"Workflow" change ideas for Magnatune
I had an "ah ha" moment the other day, that the workflow at Magnatune needs to shift from the traditional albums-sales approach (i.e. Magnatune's way of moving you through music is still based on the paradigm of trying to get you to buy an album), to one that is based on "plenty" and "all you can eat".
And… the best model to copy in "this world of plenty" are the DVD-by-mail clubs, where you pay a set price per month and can get all the DVDs you can watch for that set price. Ie, netflix, lovefilm.co.uk, and whatever the equivalent in your country is. The main worry those sites face is that your queue is empty, and so you cancel your membership because you've got nothing to watch.
The workflow at these DVD sites looks something like this:
1) spend a few hours initially building up a "to watch queue"
2) receive first DVD, send it back
3) don't visit web site for a few months, as DVDs you want magically appear in your mailbox
4) revisit web site when queue gets low, go back to step 1
Ie, there is a very clear shift from "things I want to eventually watch" to "now watching" mode.
I think that this could be copied at Magnatune, specifically:
1) on your first visit to magnatune, read the magnapedia text ("magnapedia" is what I'm calling my wikipedia-like introduction to music, which is the subject for a future blog), then listen to samples of various genres, adding albums to listen to in the future, or if you like a genre ("renaissance", say), be able to say "add 5 renaissance albums that you would recommend to me, to my to-listen queue"
2) on 2nd and further visits to magnatune, go to listening queue, and work through the albums. Very little research, most of your time is spent listening.
3) as you listen, possibly notice "if you like this, you'll also like" suggestions to your "to listen queue"
4) keep listening to albums
5) rate albums and/or add to your own playlists as you go.
6) the long term Magnatune listening experience thus alternates between 3 states:
6a) adding to the to-listen queue,
6b) listening to the to-listen albums
6c) listening to your own favorites and your playlists.
6d) either cycle back to 6a or stay with 6c if you're happy enough already
Posted by John Buckman on May 25, 2012 at 02:15 PM | Permalink
Maybe this will fix a problem I run into. I'm a heavy tabs user in web browsers. While I'm listening to one album (not always the whole thing) I browse around for more that looks interesting. I click on something to have a look, and it ends up playing it. Now I have two albums playing at the same time and I have to stop one. Adding an album to a queue to listen to would probably fix this.
I'm listening to Hans Christian - Rumi Symphony Instrumental - 03 The Dark Night, as I write this.
Posted by: Phil Howard at May 25, 2012 11:23:42 PM
I currently use Magnatune in a similar way to Phil Howard (his comment, above), opening new browser tabs to look at the artist info and other albums.
I'd like to have the option to prevent auto-play of an album. This would be associated with my Magnatune log in account.
Recently, I have switched from using the favourites feature to using a spreadsheet of favourites, with the URL of each album. This allows me to sort or select by genre or artist, or by my personal rating of the albums, and I can include comments to further refine the details.
Posted by: ProtoKol at May 26, 2012 5:00:18 AM
I have the same issue as Phil re: albums playing automatically when I am already listening to another album.
For me, a "to-listen" queue would be good, although at this point I would probably mostly just add the newly published albums each week. For a newer user that has not downloaded hundreds of albums over the years, the queue would be a great tool as they browse through the catalogue.
Posted by: Daniel Clements at May 26, 2012 6:33:58 AM
This isn't a bad model except I have to factor in the desire to download albums rather than do too much streaming. I consume most of my music at work, and the IT administration would not look that favourably on constant day-in day-out 8 hours of streaming over the Australia-US link (use of which costs us money). D/loading occasional albums across that link is reasonable though.
Posted by: Michael Norrish at May 27, 2012 5:13:24 AM
Re: auto-play -- yes, the new magnatune will definitely let you turn off auto-playing of albums. This is a feature I already have on MoodMixes.com (our music service for restaurants) and will port over.
re: downloading -- yes, I expect that marking as "favorite" will mean for many people that they also want to download it. Magnatune will always provide high and full quality downloads, as many people come to us for that very specific reason (and not, say, to Spotify)
Posted by: John from Magnatune at May 30, 2012 1:23:26 PM
That does sound nice.
I also have a couple items I think would be nice.
Personally, I would love the ability to have multiple players on a single page - for example all albums by a certain artist or collection. That way, I don't have to worry about multiple tabs playing at once, I can just say "add to play/demo page" and then go there and play the ones I want to try. My general method is to find an artist I like, open everything they have in tabs, and listen/download from there.
Another item would be a "quick" download option where I could set my options ahead of time (ie: mp3vbr, jpg cover included) and then just download an album from a single button on the play page.
Posted by: eli at May 31, 2012 1:08:14 AM
I love the idea of a personal listening queue, and I also like the idea of perhaps something like a user playlist...perhaps even (if this is at all humanly possible) a playlist that operates like Pandora Radio by prioritizing artists you give positive ratings to and occasionally throwing in something new based on tags.
It's odd that you mention..but I tend to use my current Magnatune "Favorites" page simply as a place for queueing stuff I plan to download....but feel almost like a meanie for un-favoriting those albums once I've downloaded them.
Posted by: Spike Page at May 31, 2012 7:22:32 PM