Musical Pony request December 13, 2010 4:40 AM   Subscribe

Pony request: slightly more visibility for music.mefi

music.mefi is a fantastic, friendly and supportive little community with terrific work being posted almost continually and a huge variety of genres. It's one of the hidden jewels of the MeFi tapestry.

It's particularly unusual because although there are endless music-making and song-sharing sites on the net, none of them as far as I'm aware feature the same kind of eclectic mix of music -- and intelligent critique thereof -- as music.mefi.

But IMHO it suffers from low visibility. We have the occasional breakout hit, often a mefi-related novelty number but a lot of really great stuff seems to vanish without a trace. The core userbase is very small, and yet it seems to me it could be much much broader, not just current MeFites but attracting new members.

The podcast always highlights some tunes, which is great, but the podcast itself suffers from low visibility (I only found out about it this summer!).

I realize that front page real estate is at a premium but is there no way of putting a 'most recent track posted' link, or regularly sidebarring a music post? It's not like there isn't stuff worthy of the sidebar.
posted by unSane to Feature Requests at 4:40 AM (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

More visibility would be cool. I've been here for years, and just discovered MefiMusic last week!
posted by TheCoug at 4:52 AM on December 13, 2010


(Another suggestion would be sidebar one of the challenge songs each month, since these are a recurring feature and pretty well subscribed. For example, this month is holiday music and next month we have a collaboration project rollling out...)
posted by unSane at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2010


I'm in support of this. For regular music.mefi users, how do you browse music? What options are available for those of us who mostly come in via RSS? I'm interested in listening to a couple tracks a week or if there was an automatically generated mefi.radio, that would be cool as well.
posted by onalark at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2010


music.mefi is a fantastic, friendly and supportive little community --- Be careful what you wish for.
posted by crunchland at 5:40 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


music.mefi is a hidden treasure, only to be enjoyed by those who seek to find it. Those others, they aren't worthy.
posted by dg at 5:44 AM on December 13, 2010


This seems a bit odd, to highlight one particular subsection over another for the benefit of that particular subsection only. If we were going to focus on one particular subsite, shouldn't it be something like Jobs, which probably has more interest to the general user base, particularly with the economy sucking these days?
posted by nomadicink at 5:58 AM on December 13, 2010


nomadicink: "This seems a bit odd, to highlight one particular subsection over another for the benefit of that particular subsection only."

Yeah, why not an awesome sidebar about the most recent flameout, callout, or throwdown on MetaTalk? I do think that the interface could do a better job drawing attention to "hey, these aren't minor links, they're completely different parts of MetaFilter" in the upper right. But I think implying that Music is somehow more deserving of increased traffic than, for instance, Projects, is unfair to those of us who aren't particularly musically inclined. Music already gets more love than Projects (i.e. it has its own chat threads, and the teal doesn't deserve them).
posted by Plutor at 6:06 AM on December 13, 2010


You'll notice I didn't say 'and PS don't do anything similar for the other subsites'.

Since I don't use Projects/Jobs etc I don't have any insight into how those sections feel about visibility, but it is certainly something which several music denizens feel fairly strongly about.

Really awesome Projects can be transferred to the front page and become a FPP. However, even the most sensational song posts are unlikely to be an appropriate FPP. Chococat's recent Worst Things track ended up being posted to MeTa by someone who wanted to highlight it... which was cool in a way but it doesn't seem like what MeTa is for really.

However, there was really no other way of highlighting it beyond flagging -- but the userbase on music.mefi is probably not large enough for that to make a bit hid on mod-radar.

I guess one option would be to have something similar to the 'Activity from your contacts' sidebar which showed recent posts to subsites, and was turn-offable-onable in the way that Activity is but that's really more than I'm requesting.

And yes, if it's just a question of being a bit more proactive w.r.t. the subsites in the sidebar itself, I'd be down with that.
posted by unSane at 6:22 AM on December 13, 2010


bit hid == big hit
posted by unSane at 6:22 AM on December 13, 2010


I have an idea, what about a music podcast?
posted by bondcliff at 6:28 AM on December 13, 2010


This seems a bit odd, to highlight one particular subsection over another for the benefit of that particular subsection only.

Yeah, why not an awesome sidebar about the most recent flameout, callout, or throwdown on MetaTalk?


Because it's better to highlight something enjoyable and rewarding, like music?
posted by John Cohen at 6:40 AM on December 13, 2010


I realize that front page real estate is at a premium but is there no way of putting a 'most recent track posted' link, or regularly sidebarring a music post? It's not like there isn't stuff worthy of the sidebar.

Also, as to this, the side bar seems about really good or amazing stuff, not the most recent post or throwing up a link to a subsection "just because". How about a link to the most favorite music song and the most voted for project? Because to me, the sidebar is about quality, the amazingly good posts that you the general population might want to check out.

Actually that might not work, the side bar is curated, the mods actively choose to put a link there, so I'm not sure having an automated "Most favorite music or project post" would fit in the sidebar's current creation, which is human selected as opposed to community selected. Looking over at the music section, the currently most favorited song only has 11 favorites at the moment, which seems like a low bar for saying to the community at large "HEY CHECK THIS OUT," even though I personally quite like it.

Finally, I realize I've come to think of the music sub site as "music wankery," which isn't necessarily negative, but can be seen that way, you know? I don't mean to offend those who enjoy the sub site or the musicians who take time to post their creations, but it's an attitude I just realized. Since the most visible posts from Music, Punch'em in the Dick and the Ballad of Steve Slater fit in that mold, it's not surprising where that train of thought came from They're fine, fun tracks, but not something I regularly wanted to be bombarded with or even see a notice of "Hey, check this out." Others may feel differently and that's totally fine.

So summing it up, I'd prefer this didn't happen, at least without some more thought that deals with the question of how to do it and whether other subsites should be incorporated into some sort of "hey, here's other stuff going on" sidebar.
posted by nomadicink at 6:55 AM on December 13, 2010


This is as good a place as any to note that unSane's MeFiMusic submission Shchedryk is seven kinds of Christmassy awesomeness.
posted by ZsigE at 6:58 AM on December 13, 2010


the most visible posts from Music, Punch'em in the Dick and the Ballad of Steve Slater fit in that mold, it's not surprising where that train of thought came from They're fine, fun tracks, but not something I regularly wanted to be bombarded with or even see a notice of "Hey, check this out."

Well, that is actually part of the problem right there. Most music tracks are not novelty songs like this, but these are the ones that tend to get attention from the rest of the site and then get overwhelmingly large numbers of favorites and keep coming back like zombies in the charts that are posted on music.mefi -- which are inevitably the first thing that people check out when they land on the page. So they give an entirely erroneous impression of the kind of thing that is regularly posted there.

11 favorites in a week is relatively a large number for a music.mefi song which did not get featured elsewhere -- it just reflects the fact that relatively few people are music regulars so a direct comparison with a heavily favorited comment on the blue is really misleading.
posted by unSane at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2010


This seems a bit odd, to highlight one particular subsection over another for the benefit of that particular subsection only.

Well, I agree (and unSane acknowledges this above as well) that there's no fundamental Music > Other Subsites thing in play here. But talking about how making Music more visible could work isn't something that should be shackled to lateral discussions of the other subsites, any more than a discussion of tweaking Jobs or Projects should need to involve talking up Music to be legit.

I like the idea of doing something to make Music a little more on-the-radar for folks who aren't necessarily so aware of it. Figuring out how to do that in a non-disruptive way has always been the challenge. Sidebarring more songs is one possibility, and one we could easily run with (and, yes, I think that would need to remain a manual, curated process); I've always vaguely favored the idea of getting as Listen To Metafilter Music widget or link on the front page as well, as something you could click to get a pop-out player with either the recent posts or a random playlist.

And I'm not fundamentally against trying to find ways to say "hey, neat content over on IRL/Jobs/Projects" either; talking about that is totally fine. But in terms of what's on the other end of a potential "hey, check this out" prompt, the difference between Music and the rest of those is it's something that could in principle be background entertainment for you while you read any other part of the site: there's no "hey, I think I'll listen to some Projects while I read this" angle.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:32 AM on December 13, 2010


I have an idea, what about a music podcast?

Heh. It exists, it's just on a crushingly haphazard schedule because I'm the one doing it and I'm tremendously distractible. There's been all of five episodes over the last couple years.

I think it's well past time I retire "hmm, I guess I should consider working with someone else on this" as a take on it and move on to "time to organize having other people work on this" as far as that goes, because I think it'd be really nice to have it as a recurring feature but it just hasn't been happening.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:37 AM on December 13, 2010


For more typical (recent) music.mefi fare, I'd point at things like:

IanK's sweet acoustic cover of Spanish Bombs
tmcw's Come Summer
ignignokt's Magma Planet
Major Dundee's I've Got a Feeling I'm Everything I Never Wanted to Be
plus the GOLFSAUCE and Tonight You Belong to Me tracks that were featured in the podcast.

Re the music podcast I believe it's currently defunct although I was thinking of resurrecting a version of it myself.
posted by unSane at 7:40 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


on preview, Cortex, we should probably chat
posted by unSane at 7:41 AM on December 13, 2010


It's not a bad idea to maybe throw up a little music player on the sidebar somewhere with last week's most favorited song or something. We'd have to think about where to showcase that kind of thing and not make it a huge chunk of interface, but it seems like a thing we could do in places to highlight good songs.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


It exists, it's just on a crushingly haphazard schedule because I'm the one doing it and I'm tremendously distractible. There's been all of five episodes over the last couple years.

I know, I was just being a shit. FWIW, the music podcast was what finally got me listening to MeFi music. I'm not the type of person who is going to listen to every track on Music, so the podcast is a good way to filter it down to the best stuff, and from there if I like a particular track I can see what playlists it's on and go exploring. I don't think I'd ever want a "play everything on Mefi Music" type player because there's a lot of stuff there I just wouldn't want to listen to.

So, what I'm saying is the music podcast should come back as a way to promote Music. It's a Good Thing and it should be a regular thing, whether you run it or turn it over to someone else.
posted by bondcliff at 8:04 AM on December 13, 2010


Mathowie, if you do that, can you think about making it the most favorited song posted in the previous week, or something in that spirit? Otherwise there's a danger of it defaulting to one of the golden oldies that's linked to on the blue and gets a stead stream of long-tail favorites from people cruising by.
posted by unSane at 8:13 AM on December 13, 2010


I like the idea of surfacing some stuff to the main sidebar and agree it would be good if it were newer stuff and not just old chestnuts. If they can't figure out an automated solution I'll just put it on my radar to try to stick more music stuff on the sidebar generally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:30 AM on December 13, 2010


It's not a bad idea to maybe throw up a little music player on the sidebar somewhere with last week's most favorited song or something.

That would be pretty cool.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:48 AM on December 13, 2010


This will work well if the high standard required for sidebarring can be maintained. If it's going to be a bunch of supposedly underappreciated projects, jobs, and IRL stuff, I'll get started on the greasemonkey script to filter sidebar posts by category.
posted by zamboni at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2010


Just make the link to Music at the top of the site blink. You're welcome!
posted by jbickers at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


if there was an automatically generated mefi.radio, that would be cool as well.

This is actually quite easy to do... in a sort of roundabout way.

Any user's playlist, eg this one of mine:

http://music.metafilter.com/playlist/68


Can be accessed as a podcast feed like this:

feed://music.metafilter.com/playlistpodcast/68


which is iTunes friendly.

So it's very easy to created a 'curated' podcast simply by adding things to the playlist, which can then be accessed by others as a feed.

The firehose version of the same thing (all music posts) is here:

feed://music.metafilter.com/rss.xml
posted by unSane at 9:24 AM on December 13, 2010


Finally, I realize I've come to think of the music sub site as "music wankery," which isn't necessarily negative, but can be seen that way, you know?[...]Since the most visible posts from Music, Punch'em in the Dick and the Ballad of Steve Slater fit in that mold, it's not surprising where that train of thought came from

There's plenty of great stuff posted in there that you don't have to be a fan of Jonathan Coulton or Weird Al or whatever to enjoy. Lots of neat-o experimental music, in fact. I kind of fear that if Music goes more above ground people won't want to post their "hey, here's me screaming into the pickups on my guitar while eating a Mars Bar" stuff, which I really like to hear. I do see your point about novelty/pop culture stuff turning into the face of the place, though. Maybe more/different exposure could fix that perception. I'd also be bummed if it became a place where people think they can spend $5 and start flooding it with songs from their bands' records or some such.
posted by mintcake! at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2010


(I actually enjoyed both of those songs - I hope that didn't come off as super negative.)
posted by mintcake! at 10:03 AM on December 13, 2010


Thanks for that explanation UnSane, I should add that to the FAQ.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 AM on December 13, 2010


To be totally clear, that's a feed of a playlist of songs that I've added to that particular playlist, as opposed to an automatically generated podcast of songs from me.

I'm not sure there's a way to get a podcast of songs from a particular user, although going to their list of music posts will give you an inline player featuring all their songs.

http://www.metafilter.com/activity/25653/posts/music/
posted by unSane at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2010


For the front page player widget, how about cramming it into a little bar along the top (like the current shopping/awesome bar) and then cycling a series of recent songs through it? Maybe change the featured song hourly so people can get a couple whacks at finding something they like throughout the day? It would be even better if there was some way to keep the music going even if you switch to other pages/subsites. I realize that is a limitation of the player and not MeFi, and I know that I can accomplish that myself through judicious use of tabs, but I tend not to remember to do that, and it hampers my Music browsing.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:26 AM on December 13, 2010


I'd like to volunteer my services as a podcaster to help making the mefi music podcast in any way...I'm not a frequent contributor to the music making part of mefi music, but I like it a lot and use it often to listen to songs, and I've been a-castin' for the past 4 years. Anyway, I'd like to help in anyway possible, and so, holler!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2010


Just have the front page of MeFi play the currently most-favorited song of all time automatically when the page loads. In MIDI.

over an animated gif of 8-bit cortex playing guitar
posted by davejay at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't want a firehose (and not being a MeFi Music person, I have no idea how much of a firehose it would be) but a more regular podcast that I could pick up in iTunes would be a fantastic thing. I would love to explore Music, but I have no idea of where to start. A regular podcast with a handful of tunes would be a way to give people like me an entree into Music.
posted by immlass at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2010


Is this where someone should post "Start your own (music) blog"?
posted by Cranberry at 12:10 PM on December 13, 2010


Can I just say "well done man" to my friend unSane for posting this one, and to all contributors thus far for an interesting debate.

MeFiMu is a little oasis in the web's musical desert. You can post material safe in the knowledge that no-one is going to be nasty or destructive about it - most times you get good, helpful and genuine comments. It's a great little site and all us regular contrinutors love it to bits.

But..........

I have a hooby-horse. And I want to try a little market research right here. I think the "most playlisted ever " and "most favourited ever" charts are deeply unhelpful. I'd bet that most casual visitors to MeFiMu head straight for the top 10 of either of those and....that's about as far as it goes. So new stuff doesn't get listened too very often (unless it gets flagged on the Blue) by most people other than the regulars, and creaky old stuff (that might, in fairness, be very good indeed) gets all the attention from browsers.

It's a bit like having a pop chart that still has Sgt Pepper at #1 simply because it's shifted more units than anything else. Think about it for a moment. If that's how charts were run very, very few new bands would ever register on them - all those creaky old albums that your grandpa bought would be clogging up the top 30 (or 100).

And there's also a clear tendency for self-reinforcing circularity here too - the old stuff gets listened to and favourited/playlisted, and stays high in that chart for....ever...and ever.

This situation is, as we say in the UK, complete bollocks.

So my bit of research is - how many of you non MeFiMu regulars would adopt the kind of shopping behaviour I'm describing here on a casual visit to the MeFiMu sub-site?
posted by MajorDundee at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Typos - "hobby-horse" (although I quite like the sound of a hooby-horse) and "contributors".
posted by MajorDundee at 12:28 PM on December 13, 2010


One possibility would be an RSS feed of the N most favorited songs from the last M days? (For whatever values of N, M are workable)

One effect this would have is that I would know that by favoriting a song I would be influencing its likelihood of reaching a slightly wider audience, which is kind of cool although has potential for abuse.

I don't know what the stats are on # of music.mefi posts but and I think Sturgeon's Law might be a bit stringent for this application, but I would suggest that between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 music posts would be about the right kind of ratio to get highlighted. Assuming that there are about 5 posts a day, that means that the top-favorited 25 tunes from the last 30 days would be in the ballpark.

If they were sorted in order of favorites that would presumably put the most accessible stuff at the top, which may or may not be important.
posted by unSane at 12:50 PM on December 13, 2010


It's a bit like having a pop chart that still has Sgt Pepper at #1 simply because it's shifted more units than anything else.

Yes, I think this is true.
posted by unSane at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2010


There is actually a 'most favorited of all time' chart and a 'most favorites in the last week' chart. The problem seems to be that the 'most favorited in the last week' takes old favorites into account, ie if an old post with 80+ favorites gets 1 favorite this week, it jumps right back to the top of the charts. Having a chart that counts only favorites added this week seems to be more what folks are looking for. (unless I'm misinterpreting the implementation of that chart)
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2010


I was just thinking this a few weeks ago. As an occasional browser of the music section, it would be great to have a radio function. Ideally you could set parameters, like anything uploaded within the past week or month, and then it would randomly play tracks from that time period for you. No idea how difficult this sort of thing is to implement though.
posted by mannequito at 12:55 PM on December 13, 2010


I totally agree with the Major's hooby-horse and unSane and TWR's comments that follow it.

That and having a player on the front page. That would kick ass too!
posted by snsranch at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2010


It would be cool if the player on the front page was an option.
posted by nomadicink at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2010


It suddenly occurs to me that, perhaps, there's nothing stopping someone from seeing a Music post and (much as sometimes happens with Projects) posting it to MeFi, is there? Once in a while, someone might be compelled (by a recent song post) to dig into that user's music posting history, dredge up some good stuff, and then make a post, right? Would that be allowed?
posted by davejay at 11:07 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finally, I realize I've come to think of the music sub site as "music wankery," which isn't necessarily negative, but can be seen that way, you know? I don't mean to offend those who enjoy the sub site or the musicians who take time to post their creations, but it's an attitude I just realized. Since the most visible posts from Music, Punch'em in the Dick and the Ballad of Steve Slater fit in that mold, it's not surprising where that train of thought came from They're fine, fun tracks, but not something I regularly wanted to be bombarded with or even see a notice of "Hey, check this out." Others may feel differently and that's totally fine.

I rest my case, m'lud.
posted by MajorDundee at 1:56 AM on December 14, 2010


There is actually a 'most favorited of all time' chart and a 'most favorites in the last week' chart. The problem seems to be that the 'most favorited in the last week' takes old favorites into account, ie if an old post with 80+ favorites gets 1 favorite this week, it jumps right back to the top of the charts.

"Punch 'em" picked up another favorite a few days ago but isn't on the chart, so I don't think this is the case. I think it's the case that one or two favorites, by themselves, is enough to put something on the chart -- some weeks, you can top the charts with only two or three faves.

The reason why this happens with songs that got lots of faves in the past is that they're more likely to be referenced on the blue or grey. People follow the link and if just a couple of them favorite it, there it is on the charts (leading to more people seeing it, leading to an increased chance of it being referenced in the future).

Looking over at the music section, the currently most favorited song only has 11 favorites at the moment, which seems like a low bar for saying to the community at large "HEY CHECK THIS OUT," even though I personally quite like it.


This feels to me like a "not enough people have checked this out to make it worth suggesting that people check this out" vicious circle kinda thing.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 2:23 AM on December 14, 2010


There's probably not going to be an epiphanic moment with all of this, but some of the ideas set out in this thread are clearly worth a go. Another simple idea is if we had a featured "artist of the week" on the Blue sidebar - just a link to an artists CV of uploads. Could be done automatically as a rota and by alphabetical order or something.

The alternative is to just write a ton of self-referential jokey wank in the hope of scoring that elusive breakout hit - on the principle of throwing enough shit at a wall in the belief that some of it will stick. Count me out.
posted by MajorDundee at 5:56 AM on December 14, 2010


I'm just now getting around to this near-dead thread to thank unSane for reminding me about MeMu and all the awesomeness contained therein. It's truly an incredible resource and full--overflowing, even--with admirable creativity and brilliant tunes, especially ones that make me laugh my tail off.

That said, I think one way MeMu could improve a great deal without any front-paging or other special treatment would be to enlarge the wiki. If dedicated users of the site really want it to get more notice, a detailed explanation of all the features would be appreciated by us Septembers. Lurking always helps (and my minutes of lurking/contributing ratio is still a solid 1000 to 1) but the wiki is a great shortcut to the lightswitch of understanding a site. MeMu's background is black, geddit?

I also wonder if Matt has changed his opinion on this particular pony request. I've downloaded the torrent, which is sweet, but a profile tab containing favorited playlists would definitely increase my enjoyment and swift perusal of this massive archive.
posted by Chichibio at 3:18 AM on January 6, 2011


« Older Recommended policy for the super inquisitive...   |   MefiMusic Collaboration Challenge Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments