Setting The Tone with Cédric Gautier
Meet Cédric Gautier, Team Leader of the Content Delivery team and new participant in our Setting The Tone series, created in partnership with Welcome to The Jungle.
Cédric Gautier started his career as a developer and project manager in the telecommunication industry, at Sagem, France Telecom and Alcatel, where he worked on the integration of video streaming solutions. Cédric then spent several years as Mobile Quality Manager and then Mobile Delivery Manager for iOS and Android applications at SoLocal Group (formerly Pages Jaunes). He then worked for GRDF for 2 years as an Agile team leader working website and B2B mobile applications development. In August 2020, he joined Believe as Senior Engineering Team Leader.
What is your role at Believe and the one of your team?
I am a Team Leader for the Content Delivery team, I am in charge of leading and operating a development team whose mission is to ensure the distribution of our artists' albums, singles and videos on all eligible platforms. Our job is to deliver all the assets - tracks, visuals, release description, etc. - on time, as requested by the artists, and to respect the guidelines of our Preferred Partner Programs with DSPs.
We work in partnership with two other teams. The Content Ingestion team, which is responsible for integrating the content uploaded by the artists on our Backstage solution into our system. The Content Management team checks the content, provides the artist and album data, and manages the storage and encoding of the assets.
Finally, our team takes over: we check the rules related to the contracts, the rules of eligibility of the content and the blinds before sending. This is important as we have quality commitments to keep, both on the side of the platforms and the artists and labels.
As a team leader, what have you implemented to manage your team on a daily basis?
As we work under the Agile system, we have established all the usual rituals of agility - daily and so on - which we have gradually adapted according to our needs. Today, the team is autonomous, there are good relationships between each member and everyone knows his or her production process. We have monitoring tools that we optimize as we go along, to improve our delivery systems.
The team has a somewhat special way of working, as we allocate bandwidth for support and adjustment requests, which we refer to as " run ". Concretely, during the 15 days of the sprint, we have a dedicated developer to answer all the support needs of the team or to make adjustments for the partner platforms if there is a problem, such as a release that fails to be distributed for example. It's a rotating position, so that it's not always the same person who' s in charge of support.
How do you divide your day-to-day work between delivering artists' content and developing new features?
Having one person dedicated to the run allows us to devote the rest of the team to building new features, which is called the "build". For this part, we work with a Product Owner who orchestrates all the requirements gathering and prioritization. At the moment, we are mainly working on the analysis of new needs, the maturing of subjects for the preparation of the 2023 roadmap, and more particularly that of the first quarter of 2023. The collaboration between Product Owner, Delivery Ops and the devs team is working very well
We also sometimes have to work on transversal roadmaps that concern content as a whole, with subjects that involve both the Content Ingestion and Content Management teams and our team. This was the case, for example, when we added support for Dolby Atmos and Apple Spatial Audio, audio formats that we had to learn to manage and deliver.
What are the major issues you and your team have faced recently?
Our most recent and important challenge was probably the migration of the technical databases, which was done by all Believe's technical teams. It was a very important task for which we were all heavily solicited.
Working with Believe's historical code for content delivery is also a major challenge for our team: sometimes we have to search through the archives to find out how everything works precisely and how a feature will fit in, while improving our system.
What do you think are the future developments for streaming platforms and how is Believe preparing for that?
I think there are very big stakes around visuals and video, both on the streaming platform side and on YouTube. For example, we're developing the integration of Apple Music's "Motions Assets," which are animated images on album covers.
But the main topic will be video, with better management of monetization and finer customization of needs for YouTube. On Believe's side, there will be the challenge to improve the collection and distribution of our artists' videos. The VMA team has been created to help us manage this video part.
We were talking about Dolby Atmos, and there is also the subject of HD audio formats that are still in their infancy. This challenges us on questions of volume, file quality, and our ability to deliver this voluminous content quickly and reliably.
Finally, in terms of DSP management, I think there are improvements to be made in terms of tracking content delivery, so that we can show artists the steps between the moment their new track is integrated into our system and the moment it is put online. There are some new technologies on the way that will make it easier for us to inform artists about the delivery stages of their content. But it will also allow us to better anticipate a possible error of delivery or eligibility.
The challenge for our team is to build a new scalable system, based on a Micro-services architecture in order to meet the various challenges mentioned earlier.
What is it about Believe that makes you want to get up in the morning?
What I like about Believe is that I get to meet a lot of different trades that I didn't know before. It goes from label managers to finance, to data aggregation specialists. It's really interesting to be confronted with all these fields of intervention.
What I also find interesting is that we have two clients at the same time. The artist, to whom we owe a service, and the DSP, towards whom we have a commitment of quality. This makes the stakes more complex, but that's what makes things interesting: even if we have hot topics that come up regularly, they are never the same problems to solve and the same answers to give.
Finally, there is our platform modernization on which we are working. There are a lot of exciting things to do for several months, we will take pleasure in developing an even more efficient solution, we are building something beautiful!
Join us on Welcome To The Jungle and make sure to visit Believe's Careers website to learn more about our business and our environment. You'll find a wide range of information about our team, the tech tools we work with on a daily basis and, of course, a list of all the current job openings.