AudioDraft: for a better sounding businessDecember 21st, 2010 by Tommaso De Benetti
Here at Microtask we really believe crowdsourcing works. Ever since we started as a business, we’ve not only worked to develop our own company vision, but also tried to reach out, engage with and promote the services of our friends and competitors. Why? Because we believe the more active businesses in the crowdsourcing ecosystem are, the more the ecosystem will grow and flourish.
From our T-shirt design competition with 99 designs, to micro-work experiments on other crowdsourcing platforms, to my own modest efforts to crowd fund an editorial project: when it comes to getting involved in the CS community, Microtask has been there, done it and, quite literally, got the T-shirt.
Evaluating our experience I’m happy to report that, most of the time, crowdsourcing stuff really does work. Crucially though, both company and client have to be flexible and prepared to approach the whole process with (very) open minds.
The perfect pitch
All of which brings me to our latest partnership with AudioDraft, a platform that creates (no surprises here) custom audio productions via crowdsourced contests. We hoped AudioDraft’s eager and talented musical community would be able to devise a soundtrack for our company video – the rather funky animation that’s embedded in our homepage. The video, which explains Microtask’s concept, has already had some great feedback, but we felt it still lacked that extra spark you get from a really toe-tapping tune.
Harry Seppälä, Senior Designer at Microtask and the man responsible for the original animation, decided to put AudioDraft users to test. He drafted a concise yet informative brief, instructing would-be composers to give their tracks a slightly theatrical, old-fashioned feel. He also threw in links to a few Walt Disney cartoons (all master classes in incidental music) for added inspiration.
“Technically speaking” Harry reports, “the competition was easy to set up. We got our first submissions after a week. The entrants stuck surprisingly well to the brief – I know asking sound designers for some Disney-influenced music with a ‘40s flavor isn’t the most common thing these days – I like to think the project worked because we put quite a lot of effort into finding references, and giving as much detail as possible to AudioDraft’s users. The tricky part of the deal was that, though price was significantly lower than it would have been working directly with a pro, you have to take into account the time to write the brief and follow up with sensible feedback.”
Kimmo Nurmisto, Chief Marketing Officer at AudioDraft, added: “We are constantly developing our service based on user feedback and especially focusing on making the interaction between the customer and the artists run as smoothly as possible. The Microtask case was a great example of a contest where a detailed brief and active feedback helped artists deliver productions for really specific needs. AudioDraft is still a young service but the 100% customer satisfaction tells that we are on the right track”.
Since the best we can musically produce in-house is a virtuoso round of Guitar Hero, we’re very happy (and somewhat relieved) to add another name to the list of crowdsourced stuff that works.
Play it again, AudioDraft.