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October 27, 2005



Yop. Cool solution.
We can still hear the complete song. Often on radio, I have exaclty the same reaction: "where did that song come from?". Fortunately they now publish the playlists for every hour. However, I think this solution is much better, since this way you're quite sure of what you heard.

I think it is a great idea to hear the artist and album. It makes it easier to remember music that I want to buy. However, that voice is INCREDIBLY irritating! I find myself not wanting to listen after a while, (it mispronounces sonata for crying out loud). I also often have difficulty understanding what it is saying, and if I can't hear the name of the artist, then it kinda takes away the benefit of having the voice in the first place.

John Buckman

I think we're resolved to replace the computer voice with a human speaking voice, but it'll take a few weeks for us to get that together (it's a lot of work) so for the time being it's the computer voice. I agree that certain words, especially non-english ones like sonata, are pronounced very badly.

Daniel Barkalow

It sounds like the labels are stitched together from independant audio samples, and don't flow properly because of that.

I think you should get musicians who want to to announce their own tracks. Or get The Bots to announce them all; it might be fine with just a better computer voice.


The interruption between songs is incredibly distracting, almost as bad as a commercial. An announcement every three songs or so would be one thing, but every few minutes is extremely irritating. Why not just list the songs on your website?


I also find the robot voice announcements irritating but hope the new human announcements will be more tolerable... it will depend who they get to do them I suppose! Malone the songs are already listed on the website but I gather some people listening did not even realise where the songs were coming from. I had suggested in the forum that if you have purchased an album in the last week you should be able to listen to other albums free from the annoying interuptions - but do not know how practical this would be to implement. The idea being that everyone is encouraged to support the concept by buying at least one album a week...

William Chang

Perhaps the announcement could be made at a lower volume at the beginning instead, and only for tracks longer than 3 minutes. Right now, shouted at the end of a piece (like a lute interlude) it destroys the musical mood entirely.

Try to have a category "Paying Subscriber" or "Frequent Buyer" that is announcement-free. Speaking of which, any news on the shopping cart/frequent buyer/multi-pack Big Ideas? (I hate small charges on my CC or PayPal.)

Maybe you can kill two birds with one stone...

John Buckman

"Perhaps the announcement could be made at a lower volume at the beginning instead, and only for tracks longer than 3 minutes. Right now, shouted at the end of a piece (like a lute interlude) it destroys the musical mood entirely."

I did change the announcement voice so that for classical music, the voice is at 50% volume. You should be hearing that now. For the other genres, I did lower the volume to 80%, as well.

"Try to have a category "Paying Subscriber" or "Frequent Buyer" that is announcement-free. "

A number of people have suggested that, and I like the idea. I need to think about how to implement it. I'm thinking perhaps of giving buyers a cookie where they get a month of dj-free listening after a purchase.

"Speaking of which, any news on the shopping cart/frequent buyer/multi-pack Big Ideas? (I hate small charges on my CC or PayPal.)"

the multipack is definitely coming soon...


Daniel Barkalow

I think it would be useful to have optional accounts and cookies in general. One feature I'd really like that depends on that is being able to look at what I've been listening to a lot or recently. There was a while that I had "Possible New House" stuck in my head and had no clue what it was. I also have the distressing habit of forgetting what I want whenever I decide it's time to buy something, and I have to spend a while listening to things to figure it out. It's also awkward because I tend to listen from work and prefer to buy from home.

Tim Harris

Perhaps using the username and password purchasers recieve when they buy something might allow for people to move round different computers (rather than cookies).


I have to admit that this is the kick-in-the-butt I've needed to buy some of my favorite Magnatunes.

That said, as you tweak announcer-voicey, consider dropping it in at an interval consistent with Magna radio, which seems to be every 10 minutes or so. F'rinstance, right now I'm listening to D. Ben Peinaar playing the Well-Tempered Klavier. I don't need to hear the robot after every 2-minute track. I would think you could safely drop it in every 4-5 tracks and people would still get the hint hint.

After all, even if they don't buy right away, you're getting your brand mentioned five or six times an hour. Commercial radio doesn't do any better than that!

Eric Redlinger

I think the voiceover is very unobtrusive, all things considered. I kinda liked the old artist advertisments though. Doesn't solve the problem of not knowing what you've just heard though...

Ryan Sawhill

I've bought a ridiculous amount of albums from Magnatune in the past three months; I've also listened to a ridiculous amount of albums streamed... I wasn't keeping up with your blog, and was mighty surprised one day when the voice came on. Of course, I'd TOTALLY be ALL for humans announcing tracks.. especially if it was different artists--that would be frickn awesome! :D


Love the computer voice! She's a celebrity around the office. Very pleasant. Please don't change it. She is a great improvement over the terrible "commercials" for Magnatune... like the horrific "cheetah lady" or the equally bad warbling "MagnatuuUUUuuuuuuUUUuuune.com gal."

Chris W

Quick fix idea: replace the "from magnatune.com" part of the computer speech by human versions. Perhaps record one male and one female and use either one randomly. That would give us a taste of how nice all-human announcements will be!

Justin Marrington


Why not give your artists the chance to announce their own tracks? Since just about all of your artists have some decent home studio equipment, it'd be a cinch for all of them to record a 10-30 second intro for each track, including the Magnatune info, the track name and whatever else they care to say.

It's great variety, a communal/creative solution, and allows those artists who care to to show their support for the label.



Agreed. I think that it would be really neat if you could coax most of the artists into voicing some of these things. Not only would is sound better than speech synthesis, but it would increase the interaction between the artist and the listener. I'd suspect that more people are willing to pay for music with a bit more "life" behind the announcement. I've always noticed that the few artists that do these sorts of things over the MP3 streams (Beth Quist comes to mind) sell a lot more music than the other artists.

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