Don't like the new design -- want a catalog, not a media website.

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My initial impression of AllMusic Beta is not good. The new entrance page is loaded with insignificant objects which take up significant screen space and the majority of highlighted content appears off the screen. (And I have an oversized monitor). Lose the banner image (LP album bin) or greatly reduce it in size. Similar comments for artist album pages. Sometimes a list is all that is needed -- not full blown "media" appearance. See Lakoff "Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind" and about 50 years of information science research...

Seriously, I can't see using this website for the kind of research I do daily. The old site is So..... much better.
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Craig A. Summerhill

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  • frustrated

Posted 7 years ago

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Tom McEvoy

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I had the same first impression. It reminded me of when allmovie.com changed to allrovi, and the site became less useful to me. I rarely visit allrovi now.
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Michel

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Well... let's not exaggerate here. If one takes a peek under the hood, the data is a mess. Ok that still makes it the greatest, technically speaking, since no-one's doing any better but "greatest" isn't a word I'd use in the context of music reference, unless you're into C&W of course. And yes, armpit's absolutely right.
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Eric

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There are a number of reasons for using allmusic.com. Obviously one may use it to look up specifics; I often used it myself in a more casual manner, jumping from link to link, artist to artist, as they were listed in the "similar to", "influenced by" categories, etc.
The site was the best source I've ever personally found (by far) for doing most of anything you may want to do when it comes to "music reference". So yes, prior to my recent viewing of allmusic.com, I would call it the greatest music reference source of all time. How could it not be?
'Be', 'been', not sure what to do now.
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Michel

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Agreed, as long as randomness and inaccuracy are accepted as by-products of such link hopping. I've stopped following them the day I realized how goofy they were. are. As to the rest, sure, it's the bloody best there is. was. Same as assembly instructions translated from Taiwanese... it's always better than the original.
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Eric

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Well, one would have hoped that instead of redesigning the site they would improve some of the error/randomness among all the artist connections. But a lot of the time I believe it worked pretty well.
It remains far beyond Pandora, for example, in attempting to find "similar", "influenced by" or "influenced" listening experiences.
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Eric

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The "similar albums" listing is a nice feature.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Hi Craig,
I know that some of our users will not like our choice to make the site more visually engaging by offering more album art and graphical features.

This was not done accidentally but based on our user surveys and interviews.

We've tried in many cases to offer a "List View" which changes many of our more graphical interfaces into a more text-based and sortable format.



I do hope that you will be able work with our new design to continue your research on our site as you have in the past.

Thanks,
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Roland

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Just logged on to the site and was stunned by the new site design.

Unfortunately, not in a good way.

I use and, in view of the new design that may well become past tense, the site daily to search information on the writers of tunes and songs. This, while never straightforward, has now become even more difficult and makes a search in the dreaded Googlesphere more productive.

What a shame. An opportunity lost.
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Dwight Topolinsky

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You people are like the world at large - can't accept change. Get over it already. Looks and feels great. Stop complaining!
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Michel

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Hey Dwight. I believe the world at large (outside the US I mean) is ready for and can accept change. That's not the issue. Besides, such a broad statement as "can't accept change", without an itsy bit of qualification, is bound to be erroneous.

The complaints are not so much about the look and feel of the new design. If you check around, you'll notice these people are far from behaving like primates. No, the hidden part of the iceberg is that such look and feel translates into more delays, more scrolling, more attention, more efforts, more time wasted, too often to access incorrect data.

If I was to say that, from now on, you must devote more than a fair share of your time to me, in exchange for a look and feel... you wouldn't even complain, you'd tell me to reconsider my origins. And you'd be right in doing so.

Let us therefore please express our right to speak and say "no way José!". Fair enough comrade? ;)
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Dwight Topolinsky

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Well that may be so, but I like what it does for me anyway. I hear 'ya. Fair enough :)
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Mick

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This new version of AMG is of no use at all to me. It is only geared to fairly ignorant people with a requirement for basic information. Just like going into HMV,, who stock hardly any interesting music, just 'safe' boring stuff.
This new site is just shallow and frustrating. I will not be bookmarking it in future. It only seems to list and be linked to current music. No history of out of print stuff. No use to collectors at all. Its gone from a really useful site to a tabliod down market comic.
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Gary Smith

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Hi Zac

To an extent I agree with Craig, there's too much whitespace. Just look at the screen shot you used above, one album now takes the space of 3 in the old site.

The new discography view has album art, album name & record label (latter low priority info but also, now it's not a column, it's not sortable) then a big blob of whitespace, a date floating out in space (difficult to align with album) and finally stars (which I preferred on the left - and smaller) - and there's no image/list option for this discog page
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AlexS

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totally agree, and let they return authorization at the entrance to the site. If you're an insider, you must have access to the materials, but it turns out that I was behind an iron wall. there are countries in which it is impossible to play excerpts of music and video clips. bravo :-(((
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Gordon Couttie

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I agree in general; all these big pictures make it childish - you are bowing to the ignorant (like Facebook where one used to type in one's likes and hobbies etc, but they are now dumbed down to simple pictures). Having ruined allmove.com, you have dumbed down allmusic.com to the same level of illiteracy. Don't you designers realise that the people who would use these two sites (I think the dumbed down view MIGHT be suitable for allgame) can actually read and write. They look to allmovie and allmusic for INFORMATION without the whistles and bells which you seem to be catering for.

I now use IMDB to check on movies etc and will now have to look for an alternative to allmusic because your designers think the rest of the world is populated by illiterate idiots who wouldn't know what was happening without pictures. I have been reading books (lots of them fiction, non-fiction & reference) which don't have lots of cute pictures in them, and I have no trouble reading them. Stop treating your users as though they were the product of the US or modern european education systems. More people have degrees now than ever before; even that level of education is ceasing to mean anything! SO STOP DUMBING DOWN!!!!!! Change allmusic.com to a USEFUL database and shove rovi where the sun don't shine (it'll feel at home there with all the other shit)
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Gordon Couttie

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joeyheadset: The point of white space is that the info that is there is easier to see at a glance. TBH, the idea of taking away the spaces between words is idiotic; the spaces are there to make the words easier to read. whatmakesyouthinkthatomittingthemmakesasentenceoraparagrapheasiertoreadandunderstanditjustdoesn'tmakesenseiunderstandyourfeelingsaboutthenewsitebutyouaretalkingbollocksonthisonethepenismightierthantheswordbuttheswordcutsevenly... See?????
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rpfolse

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heh penis mightier

anyways the point isn't the spacing between words its

the spacing between lines, if it's more spread out it's harder

to read. you need to have some space but too much is just

as bad as too little. even the spacing between words can be

awful if you let it spread out too much. not only is it

more annoying to read, it's also much more wasteful and

inefficient.
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rpfolse

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haha aw it won't let me put extra line breaks or spaces between words...even this site forces a limit on how much whitespace it allows
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Matthew Seghezzi

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Dear AllMusic,

So, if I PAY YOU a fee for the year will you ditch several of the NEW (not necessarily better) design details?

I used your site to DATE TAG nearly ALL of my 60,000 song DJ MP3 library. It was very simple - type in the artist, go to "Songs" (all sorted alphabetically!), find the song, click on it and viola! an album & and a year. Now for compilations or large artist libraries it's several more clicks and I have to search longer. I've recommended your site to several DJ/Music associates over the past 3 years - but this isn't going to work for me.

The ad's between the between the Overview & Tracks section are not very helpful for an information gatherer. I also use the site for research for: Themed Events, Reunions, Local band histories, B-Side's/EP's/Odd releases.

The "Similar Albums" section may be great for someone browsing but for a user that's coming for specific information it's unnecessary and annoying. Too much white space (as mentioned above).

The one positive I do like is sorting by year for the Album releases. It would be even more helpful if the songs had years listed. I noticed the "Highlights" for some artists songs are not listed alpha but the "All Songs" column is. What gives? Try "Beat Farmers", "The Rainmakers", "The Plimsouls", "The Knack", "Tom Petty" etc.

I'll repeat - I'll PAY to use the previous version - I've actually submitted a few things to you over the past 3 years so please include all new updated info but overall very disappointed w/new design.

Sincerely,
Matthew S
Dansations DJ's/Event Services
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WarpNote

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I like the new design myself, but cosign on the Highlights song list, needs to be alphabetic like the classic site. I have a large backcatalog of about 20k cd's. I spent about 2,5 years ripping them to a large raid hard drive. As a working DJ the highliths section is a real nice "cheaters guide" in order to rediscover my back catalog. So pretty please, bring back the Alphabetic order. Thanks.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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We'll certainly alphabetize the songs highlights. Thanks for the feedback.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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The Songs Highlights are now alphabetized. Thanks again.
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MusikAnimal

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I am right here with this guy. As a life-long, die-hard musician and fan, this was my go-to reference for all things music... REFERENCE, not to play music... we already have those sites. Allmusic.com was awesome for what it was, an extensive resource for reliable and accurate data... which sure, it's still there, but you have all this media crap distracting me. I just want the data, which was your thing. My encyclopedia, my Bible. And just like Matthew, I have contributed to the site a number of times, and have also referred it to hundreds of musicians, critics, professors, students alike. Can't say I'll be doing that anymore. Don't mean to be harsh, just telling the truth about how I feel. I am always willing to PAY A FEE for the old, data-centric design. BIG BUCKS, I might add!!!
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rpfolse

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exact same impression...not only is there too much whitespace, there's just too much white in general, it makes it much harder to actually read things. at the least, i would like an option to revert to a more compact version. similarly, on the artist summary sidebar, i'd like more color to shape my view, right now it feels very formless and rambling, just a blob of text, rather than an organized collection of information.

i, too, like the stars more on the left and a label column (sometimes it's the only way to tell albums apart without following the links).

red is not a great color to have all the real information be either, difficult to read. i much prefer a dark blue or black for the text.

it uses more screen real estate now, which is fine ultimately, but it also tends to let things spread out too much. much easier to scan quickly and compare things when they're better aligned and closer together.

moving the album cover into a hovering div would be much better for browsing, generally i'm not looking for a specific album cover but a specific album title (if i were looking for an album cover i might try image view).

one final remark about this interface is that i much prefer having the discography be a separate section of the artist page, having to scroll past the biography to find the discography (every single time i pick a different subsection) is very annoying. putting the related info back under the biography might be better, or just showing the whole biography first and calling the tab "biography" instead of "overview." either way, having both of the main attractions for an artist be on the same tab overloads the page.
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Michel

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It would be useless to repeat those comments, every point mentioned so far by the user community is valid and perfectly echoes my opinion. AMG has become a nice-looking shell, not really friendly to serious users anymore, and still missing the essential of what it claims to represent : _all_ music!

You see, for americans, american music probably is all there is about music but americans merely represent 4% of the planet's population. As to musical culture, spread over time, its proportion doesn't even reach 1% of the global music production and I'm being very generous.

In other words, when I look for information to tag my tiny mp3 collection (over 75,000 international titles and growing), I now only bother using AMG for american productions, as it is a vast joke for anything else, from trance to reggae, zouk, maloya, samba, classical, baroque, even european pop or rock.

If the Beatles were to pop their heads on the musical scene today, you would barely mention their two latest albums by label reference, omit any track-listing, and probably classify their style as being similar to that of Céline Dion or Bruce Springsteen, as has been the case for most of the non-american gems I pointlessly looked-up on AMG over the years.

My advice to you guys : stop pretty-fying and start adding content (the missing 99%), you wouldn't be wasting your time and ours as you have since 2006. Besides, you'd be discovering tons of great music in the process, for the ultimate benefit of your user community at large.

I used to like AMG for the relative information it was providing and the time savings. Since it's become a christmas tree for pre-pubescent browsers, i.e. 2006, I've switched to other more complete, more useful and less flashy sites, such as Discogs for trance/techno for instance.
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igorin

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Hi, Michel, what sites do you recommend for Pop/Rock? Thanks!
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Michel

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Hi igorin. That's a tough one... The FNAC site is good for French stuff, HMV for British, and Wiki for most European stuff. Other than that, it's chaos and mis-information.
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igorin

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Thanks!
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Gustavo

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I completelly agreed with all opinions I've read so far. But yours, Michel, really frightened me. Did I understand well or you said that AMG removed everything but american productions? If that's the case I would suggest AMG not to call the site All Music Guide any longer and to switch to a more appropriate All American Music Guide. For 12 years I had been a fan of AMG. Even I participated actively in the redesign of a few years ago. This is a huge step back and it's likely that my long time love with AMG is living its final days.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Rest assured, Gustavo,
We still are displaying all of the non-American content that we ever were.

Fela: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/fela-k...
Najma: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/najma-...
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/nusrat...
Amadou & Mariam: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/amadou...
Ofra Haza: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ofra-h...
Lô Borges & Milton Nascimento: http://www.allmusic.com/album/clube-d...

Hope this information helps.
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MaxL

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What happened to Composers information for each song? This is a THE reason I use AMG in my business...to help determine who wrote the compositions.
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Ramsay Cowlishaw

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Up until this recent travesty, I used AMG to help settle arguments/bar bets/unsated curiosity.
"Was this a cover? Who was the original performer? Where can I get it?"
I feel like I've swum away from the coral reef of knowledge and entered into the great Internet Garbage Patch, with much less life.
Please re-think your re-think.
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MusikAnimal

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^^^ couldn't have said it better
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Guillermo Ybarra

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Yes, WHERE is the composers' information?
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Bob

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Yes. This is essential and came part and parcel with the old site. How can something so basic be omitted?

Please Zac/Allmusic....Bring back the Song/Artist search option and Composer for song results.
.It's primary!
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y drx

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I already started to use (and contribute to) Allmusic less when it removed the option of researching records by label - without composer info, and with that disgusting design, I just can't see myself using it at all anymore, nor recommanding it or linking to it. Hey, Allmusic, don't you realise most music websites' prescribers = music prescribers = people who want streamlined access to lots of data by many entry points ? If your marketing counsel has been working on common user expectations instead of ours, it's really let you down.
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jmc.three

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Maybe something like GMail's ability to select "comfortable", "cozy", or "compact"?

I agree about the overview page, the big bio and banner ad make it annoying
to access the discography, I'd almost rather have a separate tab.
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michael.leeman

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While I totally understand your need to promote new product in order to stay in business, please don't forget that many people are (were) drawn to allmusic as a reference source - for some of us, a unique and indispensable reference source. Unlike the casual visitor, who can get the same superficial info from many other sources, we will return again, and again, and again. And, trust me, we buy music. A lot of music.

Or, you can turn into allmovie.com, which, like Tom, I almost never use since its redesign.

On the other hand, your willingness to solicit and acknowledge feedback, gives me some hope.
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Anthony Newton

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this is a template solution at its worst.

it makes me feel like no thinking went into this at all. just the decision to "rovi" the site.

big album photos! big bold wasted space banner at the top! big ad in the middle of the page! everything's big! bold! colorful! the kids will love it!

it truly pains me to see this new look.
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Charles Amos

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Zac, I'd be fine with the "list" option if it was universal. The first search I did using beta returned the following screen, with no "list" option that I can spot. Am I missing a crucial step? I want to see 20+ titles on a single screen with no scrolling, not the 6 titles I can see in beta.
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rpfolse

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that *is* the list view they were talking about
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michael.leeman

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There should be a list option on every page that gets rid of the wasted space and unnecessary graphics. If you did that, you might help make both camps happy - two parallel views with the same information, one compressed and the other not.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Hi Charles,
In our view, this is a list view.

The "Image View" is a more graphical view with more album covers and less metadata like so:



We hope that the addition of images in the discography (while making the row slightly larger) will help users find the album they're looking for.
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wizz3r

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Well, in the rise of digital distribution, I think the covers are not that important anymore - e.g. I prefer to buy a digital album and store it on my HDD, not really caring about the cover art. What this means, is that when I look up an album on AMG, I look it up by its name, not cover (I don't even remember the cover in some cases). New design forces cover thumbnails on the left, which I don't really care about when looking for info and reviews. And scrolling gets really frustrating. Please, reconsider adding even more compact "list view" without any images, just band, album, year and rating.
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Michel

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I'd go so far as to recommend considering the purpose and effectiveness of metadata associated with music in general prior to allocating visual landscape.

Essential items are interpreter, album, year, title, composer, running time and track number (see MP3 tags). Anyone of those missing and this site becomes useless for research purposes. Composer has apparently disappeared from direct view in that new design, which already is a big no-no.

If you're not here looking for such metadata, then you're probably browsing the site for music you don't already know and additional decision-making help is definitely welcome, provided a few conditions are met.

1/ Cover art - We have 2 basic audiences: seekers of information and potential consumers, with very different needs. The former would use cover art as visual aid to identify a particular album, particularly when artists issue multiple albums under similar / identical names (it happens), or may want to download it in order to enrich a digital music collection.

As to potential customers, one first has to understand the historic shift in cover art design before weighing its relative effectiveness. Many moons ago, record labels knew that consumers were associating music they liked with their interpreters and, sure enough, they'd stick a picture of the artist / band on new issues, so as to tell potential consumers: you like what this dude did? Have another album by him!...

And it worked fine, as long as the dude in question had something appealing to sell (also known as talent). The Pavlovian qualities of such a basic approach were undeniable: you enjoyed some music to the point of wanting more, you took a good look at the interpreter and, next time you saw that face on an unknown album, you were very likely to feel tempted to repeat such pleasant experience.

Then someone got the idea of using cover art to sell crap music too. The idea was simple: cover it up with groovy graphics or porn-like visual stimuli (for heavy metal and girlie groups). As long as the potential buyer was young and inexperienced, he might fall for it.

The thing is that one learns, with time, that flashy cover art usually equates to lack of musical talent and, also in a very Pavlovian manner, one considers such artwork along the same lines as junk mail... a mere nuisance.

When users emit feedback relating to the apparent age lowering of your intended audience, I think some are saying in a very indirect and subconscious manner: I'm not a teenager any longer and I don't appreciate someone trying to use that old consumer-manipulation trick on me.

2/ Rating - Yes indeed, who would turn down the advice of others who already know that music? After all, the ability to transfer knowledge through communication is what makes us human, so let's not belittle that feature. In order to become meaningful and actually useful, rating must be qualified and generalized.

Qualified: who rates and how do I interpret their rating? If any user can vote, as opposed to specialists only, then such rating becomes a democratic tool rather than a quality index. I can see the point in attempting to manipulate those who are prone to peer-pressure but, let's be honest, democracy and quality have rarely been associated in the history of music. Or literature. Or food. Or fashion clothing.

If rating expresses commercial success (sales over time), then it should take into account the pitfall of commercial promotion for recent items, as we now all know how such apparent success can be engineered. See one-hit wonders.

Generalized: who'd use a dictionary or an encyclopedia where half the entries were missing? Rating only makes sense, as a comparison aid, if all albums for a given interpreter are rated. That's very far from being the case, i.e. I've rarely been able to use such feature meaningfully, except in the case of long-standing monsters such as the Beatles.

3/ A play button - Definitely, for potential consumers and researchers alike. Have a look at Qt widgets, such as "play" buttons in Avidemux-Qt: they're just the size of a fingertip... a child's fingertip in fact, unless you live in Japan, Taiwan or South Korea.

You are attempting to follow trends when it comes to that new design, right? Then what do you think of Qt as a trend-barometer? Mobile phone and other handheld device manufacturers know everything there is to know about ergonomy and interface design. They've chosen Qt for a reason and it's soon to become an IT standard, for its compatibility with desk- and laptops. Make smaller widgets, dudes... not larger. Right now you're rowing against the flow.
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tomlebeau

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If users need artwork to find the album they're looking for, they're not very important users. Did you design for the occasional user who stops by once a week or the power users like us who use this site all day long?
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Bob

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Rovi is (paraphrased from their home page) 'dedicated to promoting and selling entertainment'.
And they're not going back to the old site, so I figure that helpful criticism and suggestions to "Zac" might better serve to fine tune this new, vulgar monstrosity into something usable to the more dedicated discophiles.
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Michael

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I think one way to sum up the various valid points in this thread is that the new design simply seems to dumb down the site. The breezy white space and the image-heavy display seem geared toward users with short attention spans and no real interest in the kind of serious music criticism that has drawn so many to AllMusic in the past. I understand that the majority of the content is the same, it just has the slightly embarrassing appearance of someone dressing too young for their age.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Ha! Even if I don't entirely agree, Michael, that is a terrific turn of a phrase.
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Bob

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Michael; I couldn't possibly have worded it better. Thanks.
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armpitstudios

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Are these people on dope? Nothing wrong with the new look. White space is good. Ask any designer.
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Michel

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Er... ok, I'll gladly oblige. I am a designer (freelance software engineer for the past 30 years, web designer, one of the IT pros here) and my view is that whitespace is not good for many reasons:

1/ It's a major waste of screen landscape, requiring more mouse/keyboard interaction from a user to navigate around a page. That is great from a marketing perspective because, the more a potential customer gets involved, the more likely he is to buy something as a result. The only problem is that heavy-users of AMG are not necessarily potential customers, we are here doing research work. In that context, whitespace and advertizing constitute an obstacle and are therefore perceived as a nuisance.

2/ It is a pain in the eyes for those spending hours in front of a monitor... I'm changing the default window background from white to something less aggressive (light blue/purple) each and every time I install a new OS. Unfortunately web designers have no way of dynamically adjusting the color palette of their pages to match local user preferences and many pick white for what they see as a neutral background color, not realizing that high contrast is tiring in the long run.

3/ The human brain needs visual guides, like lists, rows, tables, etc to perform reading or research activities with little effort, particularly when on dope... trust me. Why do you think books and letters are written in the form of sequential and contiguous lines? Have you ever tried reading some text written in a spiral or concentric circles? For hours on?

Many moons ago, computer manufacturers spent a great deal of money trying to figure out which color combinations would be the least tiring over time and came up with two answers: green on black and orange on black. It used to be called monochrome, granted, but it was comfortable. With the advent of color, developers/designers have been able to express their tastes and graphical talents, which is good, but have apparently not been taught much in terms of ergonomics.

Sure, I've been very happy to switch from green on black to a more modern purple on light blue but the technical and physiological basis remain the same: 2 or 3 colors are perfect for enhancing visual focus, more become a distraction (see car & plane dashboards, or military & control tower equipment).

The same is true of distance between objects, i.e. whitespace, even if not necessarily white: regaining focus on an object after crossing a zone devoid of visible objects takes time and leads to vision fatigue, as much as the absence of whitespace to help separate these objects. Too little or too much is as bad.

Anyone is welcome to disagree, naturally, but that's the opinion of one IT expert who also happens to use AMG as a research tool.
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Michael

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Michel, Thank you!
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billy

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haha. maybe in 1990. it's 2012.
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Michel

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Eye physiology hasn't changed much since 1990. We're perhaps not talking about the same issue though...
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tomlebeau

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you guys can ask me, i'm a designer. the white space is not used appropriately. there is way too much space between rows, columns, etc. it's too hard to consume the content. in an informational site like this, content is king.
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Lee Perkins

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Just voting enthusiastically for some of the main points here:

- There is too much white and wasted space; hard on the eye

- When presenting LP lists (both 'similar' and discography), please make the LP art appear as a rollover as it does on current site! That will both tighten up space and clean up the page for the eye. LEAVE the option to present as IMAGE VIEW for those who prefer it.

- Basically, you should be able to see more in ONE SCREEN using any feature

- There should be a tab or an easy jump, from any page/feature of an artist, to get to the DISCOGRAPHY. Why is it not a tab at the top page? You shouldn't have to dig for it.

Thanks again, Zac!
Good luck.
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Michel

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Actually that's the main issue I have with this re-design: one has to look around for navigation help. You know what you want to achieve (find some information) but, instead of being presented with clearly visible choices for actions, you're submerged with information you don't need.

The aim is obvious: to promote the sale of products with a flashy catalog and make users forget what they came here to do. Users accessing AMG for research purposes simply say no. You wanna flush us out? Do exactly what you're doing and it will happen. You ask for feedback? Take it with a smile, it's much easier than forcing a false dogma on people who know otherwise.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Hi Michel,

On the subject of "what you want to achieve (find some information)" and providing navigation help: In the studies we've done, we've found that users are usually accessing Search, exploring Genres and looking at New Releases. We have moved those elements to the main navigation which is now present (persistent) at the top of every page on the site.

On Artist pages, users are reading the biography and interacting with the discography so we moved the discography to the main "Overview" tab.

On Album pages, users are reading the biography, browsing the track list and listening to samples. We've made sure that those areas are clear and present on the main screen.

So if anything, we've listened to the majority of our users, tracked how users are clicking and how they're interacting with the pages, and have put those changes into effect on the new site.

We fully realize that members of our community that use the site for research purposes may react negatively to the use of more images and the wider layout (which admittedly spreads information out, but does allow for more visual presentation of cover art and artist images). We've tried to incorporate a number of areas where users can choose a "List View" and to always expand the text of our biographies and reviews specifically for this audience.

The site is evolving based on user feedback and we've already gotten tons of praise already thanking us for the re-design and saying they love the new layout.

We're trying to provide a clean and more visual experience for casual and novice users who want to explore and discover, as well as offering up the information in a readable way to the research community. I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but I sincerely hope that you can look past some of the visual changes we've made and still be able to access the data as before.

Thanks,
Zac
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Paul Ruta

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"... access the data as before." Zac, that is the problem. (The new page layout is fine, for god's sake. Let's move on.) The CONTENT is very poor, incomplete, riddled with mistakes and contradictions, and difficult to cross-reference. It is so unreliable that it is difficult to take AMG's data seriously.
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rpfolse

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So what you're saying, Zac, is that you actually only wanted feedback that aligned with your preconceived notions.

What we have here is an active thread wherein users are expressing negative feedback (that doesn't match the research you've conducted) and possible fixes. Adding a discography tab would be straightforward and easy. Adding a 'compact' or 'classic' view toggle wherever you currently have a list view would be less easy, but certainly wouldn't require any major overhauls.

You have solicited my opinion, yet now you tell me that my opinion is wrong and that I should just get over it. You claim to be trying to strike a balance between the two groups of users (ie dedicated research users and novice exploring users), but you seem to only want to cater to the research crowd when it does not affect the novice users in any way, which I find insulting.

While I can appreciate that your research most likely places us into a much smaller user category, I cannot believe that we represent such a vast minority of actual use time. This implies you're more concerned with advertising to as many users as possible rather than making each user experience as pleasant and helpful as possible.

While you guys have been very responsive on some issues, when you run up against negative feedback which opposes the layout as a whole, you get too defensive. This same thing happened/is happening at GMail right now: they conducted research, made a major change, got both positive and negative feedback. The negative feedback has to do with usability over aesthetics and they've basically been ignoring it. There are the same issues on that site: too much whitespace, color schemes which strain my eyes. When I saw that you were asking for input and how responsive you were being, I was very hopeful.

Please don't disappoint, at least give us our options.
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Michel

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On the whitespace issue, it's all about balance. The previous design was anything but overcrowded. The new one is definitely undercrowded in comparison, there's no question about that.

As to eye strain, it's got little to do with monitor brightness. Mine is set low but blue, for instance, absorbs more light than white and hence doesn't flood as much receptor cells in the back of eye-sockets. Color contrast also constitutes an important parameter. Black on white is akin to looking straight at a light bulb, even if of low intensity.
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rpfolse

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I was speaking to "I sincerely hope that you can look past some of the visual changes we've made and still be able to access the data as before" in particular. We've made it clear that accessing the data is not the same as it was before, yet here he tells me to do it anyway.
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ramusenator

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Also, the pro-new site threads are all one or two sentence long blurbs saying stuff like "good job" and "it's gorgeous to look at". I think we're giving WAY more input than the supposed majority of users who would rather have the new site, he should listen to us.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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You are certainly giving way more input. It is not falling on deaf ears.

If you take a look at the recent Updates (available here: https://getsatisfaction.com/allmusic/... ) we've been making changes based on user input (particularly regarding our Classical audience which was a segment we had trouble gathering feedback from in our planning stages).

We've listened and made changes to organization, sorting, filtering and presentation in many areas. We're not done yet.
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Michel

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Having the opportunity to debate these issues clearly demonstrates that the folks at AMG are listening and willing to listen in the first place. As to whom they should listen to most, or least, is their business. This is a free world.

Having said that, the more valuable the input means a higher probability that some bulbs will light up at AMG R&D Labs. In other words, rather than belittle apparently braindead praise in a pointless attempt to compare apples and oranges, I suggest we keep debating the new design, bringing as many good ideas as we can and explaining them as best we can, for everyone's ultimate benefit. Zac's listening. ;)
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Michel

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Hey Zac,

Thanks for your participation to the debate. Ok, I understand that design wasn't the fruit of someone's brain but rather a democratic patchwork and, as such, the democratic argument prevails (the majority of users likes it).

Now let's be practical for a minute and stop hiding behind the masses. I just went on the beta site to perform a typical run-of-the-mill album look-up, as I do each time I hear of a new musical gem. Here's my candid yet objective feedback:

1/ Once you type an artist name in the search field and pick the right one from the disambiguation list, you land on the artist overview page. Where's the bloody discography? No can see it. I had to accidentally page down to find it, well hidden out of view.

That's very bad design, right from the top. If the majority of users think this is what they really want, then I'm afraid the majority of users is brain-dead, or you guys didn't translate their requirements/wishlist properly. As a professional, I would've double-checked and probably found out otherwise. In fact, right now and as a professional, you are double-checking and finding out otherwise, aren't you? :)

2/ Do I really care to be presented with the bio of an artist I probably already know each and every time I wanna check one of his albums? Naah... For a casual user, perhaps I see a point, but certainly not for someone returning to the same overview page.

Either use a token system (seen once, don't bother showing by default again), or fold the bio enough by default to at least make the top of the discography section visible from the start and let interested readers expand it if they so wish. The tools exist, you merely need to use them.

3/ Next I select an album to check out its track listing for various essential pieces of information, such as track number, spelling, running time. Surprise-surprise, I can't see the entire track listing in one window because of the completely useless whitespace separating the entries.

Moreover there are silly streaming widgets visually separating those song attributes I seek, themselves not really attributes of the song object itself (pardon my jargon) but mere action buttons. Move them to the left or right but please, don't mix apples and oranges on the same line, it's confusing, irrational, and a nuisance.

I'm not even touching on the missing or incorrect discography information, as my example artist was Renaud, an icon of french poetry rather than a Hollywood or Nashville best-seller, and AMG can hardly be considered a reference site for "foreign" music. But that's another ball of wax.

So Zak, do you now understand the negative reaction of run-of-the-mill research users? The basic stuff I'd expect, which was present in the previous design, has simply gone. The comfort of accessing essential album information presented in a simple manner, on a single visible window pane, without excessive use of mouse/keyboard is no more. I now have to go through an extra effort just because a majority of kids can't read and prefer looking at images. Tss-tss... It doesn't make sense, no matter how one looks at it.

Sure I can look past that flashy mess, as I don't really have an alternative to AMG for some stuff, but it will cost me and that will reinforce the negative impression, making me think twice before using that new rendition of the website and certainly not mention it to buddies, as I often do about ImDB for example. I'm trying to tell you nicely that you're shooting yourselves in the foot. You don't have to listen, naturally.
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rpfolse

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For comparison's sake, here's the same process on the old page:

Type Renaud in search box and hit Enter, brings me immediately to his page (good guess!).

An bio and a few album covers are immediately visible (albums are much more important to me than videos, I have no idea if this is the same for everyone or not).

I click on the clearly visible "Discography" tab and make one small scroll action and I've seen the whole list (Compare with the three hefty scroll actions to see the entire list on beta). While I do like that albums with reviews are indicated on beta, it took me a while to figure out what that icon meant. Either way, I find the album I want.

I click on it and, again, one very small scroll action brings the entire track list into view. What's more, I can see a composer for each track (I used Renaud's Rouge Sang), while on beta they only show a composer for one track, this just seems like a bug though?

I don't like having to scroll repeatedly, and I do like being able to, once scrolled, see all the info in one space.

Michel's comments about no alternatives and having to wade through and not recommending (as I do, too, for IMDb), are also spot on.
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Bob

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Let's just change the name to "McMusic", and like McDonald's, the so called "majority" will be content being used as advertising/marketing fodder. The 'new paint job' analogy I find to be a deceptive response.

I actually preferred the old 'Allmovie' to IMDB but didn't look back when it too was "redesigned".
I'll bet that Almusic will eventually suffer the same fate because it fails to understand the true nature of the service it provided. They'll lose more people than they'll attract.

I've been a dedicated Allmusic fanatic for 13 years and passionate in recommending it to everyone I meet. I'm not so sure I will be able to do that now.

This website-dysmorphic disorder is absurd. The site's layout could have easily stayed the exactly the same simply with upgraded graphics to satisfy the appetites of the eye candy crowd without sacrificing the quality and integrity of the rest of it.

I'm really heartbroken to see this invaluable service fall to the demands of stimulative mediocrity.
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Fiona

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I'm usually grumpy about redesigns and I am about this one too, because it does feel like you're browsing a jumbo marshmallow.

Michel's comments 1, 2, & 3 sum it up well for me, though I assume Zac is just doing his job collecting feedback and probably didn't mastermind the entire redesign, therefore there's no need to get personal.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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Thanks.
I do understand your frustration and I would love love love to solve everything for every user (and we'll do our best). I am a big fan of Gmail and I love their themes and customization (but they have a much larger staff of developers than our site does).

We're not dismissing any of this feedback, and apologies if it came off that way, but I do want to set realistic expectations about what our team is planning to work on over the next several months.
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Fiona

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Sort of doubt gmail has a larger staff of developers.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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We have a staff of 2 developers building the AllMusic redesign. I am not sure how many people Google has working on Gmail, but we have 2.
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ramusenator

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Why not just leave it the way it is? If it ain't broke don't fix it. All the pros of the new site seem to be aesthetic ones.
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Eric

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Who cares if you have people from google working on your site? The site was near flawless before, why have you done this?????
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Bob

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My sentiments exactly....it was wonderfully designed. We already have Rhapsody,Spotify, LastFM,Pandora and hundreds of other sites that sport large bold album covers and ads.
Allmusic was my wonderful refuge from the loud,commercial sites that are rampant.
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Simray

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I welcome the opportunity to comment on the new design which in some respects is an improvement on the existing site, although like others I feel that there is far too much white or wasted space.

I primarily use the site as a reference resource to check artist back catalogue release details and my major concern is not about the look of the site but about the content which leaves a lot to be desired as it tends to be far from comprehensive. I find this very frustrating and hope that greater efforts will be made to correct this.

The other thing about content apart from the missing album releases is the occasional lack of cover art for a particular release which I find annoying. On the plus side, I find that the overview and the individual album critiques to be generally very fair and objective. I tried a couple of searches and found it very frustrating that you have to move the page to the right to read all the text. This needs to be corrected.

Simray
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jas

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I agree.
If they need to look to subscriptions then so be it but this new approach loses alot.
I will look elsewhere for the info and won't recommend it as I have to dozens in the past
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joeyheadset

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As a "power user" who looks up 45,000 albums every hour, I am dismayed about this redesign. First of all, the use of white space disgusts me. When I visit a website, I am looking for *information density*. In fact, I use a browser plug in that removes the spaces between words so that thedensityoftextualinformationismaximized. Secondly, I am saddened by designers choice to jump on the "pictures on websites" bandwagon. This doesn't affect me personally, since I still use the same web browser I've used since 1993 (Lynx v2.3), but I still object. Music is designed to be LISTENED TO, not seen. I have never laid eyes upon a compact disc, because I only listen to music in a pitch black room. Phil Collins is my favorite musician, and to this day I have no idea what he looks like (in my mind, he's a tiny Puerto Rican man). Allmusic's decision to feature album art is a shameful violation of the sanctity of music. Furthermore, based on Winston's Law of Web Content, every image you put on the site negates 15 album listings.
So come on guys, scrap this redesign, and bring back an ascii only data stream, ideally one that is compatible with the Texas Instruments SR-50 that I've adapted to use as an e-reader device.
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michael.leeman

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This is very funny, Joey. Well done. Point taken.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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If this thread has proven anything, it is that our users are a very literate, well-spoken, and often hilarious group of people.
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Paul Ruta

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Puerto Rican? Maybe there's hope for Phil Collins after all.
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Eric

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Zac- this isn't a joke; I'm personally done with Allmusic and will never again recommend it to someone (and the amount of praise I heaped on it was near endless) unless I hear that you have actually listened to the comments here and returned the site to proper form.
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Temerald

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If the "guys in charge" insist on this AOL fluffy web site, then add a third view: Detailed or Compact view that allows for the display of more than a mere half dozen songs and handles playback position with a simple percent indicator. (Grin)

With a quarter million songs, I recorded myself from CD's it is often necessary to search for information not included with the CD. I've relied on allmusic for over a decade and found it invaluable (thank you). I agree with everyone in their complaint about excessive white space (as I asked about myself and was given a image of how a song's playback indicator requires that space). To others I've noticed you often point out the List View or as you pointed out to me, the space is required for the graphic displaying playback position of a song. If that graphic does not allow rewinding a few seconds of the song then the eye candy should be thinner or moved or... either way it's fluff. What about a gold old fashioned % readout. Either way, allmusic and allmovie should be as they were before and if you want to cater to the point and shoot people, create a site called allmedia—heck then you could add books & audiobooks and compete with amazon (light bulb). Although this may be wishful thinking, it does has merit.
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Philip Fenske

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Allmusic is one of the few sites around that have continued to provide a wealth of quick, streamlined good info about all things recorded music. The beta looks nice, but the compactness is gone, there is too much graphic bloat, and it takes LONGER to find what I'm looking for. Seems like another case of: "Hey, this is working great already, let's see if we can't f**k it up!?".

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Fatal Bloat.
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Jayson Wyatt

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I agree with this to a great extent. I wish it would show you the discography first and foremost, then you should be able to click a tab from there in order to read the artist's biography. The discography is the most important thing by far.