Tuesday, 7 July 2009
The last time anyone asked me the question 'What do you think of EMI?' was when the Sex Pistols fell out with their label and left nobody in any doubt what they thought of them.
I didn't like the Sex Pistols, I thought they were posturing prats who did punk no good. I was with them though on their rant against the commercialisation of the music industry.
So why do I mention that now, when I've been casting a critical eye over EMI's new music website?
My review is in the context of how I access music on the web: I like LastFM - I use more or less all of their facilities and have come to view them as an impartial partner in my music browsing. And this is my problem with the EMI site - there's just too much of EMI on it. The new website is too steeped in the brand to make the it comfortable to use for on-line music browsing.
If that all sounds a bit obvious I'll try to explain.
The web developers have worked hard to make this site look cool and have given it bite and immediacy with a high standard of news stories, videos and the cool spinny album selector on the home page. All that that amounts to though is little more than window dressing. Because the site is so heavily branded it isn't as comfortable a place to be as an 'independent' music interest site like Last FM where the user is allowed to find their own way, whether or not that results in a decision to buy music.
When you visit the EMI site you are already in their shop, so to speak: music searches bring up a list of mainly EMI artists, and in the test searches I made, little else - particularly when using the 'find similar artists' function. The Artists section of the site is interesting, just to see who is on the label, I just can't think of a reason why anyone would want to browse who is on a particular label in that way.
Perhaps I'm not the target audience for this site - I hope not because there's obviously an awful lot of money and development gone into it. Maybe the audience is people who are ready to buy music and not just browsing. That being the case, it's a nice place to shop - but I'm not sure that is what EMI want; after all why else would you add the 'playlist' facility if you weren't expecting people to customise the site and keep returning?
So, do I like it? For my purposes, no I don't. I'll stick to Last FM and other places that let me wander around the music world and decide what to buy in my own time and my own way.
Ironically one search that did bring up a degree of success was, ironically, The Sex Pistols