Thanks to everyone who completed the Psonar user survey – a total of 58 users so far. Many people took the trouble to suggest specific changes that could improve how Psonar works now and made suggestions for new features.
Respondents were mostly North American (55%) or European (39%), male (84%) and evenly split across those aged 25-34 (37%) and 35-44 (36%) – although 18% of respondents were aged 14-24.
What Users Want
Most people came to the service looking for somewhere to keep their music and be able access it anywhere at any time – and 5 people specifically mentioned the demise of Lala. Nearly everyone (90%) had downloaded the SongShifter, uploaded tracks (86%) and streamed music using the player (69%). 8% of respondents had download (not streamed) music and 2 respondents (4%) had published a track on Facebook.
Comments on Psonar
The main comments were:
- color scheme too garish (update: latest release – 21 June – has reduced the amount of purple/pink and made other improvements to layout)
- “clunkiness” (update: latest release – 21 June – incorporates database access and AJAX enhancements to improve speed)
- it would be better to have a player integrated into the web page (update: we’re developing an embedded player which will allow drag to player but which can also be “popped-out” of the page if wanted)
- add shuffle play (update: due for implementation in the next 4-6 weeks);
- several people commented that a browser based upload solution would be better than the SongShifter (update: SongShifter allows access to USB connected devices, such as phones and mp3 players, and enables track downloading (as opposed to streaming) – but we’re developing a lightweight uploader which will run on Mac, Linux and, potentially, PC which would obviate the need to use the SongShifter in some circumstances)
Suggestions for Improvements
Besides these comments, other improvements suggested were:
- ablility to delete tracks;
- renaming tracks, add more metadata or edit metadata;
- Last.fm Scrobbler integration;
- greater control over SongShifter (e.g. select tracks for upload);
- include more social features, such as comments on tracks or playlists and recommendations to friends;
- add album art;
- add lyrics.
Paying for Music
On paying to listen to music they don’t own, respondents had mixed views: 39% said they wouldn’t be prepared to pay at all, 33% said they’d like to see Psonar offer access like Lala’s “web songs” (where a payment of 10c gave the right to stream, but not download, a song an infinite number of times so long as the user remained a Lala member) and 16% said they’d be prepared to pay 1c or 1p (n.b. for our non-UK users 1p = 1/100 of £1) for one or more plays of a track. Several people said that they would be prepared to listen to ads to support free streaming.
A significant majority of respondents (62%) said they were very or quite likely to use (or continue to use) the Psonar mobile site.
Thanks for the Offers of Help!
Finally, we’re really grateful that so many people offered to help develop Psonar: 80% of respondents said they’d complete further user surveys and 80% said they be prepared to test new features. We’re proposing to email everyone who volunteered and offer to include them as ‘beta users’ to test new features prior to production deployment.
Best wishes and many thanks,
Martin, Rich and the Psonar team
Today we released improved playlist management on the main Psonar website.
It’s probably still a little rough around the edges, but we figured it was better to get something out there for you to use ASAP. We think it’s a big improvement.
New Playlist Panel
The main changes are:
- the playlists panel has been made smaller, giving the main tracks display area more room
- double-clicking a playlist now displays the contents in the main tracks display area
- deletion of tracks from and reorganisation of tracks within a playlist now happens on the client. When a deletion / move operation is performed, buttons appear at the bottom of the track list to allow you to either save the changes (whereupon they get persisted) or cancel them (the playlist gets reloaded and the changes are undone)
- management of tracks in the player is performed in the same way
- we’ve added a ‘new’ button at the top of the playlists panel for 1-click playlist creation
We hope you like the changes. We think it makes playlist management much less clunky.
Look out for more similar UX improvements in the coming weeks.
We also listened to what you said in the Psonar survey (please do tell us what you think if you haven’t done so already!) about the colour scheme and toned it down somewhat. We’ve also widened the scrollbars, reduced the initial load-time for large collections and added ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons amongst other things.
If you like the new playlist management, colour scheme or Psonar in general, please show your support by clicking the Facebook ‘Like’ button in the header to spread the word and help make Psonar simply the best place to keep your music on the internet. Thanks!
We do hope you’ve had a great time using Psonar since you signed-up.
We also hope you’ve had a chance to use Psonar recently and get the benefit of these great enhancements:
- slicker interface that reduces page loads and speeds up response time (using AJAX)
- play button on every track
- Facebook share button to post any track to your your News Feed
- redesigned and faster mobile site
- mobile player support that works on all major phones (iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia, Android, etc.)
In the next couple of months, we’re also introducing (amongst other things);
- Much improved playlist management
- Speed improvements when browsing your library of music
- SongShifter for Mac and Linux
- Last.fm scrobbling integration
- ‘tweet a track’
- Facebook playlist sharing
To make sure we’re delivering what you want, and to identify any areas where we haven’t yet got it right, please take a few minutes to complete our 4 page survey.
We’ll use it as a key part of our commitment to you: Putting the Community in the Driving Seat
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your help in building ‘simply the best pace to keep your music’.
Martin, Rich and the rest of the Psonar team.
I was lucky enough to be one of the 40,000 who got a ticket for the free Rage Against the Machine victory gig at Finsbury Park on Sunday which, in case you weren’t aware, was because RATM’s single, ‘Killing in the Name’ beat Simon Cowell’s manufactured pap to the UK’s 2009′s Christmas No 1, thanks to a great Facebook Campaign organised by Jon & Tracy Morter.
Rage Against the Machine performing at Finsbury Park, London. Photograph: Phil Bourne/Retna Pictures
True to expectation, RATM were absolutely amazing. I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen such incredible energy either by a band or hugely appreciative, friendly crowd, although it did get a bit squeezed down at the front!
I’ll leave the fuller review to a professional journalist and to Tracy on her blog (with her fabulous photographs).
‘We Made History’, the big screens told us just before RATM launched into their seminal track. A little bit of history perhaps, but history nonetheless. And gave Mr. Cowell rather a slap in the face at the same time. If the manufactured pop industry thinks this was a blip, roll on Christmas 2010.
It’s been interesting and valuable to engage with so many ex-Lala users recently. As a community, they seem to have a clear idea of what they want and expect from an online music service.
From their comments, blog posts and tweets, it’s clear that what upsets people most is when a Web 2.0 business fails to honor the bargain implicit in the Web 2.0 ideal: the community provides the ethusiasm, dynamism and much of what draws others to the service (and therefore the business) in return for having a real say in how the service (and therefore the business) evolves. By selling out to Apple on terms which allowed Apple to simply walk away from the service that Lala had committed to provide to its users, Lala broke this essential bargain.
At Psonar we want to build ‘simply the best place to keep your music’ but we also see ourselves as a true Web 2.0 community and business – in that order. Call us romantics perhaps, and we’re not so stupid that we don’t recognise that circumstances change, but at Psonar we believe that enabling the community to drive the shape of the service will lead to a better, more compelling user experience and a more successful business. But it can only work if we do honor the bargain implicit in the Web 2.0 ideal and, to that end, we believe that we must make these pledges:
- Keep your music safe and accessible on our servers and, if events beyond our control make this impossible to sustain, give you adequate notice of any change and an easy way to move your music to wherever you want.
- Let you access the music you have bought when you want and how you want (by download or by streaming).
- Promote the interests of artists, and those who enable artists to record and sell their music, by ensuring fair payment to access music you don’t already own and preventing unlawful file sharing.
We’re grateful to many people for their comments, tweets and blog posts encouraging us to carry on building Psonar while making sure that it really does listen to its community.