Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thesixyone unveils site redesign

Updated 1/22/10.

It's just my luck that a few days after I release a FAQ for thesixtyone, they unveil a beautiful (and puzzling) site overhaul. The site was a combination of Internet indie radio mixed with a massive multiplayer game, and now ... well, I'm not quite sure what it is. It's gone viral on Twitter, where people rave it's stunning and original, but it's leaving artists and listeners alike up in arms. Users have announced a black-out day tomorrow (Friday), opting not to sign in to the site.

The new

The redesign puts an emphasis on images and a slick look, but users and artists are puzzled as to how to search for music or send comments to other users, and the site doesn't provide an FAQ to ease the transition. It also features a new section on "etiquette," or how users should behave, in which it calls artists who asked for the site's leaders to be more transparent about how songs reach the homepage "insecure and/or jealous."

Artists such as Hollis Smith, axisONE,and State Shirt have put up songs protesting the layout change, and others have also expressed their disapproval. "You could have had the greatest music site in the world, at one time you did, but for whatever reason you have chosen to destroy this once beautiful thing," wrote user mathmanmrt on the page of one of the creators, Samuel Hsiung.

The old layout is still available at, but many users aren't satisfied. They've started a Facebook group and web site, both titled I Used to Like TheSixtyOne, and have posted open letters protesting the change. Blogger Lona Nicholle posted her open letter on her blog Too Many Characters, Not Enough Plot:

"The site has lost almost all functionality with this design. If there were drop-down menus, if there was still a comments section, if a thousand things you took away were still available in some form, the design would be perfectly fine. But you have removed all ability to use the site other than to simply stream music. If I wanted that, I’d use any number of other sites. Your site was unique and perfect. If it’s not broken, you don’t fix it. You have rendered the site unusable, and are ignoring your user-base’s complaints."

Well said, Lona. Everyone, use the tag #BoycottTheSixtyOne to get your voice heard on Twitter.


  1. It is a tragedy what they have done! They stole our home. : ..(

  2. Crazy overhaul by inadequate communicators.
    A clear and functional website has now been destroyed and I pity those that actually say they like it.
    They have missed much of the community sense that was once around; personally communicating with Curt Smith of Tears For Fears, rather than following him on twitter, is an experience that has gone forgood.

    So am I.

  3. Thank you for this post.

    An FAQ would have at least shown a minimal amount of consideration towards the community T61 just slapped in the face.

  4. Thank you for what would have been a helpful guide for newcomers to T61, but alas I am flummoxed by the change of direction. Sure it *may* be beautiful and/or stunning, but it certainly isn't user-friendly, certainly isn't community-inspiring, certainly isn't for me.

    T61 have F#@%ed up big time, I hope they do some sort of reversal, ideally completely.

  5. Flashy and hollow are words I would use describe the new t61. I fully support a reversal back to the old design. As an avid artist/listener (predominantly listener) of over two years I feel like my special place to chat with other listeners and artists, find brand new music, and have a sense of belonging has been destroyed. This community connection was what made t61 so great. I feel it is a disservice to all all who participate in t61 for all the time and effort committed, as well as the personal e-relationships that have been fostered. Big pictures and flash poop is no substitute for the wonderful place we all had. I REALLY hope they bring the old site back.

  6. They do intend to only leave up the old.t61 for a period (unknown, as of my own personal "jump into hyperspace!" researching) of time, so it's less of an option than you give it the appearance of. I personally -would- be satisfied if I could keep old.t61 forever, but I can't. Yet? As far as I can tell, it's still up so that people can frantically tag the music they've amassed, before it reverts into playlist mode, and they never get the opportunity again.

    Also, it is very frightening to see "On my Ipod", where it used to say "Write something about yourself" on the old personal pages. It gives our fate an "already sold to IStore for Iphone Indie Cred" feeling.

  7. With the usability gone and the community shot to death, what is left? A pile of ashes. The redesign is a complete disaster.

  8. A gem in the music world of the internet got lost! I enjoyed the adventure called T61 and was optimistically recruiting my friends and favorite artists to join the show... every characteristic that I loved about T61 is gone now!

    What's left is to say goodbye to all the lovely people I met there, it was a privilege to make your acquaintance.

    Take care!

  9. infinite intimationJanuary 24, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I put my feelings down over at the Techcrunch article... it was so sad to see such anger from the NEW users... like, how DARE old users care that the site they had helped grow be upset at the loss of functionality.

    Loved T61, (got to talk to so many amazing artists over there) it is truly sad this all happened. Especially with no warning, and all of the aggression shown towards old users...


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