donderdag 24 februari 2011

Exploring and searching at Discogs.com

Today Discogs.com, the world’s largest musical database and marketplace, announced its new home page. The central theme is ‘explore’. Unfortunately for Discogs I’m convinced browsing is the least popular navigational strategy on their site. It would be much wiser for them to invest their money in search engine result page optimization.

| This article in Dutch. |

New design (1)
How does the new design work? When you go to Discogs.com you now end up on a page featuring the 25 releases most recently added by Discogs’ users. You can choose how many releases are displayed: 25, 50, 100, 250 or 500. The magnitude of the source you can dwell from becomes apparent at the bottom of the screen: over 2,3 million releases.

To narrow your target, Discogs provides four possible filters. Applied individually these still give you enormous numbers to rummage through:
  • Selecting only releases in the electronic genre leaves over 1,2 million releases.

  • Selecting only releases in the house style leaves more than 400,000.

  • Selecting only releases on vinyl leaves over 1,2 million releases.

  • Selecting only releases from the 90s leaves more than 600,000.

These are the numbers after applying one filter at a time on the entire database. Combining these four filters does narrow down, but I’m still left with over 100,000 releases.


A big question comes to mind: why would I want to click through 100,000 house releases on vinyl from the 1990s? And that’s coming from a fan!

Subjective
Intermezzo: what is house exactly? Discogs uses a classification that their users label themselves and that is open for a lot of discussion. Maybe I would call a particular release house music, but the person who has uploaded it would not.

Browsing through the house releases I would never encounter this release. I would if I had searched for it. Then I’d also discover that people disagree with my genre classification. (When adding a release to the Discogs database, you are not supported at all in your genre and style classification. Xander Roozen and I have reported on this earlier.)

Half-hearted
I’m sure there is a good reason why ‘explore’ has been chosen as the latest feature on the website. Maybe Discogs wants to become a source for discovering new music. The recently introduced possibility to preview audio samples hints at this. Unfortunately this has been implemented rather half-heartedly.

For instance, for reasons unknown I can only preview tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 11 from Bonobo’s album 'Days to come'. Furthermore, the page does not make clear that this is the case; I only find out after clicking on the ‘Preview’ button. In the meantime I’ve made my way to Beatport.

New design (2)
The other new tabs on the renewed Discogs home page are even more simple in concept:
  • Browsing through videos only shows the most recently added ones.

  • Reviews (by Discogs’ users) displays the most recently added. You can apply additional filters on genre and style.

  • Browsing through lists only shows the most recently added ones. These are lists created by Discogs’ users by the way.

  • Artists shows the 25 most popular ones plus an alphabetical list. I’m curious to find out what drives this popularity, but this is not explained.

  • Browsing through labels also displays the 25 most popular ones and an A-to-Z navigation. Popularity isn’t explained here either.

I can imagine that it’s interesting to read reviews, but I feel this is much more so after you’ve found a release that you are interested in. Then a review is of real added value. Rummaging through a random list of reviews doesn’t provide that value.

Search result
None of the extra dimensions besides artist, label, and release have been integrated into the search engine result page, which is a real shame. How nice it would be on Aphex Twin’s search result page to see how many of his releases have been reviewed on Discogs.


A positive effect of the new layout is the insight into the massiveness of Discogs’ database: 2,3 million releases, 1,8 million artists and almost 200,000 labels. Before the redesign these numbers were not a secret, but not readily available on Discogs.com itself either.

Usability testing
Unlocking such a gigantic amount of information is obviously an enormously difficult task. With the new design Discogs shows that they are looking for creative ways to help the user. It’s a shame though that, maybe driven by a strategic choice, they are introducing improvements to a strategy that I, as a frequent visitor of Discogs, almost never use. Maybe it’s time for Discogs to do a little usability testing?

Nieuwe column op DdUX over ontdekken en zoeken op Discogs

Als muziekliefhebber en DJ bezoek ik regelmatig Discogs. Onlangs vernieuwde de site de manier waarop bezoekers muziekuitgaven kunnen zoeken en vinden. Ik neem de proef op de som en heb nogal wat verbetersuggesties voor een muzikale ontdekkingsreis.

> Lees verder op DdUX.org

vrijdag 18 februari 2011

EverClectic 3 Cloudcast

Third instalment in my playground series in which I cross musical boundaries. This episode is a very atmospheric one with music by the likes of Biosphere, Röyksopp, Exoplanet, Lusine, Aphex Twin, Starkey and Boys Noize. Over an hour of electronica, mixed live from CD.

> Download mp3 (link valid until February 25th)

01 | 00:00 | Ane Brun - Temporary dive (Biosphere remix) [determine]
02 | 04:21 | Röyksopp - The drug [wall of sound]
03 | 08:41 | Floating Points - K&G beat [planet mu]
04 | 14:24 | King Roc - Everything from nothing [process]
05 | 21:13 | Gabriel Cazali - Tensiones liberades (Exoplanet remix) [a must have]
06 | 26:41 | Lusine - Flat (Cepia remix) [ghostly]
07 | 32:13 | Saint Etienne - Who do you think you are (Quex-rd) [warner]
08 | 39:57 | Bonobo - The keeper (Grasscut bitter peace remix) [ninja tune]
09 | 43:20 | Starkey - Black monolith [fabric]
10 | 48:26 | Commix - How you gonna feel (Pedestrian remix) [metalheadz]
11 | 53:05 | Goth Trad - Flags [deep medi]
12 | 57:58 | David Lynch - Good day today (Boys Noize remix) [sunday best]

vrijdag 4 februari 2011

Speciale Valentijnsmix

"Valentine's Expressions" is een exclusieve set voor Valentijnsdag 2011, opgedragen aan mijn vriendin en moeder van onze prachtige dochter. Bijna anderhalf uur house, progressive house en trance, live gemixt van CD. Ik probeer mijn liefde voor haar uit te drukken via de muziek, de teksten en de songtitels. Elk nummer is op zijn eigen manier speciaal voor mij. Ik hoop dat je ervan geniet, liefste, hij is gemaakt speciaal voor jou!

De komende week selecteert Mixcloud -net als vorig jaar- een aantal cloudcasts met de tag 'lovemix'. Deze worden extra onder de aandacht gebracht via hun blog, Twitter, etc. Benieuwd of deze bijzondere mix wordt opgepikt!

01 | 0:00:00 | The Source & Candi Staton - You got the love (Paradise Soul remix) [emi]
02 | 0:08:52 | Iio - Is it love? (Martin Accorsi vocal remix) [made]
03 | 0:14:17 | José Amnesia & Jennifer René - Wouldn't change a thing (Retrobyte club edit) [armind]
04 | 0:19:57 | Weekend Players - I'll be there (Gabriel & Dresden remix) [multiply]
05 | 0:26:59 | Not Ferris - Love is alive (Harry Lemon remix) [bandung]
06 | 0:35:36 | Deep Skies & Cass Fox - Little bird (Mike Koglin remix) [maelstrom]
07 | 0:41:01 | Miro - By your side (Sonorous bright side mix) [euphonic]
08 | 0:47:11 | Alice Deejay - Celebrate our love (Solid Sessions remix) [violent]
09 | 0:54:35 | Above & Beyond & Zoë Johnston - No one on earth (Sonorous mix) [euphonic]
10 | 1:01:44 | Marc et Claude - I need your lovin' (Ferry Corsten remix) [n.e.w.s.]
11 | 1:08:05 | Iio - Runaway (Scotty Marz buzz fiend mix) [made]
12 | 1:18:56 | Rui Da Silva & Cass Fox - Touch me [kismet]

En dit zijn de songteksten:

The Source & Candi Staton - You got the love (Paradise Soul remix)

Sometimes I feel like
Throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying
Lord I just don't care
But you've got the love I need
To see me through

Sometimes it seems that
The going is just too rough
And things go wrong
No matter what I do
Now and then I feel
That life is just too much
But you've got the love
I need to see me through

When food is gone
You are my daily meal
When friends are gone I know
My saviour's love is real
Your love is real

Every once in a while
I say Lord I can't go on
Every once in a while
I get to feeling blue
Every once in a while
it seems like I am all alone
But you got the love
I need to see me through

Occasionally
my thoughts are brave and friends are few
Occasionally
I cry out Lord what must I do
Occasionally
I call up Master make me new
You've got the love
I need to see me through

Sometimes I feel like
Throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying
Lord I just don't care
But you've got the love I need
To see me through

**********************************************************************

Iio - Is it love? (Martin Accorsi vocal remix)

I never knew a love
A love that could be sweeter
No matter what my mind says
Your music gives me feeling

The moment that we danced
Your arms felt like a cradle
And when you took my hand
I was no longer able

Love never felt so right before
I need to be with you much more
I can't believe this kind of fate
We can run away

Is it love

I'm always in a spell
Even when I'm sleeping
You're always on my mind
I hope that I'm not dreaming

If I had let me stay asleep
Don't wake me up but feel complete
I never want to feel it end
What a lovely moment

Is it love

I want to give you my love all the time (all the time)
I want to make love to you all the time (all the time)
I want to be right next to you all the time (all the time)
I want to be in love with you all the time (all the time)

**********************************************************************

José Amnesia & Jennifer René - Wouldn't change a thing (Retrobyte club edit)

Close the door
Turn the light off
And before you drop come to me
I’ll be here when you wake up
Please don’t ever stop
Stay with me

If I could do it all over
I wouldn’t change a thing
Wouldn’t change a thing

I will spend my life trying to make you love me
Whenever you breathe
Whatever you need

**********************************************************************

Weekend Players - I'll be there (Gabriel & Dresden remix)

On a rainy day
Troubled and lost your way
When things go wrong
And the day is long

And when you take the wrong turn
Get your fingers burned
And when you're losin' ground
Lost the day and don't know what to do

I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there
I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there

Teetering on the brink
Like your poor heart could sink
When you labor in vain
Losing the game

When worry drags you down
Wear a weary frown
And when you're feeling blue
When your worst nightmare comes true

I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there
I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there

When an ill wind blows
And all hope goes
And only heaven knows
Which way to go

To share the heavy load
Down the long and winding road
And when the sky falls in
And you don't know where you've been or going to

I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there
I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there

When you're ill at ease
Down on your knees
Drowning your sorrows
Dreading about tomorrow

When you feel like you're falling
Run ragged and run down
Fallen prey to things you didn't ought to

I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there
I'll be there for you
I'll be, be there

**********************************************************************

Not Ferris - Love is alive (Harry Lemon remix)

Seems I've never time to appreciate
All the loving things you do
But I know
If ever there was a perfect match
Oh honey that is me and you

We work and play till we're tired out
Some days we would hardly speak
But you know you're in my soul every hour
I swear I hear your heart beat

And baby I want you
More and more each passing day
I may not say so
And I need you
In every kind of way
You're essential

Love is alive
And love is enough for the ride
It's all we need to see us through
Our love will survive
Above every phase in our lives
Shining light for me and you
Our love is alive

Our love is alive

There are times when it's difficult
And times when nothing's going right
Just a smile or a touch of your tenderness
Gives me all the reason to fight

And baby I want you
More and more each passing day
Though I may not say so
And I need you
In every kind of way
You're essential

Love is alive
And love is enough for the ride
It's all we need to see us through
Our love will survive
Above every phase in our lives
Shining light for me and you
Our love is alive

**********************************************************************

Deep Skies & Cass Fox - Little bird (Mike Koglin remix)

Back, safe, in the arms of fate, I guess I lost my way
Forgetting voices, and leaving them to yesterday
Back, safe, in your arms today, like I've never been away
I made my choices, I'll place my heart in your hands again

Back, safe, and it's not too late, I guess I made mistakes
One hundred horses, they couldn't drag my love away
Back, safe, in your arms today, like I've never been away
I made my choices, I'll place my heart in your hands again

I love the way the little bird just sings and flies
I love the way I feel with you by my side
I love the way the I see the sun up in the sky
I love the way I feel with you by my side

I love the way the little bird just sings and flies
I love the way I feel with you by my side
I love the way the I feel the whirlpool rushing by
I love the way I feel with you by my side

**********************************************************************

Miro - By your side (Sonorous bright side mix)

I'm right by your side
I'm trying to reach you,
Open up your eyes

I'm right by your side

I'm right by your side
I'm trying to reach you,
Open up your eyes

Let your spirit shine on
Let the feeling float
Let your senses come alive
Then the feel will show

Some can make you feel divine
Open up your mind
Stay with me forever
I will always be, with you

I'm right by your side

I'm right by your side
I'm trying to reach you,
Open up your eyes

**********************************************************************

Alice Deejay - Celebrate our love (Solid Sessions remix)

[instrumental]

**********************************************************************

Above & Beyond & Zoë Johnston - No one on earth (Sonorous mix)

Down through the dark trees
You came to save me
You're so ugly and you're so beautiful
You're like no one on earth could be

Take me home
Let me be the one

All of my life I've been waiting
For you
I wanna be the one that you take home
Let me be the one
'Cause I'm so lonely

Take me home
With you
No one on earth knows me like you do
Take me home
In time you'll love me like one of your own
So come on

**********************************************************************

Marc et Claude - I need your lovin' (Ferry Corsten remix)

I need your loving like the sunshine
And everybody's gotta learn sometime

**********************************************************************

Iio - Runaway (Scotty Marz buzz fiend mix)

Can we go away
And never turn around again
On an escapade
And always keep the vision
Can we open out
And spread ourselves around the sand
Captivate the sun
Keep the light till the world ends

Runaway

Take away the wall
And break away my defence
Candle by our side
And never let the rain begin

We’re a part of a plan
And it’s already written
There is no other way
It’s inside our every sense

Earth is our island

Karma, am I yours
Is that your intuition
If that is your word
I’m the definition

In our destinies
This is what was missing
Echo in my mind
Even through a distance

**********************************************************************

Rui Da Silva & Cass Fox - Touch me

You'll always be my baby
I'm always thinkin of you baby

Touch me in the morning
And last thing at night
Keep my body warm baby
You know it feels right
Take it a little higher
I'm taking it too
Tell me what you're feeling
I'll feel it with you

We can't always understand what we are shown
How was I supposed to know our love would grow

Move a little closer
Make sure I'm looking up
Heal me with your loving
I need you so much

We can't always understand what we are shown
How was I supposed to know our love would grow

You touch my mind in special places
My heart races with you
I'll take your love and I'll take my chances
I'll take them with you