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