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Jetset: A More Sustainable Approach to Music Touring

Designing a tool to make touring easier and more sustainable for DJs and musicians through "nudges."

Jetset: A More Sustainable Approach to Music Touring

Not every music event is as disastrous as Woodstock ‘99, and the impact isn’t always quite so visible, but there are a number of problem areas for sustainability in music... and opportunities for sustainable design. For this project, I decided to focus on the impact of touring musicians, particularly DJs and live performers in the electronic music scene.

The end products of this solo research and product design project, completed as a final project for Pratt Institute's Sustainable Interaction Design course, were interactive prototypes, a sitemap, a persona and user journey map, and a polished presentation of the process and results.

Presented at Pratt #INFOSHOW in May 2023.

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Team / client

Pratt Institute - INFO-671
Sustainable Interaction Design

My role

  • Industry & user research
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Product design
  • Interactive prototyping in Figma
  • Presentation design


November - December 2022
4 weeks

Tools Used

  • Figma + Figjam
  • Google Forms

User ResearchProduct DesignSustainable Design

Industry Research

Before embarking at all on a design project, I completed a research presentation examining sustainable design in music broadly. This presentation covered a wide variety of problem areas within music as well as existing work towards addressing these issues.

As I continued my own work, I decided to focus on the environmental impact of touring musicians, particularly DJs and live performers in the electronic music scene.

Festivals & events
  • Travel for touring musicians & DJs
  • The fan experience at festivals
  • Non-festival event venues
Music listening & distribution
  • Vinyl manufacturing and distribution
  • Other physical products and merchandise
  • Digital music streaming
A slide with statistics from the Clean Scene report.
A slide focused on carbon offsetting and how it counteracts but does not prevent emissions.
A slide about music spaces making an effort to eliminate single use plastics.
A slide about rider templates for artists trying to tour more sustainably.

Surveying DJs


For the next wave of the project, I found myself on a tight timeline: I had about four weeks to complete the final project, where I had decided to focus on a product design to help address sustainability in music touring. Because of this limited timeframe, I designed a survey that would offer a pulse on touring artists and collect some qualitative data that I would otherwise have needed to conduct interviews to learn.

I set up the survey in Google Forms and distributed it across my own Twitter and Discord networks and received a total of 15 respondents from multiple regions of the North America and Europe. Because I wanted some amount of rich qualitative data, I compromised on the number of responses in order to get results that would feel more akin to the type of data I might have gathered from conducting interviews.

With more time, I would have loved to follow up with more generative research such as in-depth interviews and diary studies with musicians as they planned a tour. I would have also liked to conduct evaluative research, such as user testing or feedback sessions with the existing prototypes to continue iterating on the design.


Almost half of respondents stated that sustainability was a consideration, but that other considerations take priority. Top priorities for artists booking travel were efficiency of route, timing, and lowest price. Lowest priorities were amenities such as food options, duration of stay, and sustainability.

A pie chart showing that most artists were unable to consider sustainability a priority.

After completing the survey, I organized the results in a Figjam board to get a sense of the patterns, themes, and overall process an artist or booking agent goes through to book a gig.

A slide with screenshots of various sticky notes from Figjam.

I synthesized the results of my analysis into several broader findings, as well as a user persona (modifying a Figma template for the layout) and user journey map.

Finding 1: Artists are comfortable playing shows and working their craft; most of their challenges come from planning and logistics. This is also where most sustainability challenges occur. Takeaways:
  • Most artists will not have the capacity to prioritize sustainability unless other problems are also solved.
  • Templated documents, such as agreements, contracts, and invoices, could be helpful for independent artists.
  • Simplifying communication and discovery between various entities involved in the booking process - for example, helping artists find nearby venues with openings for more efficient tour routing, or helping venues find artists to fill slots.
Finding 2: Most artists are using existing tools such as Google Calendar, Google Docs, the Notes app on their phone, and social media messaging to secure and plan gigs. This information may be spread across multiple locations. Takeaways:
  • Artists could benefit from a unified or specialized tool for booking and managing gigs.
  • ...However, this tool should probably sync with some of the most commonly used existing tools, such as Calendar apps.
Finding 3: Many barriers to sustainable touring are systemic - for example, poor systems for rail travel in some regions such as the United States, and “Global Capitalist Hegemonic Power” as one artist put it. Takeaways:
  • This is a hard one for us to fix :) But we can acknowledge it and accept that we may need to accept some imperfections and make some compromises as we work toward greater sustainability.

A slide with screenshots of various sticky notes from Figjam.

A slide with screenshots of various sticky notes from Figjam.

Design Goals

I started the design process with a broad research question:

How might we encourage DJs and bookers to engage in more sustainable touring practices?

One research paper that stuck out to me in my initial research was Bär, Korrmann, and Kurscheidt's "How Nudging Inspires Sustainable Behavior among Event Attendees: A Qualitative Analysis of Selected Music Festivals."

A slide about nudging, quoting a paper by Bär, Korrmann, and Kurscheidt.

Artists might not choose to use a new tool focused on sustainability alone. In order to build a tool that artists would consider using, I decided to focus on building a product that would address other pain points that they face in their work, while nudging them toward more sustainable practices. With this in mind, I honed my research question and set several design goals.

How might we build a tool that both helps solve for problems independent DJs and touring artists already have, while nudging them toward more sustainable practices?

  • More efficient tour routing: Facilitates connections between artists and bookers to plan more efficient tour routes
  • Travel planning: Helps artists find travel options, with an emphasis on sustainability.
  • Environmental awareness: Helps artists measure their own carbon footprint, change behavior, and in the meantime, purchase carbon offsets.
  • Easier tour management: Consolidates schedules, hotel and flight information, venue and set time information, and other notes in one place.
  • Templatizing common documents: Templates for agreements/contracts, hospitality + tech riders, and invoices, with ecologically-friendly versions available.

Prototyping a Solution

I started prototyping by creating a sitemap to think through the overall architecture of the product and its offerings (formatted from a modified template to save time and stay focused on content). Two core sections of the website would be the Matchmaker, which would help musicians find nearby gigs and fill open dates collaboratively with venues in the system, and the Dashboard, which would allow them to see their upcoming schedule, unresolved tasks, and their carbon footprint.

A sitemap of the Jetset desktop application.

Because of time constraints on the project, I decided to focus on desktop prototypes for a specific user flow that would show how a musician could request a gig through the Matchmaker section, view their Dashboard, and book travel between gigs.

A user flow diagram.

From there, I developed an interactive low-fidelity prototype walking through the aforementioned flow.

The Matchmaker functionality allows an artist to select an upcoming gig they already have scheduled, and find nearby venues in the system with openings, then message the venue directly. The Dashboard page lists the artist's next gigs, some statistics including their carbon emissions compared to the average, and tasks they need to complete. For example, if they confirmed a DJ gig at a venue, the task list would send them to a travel booking page, which I also wireframed. The travel tool would allow them to choose two gigs and automatically show options from the nearest airport, bus, and train stations, instead of needing to choose cities and compare across multiple sites.

A low fidelity prototype moving from a Matchmaker dropdown, to a Matchmaker page with a calendar and venue listings, to a single venue page, to a message sent confirmation page.
A low fidelity prototype moving from a Matchmaker dropdown, to a Matchmaker page with a calendar and venue listings, to a single venue page, to a message sent confirmation page.

With a general sense of the flow, I moved on to develop a simple UI style guide before moving on to the high-fidelity prototype I planned to develop next. To focus on choosing colors and designing components, I started from a template by Sagor Sur to format the style guide itself.

A style guide documenting the typefaces and colors to be used in the UI design.

Finally, I moved on to develop the final, high-fidelity interactive prototype. I honed the styles and created a component guide for components that would be used across multiple pages.

A component guide.
A venue listing page using some of the components. A travel booking page using some of the components.


In this UX research and product design process, I worked within a limited timeframe to imagine an application that could help ease current pain points experienced by touring DJs and musicians, while nudging them toward more sustainable practices.

Some of these nudges are inherent to the design of the application — for example, the Matchmaker design encourages artists to book gigs that are near their existing gigs. In other areas, such as the Dashboard and travel booking pages, nudges are bit more visible: the Dashboard shows an artist's carbon footprint and helps them purchase offsets, and the travel booking pages list the carbon impact of each travel method.

If I were to expand this project in the future, my immediate next steps would be to:

  • Expand prototype and share with artists: If I decide to continue this project, I would expand the prototype to include all sections of the application, and do a round of moderated user testing to collect feedback.
  • Create a mobile version: Due to time constraints, I decided not to work on a mobile version this time, but would like to prototype a separate mobile app in the future, taking into consideration what artists and agents do on mobile vs. desktop.
  • Consider venues and agents as users: The current version focused on how independent DJs might use the app because those were the largest respondent group for initial research. I would also like to consider how other groups might use the app - for example, what does the app look like from the venue/booker side?
  • Rename the app: "Jetset" was a placeholder name that I thought worked okay because of the play on words where "set" could also refer to a "DJ set," but considering part of the point of the app is to nudge artists away from air travel, a different name would probably be appropriate.

Another notable limitation of this project is that it works within the bounds of how artists are touring today, when broader systemic change might actually be the most "sustainable" option. Could venues shift to focus more on local and regional artists, and less on touring DJs and musicians? Could musicians find alternate models for economic sustainability so that touring doesn't have to be so central to their income? Could we completely restructure the creative economy? Could we move towards new forms of travel and energy that are more sustainable?

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