Sunday, January 24, 2010

An open letter to thesixtyone.com

Hey there, thesixtyone.com. I know you're a bit sensitive to criticism, but ... I've been with you for two years, so hear me out. I joined in February of 2008 and fell in love with you at first sight. The music! The community! Everything was so vibrant and new and fresh.

But then you changed. One day I logged in and all I saw was Emily Haines filling the screen, with her armpit the size of my cell phone. I couldn't find my friends on the site, and my playlists stopped after the first 10 songs. You don't play the songs I like smoothly anymore; you change them around like a bad date who keeps fiddling with the car radio. You didn't think of my needs; you only thought about high school hipsters.

Here is what you can do to set things right, or I'll be flipping through my 50 ways to leave you.

1. Bring back walls, and let us talk to artists and other listeners again.

2. Make playlists of a reasonable size again--would, say, 25 songs be too much to ask?

3. LET US KNOW when you're going to radically overhaul the site, and provide an FAQ or tutorial to ease the transition.

4. Give us a way to view the classic setup (white background, small pictures) when we want to view the site in public. (And don't relegate me to a site without a security certificate when I just want to flip through my music.) You can leave the tabs; just give us a way to minimize images. As it stands, it's not work-safe.

5. Acknowledge your users. Lots of people have invested time and money in your site, and are not pleased to be ignored when they have questions or concerns. Give people a way to contact you from your site, and respond, even if it's just something like "I'm sorry, we can't address your concerns at this time." I mean, you just got all that funding from Creative Commons and Linkedin, and you can't hire an intern to answer messages?

17 comments:

  1. Hear, hear! The T61 redesign may just be the New Coke of the online music world :(

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  2. My thoughts, written down!

    Thank you!

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  3. Hear, hear! Tags that are now reduced to playlists of 10 is the thing that kills me the most. I didn't save every song I liked because they were all in one lump --tags made it easier to hear what *I* wanted. If I still had access to all those I might be more sympathetic. perhaps when they announced back in November that they were planning new changes they could have said "oh and stop tagging songs because those are gonna disappear." Grr!

    I am very weary to leave for good as I hope they can learn from their mistakes and address people's concerns (they don't have a stellar record here), but with the community aspect now completely gone I don't see many advantages. Very sad.

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  4. If they hadn't ignored me as an artist, I wouldn't have quit as a listener, no matter how dumb they made the interface, but they did

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  5. Bring back the top/hot/recent playlists. None of this 'one song at a time' BS. Allow users to comment on each other's wall. Get rid of the huge images. Basically, bring back the old T61. Change can be good, but not this kind of change.

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  6. old.thesixtyone.com

    I can't sign in... but, I can still see my old playlists...

    I hope they can allow us to opt for the old design... My heart sunk when I saw the new design... It's like something that was a significant part of my life has died.

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  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Mtsquiers, have you tried going to https://old.thesixtyone.com? That link worked for me, and without the "s" it doesn't.

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  8. Kilexia - nice letter, but don't you get it? They do what they want, probably responding to only a small minority of listeners. However, to date, (01/25/2010, 3:10 PM EST USA), only 611 petitioners had signed the well advertised petition. Many just gave up and left T61, but guess what, many of the listeners are as apathetic as the T61 creators. If they really cared, they would be signing the petition en masse and demanding that the T61 creators apologize, fix the negative aspects of the new site in a timely manner, and next time a site change is due, post a warning. I personally felt like an idiot for telling so many artists and other listeners to join. Now I am being bombarded by frustrated artists and friends questioning my credibility. I only hope the listeners get over the shock and start offering solutions rather than just complaints. Maybe then, James and Sam will have some accountability for ruining a good thing. And I will work with the new site IF THEY LISTEN TO US.

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  9. Just signed the petition, but there aren't enough signatures. I think a lot of people just gave up. It's sad. James and Sam sold out. what a shame.
    still holding out on old.thesixytone.com but I have a feeling that the link will be short lived. It was nice while it lasted. I would have more hope if J & S were listening to their loyal users, but they're not.

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  10. I know they so ruined Metric for me. All I can think of now is that giant armpit.

    Anyways, I'm saying goodbye to thesixtyone. They obviously don't care about us, and I'm sick of trying to make it work.

    My goodbye video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLrjFKfYKKc

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  11. well it's been just over a week, thousands of facebook and twitter complaints and suggestions with no response or action. changing their site is one thing, but being so arrogant about it is another.

    i'm leaving my music up there for the time being, mainly as a way to track how many listeners they actually lost. Looks like tumbleweed city already.

    they may not have bled so many users had they just treated their customers like real people instead of some google analytics stat.

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  12. Thanks everyone. And I really appreciate the comment, Ethan. You were the first artist I got to first-bump on t61, and that's when the game got real for me. It's a shame the founders took a wrecking ball to the community, but I'll be following you on uvumi.

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  13. /signed

    My first sight of the new T61 was a hugely pixellated mule's rear end and the new design immediately gave me a headache from the eye strain. That first image still characterizes the new design for me. Your point about how the new design is not work-safe is also very important.

    As a user who'd spent over $200 buying music on T61, I sent them two emails detailing what I thought about their changes, the loss of my 34 pages of saved music & the investment in time I had made organizing that music with tags, and how I thought about their taking a wrecking ball to the community aspects of the site. Two weeks later, I spent all my remaining points tipping artists I liked, and left the site permanently.

    I can tell you, I'll be much less likely to ever invest cash in another such site again. The whole thing was a huge bait and switch.

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  14. thesixtyone's best thing was the other's listeners radio stations -- that way I could find the best of the best -- not the way they say "top" now -- it's the same bands every time -- you can't find new songs anymore -- new site is a joke and I've given up -- I'm moving on to ReverbNation -- so long thesixtyone -- arrogance and money is all you care about -- the artists can't be discovered as most of the music just is stuck in the site never to be heard ever again

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  15. well-advertised petition? apparently not so.. I'm going to go look for it now and sign.

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  16. Hear hear!
    thesixtyone was wonderful because of the *community*. Now the community features have been removed! And I'm all for pretty designs and redesigns, but instead of adding any new functionality, it seems functionality has only been removed with each iteration; the more the site is "prettified" the more crippled and amputated its features. Very sad. I don't want to give up on the site altogether, but, really, the community was what counted most.

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  17. I've been a passionate advocate about the 61 for 2-3 years now but they sabotaged themselves with this new design and somehow managed to completely alienate everyone within a day. I've been an artist making music since the mp3.com iuma days in the late 90s and this is by far the most bizarre thing I've seen a company do aside of doing the usual buy out to a large corporation. Thank you for writing this...thank you so much. Now everyone move on to uvumi and let's see how that pans out ;) Matt Romero from The Living Modern

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