradient for shading or tinting, through occasional pops of color or for contrast. The Upbeat logo – a musical note with a smiley face fused in it – evokes a welcoming and cheery feeling, provides a sense of community and cordiality. We needed to do our best to spread that impression across all Upbeat media.

The Ester team developed a refined system of icons and symbols used for various buttons, panels and sidebars, as well as a set of icons for a rating scale. Since the rating scale is one of the definitive features of the Upbeat app, we created several variations of the scale, playing around with the colors and gradients, ensuring that the color theme is consistent across the whole app. The existing logo was optimized in a way that would make it usable within any possible function, ensuring coherence and increasing brand recognition. By applying the logo as a means of interaction confirmation, we provided an opportunity for an intuitive user interface experience which considerably simplifies navigation through the app.

After determining the primary color scheme and basic visual identity, Ester conceptualized this in the Upbeat mobile and web apps. Our team worked on the mobile app design first, applying the defined visual character, providing its further seamless transition into a web app version. This was achieved by utilizing the same interface features and color palettes, and focusing on converting the prioritized elements and taking into account differences between desktop and mobile app user behavior. The web app version includes more multi-column pages and structures, while the mobile app relies more on scrolling and long vertical arrangements. The responsive and transparent design makes both apps easily comprehensible for the new users. They complement each other and allow users to easily engage with the apps regardless of their previous experience with apps of similar functionality.

The music motif is deep-rooted in the web and mobile apps: subtle effects, such as curved gradients of color or a background shadow in the shape of an equalizer, support the overall visual and thematic mood of the apps, highlighting the nature of Upbeat’s identity.

Along with the apps, we also worked on the marketing video presentation of the Upbeat mobile app, providing an insight into its basic features and showing how they’re merging in the final product.

Upbeat aims to transform the music streaming industry and encourage artists and fans to reach out to each other effortlessly and with no obstruction. Ester created visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces that clarify the Upbeat overall message, redefine its brand identity and representation, make it stand out in a myriad of music apps and capture the essence of Upbeat’s aspirations.

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