Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Gramophone review survey

Got an email from Gramophone telling me they want to improve their online review archive. No surprise there. The old Gramofile was very useful, but the new version, which relies on accurate OCR'ing of scanned issues, is haphazard, and removing the ability to browse the PDFs didn't help either. If they can get the thing working properly it will be a great resource.
So the accompanying survey seems interesting. One question asks,
If you were looking to read a review of a specific recording on the Reviews Archive, how would you go about searching for it? Which criteria would you look for first? What would you look for next?
And then I get to pick various criteria from a list (Composer, Conductor, Date of recording, and so forth) and arrange them in a suitable order. Then there's
The following is a list of information which could appear alongside a classical music review. In your view, which of these are essential, which are nice to have and which are not required?
and we get things like "More from this composer", "Reader rating", "Playing time", "Reviewer name" and many more besides.
Some thought went into this, obviously. So much better than seems to be the usual approach (see eMusic for example), which is "Dear customer, We have just completely fucked up our web site. Isn't it great?!"

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