How do you make Karaoke social?
A startup specializing in music technology, called MuseAmi, came to RAIN with a karaoke app prototype. We were tasked to "skin" the app skeleton which resembled a landscape gaming app. We realized there was a huge opportunity to take the MVP and completely rethink it. We flipped the app to portrait creating a product that was social and Hook'd was born.
Just like Instagram enables people to share their moments with photos, Hook’d, an app for iOS and Android, allowed people to share their lives via song. More than a karaoke app, we partnered with top labels, allowing users to sing over real tracks from the artists they love.
I was brought in as the lead designer on Hook'd in the beginning stages of concepting. We wanted the app to do one simple thing well with an opportunity for users to use the app as a sandbox with the goal of learning from their behaviors to constantly iterate and improve the product.
We collaborated very closely with the MuseAmi team of product managers and developers to quickly iterate and test new features and designs. At times, we were embedded in their office to hold work sessions and brainstorms. I was responsible for some wireframing and all UI design along with preparing assets for the development team with detailed notes.
We came up with a campaign called "Sing Your Life" to promote and market Hook'd, drawing more attention from new users and artists who wanted to partner with Hook'd to connect more with their fans. We launched contests in the app and through a voting system, the winners were awarded a trip to see their favorite band. We had activations at SXSW complete with a Hook'd branded Karaoke booth.
When we started working on Hook'd, we weren't quite sure what the best product would look like but we did know that we wanted to create a musical sandbox for our users. We gave our users real tracks, video filters, and state of the art voice enhancements like reverb. As a result, we were continually inspired by the amount of creativity that came out of our users' performances. Some of our users gained followers through our partnership with YouTube and became actual YouTube stars. We also launched contests and challenges as a way for users to win chances to meet their favorite artists by singing their songs. It was a win-win situation because the contests encouraged more users to drop Hooks and artists' songs gained publicity.
Hook'd for Messenger.
We discovered our users were finding ways to communicate with each other through Hooks and we started working on a way to put messaging in the app. So when Facebook launched Messenger as a separate app in 2014, and contacted us, we jumped at the chance to partner with them. Facebook wanted Hook'd to be one of the first apps to be offered on the new Messenger platform. We worked closely with Facebook and took the best aspects of Hook'd, stripped them down, and created video messaging karaoke.
An instant hit.
Hook'd was downloaded over 100,000 times and was immediately featured in the top slot on the iTunes store. The app gained a loyal community of users who used the platform as their playground. Unfortunately, our client lost funding in late 2015 and had to remove Hook'd from the app store.