June 23, 2006

Is it just me?

by Chris Randall

Or has Harmony Central gone completely down the tubes in the last couple months? The first couple weeks after their Big Sale to Musician's Friend were fine, but now it seems their editorial policy has changed somewhat. Having a look at the "stories" on the front page today, it seems like a fucking marketing meeting for an industry group of music stores that sell marching band instruments.

When I first heard about the sale to Musician's Friend (a company which I think would be better named "Musician's slightly retarded neighbor") I figured HC would rapidly go downhill. It turns out I was mistaken. It certainly went downhill, but it wasn't rapid. "[O]ver time you'll see the website grow into a more vibrant, fun, and informative online resource," said the press release mid-April. I guess that "over time" means "about two and a half months" in marketing-speak, and "vibrant, fun, and informative" means "shit you don't care about."

It isn't so obvious unless you religiously read HC. The front page has always just been a press-release reprinting service, but at least it was press releases you found interesting. Now it's the sort of press releases that I've always busted Sonic State's balls for, the sort that a company puts out for the 'what's going on in the industry' section of Mix. In short, boring pointless industry-speak that has nothing to do with the working musician.

Congratulations, Musician's Friend. You did a good job.

UPDATE: Hey, HC, if someone from your company was reading this and going "hey, I don't know what the fuck Chris is talking about," I was talking about shit like this. Are you fucking kidding me? Some training mill turns out 14 new patchbay monkeys, and that's news? Come the fuck on.



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Jun.24.2006 @ 11:13 AM
... "Bob's Discount Guitar Tab Books" doesn't feel right for people viewing the site either and it's why ii can't use big catch all sites like epinions. They leave me feeling like i'm trying to find an analog synth in a department store right next to the washers and dryers and children's shoes.

Very interested in hearing more about what you're looking for in a "Pro Audio" section. Are you thinking of something beyond a "Pro Audio" category?


Jun.24.2006 @ 11:21 AM
Chris ... i think you're spot on about the potential for review sites to be abused. But i think the danger is really no greater (and maybe less) on pikki than in any other online community - whether it's a blog, a discussion forum, a regular review site, or a wiki. You could just as easily round up 10 people to post fake opinions of your products in discussion forums or blogs.

The idea on pikki is that over time regular users will build up a history and a profile that people will be able to use as context for reading reviews. We're looking at implementing features in v2 that would make this history more prominent throught the site making it easier for readers to understand the people behind the reviews.


Jun.24.2006 @ 11:32 AM
Chris Randall

In my mind, Pro Audio encompasses higher-end stuff, API, SSL, Apogee, Lynx, etc. There is a real need for review sites that have readable reviews of that sort of gear. If I want to know about a Presonus Firebox, I can find 16 million reviews with a simple Google search. If I want to know about user experiences with the API 8200A, it's basically impossible. The 8200A is a much larger financial risk than a Presonus Firebox, and I definitely need to read a review or two before I commit.

Of course, one could make the argument that it's an API product, and thus is great, plain and simple.

In any case, the Computer Audio section should definitely be split in to hardware and software.



Jun.24.2006 @ 12:20 PM
Muff Wiggler

i'm kinda confused by Pikki (ok really confused)

maybe it isn't ready for prime time?

for one it looks more like a store than anything else, with the sex shot of the product and the price underneath. And with a very small and bewilderingly random hodgepodge of products too, seriously odd.

Each product I clicked on (ok, only 3 as the site is slower then rust) had no review at all, just "be the first to review this item" (nothing screams 'store' to me more than that for some reason)

i know it isn't a store, but it looks more like a store than anything else, but like the world's tiniest store with the smallest inventory of random gear. What criteria places a piece of gear into that pile, especially when some have no reviews?

also, the categories are very very very limited. Where do i go if i want to add a review of a modular synth module?

i'm not trying to be a downer, you have a good idea here - it just needs a fair bit of fleshing out before it starts to resemble the lofty ambition you have for it

really, sorry.. i don't want to discourage you, it's a good and noble goal you have. just an honest 2-cents worth.


Jun.24.2006 @ 12:42 PM
Muff Wiggler
hehe i've tried a few more and i'm still yet to find any with a review

Jun.24.2006 @ 1:35 PM
Apologies to anyone digging through pikki right now and feeling the same frustration as MW ...

Content is scarce because we just launched a couple of days ago. We had a choice between fluffing up the site with hundreds of products and every category imaginable right from the start or letting it grow on its own based on the interests and choices of the users ... and we chose the later.

We've continued to seed the site with a bunch of products from different categories to show how it works, but these are only a launch pad. Yeah ... it's awkward right now digging through a site with no deep content. But this will change as more people join and start to fill in the gaps and the site evolves.

On pikki everything from the products that get added to the category system itself can be edited by any user. This is where the wiki format really takes off. Users can create any categories they like ... nothing is set in stone. If you want to add a page for a modular synth, you just add a new product page and then create a new category for modular synths. If the modular synth category grows you can break it up into sub categories. If a product belongs in more than one place you can add it to any number of categories. If you want to create a category for 'Modular synths used by Stereolab' it's all possible.

Dig in and give it a try.


Jun.25.2006 @ 2:03 AM
Suit & Tie Guy
was that HC article you linked to a feed from The Onion?

it sure felt like one.


Jun.26.2006 @ 9:37 AM
I've been sick of Harmony-Central ever since the moderators tolerated and numerous members ADVOCATED trolls like Walters.

Seriously, I've got a pretty good sense of humor (I help administrate an 80,000 member non-audio forum) , but he has far too many posts and supporters (or did when I last bothered to check) backing him in all his retarded threads.

What was somewhat amusing at first really became obnoxious after he started getting three or four threads on the front page of the various subforums. All the other audio forums had the sense to ban Walters outright and recognize him for what he is, someone who's a combination of sick-in-the-head and with too much time on his hands.


Jun.26.2006 @ 9:42 AM
Wow. Just had a look at Pikki and it seems like a great start with bucket loads of potential. I think anybody complaining about there not being enough reviews right now just doesn't get it. It's a wiki and it's two days old. Sheesh! Give them a break! All of the content has to come from users, so it needs some time to grow.

I'm signed up and going to give it a try because it looks like it could quickly become something really good if enough people try it out.


Jun.26.2006 @ 2:39 PM
I just noticed you cant commend on the news articals anymore.

i wanted to commend on this
link [news.harmony-ceal.co...]">link [news.harmony-ceal.co...]

For thos who dont know the story:
Roger nichols bought elemental audio,changed the product names and now selling the same exact plugins for X5 the the price
(his now selling each plugin for 229$ when a boundle which contained all of the thos plugins were 249$).

Great software company sold to the devil.


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