I'm starting the process of rewriting Magnatune from scratch.
I have a few aims with the rewrite:
1) redoing the music playing experience, to both be more up-to-date and also to reflect the all-you-can eat way in which the music catalog is experienced. The original magnatune web site, which has been tweaked over the years, is 9 years old, and its design was focussed on selling album downloads.
2) coming up with a new look for Magnatune, and a clearer way of explaining what we do that's special.
For my other web sites, such as MoodMixes, iLicenseMusic and BookMooch, I've been commissioning illustrations from Andrice Arp. I love her drawing style, as it's both cute and slightly insane at the same time, and is extremely distinctive.
There's no passion, no humanity, no edginess...no excitement at all. All have the same concept of "unlimited music, no ads" and look like they were designed by a committee of MBAs.
In all fairness, the MOG home page is a bit better, with the blue Amoeba mascot and some press endorsements.
The real standout for me among "the competition" is Spotify's home page, with its cartoon illustration and super-clear youtube video which explains their concept of social music:
Without further ado, below is our current "working mockup" of what a redesigned Magnatune home page might look like (click any image to see it larger).
A few things to note:
2) the messaging is much shorter, explaining what Magnatune does in terms of a "complete music collection"
3) a new slogan has replaced "We are not evil". Google came out with their "don't be evil" some time after Magnatune launched. But: let's face it, Google is a bit more well known than we are, and our "no evil" slogan nowadays sounds like it was borrowed from Google, even if it wasn't.
4) all the information that is on the current home page is still on the new home page, but much of it has been moved to the "grey section" below the illustration.
And here is a working mockup of our audio player, which would replace the artist/album/download pages on Magnatune.
This audio player actually exists and works today, on our MoodMixes site which launched in May. This web-based player is much like iTunes, and has features people expect nowadays, such as ratings, playlists and sharing.
One of the ideas I'm tinkering with, as part of the Magnatune rewrite, is a "backward compatible mode" so that people who much prefer the way Magnatune organizes and plays its music now, will be able to keep it that way.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the mockups above. Remember... these are just conceptual mockups at this point: no HTML or programming has yet to occur, so your feedback can effect what we end up doing!