Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thesixtyone users respond to site change

It's now been over a month since the complete change of thesixtyone.com's interface, and the protests have died down. Apparently people are still using the new interface, but more and more often I'm getting e-mails from listeners and artists about uvumi, bandcamp, and cherrypeel--with nary a peep about thesixtyone. That's understandable. Social features of the site are gone, and in their place are pretty pictures.

To recap. The old:



The new:

 

I gave the new site a chance again this week, when I was trying to make a playlist. I discovered, however, that any playlists I make on the "old 61" don't show up on the "new 61," and vice versa. In my two years on thesixtyone I made over a dozen playlists containing hundreds of songs, and to recreate them on the new site, I have to search for each song individually, click on it (at which point it auto-plays), and then add it to the playlist. Time-consuming much? If I can't even carry over my saved stuff from the old site, what good is the new one? Eventually, after just one 10-song playlist, I went back to work on a research paper.

But don't take it from me; take it from some long-time users of the site.

"I do not in fact believe this is a new design of the same site," said SallySilvera, the site's top user. "This is a completely different website, with a completely different concept and purpose."

"The interface is not user-friendly," said Allison, AKA squeakyfingers. "It is a very graphic-heavy site, and the way that it is set up tends to hurt my eyes, literally. The big, bright pictures tend to give me headaches (I am prone to migraines) and detract from the overall look. I also find that its very hard to discover new music there, which is what I mainly used the site for before."

"I actually tried to work with it for about half a day," said ThomasAD3, another long-time user. "Every few minutes I found something else that had been eliminated. Navigation was so frustrating as to be nearly impossible. All traces of the game had vanished, save a meaningless 'rep' number.  Radios were gone. 'Walls' had disappeared, so communicating with friends was no longer possible. In the first week I went back a few times to bump a protest song, or check to see if any of the changes had been reversed. Now I never sign in at all."

"Let me be very clear, this is a completely different site with completely different uses and goals," said mathmanmrt. "The only thing it shares with the old one is the name."

Even many artists were up in arms about the change (and the lack of answers from the site's admins). State Shirt posted on his blog about the issue. For now, some users have embraced the change, many have quietly transitioned into it, and some have gone to other music sites like uvumi.com.

“My hope for Uvumi is that it becomes a breeding ground for new talented underground artists," said squeakyfingers. "I really hope that it becomes a place where listeners and artists can meet and discuss all aspects of music. I am of the opinion that how underground artists create a fanbase and sell records is by communicating and reaching out to them. The more the artists interact with the people who listen to them, the more likely that listener will buy their CD, go to their show, or tell their friend about 'that awesome band.'"

"So far the site runners seem to share this opinion," she added. "They have been very open with all of the new users and are really trying to foster a community. I like that they care about what we as listeners and consumers think of their 'product.' They are working hard to make the site the best it can be. It has its quirks, but it is worlds easier to use than the new t61, and the site owners are appreciative of feedback and willing to listen. That is tops in my book."

As for myself? At first I missed having people leave messages on my wall, and the ability to leave artists a quick note telling them how awesome their sound is. But when those methods of communicating on thesixtyone were eliminated, I got into Twitter, where I can talk to bands and find out about new releases faster than ever.

Instead of buying credits on thesixtyone, I download music from iTunes, Amazon, or directly from the artists. Many of my group members on thesixtyone are now on Uvumi, where I can keep up with them. One month later, it seems, I'm not missing very much at all.

3 comments:

  1. This is a good summary of what the users of the genuine T61 think. I find my own thoughts in the quoted statements.

    I'm a music enthusiast using a lot music sites and was thrilled by the recommendations I got from the fellow users of the old T61. It was a great tool to discover new artist and to keep track with them.

    Because the old T61 site is still accessible many of the addicted users are active there hoping for a good change or just because they can't let loose.

    As soon as the old.thesixtyone.com disappears and the new interface is the only way to access the music library T61 will fall in oblivion.

    I'm thankful that the community of music lovers found new places to keep in contact.

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  2. As a long time user I too have stayed in the old T61 site.I can not use the new one.And I tried. Everything I loved about the old site is gone.I too no longer tip or buy music from the site.I miss being able to talk to the artist,but have found twitter,uvumi and facebook works for this.
    Bottom line,it is breaking my heart to see so many unbumped songs from new artists,and I grieve for the loss of that chance they may have had.When the old site is gone,so am I.

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  3. Kilexia,

    Talked about your post on M61 this evening. Thanks for the thoughtful post!

    http://www.movementsixtyone.com/blog/

    Warm regards,

    Shawn

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