1 Interviewer: Sonia Doshi (So) Interviewee: Sunder Kannan (Su) Interviewee Description: Junior at the University of Michigan, inactive Songza user Ad Preferences Playlist Creation Recommended Playlists Music-Listening Habits Playback Functionality Combination of Platforms Music Collection Premium Service Sharing Music Individual Song Search Preferences to feedback functions (such as thumbs-up/down) So: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me today. My group and I are interested in learning about your online music listening experiences like I told you before, but if there are any questions you don t want to answer, you can skip them, and then just let me know if you need clarification on anything I ask as well. So, just to start, can you just tell me about what you did yesterday? Su: Yesterday, I had an exam in the morning, and then I went to class from Then, I went to an info session for a scholarship, and then I went to the gym, and then I went to dance practice. So: Nice. So, then, do you usually say that your dance practice is what you do for fun or are there other things that you do for fun? Su: Yeah, I d say dance practice is what I do for fun. So: Cool. What did you eat yesterday? Su: Let s see. A bagel, a chicken shwarma sandwich, and lots of coffee. So: Nice. So, do you usually buy your food then. Su: Depends on the day. Yesterday, yeah, because we don t have groceries in my apartment. So: Okay. Do you like to cook? Su: No.
2 So: Okay. So, can you just tell me about the last time that you remember that you listened to music? Su: As I walked over here. So: Okay. What did you listen to? Su: Soundcloud. So: Okay nice. Were you listening to a particular playlist that you liked or? Su: No, just picked a DJ and scrolled through their songs. So: Nice. Do you have a favorite genre? Su: Not particularly. So: So, do you usually listen to music when you re walking or what do you do when you listen to music? Su: I listen to music like whenever I m not in class really like walking between classes, studying, yeah. So: So then, how often would you say you listen to music daily or weekly? Su: Like timewise or like number of times? So: Whatever. Su: Is like a lot a good answer? So: Yeah yeah. So, can you tell me about other types of things you do when you listen to music or what you like to do when you listen to music? Su: I like studying while listening to music. I like working out with music. That s about it. I just like having some other type of like noise or something. So: Right. Yeah so, you said you used Soundcloud on the way over here. Is that a platform you usually use or do you use other platforms? Su: It really depends. Soundcloud and then like the Google Music on my phone. So: Do you use like online music streaming sites besides though? Su: Yeah, once in a while. I use Pandora sometimes. So: Okay cool. So, have you always listened to music this way or when has that changed? Su: Yeah, since college, I ve been listening to music a lot more than before college just because there s more like free time.
3 So: And so, have you always listened to music using Soundcloud or your Google Music or another way? Su: No, I used to use itunes a lot more, and I used to like just use Pandora constantly. So: So, why did you first check out Pandora? Su: I remember using it during like middle school during like working on projects and things just because it offers a variety of music and you don t really have to like choose songs and it just picks for you. Easy. So: Right. So, did you like that it recommended music to you? So: So, did you usually use the mobile app or the website? Su: The website. I didn t have a phone back then. So: Do you like to listen to music around other people? Or particularly when you used Pandora, did you like to use it around other people or generally by yourself? Su: It was generally when I was by myself. So: Okay. Su: Like studying or whatever. So: How frequently did you use Pandora as compared to how frequently you listen to whatever other platforms you use now? Su: Back then, like that was like the exclusive way I listened to music. So like, during middle school and high school, I used Pandora almost exclusively and now, Soundcloud I use a lot more. I use YouTube, stuff like that. So: So, why did you switch over from Pandora to like these other? Su: I liked the greater variety on Soundcloud and I like you know remixes and stuff and you can t really find that on anywhere but Soundcloud like independent stuff by random DJ s. So: Okay. If Pandora offered those remix options, would you potentially use that more or is there some other feature that you really like about Soundcloud that attracts you to it? Su: Yeah, like I probably would like it s a lot easier studying to just have it go through and pick random things you like instead of having to go through it yourself.
4 So: So, in Soundcloud you actively have to choose that? Su: Yeah, more than I would want to when like studying and stuff. So: Okay. So then, even though you do have to actively choose it, you still choose to listen to it because you like the music that it has? Su: Yeah, and it does like, you know if you have like the right playlist, you can just listen to it, but sometimes there s a song you ve listened to like 30 times that you that you don t really feel like listening to, so I skip through that. So: Right, yeah. So, how do you usually listen to music like do you usually listen to music on headphones or on a speaker or? Su: Like almost exclusively on headphones. So: Okay. So, you re usually on the go generally when you re listening to music? Su: Yeah or just like plug in headphones at the library. So: Cool. So, I know you said that you really like music that s remixed but are there like specific artists that you really like or particular genres or playlists or albums? Su: I really like Bollywood remixes a lot, Bhangra remixes, and I guess good DJ s I like, let s see, DJ Chetas. That s probably the main one that has like a lot of tracks on my playlist right now. So: So, do you then, on Soundcloud, actively choose songs that you then put on your playlist? Su: Yes. So: Okay, and do you like that feature? Su: Yes. So: Okay. Do you share music that you listen to with your friends? Su: Not really. So: So, do you ever talk about music you listen to with your friends? Su: Yeah, if I hear something really cool, I ll like send it to one of my friends, but music doesn t come up in conversation or like I don t find it to be one of the main things I talk about with my friends. So: Okay so, when you do tell someone about a song you really like or about a playlist, how do you usually share that with them?
5 Su: I ll take the link and put it in Facebook message or I ll just show them or something like that. So: I know that there re some sites, and I m not sure if Soundcloud does this, where they will automatically share what you re listening to on Facebook. Do you like that? Su: No. So: Why? Su: I don t like Facebook knowing everything I do with my life. And I find it annoying like seeing it on other people s Soundclouds. Like I don t really care, and I don t think that other people really care about what I m listening to. So: Right okay. So then, do you like following what your friends are listening to, not necessarily by looking at it on Su: On Soundcloud, I look at what they re listening to, but I feel like that s a forum where that s like more appropriate. So: Yeah. So, in Soundcloud as opposed to sites like Pandora, you can see what your friends are listening to then? So: Do you like that feature? Su: Yeah, I like it a lot. Because like a lot of my friends, we have like similar interests, but I haven t found like a lot of stuff they listen to so yeah. So: So would you say that for a site like Pandora, if they offered that, you would be interested in having that feature? So: Okay cool. So, how do you find new music generally? Su: Sometimes, it s just by like finding a song like if you just pick one song on Soundcloud it ll just go through like recommended tracks. Other people will show me like one song from one artist, and I ll like look through the rest of their stuff. So: So, does Soundcloud allow you to like or dislike a song? Su: Mmhmm. So: So, do you use that feature and do you like it? Su: No.
6 So: Do you think that it s helpful at all? Su: Yeah, I think that it s helpful to find what my friends are listening to, but like again, I don t really feel like, like I know what I like, so I don t feel like clicking that. So: So, how prevalent are ads on Soundcloud? Su: I don t really know. I haven t seen any ads. So: So, they don t affect your experience at all? Su: Yeah, they don t affect my experience. They re probably on the side, but I just don t know or something. So: So, what about just on other websites, maybe on Facebook or Pandora, how do you feel about where ads are placed or when ads are autoplayed and interrupt your playlist? Su: Well, I have AdBlock Plus, so I don t have to deal with that anymore. So: Nice okay cool. So, before you had Adblock Plus, did you feel like it affected your experience in any way? Su: Ah, it pissed me off. It was so annoying. So: Okay. Depending on where the ads were placed, what did you dislike more? When they interrupted your playlist or just when they were on the site in general? Su: Definitely when they interrupted what I m listening to. Like if it played before a song, it s the most annoying. I don t really care if they re just on the site. So: Okay cool. So, if you could create your own music streaming service yourself, could you describe that for me? Like would there be advertisements or? Su: That s my million dollar idea dude! Don t take it from me! So: Well, please describe it! Su: Ah man, is this class all about taking my ideas? Okay, well, I d have something very similar to Soundcloud, but you could have the option of playing whatever it recommends but you could just go through it, like similar to Pandora. So, like just merge the two. So: So, by merging them, can you be more specific about that? Su: Yeah, so I guess you could like pick a song, or like pick an artist and listen to them, but it would also like intersperse them with songs it thinks you d like be interested in. Just so that, I
7 really like the fact that Pandora that you could explore new music very easily just because it like forces you to, but Soundcloud doesn t necessarily have that. So: So, are there features that you would eliminate from Soundcloud that exist right now? Su: Not really. I like it a lot. So: What about features that you definitely really like on Soundcloud or on? Su: I like that basically anyone can upload stuff. Like you can just make something and like I like that it s really like independent of like as label control like just anyone can upload something? So: Can you talk a little bit more about that? Like how does that work? Do you record that directly on Soundcloud? Su: No it s like uploading music files. And I really like that because you get to hear a lot of new people s ideas for what they think music should sound like. So: So, have you ever uploaded anything? Su: No. So: Okay. Do you like following what your friends have uploaded? Su: Yeah, I ve listened to what my friends have uploaded but also like bigger named people I think are really good. So: Is that a feature that drew you to Soundcloud as opposed to using other music streaming sites? Su: Initially, yeah kind of just to see like people I know or people I ve heard of were putting out and then it kind of expanded. So: Okay. That s cool. So what about if you created your own online music streaming site, would you definitely want that as like a feature that was in it? Su: Yes. So: Okay so for example, if Pandora integrated that feature, then you would be a lot more inclined? Su: Yes.
8 So: Okay very cool. So, as you know we are evaluating the website Songza. Have you heard about it at all? So: Do you know kind of what the general functionality of it is? Su: Yeah yeah. I ve used it before. Like once or twice. So: Oh okay you have? So: Okay. So, are there specific things that you do during the day that you would be really interested in having music paired with to because that s kind of what Songza is all about. I don t know. I just found it like a very weird interface to like use to begin with. And so like, I guess you know just because you like pick like studying on it or whatever, I don t necessarily think that s like a good representation of what I need to study with. So, I guess just like opening up each of the sub categories a little bit more. So: Okay. So you mean you d prefer to have more options or something that would be more tailored to you? Su: Yeah, because like some people need more calm music to like study with but I need something that keeps me very motivated. So: Oh I see. So, you feel like they don t necessarily tailor your music to what you want? So: Okay. Do you think you would ever be willing to use Songza in the future if they changed it somehow and what would you want them to change? Su: Yeah definitely. I think it s really cool that you can pick what you re doing just like if it was more tailored to your individual listening habits, I think that would be better. So: Yeah, okay. How important are the mobile app versions of these sites for you? Su: I mean if they just run correctly and like not stop halfway through songs. I listen to music walking basically everywhere. And so like, it s really important that it doesn t freeze or whatever. So: So, you usually spend most of your time listening to music on mobile applications then? Su: Yes.
9 So: Do you ever share your music on social media? Like share it as a status or tweet about music at all? Su: Definitely don t tweet about it because I don t tweet that much. I don t really post about music like I post funny videos and stuff, but I don t post music. So: Okay. Can you talk a little bit more about why you feel like the interface is a little weird on Songza from like the one time that you saw it? Su: Yeah, so like I used it last year a few times like when studying and like you go through the beginning and it s just like I feel like it s very limiting like at the very beginning like what are you like doing right now like there s different I guess, it just felt really general and not specific enough for me to pick what I was doing exactly. So: Okay so, you were more inclined to choose something that you were actually doing at that time as opposed to choosing something at random? So: And so, you felt like a lot of times the things that they offered didn t apply to you? So: Okay that s really interesting. Su: I m an interesting person. So: Let s see what else. Are there other external features on Soundcloud or on Google Music, because I know that you said you use Google Music a lot? Su: Yeah, it s like itunes but for like Android. So the music on your computer hard drive, you upload to Google Music and you can listen to it anywhere. So: Okay. So, do you then frequently buy music? Su: No. It s mostly like if I know if I m going somewhere that I won t have service, then you can upload your music to Google Music and you can download that whenever you want to your phone, and so if I m going somewhere where I don t have service, I ll download it to my phone. So: Okay, so do you more frequently use Soundcloud than Google Music or the other way around? Su: Yeah, I use Soundcloud more just because a lot of the tracks aren t downloadable and I m
10 not going to buy music now. So, if I can get free downloads from certain DJ s like they re some DJ s who ll always have free downloads, then I d rather just do that. So: So, on Soundcloud you have the option to sometimes download free music? Su: Yeah, you can buy it, but a lot of the people who are trying to make a name for themselves will just make it free. So: Oh, that s really interesting. I didn t know that. So then, your Google Music is kind of like your backup for when you don t have service? So: So then, would you say that you prefer an online music streaming service over like an itunes or a Google Music? So: Okay. Cool. Is there anything else that you could share about your music listening experience or your general habits or something that you really want changed in your music listening experience that you want to share with me? Su: I guess I just like if Pandora did not have those really annoying ads and like it wasn t limited to like major label artists, I think it d be really great to like expand music horizons because it is really great to find new stuff that you are interested in. So, I guess like if that option of just autoplaying something that they d think you d be interested in like that s a good feature that everything should have. So: Very cool. Is there anything else? Su: No. So: Awesome! Well, thank you so much! This was super helpful.