The Hype Machine Goes 2.0
Not Web 2.0, that is, since I think The Hype Machine has qualified for that moniker since its inception. No, The Hype Machine is entering version 2.0 and its latest incarnation as a music blog aggregator. Unsurprisingly, most of the upgrades follow the standard format of social-networking sites.
Signing up for an account gives every user a dedicated page, currently at beta.hypem.com/UserName, and from there its possible to track your favorite songs, favorite blogs, and favorites users. Although not quite as slickly polished, the general structure of the site is reminiscent of Last.fm (a slickness I don’t necessarily miss) and I assume Hype Machine is positioning itself to be the cross between Last.fm and elbo.ws.
Right now I only have two major complaints. First, there is no way to make your public page private, which means use of the favoriting function is only possible if you’re OK with everyone seeing what you’re favoriting. Since I like to maintain a greater control of my online footprint, I’ve had to register using a handle other than my name, something I prefer not to do.
Second, the programmers have removed the external media player that used to open in the previous iteration of their site. That itself is great and I applaud the inclusion of a new fully integrated player that still runs through through your search results as before, but does so without opening a new window. Unfortunately, the site takes damn near 5 to 6 minutes to accomplish that task. So if you’re not paying attention to click on to each new song, thats about 6 minutes of waiting for every 3 minutes of music. Without knowing anything about how their site works, however, I’m guessing this is something that will be solved sooner rather than later.
These two complaints aside, the new design looks great both visually and structurally. With Last.fm not as useful as I was hoping it would be for discovering new music, I’m now putting my faith in Hype Machine to come through as my go-to site in the next few weeks.