« Download individual songs | Main | Podcast improvements »

February 05, 2011

Comments

Spike Page

I noticed this change yesterday and was a bit bummed out, being that I am still not a member. I was the first person to sign up to Magnatune's Facebook fan page, am an avid listener, and post up reviews of my favourite albums of every weekly release...and still haven't joined.

The reason....well...partly the economy, and partly the fact that deep down inside, I'm a cheapskate.

Like I said, I was initially bummed about this change, since I prefer free streaming Magnatune to television, radio, or even what's in my CD changer. My husband loves your music too..and would probably agree...this is a bit of a bummer.

BUT...I'm not commenting to gripe. I'm commenting to say that you may have at last done what needed to be done to convince my husband that a membership would be a good way to spend a little money.

I will hopefully be joining real soon.

John from Magnatune

BUT...I'm not commenting to gripe. I'm commenting to say that you may have at last done what needed to be done to convince my husband that a membership would be a good way to spend a little money.

I'm REALLY happy to hear that, thanks for writing!

-john

Mark Stosberg

Here's a suggestion that may improve the user experience and save money too: Turn off auto-play on the album pages on the website. I go to the pages to read them, not listen (I listen from Rhythmbox), so I have forever pressing the "stop" button on the pages.

At least, perhaps you could update the embedded music player to quit buffering the song after it has been stopped. Or, perhaps at least for members, you could add a preference to disable auto-play.

John Buckman

Turn off auto-play on the album pages on the website. I go to the pages to read them, not listen (I listen from Rhythmbox), so I have forever pressing the "stop" button on the pages.

I agree, and I plan to add a mute button, which will disable auto-play and be saved in a cookie, for just that purpose.

I'm currently working on a new music-for-shops-and-restaurants web site at http://moodmixes.com which has this feature in it now.

-john

Dan

You should change your model to offer a lower-cost, year long streaming subscription. I would go for that. I don't like managing files.

$15/mo is too high for streaming. You have classical Archives at $6.00/mo and free Pandora with occasional ads. Please!

I love Magnatune, I just don't have $180/year!

John from Magnatune

You should change your model to offer a lower-cost, year long streaming subscription. I would go for that. I don't like managing files.

We actually had a streaming membership available for 2 years, alongside the download membership. The cost was "pay what you want" from $5 to $15 per month (ie, half of what a download membership cost).

Last may, I removed it as an option, because only 6% of members chose streaming. I thought it would be more popular, but with 94% of members choosing the download membership, it didn't make sense to keep it around.

You can still see the remnants of streaming members (there are a few dozen people grandfathered in) when you click the "login" button and have to tell us whether you're a streaming or download member.

-john

Spike Page

I am lobbying with my spouse now for a Lifetime account. It seems that one would pay for itself if I stick around for longer than 16 months.

Maybe this is something you ordinarily would not disclose, but how many of your members are Lifers? It would seem the most sensible choice, but then again these are economically troubled times for many of us.

Oh..and since people are making suggestions, the Embed On Web Site code on the free previews page does not work with Wordpress. If there is a way to create one that does, it would be awesome. A dong-of-the-day widget would also be excellent.

John from Magnatune

Maybe this is something you ordinarily would not disclose, but how many of your members are Lifers? It would seem the most sensible choice, but then again these are economically troubled times for many of us.

Here are our member figures:

Total members: 2272 - made up of:
* lifetime members: 483 (21%)
* yearly members: 308 (14%)
* 3 month members: 1481 (65%)


Oh..and since people are making suggestions, the Embed On Web Site code on the free previews page does not work with Wordpress. If there is a way to create one that does, it would be awesome. A dong-of-the-day widget would also be excellent.

Both good ideas, thanks!

-john

Spike Page

Oh wow...that was the mother of all typos. I meant "SONG of the day" LOL

And the lobbying has paid off. We're joining!!!

It's great to hear there are so many other members. I will do my best to bring you even more recruits.

Chris Allen

Hi,

I understand your concern about the 99.5% disparity. But for people tuning into to Magnatune for the first time, especially on Rhythymbox, don't you think it's going to turn them off if they don't understand the context of the new short advertisements? It could put them off and have the opposite effect of what you are trying to do.

Just a thought...

John from Magnatune

I understand your concern about the 99.5% disparity. But for people tuning into to Magnatune for the first time, especially on Rhythymbox, don't you think it's going to turn them off if they don't understand the context of the new short advertisements? It could put them off and have the opposite effect of what you are trying to do.

I agree, it's not ideal: better perhaps would be to have an hour of commercial free listening (say, per week) so that you could explore a bit and make up your mind.

It's a tricky thing,

Meanwhile, our membership sign-up rate has been about 50% larger since the change.

-john

Spike Page

Regarding Chris' concern above...perhaps a short ad-free period on the new releases as they are posted, then add the adverts after a few days? That would give new guests a better taste of what's here without "giving away the whole candy counter". Gosh knows if I'm gonna be here for a lifetime, I want Magnatune to be here for the long run too.

Conrad Irwin

I have no problem at all with one-advert-per-track (or even two, if you must). If you want to mix it in at the end, or during the track, it's all the same to me.

But please don't have voices interspersed every thirty seconds — it changes the site from being about music to about magnatune, which is very sad. [This is referring to the Bezdin Ensemble's recording of Bach B-minor, maybe that one just went wrong for some reason].

(The other thing I noticed was that you seem to have an audible "tick" a second or so after the voice-over, not having that would be even better).

Conrad

John from Magnatune

perhaps a short ad-free period on the new releases as they are posted, then add the adverts after a few days? That would give new guests a better taste of what's here without "giving away the whole candy counter". Gosh knows if I'm gonna be here for a lifetime, I want Magnatune to be here for the long run too.

That's an interesting idea, and I like the idea of no adverts for an initial period when using Magnatune. However, that's technically very tricky to do, esp given that people don't just listen to our music via magnatune.com, but also via other music programs that talk to our api.

Here's what I think is a good compromise, and I'm going to give it a try:

1) I'm going to make all albums commercial-free for the first 20 minutes of the album. This means I'm also going to remove the advert at the end of each song that's been there. There will be the 5 second "you just heard" msg to remind you what you're listening to, but that's all.

2) After 20 minutes into an album, the adverts come in.

So... this means less interruptions that ever before... for the first 20 minutes of each album. And then ads (every 30 secs) come in after the commercial-free 20 minutes.

That way, you get to decide--interruption and irritation free--whether you like an album or not.

Also, this means that listening to the playlists in the "genres" section will be commercial free, as they only play the 1st song from each album.

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments and positive tone. You guys have been really helpful!

-john

Eve

I think that the adverts during the songs will decrease the experience of listening music directly at Magnatune, will make the mark less friendly and in the very, very most of the cases won't help with getting new members. The messages could be at the start and at the end of the musics, not during it. It's taking the propaganda at the level of forcing the people to hear it. As Conrad said, "it changes the site from being about music to about magnatune".
Sorry, if I'm being rude, but I thought that Magnatune wasn't about it.

Kevin Whitaker

One thing that would help a lot is making the newsletter, which I use to monitor new albums, be more accessible to members. Many times, even though I'm a member, I'll listen to music not logged in because I use the newsletters to listen to new music...but they are only for non-members. This means all links link to the free listening page, where I lazily listen to instead of logging in. Maybe another way to deal with this(besides adding a members only newsletter) would be to have two links for each album in the newsletter: one for free access and one for member access.

John from Magnatune

One thing that would help a lot is making the newsletter, which I use to monitor new albums, be more accessible to members. Many times, even though I'm a member, I'll listen to music not logged in because I use the newsletters to listen to new music...but they are only for non-members. This means all links link to the free listening page, where I lazily listen to instead of logging in.

I agree, and I'm hoping to have a members-only version of the newsletter available in the next few weeks.

-john

roland985

As a smalltime artist (way way too small to even consider putting on Magnatune) I can understand the hours of work an Artist puts in. I too was irate at this 'evil' move. But it kind of makes sense after a while. Hopefully Magantune uses some of the whitespace to advertise, as this would bring in more money for them, therefore slightly reducing membership costs.I am debating a 3 month membership, and downloading every album in those three months.

But hey, at least its nothing like the RIAA

Andres Rodriguez Guapacha

Well. It worked... I had enough of the little messages after one or two albums, so I joined and everything was back to normal :D

To be honest, I liked the change. The difference between the free and the paid songs wasn't enough to make me change my mind and I suppose that happens to many more.

Keep up the good work! I love most of magnatune artists and selections. Thanks

John from Magnatune
    As a smalltime artist (way way too small to even consider putting on Magnatune)

FYI Magnatune signs musicians purely on the quality of their work, and not whether they're "big" or "small". I listen to ever submission (about 400 artists a month) totally "blind", i.e. without knowing anything about them other than what I can hear. Some of the most amazing music on Magnatune, which has then been very popular on the site, has come from musicians who had never given their music any visibility at all, and even after success on Magnatune, do virtually nothing in the area of publicity, distribution or visibility, and so Magnatune is the only outlet for their great work.

    I can understand the hours of work an Artist puts in. I too was irate at this 'evil' move. But it kind of makes sense after a while.

Thanks!

    Hopefully Magantune uses some of the whitespace to advertise, as this would bring in more money for them,

I don't want to ever put paid audio advertising on the free-to-listen Magnatune music. I think that would be incredibly obnoxious for the listener. I can't stand traditional radio for that reason.

I am currently working on two new web sites that use Magnatune's music, one licensing our music for films, web sites and other uses (iLicenseMusic.com) and another web site providing music to shops and restaurants (MoodMixes.com).

My plan is to advertise these two other web sites on the free site, so that you're right, we can at least make some money from those ads, and also we keep the advertisements "in the family".

    therefore slightly reducing membership costs.I am debating a 3 month membership, and downloading every album in those three months.

That's an absolutely legitimate thing to do. My hope is that once you sign up, you'll find that $15/month is not so expensive in that you get 20 new albums per month for that cost, but if you don't find the commercial-free streaming and 20 new albums to be worth $15/month, you're absolutely free to cancel.

-john

John from Magnatune

I love this comment:

    Well. It worked... I had enough of the little messages after one or two albums, so I joined and everything was back to normal :D

    To be honest, I liked the change. The difference between the free and the paid songs wasn't enough to make me change my mind and I suppose that happens to many more.

    Keep up the good work! I love most of magnatune artists and selections.

Thank you Andres, you gave me a big smile this morning!

-john

2cents

Hi John,

lifetime member here.

my 2 cents... my guess is that you will convert current listeners into paying listeners, but you will find fewer new listeners.

I often forward links to interesting albums to my friends (some of whom have also become members) and I have a very strong feeling that they will dislike the ads mixed in directly with the music.

When you are evaluating the success of your short advert program, are you tracking how many new memberships are from "conversions" of current free listeners, and how many new memberships are completely new listeners (post bugging ads)?

Btw, do you still play the old Beth Quist "hear me chirp" ad? That was a good ad ...

Spike Page

THANK YOU for hearing us out and making the newest releases less addy and more listenable. I believe newcomers to Magnatune will be more likely to explore the entire album catalog if they can do so without the immediate interruption of ads. It's the diversity of the music that really won me over to this site. It's what makes it unique. And it's good to know we (Members and free listeners alike) can speak up and be heard. It makes me feel even better about my decision to join.

Martí

Hi John,
here my two cents.
I think you did well, I've always been worried about magnatune being too friendly (since I like Magnatune, I want you to make money and keep moving).
I just use the links in the newsletter to find new albums that I like. Therefore, this change is not going to make a difference for me.
On the other hand, even though my records from Magnatune are most appreciated, I found that on average usually like, mmm, let's say one out of every 15 new records.
That meant I was not interested in moving to subscription... until now.
I've been building a list of records and now will take a yearly subscription to start downloading them (making fair use, of course ;-)
Best Regards,
Martí

Phil G

I have purchased Magnatunes CDs previously and have listened on line. $15 a month ($180 a year)is too expensive just to listen. You should have a LISTEN ONLY fee ($50 a year?) that does not enable downloading, but just listening.

Danceswithcats

Turn off auto-play on the album pages on the website. I go to the pages to read them, not listen (I listen from Rhythmbox), so I have forever pressing the "stop" button on the pages.

I agree, and I plan to add a mute button, which will disable auto-play and be saved in a cookie, for just that purpose.

This is a really good move. I often want to browse the site while listening to music and it is quite annoying to have one album start over another.

Philip White

John, I urge you to make the ads at most once per minute during a song, and preferably once every two minutes.

For some people it's now unlistenable -- which I hope wasn't your intention. Yesterday I played my girlfriend some classical music from your site, and she couldn't concentrate on the music due to the ads. I am able to more-or-less separate the ad from the music, but I think for some people it's very difficult. She got very frustrated and asked me to turn it off.

There's "reminding that joining is a good thing", and there's "making it very difficult to listen without joining." This reminds me of the Laffer curve, used to determine the optimal tax rate. Make it 0% and there's no income. Make it 100% -- and there's still no income because there's no incentive to work. Similarly here, if it's annoying enough, people will simply quickly leave without even considering joining.

Two minutes per ad, in my opinion, strikes a great balance. It's not terribly annoying, but it's still a firm reminder.

(For what it's worth, the new ads has pushed me much closer to joining.)

Thanks for your consideration.

David

I agree that a "listen-only" membership would be good both for Magnatune and the people who don't want to pay $15 a month. I believe it would raise up your money.

"$15/month is not so expensive in that you get 20 new albums per month for that cost"
There's a thing I don't understand: once we sign up, we can only download 20 albums per month?

John Buckman

There's a thing I don't understand: once we sign up, we can only download 20 albums per month?

As a member you have *NO LIMITS* on how many albums you can download.

There is a CAPTCHA that pops up every once in a while to make sure you're not a robot, if you download lots and lots of albums, but you simply type the number on the graphic, and you can continue downloading.

-john

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.