Okay, after the last post about OiNK being shut down, I figured I'd go over and do some "serious work" on this.
Build a striving and successful music site.
What is needed to make the above?
How do we get there?
The thing to realise in this case is that the reason OiNK Was so successful wasn't because it was a Free Illegal den of Vicious pirates doing their worst to rip the hard working Music industry magnates off their money. The reason it was successful is that it invited and nurtured the really Passionate music lovers out there, by catering to their desires and needs.
This happened in a few ways, by setting strict requirements on the audio quality of the site, by enforcing a policy of feedback and commentary, and by nurturing a mentality of loving music and discussion about music.
So, to gain any kind of success in this, we would need to nurture the
same kind of community, as in, those who come to the place for the sake
of music, and not for the sake of visiting it like a supermarket. The
site needs to encourage discussion and profilation, associative sharing
and recommendations based on individuals tastes, and discussion of the
various music and genres.
Further requirements would include a -broad- selection of music. Ignoring the top brand names and going for the wide spread and outskirt of the music industry, by having a site that deliberately ignores the radio industry's Top Ten lists of "What's hot in the world of Tabloid Music" and instead catering to the wider mass of music, backlisting, independent, oddball and lesser known. The people who listen to this give more tie-in and word of mouth spread than the mainstream "huh huh, thats cool", mostly because of the Google effect in that everyone can find junk about Shakira or whatever the latest brand of junkfood music is, but you will get a lot more and wider spread by grabbing the keywording and content based around the wider mass of music.
Recommendations need to be personal, and should rather fail to happen, than be too broad. We do not want a site that recommends Ministry from Pink Floyd, because then the value instantly goes down, as does the trust inspired.
Discussion. Each downloaded CD needs a discussion and feedback, though should be limited in how much side-recommendations can be given to avoid link-spamming and similar. Perhaps an "age" cap, or a limit on how many recommendations can be done, or perhaps sidewise recommendation limit of never bulk-associating. It's a technical problem though, and leads offtrack.
Album focus. The site needs to cater to the Artist/Album breakdown, and only push single songs as a last selection, Discussions should cater to albums as a whole, recommendations as well.
No "limited value samplers" . When recommending a track or an album, allow a full song for download, not some online listening device. We want to spread and get mindshare first and foremost, community around the corner, giving free means that people can try and so on.
Discussion tie-ins. Make sure that the "download/listen" parts goes directly into the discussion forums, so that it is easy to cut&paste a link to a direct release, and that it is simple to follow recommendations and discussions. Inline a categorized bookmark system per user.
Search function: Browsing, tagging and searching needs to be foremost and easy to use from the main page.
Clean design, avoid having a feeling of being dumped into a supermarket, realise that the discussion and the content is more important than the download sales.
DRM-free high quality. Goes without saying, We need to reduce the path to entry as much as we can, this means that we have fast access, downloads should be kept simple, no extra tools and no tie-ins.
P2P: Cater to the networked world, Try to make people provide the music as much as anyone else, using bittorrent to reduce service overhead.
Suggestion would be to make the discussions and downloads browseable by default, Discussion entry viable with a registered login, recommendations and linking only to a proven customer, and a flat monthly fee to download for the paid accounts. To encourage seeding and holding an upload working, make a viable spread of upload ratio that will give "credit" for the upcoming month, so the people who provide service gets off easier.
Nope, this doesn't cater to economical viability or so, this only covers the necessities for such a service to work.