Google Play and Sonos

Set your music free with high fidelity, wireless sound 

Brand Positioning & Creative Strategy

 
 

Overview

 

For the purpose of innovating the music streaming platform, Google Play launched a new feature to play music over the internet. 

We introduced the new feature integration as a highly powerful, yet personal way of playing music on Sonos home speakers.  

I led the team at B-Reel to understand the subscription-based music streaming in a home environment. I crafted the brand positioning, messaging, and collaborated with our creative director to develop a bold, confident story for our launch.  

Google Play Sonos
 
 

Defining Goals

 

Music streaming services are growing at an ever increasing, rapid pace. As as result, competition for users and revenue growth is fierce.

At the end of 2016 there were 112 million users of paid music streaming subscriptions, who drove year-on-year streaming revenue growth of 60.4%, according to the IFPI Global Music Report 2017.

At the same time, new wave of music streaming services also entered the market.

Music streaming services

Google Play introduced All Music Access where users can choose from 40 million tracks, build a playlist, and play artist radio.

Google Play Music
Once we were clear of the [Google Play Music] All Access launch, we had a chance to sit down with Sonos and talk about how we could really do something special together. We usually like to launch things with a twist–something nobody has ever seen before. After some technical conversations, we were able to settle on our twist.
— Paul Joyce, Google, Product Manager
Album art created by Lionel Taurus

Album art created by Lionel Taurus

With over 164 billion songs streamed on Google Play since launch, our client needed to innovate its platform and compete even harder for users' attention. What used to be an all-in-one app from Sonos to deliver wireless audio, the home sound system is now integrating directly into Google Play. 

Inline Google Play and Sonos
 

Discovery

 

Set your music free at home.

I conducted qualitative research to understand music behavior. I interviewed people who regularly used paid music streaming services and explored a number of themes in my ethnography. People typically valued music streaming service that understood the kinds of music they played, predicted what they liked, and allowed them to search or discover from a large library of songs, artists, and genres.

White space opportunity

Overall, the research concluded that people tended to lean towards services that felt personalized and human versus more tech-forward. The study also showed that people preferred the freedom or ability to choose music because it gave them active control of the overall music experience. Paid users weren’t interested in having limitations on music, like Pandora, where music is experienced more passively and in the background.

 

Google Play Direct Play to Sonos
 

Exploring

 

Music is increasingly more personal and people want a more connected experience at home.  

People not only want to personalize their music tracks, they want a seamless connection to sound, called untethered play. This behavioral shift is a result of cloud-based technology that allows us to connect our devices to a wireless eco-system. Here are few more points we discovered: 

  • People rely on technology to simplify and make things easier
  • As more households become wireless, people desire seamless connections to music, TV, and other electronic items
  • Interaction with music and entertainment across multiple devices is normal
  • In-app services on our phones are playing the role of the remote control to other connected devices on the internet wireless system

Now, music can be streamed via any device and connected to your home system. 

 
Album art created by Lionel Taurus

Album art created by Lionel Taurus

Someday, the modern audio platform will be almost entirely defined in software, with the exception of smart speakers. The ultimate goal for us is every sound on the Internet played out loud on Sonos. We want to keep shortening the path between discovering the music however you discover it and hearing it out loud in high fidelity. Google and QQ are really just examples of the potential.
— Tom Cullen, Sonos, Cofounder
Album art created by Lionel Taurus

Album art created by Lionel Taurus

    We know people want a music streaming experience that lets them play wherever they are in their home. 

    As a result, we landed on bringing more human connection to the music streaming partnership. This was guided by the emotional experience of:

    1. Personalized, control of music
    2. Home as a personal space of self-identity and comfort
    Google Play Dancing Dude .png
     

    Refining

     

    'Where music comes out to play' idea reinforced the tension around the magic, harmony, and control and created a lasting bond between music and sound.

    We crafted a new positioning statement to communicate the bond between music, sound, and play. The ability to stream what you want,  where you want is extremely powerful. You are in complete control of your music experience.  

    Partnership positioning statement
     
     

    Where Music Comes Out To Play lead us to the idea that music can be played in any room. You can feel the incredible sound of your favorite artist pulsing in the living room to your. 

    Specifically, it came to life in a short film that follows a guy coming home from work with music on the headphones. His head is bopping, his body is swaying to the beat of the music. He casts the music and suddenly is connected to his home system. He dances his way to the living room, creating a new playlist and moving out in the balcony. He is completely immersed in the sound of home. 

    The entire experience is alive and untethered. The film delivers on the user’s experience and an out-of-this-world sound quality that is uniquely Google Play and Sonos.

     
    Google Play Interactive Wall
     
     

    Results

     

    We increased new users by 40% and earned 5.5 million unique views since launch. Fast Company wrote about the new feature integration here

     
     
     

     

    Let's work together

     

    I'll partner with you to hone in on a strategic vision, uncover users' needs, and launch a brand, product, or service that stands out.