Just the facts, please
July 12, 2004 9:39 PM   Subscribe

Allmusic for Windows Clicking on some deep links into allmusic.com tonight turned up this- Notice: You are accessing allmusic.com with a browser that is not currently supported. The appearance and functionality of the site could be impacted. allmusic.com is optimized for Internet Explorer 5.5 and above for Windows.
posted by bendybendy (46 comments total)
The front page says a new design debuts tomorrow, complete with Windows Media music samples. A few searches still seemed to work on my computer (Firefox/OS X). But there's some flash glorp loading in the banner. It's never been the best of interfaces, but it's sad to see it loaded down even more, since it's got the most information of any music site, and most of it is pretty decent/accurate considering the scale of their database.
posted by bendybendy at 9:43 PM on July 12, 2004

Hmmm, I use AMG all the time, with Mozilla, and I've yet to see this problem. Does it prevent you from accessing the material? It might just be an old javascript checker...
posted by sauril at 9:43 PM on July 12, 2004


User Name: b3foa
Password: inside

Yeah, as a firefox user, I was quite perturbed. And the flash nav-map thingy crashed my Safari several times.
posted by Hankins at 9:45 PM on July 12, 2004

It's not preventing me from accessing the material- and it's hard to say if it's slower, since I'm sure there's plenty of kinks they'll need to work out. But it's definitely a different design. Purple everywhere! It's the "Windows Optimization" that bugs me.
posted by bendybendy at 9:47 PM on July 12, 2004

The beta version is under http://www.allmusic.com (versus the original design at the FPP's link).

As a frequent user of both AMG and Mozilla, I could be a lot happier over this.
posted by LinusMines at 10:03 PM on July 12, 2004

AllMusic has always had a bad design (those GIFs from 1996 were hot!), but it used to be fine because the content shone through.

Now, the design is not only bad, but it's much less functional! To access an album's tracklist, you have an extra click to the discography tab, then if you want to read an album's full description, you often have to click "read more."

Also, the original version is still available for a limited time at http://allmusic.com.
posted by themadjuggler at 10:08 PM on July 12, 2004

I stopped by allmusic.com earlier and saw the new and "improved" look earlier today. I played with it a little and was very bummed [can't tell what is a link in Safari for starters, and the layout although 'prettier' than the old look rags incorrectly in Safari so text is running over other columns and whatnot]. And it sucks you have to register to get information like the discography [it is free but still annoying].

waxy.org has a nice write-up on how amg seemed to drop the ball.

As a non-Windows user I'm extremely bummed.
posted by birdherder at 10:10 PM on July 12, 2004

I'm underwhelmed with the redesign. Opera is unsupported, "advanced search" (a feature I've been waiting for for a long time) is pretty stupid and not "advanced" at all. The addition of music samples is nice, but not something that's necessarily hard to find on the web. Frankly, it seems to take a lot more clicks to get the (generally very good) information from the old version. I also fear change, though.
posted by modofo at 10:14 PM on July 12, 2004

For those with more extreme tastes, try The BNR Metal Pages.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:21 PM on July 12, 2004

It was doomed to happen I suppose. I always wondered how their business model worked. I guess they needed to spice it up a bit to attract some new users or something. Clearly they didn't do their homework very well. I can't see myself using the new version and I'm assuming theres not much of a chance of the redesign being shelved as they've already made the investment. Add this to the list of reasons I should be fearing change.
posted by darksquirrel at 10:35 PM on July 12, 2004

From the aforementioned waxy.org thread...
Ok, here's the dealio on AMG - they're owned (either in part or whole) by AEC - Alliance Entertainment Group - which is one, if not the biggest, 'one-stop'; a 'one-stop' is a wholesaler/distributor that services the smaller stores (or even chains that are clueless, like B&N) for music/video/accessories, etc. They're based in Florida. YES - they are idiots, but then, since consolidation, just about everyone involved in the music biz is an idiot (ah, the good old days - when everyone was on drugs and you could use that as an excuse...). AMG is basically the consumer model of their website - the industry model essentially is the same, but they don't have to worry about traffic. Sorry folks, you have to be an account with them to get in...but either way, their info sucks, their reps (mostly) suck, and yes, their site could be better, but frankly, no one else out there has done anything close to what they've done - if only they could do it better. At least B&N doesn't skew their site - B&N is their largest account and they skew sales thru their monthly music store switchouts. Now THAT sucks!
posted by hooseygow on July 12, 2004 05:32 PM
posted by gen at 10:44 PM on July 12, 2004

allmusic ((( sucks > ass )))
posted by kirkaracha at 10:56 PM on July 12, 2004

That site could be so good.

But it just isn't. The whole purpose of peddling information (product) is to make it accessible and fast and this is just a headache. It's still the only site of its type that is so in depth (that I know of).
posted by bdave at 11:05 PM on July 12, 2004

I was excited about the redesign because I'm on that site nearly every day (using Opera, actually), but wow, what a massive disappointment. And maybe they're just being hammered by people checking out the new design, but who thought that site could actually get slower?
posted by boredomjockey at 11:07 PM on July 12, 2004

The allmusic content is great -- it's one of the few reference sites I look at on an almost daily basis -- but this craptastic design (which, as waxy notes, is even craptasticker than the last) just makes it harder to get at. And I use IE. Sorta.

Very poor work, all around.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:08 PM on July 12, 2004

Just thought I'd mention http://www.freedb.org/ because they are a great alternative to AMG and Gracenote.
posted by gen at 11:24 PM on July 12, 2004

What a major disappointment. The needlessly controlling JavaScript links were bad enough in the old version, and the content shown through despite these headaches. But you're almost better off searching through the archives of, dare I say it, Pitchfork.
posted by ed at 11:48 PM on July 12, 2004

Allow me to don the black armband of commiseration. As someone else who uses AMG nearly every day despite its cruddy interface, I mourn the idea of it getting even slower and even more awkward to use. I won't damn the redesign until I've been tortured by it myself, but from what I read on Waxy I can only figure their beta testers for the new redesign were from the marketing department and not the user base.

posted by Inkslinger at 12:33 AM on July 13, 2004

well, now that I checked www.allmusic.com, instead of plain old allmusic.com, I see the results.

what you guys said. hopefully the old design will be available for a while.
posted by sauril at 1:01 AM on July 13, 2004

Wow. This blows. allmusic.com is probably my most visited site outside of mefi. I usually check in multiple times a day for info and to mail links to people. I use Firefox with a Mac and this is just bloody useless.
posted by dobbs at 1:06 AM on July 13, 2004

The appearance and functionality of the site could be impacted.

AFFECTED. The word is "affected". People who use "impact" as a verb are fucking idiots, seriously.

And if you all hate the new interface so much (I don't really care myself, don't use AMG much any more), someone should set up some kind of screen-scraper thing for it.
posted by reklaw at 1:29 AM on July 13, 2004

This is really terrible. I, too, visit allmusic many times a day. Or I did, at least.

On the bright side, this might drive more people to put up artist info at Wikipedia.
posted by Jairus at 1:32 AM on July 13, 2004

I keep on trotting out discogs.com whenever the discussion turns to music metadata sites. It is phenomenal for DJ/dance music. They are expanding into Hip Hop, but for those who like electronic music, it is a godsend.
posted by gen at 1:36 AM on July 13, 2004

from dictionary.com:

Usage Note: The use of impact as a verb meaning “to have an effect” often has a big impact on readers. Eighty-four percent of the Usage Panel disapproves of the construction to impact on, as in the phrase
social pathologies, common to the inner city, that impact heavily on such a community; fully 95 percent disapproves of the use of impact as a transitive verb in the sentence Companies have used disposable techniques that have a potential for impacting our health. ·It is unclear why this usage provokes such a strong response, but it cannot be because of novelty. Impact has been used as a verb since 1601, when it meant “to fix or pack in,” and its modern, figurative use dates from 1935. It may be that its frequent appearance in the jargon-riddled remarks of politicians, military officials, and financial analysts continues to make people suspicious. Nevertheless, the verbal use of impact has become so common in the working language of corporations and institutions that many speakers have begun to regard it as standard. It seems likely, then, that the verb will eventually become as unobjectionable as contact is now, since it will no longer betray any particular pretentiousness on the part of those who use it.
posted by bingo at 2:13 AM on July 13, 2004

...with a browser that is not currently supported.

Could there be a light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe they'll make an effort to accomodate us Opera / Firefox users in the coming weeks.
posted by Jimbob at 2:29 AM on July 13, 2004

By the way, whoever designed the little 3D rotating navigation flash ap in the title bar (I got it when I clicked "help center") should be brutally executed. A navigation tool where the option you want is hidden in tiny, unreadable writing at the back, and in order to click on it, you have to hold your mouse over it and follow it around untill it stops moving. Fantastic idea.

I reckon everyone send them a very simple email. For example:

Your site is ugly - I'm using Opera/Linux
posted by Jimbob at 2:35 AM on July 13, 2004

I'd like to contact them, but....
We apologize for the temporary connection delay.
Please click the refresh button on your browser.
posted by Jairus at 2:53 AM on July 13, 2004

Great, my bank has just stopped the IE only nonsense. Now one of my favourite sites is taking it up. Won't somebody please think of us children?
posted by vbfg at 4:42 AM on July 13, 2004

remember the good old days when the web was just text and pictures? ... and few of them?

this is going to be a major headache to use, even in i.e. ... by what logic do they load up the page with all those graphics, yet force you to click through "read more" to access another 10k of text?

doesn't that just put more strain on their servers?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:12 AM on July 13, 2004

the onion just did the same damn thing. you have to click through multiple pages to read a story, just so that they can serve you new ads with each page. bastards. one of the many reasons i don't visit the site any more (outside of the AV club). now AMG goes on the "sucky website to avoid" list too. great.

what moron decided that this was a good model for a website? reminds me of a women's magazine-type thing - half an article on page 30, then 150+ pages of ads to flip through before you find the last paragraph of it on page 200-something. it's a dumb idea there, and on the web - with no restrictions on how long a page can be - it's even more asinine.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:49 AM on July 13, 2004

Warning: self-link ahead. For the old allmusic.com, I made a bookmarklet that converted all their silly javascript links to real ones so you could do things like copy them to the clipboard, or open them in a new window or tab. I've revamped it for the new allmusic.com. It's a work in progress so that page will get updated if the bookmarklet gets improved. By the way, using <a onclick> instead of <a href> is one of the most ridiculous things I've seen on the web.
posted by zsazsa at 6:31 AM on July 13, 2004

While I realize it's likely getting hammered right now, after 15 minutes of trying to use it on IE 5 and refreshing my browser 3-4 times to find info that used to be two layers deep, I've cashed out. I use this as a reference tool nearly daily and I simply can't be arsed if this is going to be the norm. I'll google record label sites to get catalog numbers and personnel and shite. ugh. plus it's ugly.
posted by chandy72 at 7:01 AM on July 13, 2004

It looks terrible. I guess I'm alone in not minding the old layout/interface, but whether you liked it or not, this is much, much worse.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2004

The new layout stinks, but what other option do we have?
posted by Quartermass at 7:30 AM on July 13, 2004

What a crappy redesign. Oh the humanity. Time for an allmusic wikipedia?
posted by gwint at 7:38 AM on July 13, 2004

A friend of mine who lives in Ann Arbor, MI, where AMG is based, was talking to a guy who works for them in a bar (seriously). He said they were seriously thinking of going subscription-only. With the way their server is being hammered with the new site, they may just have to.
posted by zsazsa at 8:03 AM on July 13, 2004

I sent them a link to this discussion.
posted by dobbs at 8:13 AM on July 13, 2004

For real fun, try running it through the validator. This is what I got yesterday:

Sorry, I am unable to validate this document because its content type is http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg, which is not currently supported by this service.

The Content-Type field is sent by your web server (or web browser if you use the file upload interface) and depends on its configuration. Commonly, web servers will have a mapping of filename extensions (such as ".html") to MIME Content-Type values (such as text/html).

How hard is it to get *that* right?
posted by darukaru at 8:59 AM on July 13, 2004

Have you sent in your feedback using their contact form yet? Please do.
posted by madman at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2004

As a Firefox/Windows user, I'm more than happy to see the only difference being that I get a yellow bar of text rather than an epilepsy-inducing "shock the monkey"-type ad.

My god that navigator is horrid.
posted by hoborg at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2004

I just went there to leave some feedback and suddenly the site displays somewhat as intended in FireFox. Links still seem to suck and there are some places where things overlap, but there's also no "IE only" notification. I guess this means there's been a big enough response to the new site.

Now to see about getting them to fix the other problems.
posted by mindless progress at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2004

If you're interested:


I'm doing a quick demo rebuild of the home page, just to show how simple it could be (or to show off, whichever).
posted by o2b at 4:48 PM on July 13, 2004

shit. sorry for the self-link, it didn't even occur to me.
posted by o2b at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2004

Self-link is fine in the threads ... especially if you're just being helpful.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:13 PM on July 13, 2004

it's like they're trying for musicplasma or something :D but failing!

also re: They're based in Florida. but from the waxy link, "We're a small company from Ann Arbor..." so that should really be 'we're a small subsidiary from ann arbor of a large company from florida'? curious their "we are a small company with limited resources" defence then.
posted by kliuless at 8:44 PM on July 13, 2004

I just went back to allmusic and the message is gone for safari. and you can find the links on the page. i'd say it is about as usable as the old verion for me now.
posted by birdherder at 6:45 AM on July 15, 2004

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