The New Hype Machine

It got launched last night. So go check it out and let me know what you think.

I like the new interface even though there are less links above the fold. It’s much more pleasing to the eye.

But there are two killer features that make Hype Machine 2.0 a much improved service.

1) The "spy list" is a great new feature. I generally listen to popular and latest tracks. But spy gives me great results. I am not sure how that list gets generated but it’s good.

2) Favoriting is actually bookmarking. It builds a favorite list that you can listen to just like any other Hype Machine page. Here’s my favorite list. I hope you like it as much as I do.

The other cool thing about favoriting is if you give your twitter name, the hype machine will auto twitter the fact that you just favorited a song with a link to that song on Hype Machine.

I wrote a post recently saying that I don’t like favoriting music. But this is different. This is really bookmarking. It does something really useful. As Anthony explained in an email to me the other day:

I feel I don’t do it [favoriting] because on some level there is not enough incentive to do it.  What’s the value of a 5 star rating in itunes or a loved artist in What can you do with the stuff you favorited? On the flipside, there is plenty more incentive to favorite something in delicious.

We are making HM’s loved feature to work more like a bookmark of something you liked in the HM’s constant stream of content so it’s really easy to revisit things that caught your attention. Also creating it as commitment-free as possible (you can do it without an account and it’s really easy to ‘unlove’ something).

We’ve observed over the years that little things like getting the incentives right in a social system make all the difference in the world. Anthony’s focusing on the right things and that’s why the new Hype Machine rocks.

#My Music#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. bijan

    great stuff. congrats Anthony!

  2. terrycojones

    I’ll try to limit myself to just one short comment :-)I think Anthony’s remark is worth close consideration.Conventional wisdom regarding holds that you should build a service that is useful to the individual in the absence of others. That way, people will start using it for themselves and the network effect can kick in later. I think everyone understands that the real power and the really interesting stuff happens at the network level – that’s where the real value is.But Anthony’s saying something different. He’s saying that in the case of something like iTunes, he wouldn’t bother favoriting things because there’s not enough incentive for him to do so. BUT, he will do it if his information is going out to a wider service – being published, made available to others, etc.That’s very interesting. I think we will see a transition from individuals running individual apps for themselves because they find them individually rewarding towards a general awareness that there are apps you might run, or actions you might want to take, purely for the network effect. That is, people will begin to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do in isolation, because they see the value of the network.Even more interesting, if the network actually doesn’t do ANYTHING except publish their data and make it visible, people can STILL see great value. Twitter is arguably an example of this. Would you twitter if no-one else used twitter? Would you twitter if no-one followed you? Do you talk to yourself walking down the street? Are there things you’ll do purely and only because you have an audience? Well, yes, of course! If the network begins to also provide additional services, then there’s more (tangible) value. That, I think, is what justifies the valuation placed on something like Twitter – it’s about potential energy. It’s well worth noting that such a thing can be bootstrapped off nothing more than peoples’ desire to broadcast daily trivia, to read others’ trivia, to strut their stuff in public.If the above transition is made more widely, I think we’ll have crossed an important threshold in our use of computers. The question “of what use is this to me?” may become “of what use it this to us?” Is willingness to overcome friction due to an awareness of network utility, despite an the absence of personal utility, one of the keys to the forthcoming Web version N.0?

    1. Ethan Bauley

      Great point, but the fact is that the Hype Machine is still creating huge value for users in isolation [by crawling all those music blogs]. That’s pretty important.Along the same lines, Twitter is more analogous to the “who else has a fax machine” issue.I think the threshold that we have crossed is that normal people are *expressing themselves* through interactions with software.

  3. Vijay Veerachandran

    Hypemachine rocks

  4. vincentvw

    The twitter-hypem link is very cool!But I use my ratings in iTunes/iPods exactly the same as bookmarks. It’s just a way for me to remember not to delete certain tracks of my iPod, and the smart playlists also work great with it. It’s also much more relevant to me than the hypem-bookmarks, as I listen to more music on the road than I do behind a PC.

  5. ceonyc

    I favorite (love) stuff in so I can listen to my loved tracks later…

  6. Joe Lazarus

    I’m with Anthony. Give me a little treat and I’m willing to share my interests as favorites or other user generated content (hate that term). In lieu of that carrot, it’s not really worth it for me… as selfish as that may be. Getting the incentives right transforms UGC from an activity for 1% of the audience into something mainstream.My favorite part of favorites on the Hype Machine is the “Love Feed”. I favorite artist searches, music blogs, and and other people on the site, and the Love Feed generates a river of new music that matches those interests. That makes me happy.All in all, a great relaunch for the site. I would like to see the flash player back so that I can easily skip to the next track, but I assume Anthony and his team had a good reason to drop that (legal music rights issues?).

  7. Ethan Bauley

    Well, they’ve just “launched,” the service is in demand/some scaling issues, Fred is a user…should the countdown to HypeM’s appearance on the USV blog begin?Seriously though, HypeM is in a good spot to leverage the record labels’ desire to transition to pure digital promotion. That could be a huge revenue stream w/o legal issues.

  8. kenberger

    It really does literally rock from what I saw of the beta.Right now the server is overloaded w/ one of the most hilarious error pages. screenshot:…I wonder if it’s a result of traffic spawned by this post, or from 10,000 browser pages being open (did that really occur?), or both.Readers: in the quoted section of this post, the 1st para is Fred’s words from a prev post, 2nd para is Anthony’s response. (didn’t seem clear to me)

    1. fredwilson

      I will fix that kenNice catchFred

  9. djweej

    It seems much less functional than the old version. Unless I’m missing something, there’s no way to automatically play more than one song (they used to have a flash based xspf player that would allow this). The new UI seems pretty clunky too. Sure the Twitter integration is neat, but really not a big deal. I also don’t see favoriting as a big deal if you can’t play all of your favorite songs!Apparently a lot of the old users feel the same way: think trying to get 10k users was a bad idea as it set a negative tone between the site operators and the users.

  10. Andrew

    I completely agree with djweej.I am REALLY missing having a nice little “play these” all over the place. My “hearted”, Fred’s “hearted”, all the songs from a particular blog. I need to be able to loop them with one click.I want to hear it in the background while I am doing something else so hitting play on each individual song is just does not work for me.The new look is slicker but a bit distracting IMHO. But I have always been an interface minimalist. (Especially when I am not designing them! Its hard to remove everything from your own important easy to understand interface…)andrew

  11. MW

    I agree 100 percent with djweej and andrew. I liked the old Hype much better.

    1. fredwilson

      I like the new one better but understand everyone’s beefsIts also true that everyone hated the mini feed on facebook when it launched and now its central to the serviceUI changes, at least big ones, are always painful for everyone involvedFred

  12. Fred333

    Looks like a great new site. I will have to check it out when I get a chance. Thanks for the heads up.

  13. Sid Mohasseb

    I enjoyed reading your post, I would like to exchange a link. Additionally I would to begin a survey for VC Bloggers on various topics would you be interested to participate?

  14. Eric

    visually, it looks GREAT. much better flow. the “artwork unavailable” cat photo is a nice touch. can’t speak to the usability of the site new vs. old — that would be the most important thing to analyze — sorry I can’t speak to that.