Have you heard of the website Digg? Do you like it? Well if you do, you might also like the new music sharing and voting website, thesixtyone.com. Thesixtyone operates very similar to digg. People either post their own music or music from other artist that they like and enjoy, then the community reviews the submissions and hearts them. Hearts meaning a vote up for the song track. If songs you like and voted on become popular, you reach higher levels on the site, earn reputation points, and unlock community abilities. The user is given an allotted amount of hearts to vote with for the day and there is other ways to participate to be able to receive more hearts to vote with. A fun little game for people who like to be recognized for their music taste. As well, thesixtyone gives the user the ability to create playlists and stream those playlist from the site all the while providing a unique seamless music experience comparable only to the likes of the social music website uvumi.com. If you are interested in engaging in a game like experience with music, then thesixtyone could be a fun time. But if you are looking to be or currently are a serious artist and are looking for new avenues to promote your work and find relevant tools to help you do so, then this site might prove to be disappointing.
An upsetting fact is that this site allows others to download other artists work and post it, and if you post your own content on there, the first person to find your work and "heart it up", gets credit for discovering you. Just seems a bit weird and non-sensible. Thesixtyone claims to be an avenue for musicians to promote themselves and sell their work directly to fans. As that is a true statement, it only sheds light on more upsetting parts of their platform and major negative issues. First it is very confusing trying to figure out how to buy something. There are no options on artist profiles to purchase music nor are there links in their profiles to take you somewhere else to browse or purchase music for sale. The only way to get to a page to buy music is to wait for a large banner add to come around on your click trough's to direct you to a un-integrated page in a new window or scroll to the very bottom of the page and click the link that says bazaar, assuming that you you already know that this will take you to the only place on the site where you can purchase music. In this separate window you can browse content and purchase either single tracks or full albums if available. At this point, your seamless music experience is interrupted. Your loaded player on the previous page is still running while the new buying window is opened. If you try to review tracks of the music you are looking to buy, you have to quit the old player or they will overlap leaving you with a not so seamless player. Now this is where it gets even more upsetting. If you want to buy music you first have to buy a pre specified block of credits then apply those credits to the desired music download. This approach to sales is much like Microsoft Points which runs Xbox Live Marketplace and Zune online stores which has acquired much negative criticisms to date. This is obscuring the true cost of this content. A song on thesixtyone typically cost 80 credits which equals to about one dollar. But it seems less because it is only 80 credits. This also means that there will always be a positive balance with your account allowing thesixtyone to hold your unused money until you chose to purchase something again. Even then, they will still always be able to hold a positive balance unless you figure out how to make your purchases equal the exact amount of money you have left. Another example of a service that is not user friendly, not artist focused, with a underhanded approach.
As an online multi-player game this site can be a lot of fun. As a serious tool for musicians to promote themselves, thesixtyone comes up short. In a such a crowded market of online social networking sites, it is hard to stand out from the crowd. Thesixtyone has taken a non conventional approach to this issue and have come out with a very unique product. Although this tool is not a very power full tool for musicians, it still is another way for your music to be exposed to a new audience. If you have the extra time to put into another music social network that merely lets others play games with you work, do so with warning. If time is not a luxury of yours, stick with sites that can provide you with real time powerful tools to promote your work and really help you get connected with a fan base.
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