thesixtyone. what happened?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2010 in Journal, News | 19 Comments

dead61Over the last year or so i’ve given my fair share of free promotion to thesixtyone.com. a site that used to be one of my favorite music websites. that is until they broke it.

well they did more than just break it. they also managed to alienate their most fervent supporters.

t61 was (note past tense) an excellent place to discover new music. and as a musician it was a great place to be able to interact with and talk to people who like my music.

but t61 pretty much killed all of that when they launched their radically changed site last week. they removed just about everything that made it a unique place for listeners and artists to converge. all of the community features, posting comments, the great way you could discover new music. everything gone. in favor of a new design with big pretty pictures. i figured, hey, they’ll probably add some of this stuff back once the work out the kinks. but instead, they’ve taken on this ridiculously arrogant attitude, blocked all communication and ignored thousands of facebook and twitter complaints and suggestions. and pissed off their most passionate users, listeners and artists alike.

sure, you can do whatever you want with your website, even if that includes pissing off every one of your users. but i wouldn’t expect to be around long. it’s a bummer since all of my friends and fans there have left the site. And it makes me look like a schmuck for all of those times I’ve recommended their site.

The day it all went down I wrote and recorded a little protest song called “61 Ways”. I know it sounds ridiculous to write a protest song about a website. But I just couldn’t believe how egotistical and oblivious they were being. It’s sort of like a break up song. And a song about not having to put up with anyone’s arrogance. Fuck that shit.

[mp3j track=”61 Ways@/audio/unreleased/stateshirt_61ways.mp3″ flip=”y”]

 

DOWNLOADLyrics

Are you a company that wants to alienate all of your customers? Read on:
movement sixtyone
I used to like thesixtyone
dear thesixtyone
an open letter to thesixtyone
thesixtyone: life and death
the redesign of T61 and listening to your users

And if you’re looking for a new site to discover music, try out Uvumi.

So what do you make of all this?

19 Comments

  1. Brad
    January 29, 2010

    I went there when they relaunched and… couldn’t find my profile. And then I noticed my photo was all pixellated. And then I still couldn’t find my profile aaaaand…. yeah I dunno.

    I wasn’t very attached to the site but it seemed interesting at least. Their redesign makes no sense to me as a user but I don’t know what their master plan is.

  2. Evan
    January 29, 2010

    Shame what happened to the site. I was a user for over a year, and stayed with through changes I wasn’t happy with, until now. Too much change for me. Will you be adding the source files for 61 Ways, so others can remix?

  3. unclefesta
    January 30, 2010

    Spot on summary of how they destroyed the 61. Most of us are moving to uvumi.com- over 800 so far in fact!!! cheers.

  4. Steve Rydz
    January 30, 2010

    I didn’t really pay any attention to T61 until a few months ago but after the redesign I see no real purpose for the site. It is so unintuitive that I wouldn’t even know where to begin as a user.

    As Brad says I don’t know what their grand plan actually is but it doesn’t make any sense to me for a site with a loyal customer base to disregard them completely?

    It’s their loss in the long run. The web is growing every single day and alternatives to everything are always popping up.

  5. digitalfare
    January 30, 2010

    I was a listener on t61 for over a year, and it became my favorite place to listen to music online. The communication between listeners and artists was awesome. I don’t know of another web site (besides Uvumi, now), where artists and listeners are in direct contact like that.

    It’s a shame that the creators of t61 changed the site so drastically without caring about the community. If you have such a loyal user base, I don’t know why you’d ignore it so completely.

    Great post, I love 61 Ways, and I’m already listening to your music on Uvumi. :)

  6. Slim
    January 30, 2010

    Uvumi would be great if they did not have a user agreement / contract that is just plain proffesional artist suicide. Sure the contract is not a big deal to the casual music maker, who never wants to do more then make music online for friends. But those who are working in the industry on a proffesional level cannot and would not EVER agree to that contract on Uvumi. I am quit shocked as to how many people do not read these contracts! They are contracts. Legal and binding. Theres gives the site the right to use your music however they see fit, as well as change it if they want to. Will they do it. Probably not. Especially if you are not a proffesional artist. But if you are or become a proffesional and dollar bills are hanging in there face. Be sure they will and you will not be able to do a damn thing about it. Why, because you agreed to it with there sketchy user agreement. I hope they change that contract. I would love to go where all my T -61 friends are now.

  7. Sandy V.
    January 30, 2010

    @slim

    “those who are working in the industry on a proffesional level cannot and would not EVER agree to that contract on Uvumi.”

    Most every artist likely to join is an indie. Most every artist, indie or not is capable of reading, asserting that because they accepted the TOS they must not have read it… *eyeroll*

    “I am quit shocked as to how many people do not read these contracts! ”

    Suggestion: they did indeed read, and interpreted the legalese¹ for what it is: giving the site the right to transcode (modify), stream (reproduce) and link (promote) the uploaded music files.

    “They are contracts. Legal and binding.”

    And one-sidedly revokable/breakable by the artist upon leaving the site.

    ¹ compare FaceBook’s TOS:

    “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use* any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”).”
    * “by “use” we mean use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of.”

    All those ‘use’ definitions are things possibly required to display your content to people.

  8. Slim
    January 30, 2010

    Not if you join facebook via mail and two, the artist sign up is a little different. But agreed. Has stuff it should’nt. If you are doing music on a proffesional level you should have a music lawyer. I do.

    Once it is done it cannot be undone. Yes, remove it before you go mainstream, then O.K. Oh wait! You never know that. If your A&R guy sends out your track and it happens to hit top 40 the plays happen over night. Oh well!

    Why are you so upset that a person is just pointing out the facts to try and help fellow artist know what they sign to join there. Oh, because you signed that and then read my post and went running back to read it, cause you didn’t the first time.
    Rolls eyes…

  9. Ben
    January 30, 2010

    I don’t know the legalese at uvumi, nor at t61, but based on the mentioning of the words “transcoding” and streaming, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t differ from t61. Sharing sites need an artists permission to stream their music to site visitors and sometimes they need to alter the encoding (that’s what transcoding seems to be about) to be able to properly stream the music.

  10. Sandy V.
    January 30, 2010

    Transcoding is not explicitly mentioned, it was my take on what “modify” can refer to. (It might have been more clear if I had put it like this: “giving the site the right to modify (e.g. transcode, convert to different sound quality), reproduce (e.g. by streaming) and promote (e.g. by linking) the uploaded music files.”)

  11. umdesch4
    January 30, 2010

    Slim, what the heck did you read? I don’t think it was the same thing I read, ‘cuz I was shocked at how “fair” this contract seemed. I mean, there’s language all over the place like:

    “Your grant of such rights is revocable at any time and such revocation shall not in any way require the consent of Uvumi LLC.”

    When do you EVER get that stated so explicitly in an IP contract? As a software developer in the corporate IT world, I’ve been asked to sign stuff that’s much more unfriendly than that (and in some cases, refused and told them where to put their contract…Accenture anyone?), but this one isn’t sounding any alarms with me.

  12. Dieter
    January 30, 2010

    @Slim & @Sandy V.
    Keep cool guys! No offends and no sarcasm please.

    I think it’s an important topic and hope you both could have a fruitful discussion. I have no clue what’s right and what’s wrong but I’m very interested on that topic. Help me understanding what the correct license agreement would include (or not).

  13. Slim
    January 30, 2010

    Sorry, I just felt attacked. All I was trying to do is make people take notice. I have no idea why I care. Because every good dead never goes unpunished.

    As for the contract. I did not read it. My music lawyer did. When I read it, it seems the same as every contract. But from what I have been told, you change one word and the whole contract can change in meaning.

    If you have investors and performing contracts. You have to watch everything you agree to.

    Plus, everyoone of us indie artist can have a music lawyer who will open a account on anysite for you. Like I do. This is the only place I have been told “No Dice” on. Oh and Facebook. But you can join direct from corporate with them. Which I really think a lot of artist should do. But I think they changed there terms to be more friendly these days. Not sure.

    Just be careful guys. You all are very talented artist and I want to see you all mainstream one day.

    Peace.

  14. Dieter
    January 30, 2010

    @Slim

    It would be helpful if your music lawyer could point out what has to be changed in that contract so that you may accept it. The people running Uvumi are very cooperative and open minded. Just put a note into their feedback box. I’m sure the issue will have a remedy soon.

  15. stateshirt
    February 7, 2010

    thanks for the comments everyone. i have noticed that T61 has slowly started to add back some features. Not sure if they can lure back the people they pissed off. A quick check of Alexa stats shows that their page views have gone up but the time users spend on the site has dropped off a cliff.

    i’m still checking out other sites. so far Uvumi seems nice, there are some features that I’d like that they don’t have yet but it seems like they’re working on it. I’m still giving StereoFame a chance but it’s lame that they charge artists to upload more than 5 songs.

    Oh well… it’s bummer about T61. It was one of my favorite music sites. I actually didn’t even really mind the crazy new design but the way they went about it was just terribly wrong. Hope another site fills the void. It was one of the best sites for artists and music lovers to converge.

  16. stateshirt
    February 7, 2010

    @evan good idea! I will upload the “61 Ways” source files to ccMixter!

  17. ftlpope
    February 13, 2010

    When I saw the new 61 I thought my computer was broken but then I could not find a way to communicate with their admin so finally I found the next best thing – the button to remove my tunes. ftlpope. London. UK

  18. stateshirt
    February 21, 2010

    Just uploaded the source files to “61 Ways”… if anyone wants to do a remix, have at it! Grab the files here.

  19. Beth
    September 27, 2010

    It’s possible they were bought out or sold to another company. Dunno. Seems strange that it would suddenly take a new direction suddenly. Still sad, I suppose – I listened to it now and again.

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