Drowned in Sound is very nearly eleven years old and we feel it's time for a change.
Don't worry, we're not quitting or planning anything too drastic but we are going to give the site a much-needed facelift and will be future-proofing the foundations and the essence of who we are and what we do. There's been a lot of soul-searching, stat-gazing and an element of re-thinking things, looking at ways we can refine the site. However, we would really appreciate your input before we do anything too radical. First tho, a bit of
spring autumnal cleaning...
We are migrating our mailing list to a new service. Partly this is to check we have the best email address for you and to ensure no-one is getting our emails that doesn't want them anymore / we're not emailing dead people / that we're not emailing your CasablancasIsGod@Compuserve email address that you haven't checked since sixth form. If you never want an email from us again, do nothing OR if you would like to still receive an email from us every six to eight weeks, partly as a gentle reminder that we exist but mostly as a summary of anything you might have missed, then plonk your email digits in this box...
Thank you. And if you don't wanna get emails any more or you want much more regular updates in addition to them, why not add us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter @drownedinsound. And did you know, our RSS-feed, has an option to get a daily email with all of our content?
WE WANT YOUR IDEAS
A change is gonna come... we're aware we have room to approve. There's fat to shed and cheekbones we're not making the most of. We're aware our interface is a bit of a mess. We know that things like our gigs listings (which will, at some point but powered by Songkick) are a bit, er, empty. We know there are bugs (like the weirdness with "speech marks" on the boards). Mostly tho, we believe Drowned in Sound could and should be a much more useful for both you and the independent music-loving community at large.
We want the site to be far less overwhelming for both regulars and first timers - as the fast-paced, always-on, content-content-contentness of the internet is overwhelming enough as it is. We have big-ish plans that we're quite probably too afraid to implement and smaller ideas to make what we do more digestible, and a little less exactly-like what everybody else on the net is doing. Hell, even we're starting to get sick of being called Pitchfork's British cousin.
My hope for the redesign that we're currently working on, is that the recommended records bubble much more to the fore of the frontpage (especially for the less regular and first time visitors who must be screaming to themselves 'cut the crap, I just wanna know what's good!'), and that regular users of the boards and those signed into the site can more easily follow topics and their favourite writers. I also want to give editorial the respect it deserves, and not distract you with loadsa links down the side of the page before you've even finished reading what you're reading (look, there's a competition over there --> but please finishing read this first!). We also want to make more of our incredible In Photo galleries, as well as present the boards better, so that a bit easier to dip into.
However, we're open to suggestions and we're looking forward to hearing your ideas (even the really negative ones about what we're doing wrong). Let us know what you like, what you really hate and dump your ideas at our door, no matter how half-formed/silly/boring they might seem, as it might help us improve what we do, and ensure we're not dedicating hours/weeks/years to things that no-one likes.
A few questions bubbling in our minds... What would you do if you ran the site? What would you do more of? Less of? Are there things we used to do that we mysteriously stopped (it's quite probably because we forgot about the idea)? What things do you like on other music sites? Do you want more things to hear? Do videos matter to you? Should we just turn our news section into an audio/video blog like http://drownedinsoundcloud.com? Are we wasting everyone's time reviewing 6/10 albums by acts very few people have heard of? Shouldn't we be focussing our efforts on recommendation? Is criticism dead? Do you only care about someone's opinion if you've gotten to know their taste and style? In that case, should we have less writers? Do we publish too much for you to keep up with? ...What sites do you like? What sites don't you like, and why? What do you like that some websites do but no music website does? Should we have put all of these questions in a survey, with a prize? Are we asking ourselves, and you, the right questions? And... if you're feeling in a positive mood, it'd be nice to hear what some of you do like about what we do, perhaps helping to highlight whateer-that-is to others who might have missed it.
Generally, we want to know in the comments section below, how you think we could be shifting things up a gear, and putting the brakes on in other areas, partly to ensure we're keeping up with the Tom Joneses and their cloud-burstin' intertubez (we haven't actually redesigned the site beyond a new lick of pixel paint since pre-Youtube!) but mostly so that no-one is wasting their time.
DiS 11.0, is coming to an internet browser near you, sometime very soon - hopefully not too long after our 11th Birthday on October 1st but we wanna hear your ideas first, and test it lots and lots before anything changes!
p.s. We're going to be looking for crash-testers for the new site, so if you'd like to be first to see it, raise your hand in the comments section below...