Chameleon EQ

Chameleon EQ is a powerful tool for music listeners to apply EQ settings on a per-artist/genre/song basis, allowing for greater customization and a more enjoyable audio experience. Chameleon EQ makes EQ more accessible to casual listeners by automating the process.


Problem Space 

Problem Statement  

How can music streaming services improve the listening experience for subscribers while also improving business outcomes in a competitive and saturated market?

Problem Background  

Audiophiles/Music Enthusiasts and casual listeners alike use music streaming services, with over 600 million users worldwide. However, most listeners lack the tools to fine-tune their audio experience for maximum enjoyment. EQ (equalization) is a function where the volume of each band in the frequency response is adjusted. Typically it is done in the recording and production stage, but can also be applied afterward by listeners. 

The current EQ feature provided by all streaming services apply universally to every track, which may be suitable for one genre, but will make another one sound worse. 

For a casual listener, they may not use EQ as there is little to no education provided nor is there a tutorial to help the user understand what they are doing. For audio enthusiasts, they are shoehorned into a one-size-fits all setting as they may find it cumbersome to change the preset to adapt to a different genre or artist. 

Research Insights

By conducting a survey, we were able to collect data on user preferences and grievances when listening to music, as well as gauge their interest on their willingness to spend on premium features. I targeted users aged 18-44 as they are the largest demographic that are subscribers to music streaming services. 

Results of Survey

  1. 26.9-38.5% of responders have noted that they were not happy with a certain aspect of music playback (bass, mids/vocals, highs/details).
  1. 69.2% of users do not use EQ because they don’t understand how it works and it feels too complicated to learn. 
  1. Of the users that do use EQ, only 10% changes the preset manually to adjust for different genres
  1. 61.5% of responders are highly interested in a feature that would automatically apply EQ settings, 23.1% are neutral
  1. 26.9% of users would consider paying for additional features that offer more customization to their music listening experience, 30.8% of users would pay depending on how it was implemented
  1. 76.9% of users are somewhat interested in using EQ as a social tool, sharing their own or discovering new presets on social media. 

Key Pain Points & Corresponding Opportunities for Charmeleon EQ

  1. Inconsistent Audio Experience:

Pain Point: A noticeable portion of users (26.9-38.5%) express dissatisfaction with specific elements of their music playback, indicating a desire for a more tailored sound.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: Automatic adjustments based on genre, song, or artist can address this by optimizing the audio for a consistent experience across different types of music.

  1. EQ Intimidation & Lack of Knowledge:

Pain Point: The majority (69.2%) of users find EQ tools too complicated and don't understand how to use them effectively.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: The automated nature of the product removes the need for users to learn about EQ settings. They can simply enjoy better sound without the learning curve.

  1. Manual EQ Adjustment is Cumbersome:

Pain Point: Even among users who use EQ, only a small percentage manually adjust it for different genres, implying it's inconvenient.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: The automatic, dynamic EQ adjustments eliminate this frustration by continuously optimizing the sound based on the music being played.

  1. High Interest in Automated EQ:

Pain Point: While users desire a better sound, many lack the knowledge or patience to manually adjust EQ settings.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: This strong interest (61.5%) in automatic EQ features validates the core concept and aligns with the product's value proposition.

  1. Willingness to Pay for Customization:

Pain Points: Users seek a more personalised listening experience, but current tools don't cater to that need.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: This presents an opportunity for premium subscriptions or add-ons with features like artist-created presets, or advanced tuning options (10 band EQ)

  1. Desire for EQ as a Social Tool:

Pain Point: Users want to share their audio experiences and discover new ways to enjoy music.

Charmeleon EQ Opportunity: The high interest (76.9%) in using EQ as a social tool supports features like shareable EQ settings, community-created presets, and even artist-fan interactions centered around sound customization.

Additional Considerations

Onboarding and Education: While automation is key, offering simple, engaging tutorials or tips could help users further appreciate the benefits of Charmeleon EQ and potentially upsell them to premium features.

Community Building: Creating a platform for users to share EQ profiles, discuss audio preferences, and connect with artists could foster a loyal user base and strengthen brand identity.

By addressing these pain points and leveraging the indicated opportunities, Charmeleon EQ can provide a valuable solution to users and open up a range of monetization strategies for the streaming service.

User Flows


Entry Point: User opens their music app (Spotify/Apple Music) and starts playing a song.

Notification/Banner: A notification or banner appears, introducing Charmeleon EQ as a new feature and highlighting its benefits ("Get personalized sound for every song"). The user will have the option to select the automatic or manual option. If manual is selected, a quick tutorial will be played to familiarize the user.  

"Now Playing" Screen: A new icon (e.g., a chameleon or soundwave icon) is placed on the "Now Playing" screen, indicating the presence of EQ adjustments.

Manual Mode (Enthusiast Focus)

Detailed EQ Interface: Users see an adjustable equalizer with multiple frequency bands, and sliders for precise control.

Preset Loading: A button allows users to load and save custom EQ profiles. This could include artist-created presets in the future.

Advanced Options (Premium): Additional features (e.g. headphone calibration) could be accessible here as a premium option

Sharing & Social Features (Optional):

Sharing Button: A button allows users to generate a shareable link to their current EQ settings (e.g., "Listen to this song with my custom EQ").

Community Section: A dedicated section where users can browse, upvote, and download EQ profiles created by other users or artists.

UI Mockup

Future Steps

My roadmap for this project:

  1. Develop an MVP in Co.Lab bootcamp with a designer and developers
  2. (possibly naive) Pitch the idea with working demo to Streaming Services and get paid
  3. Land a job as a Product Manager 


Product Manager Learnings:

Ruikai Qin

Make mistakes early so you can fix them asap Make sure the problem space/background is well defined and know your users before starting on the solution space Make sure all your information is delivered in a concise manner and document everything Always keep in mind both the needs of the user and business when developing the product.

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:


Full Team Learning