Product Spotlight: NMAAM’s Rivers of Rhythm

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This post is the first in an upcoming blog series about our planning, design, and development of the music discovery application, Rivers of Rhythm for The National Museum of African American Music. Follow our blog for additional posts and discussion of our product development process. 

Over two years ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Henry Hicks, the President and CEO of The National Museum of African American Music at the Red Bicycle in Germantown. The museum would be opening its doors in around four years, after years and years of planning and fundraising to get to this point. In the interim, the museum needed a way to engage and connect with music lovers around the globe, as well as generate buzz and interest in the museum. They decided that a digital experience was the direction they wanted to go. Walking away from that initial meeting, we both knew that by combining the superpowers of NMAAM and Centresource, we could make big things happen.

After months and months of brainstorming sessions and meetings, we all agreed that this application needed to be something you could get lost in. It also needed to be a resource to music lovers, providing them an outlet to get exposed to new music, but still feel like they are part of the larger story around American Music. The Rivers of Rhythm application was born from those conversations.


Once we had a plan, we had to decide what was the best first step. Our team recommended taking the path of creating a clickable prototype of the application. This tool would provide NMAAM the opportunity to let their board members, staff and potential donors experience the application without having to go straight into the build. For a fraction of their budget, Henry could take this prototype to potential sponsors to help them envision how their company could partner with the museum to get this digital experience in people’s hands.

NMAAM quickly saw their return on investment when Belmont University expressed interest in being part of this project, and donated the funds to bring it to life. In June, I had the pleasure of attending a press conference at Belmont University unveiling the Rivers of Rhythm Digital Experience. Our team was honored and proud to be part of that event as well as this two year long project. I literally cry every time I talk about it:) We look forward to a long standing partnership with NMAAM and Belmont University in seeing this revolutionary application change how music lovers discover music online.

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