How about a "Number of plays" counter on each song?

September 2, 2009 3:19 PM

How about a "Number of plays" counter on each song?

(Apologies if this has been discussed before ... I'm kinda new to the music wing of the site.)
posted by jbickers (23 comments total)

We used to have that, but it was removed. Can't remember why exactly. I'm sure cortex or someone else remembers and will chime in soon.

I really liked it a lot. It was cool to see how much activity was going on with people's posts long after they were posted. And there was quite a bit of activity too, surprisingly.
posted by snsranch at 3:23 PM on September 2, 2009

As I recall, it was a technical issue that made the play-counter go away.

Gotta say, I'm kinda glad the counter is gone. It's a feature at MySpace Music players, YouTube, Vimeo... just about everywhere, and I think it's refreshing and kind of healthy to have a little bit of mystery here. It kind of puts all the submissions on an equal footing, takes away some of that popularity contest vibe. Sometimes not counting every little thing is a good thing.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:31 PM on September 2, 2009

I agree flapjax, about the equal footing/popularity contest thought, especially during the first week or so.

However, sometimes folks would have ZERO comments but TEN hits. That's interesting info.

It was also really cool to see that some songs continued to get hits for a very long time. (Years after posting.) Again, neat stuff.

Speaking of Music features, I always thought it would be cool if artist/user names were associated with the lists that live on the right hand side of the page. That might be a pain to implement too, but I'm sure that many of those "favorited" and "playlisted" etc. songs would get even more hits.
posted by snsranch at 3:55 PM on September 2, 2009

Yeah, the play count was removed due to a technical issue. We upgraded the media player here so we could have a functioning scrollbar for playlists and some other improvements, and in return we lost the ability to track play counts.

But we weren't incredibly worried about keeping it around for some of the reasons flapjax mentioned. The counter also only counted plays here on the website via the Flash player, and only if you played the song most of the way through. So plays via downloads, iTunes, partial plays, or directly in the browser didn't figure into the count. The number wasn't very meaningful.
posted by pb at 4:12 PM on September 2, 2009 would be cool if artist/user names were associated with the lists that live on the right hand side of the page.

Agreed. Good idea.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2009

Although, there might be a space issue. Some usernames are really long...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:14 PM on September 2, 2009

Yep, it's almost to the point of being cluttery already.
posted by snsranch at 4:19 PM on September 2, 2009

Well, crudmuffins. I remember the metatalk thread where the playcount went away, but now can't find it. I think it had to do with A) the count not being all that accurate and B) not wanting to turn music into a popularity contest or something.
posted by xorry at 5:00 AM on September 3, 2009

Oh, there's pb with the explanation! I'm going back to bed.
posted by xorry at 5:01 AM on September 3, 2009

What they said.
posted by cortex at 7:32 AM on September 3, 2009

Well, crudmuffins. I remember the metatalk thread where the playcount went away, but now can't find it.

found it.
posted by man vs sun at 9:19 AM on September 3, 2009

just kidding.

actual link
posted by man vs sun at 9:21 AM on September 3, 2009

At risk of starting a fire, there is surely an element of "popularity contest" in having the favourite and playlist charts...? I can't really see a lot of point in these and they could, arguably, actually be counter-productive. I guess that the casual visitor to the site will just check those out first (wouldn't you?) and perhaps not bother diving into the seething vortex that is the upload area and take their chances.

Personally, rather than having these charts I'd prefer to simply know how many people had listened to an upload. The best bit of this site, for me anyway, is the comments - they're always interesting and frequently encouraging and helpful. It does genuinely feel that one is amongst friends here (pass me the sick bag) and, if you work in comparative isolation, I can't stress just how valuable that is. And up to a point it's great that the unspoken rule is "if you don't like it, don't say anything" - the Thumper's Momma ethic! But in my braver moments I would like to know if something is shite - I want to learn what works and what doesn't. There is an embarrassment-free way to do this. If you had a simple "listens" counter and get a lot of hits but no comments on a track - you can be reasonably sure you've deposited a steaming pile of ordure rather than the orphean delight you were convinced you'd blessed the world with....
posted by MajorDundee at 12:06 PM on September 3, 2009

No fire, MajorDundee, but I think there are some important technical differences between the current charts and a play count. One issue with our previous play counts that I didn't mention is that they were easy to game. You could sit there by hand and listen to a particular track (or your own track) over and over again for an entire afternoon incrementing the play count if you wanted to be at the top of a list somewhere. However, it's very difficult to convince 20 MeFites to add your song to a playlist or add your song as a favorite. The $5 entry fee makes signing up bogus accounts for gaming these charts a huge hassle. So from the technical side, the current system is much less open to tampering.

A separate mechanism where someone explicitly says, "I listened to this" might take care of the gaming concerns and the fact that you can listen to MeFi tracks through multiple channels where it's not even possible to attempt play tracking. And maybe some sort of explicit system like that would give people some feedback that isn't a comment. Of course that's not too far off from favorites, and probably has its own social issues.
posted by pb at 4:10 PM on September 3, 2009

I'm cool with that pb - there's no easy answer here, and I suspect this kind of debate is a hardy perennial on most sites. I can see the potential for various wankers, twats and the plain self-deluded to attempt to "fix" their scores - which is the ultimate in saddo behaviour really.

I do think however that a lot of us would genuinely like to know just how many listens our material has had. It can be a little dispiriting to upload something that's been sweated over only to get "nul points" (in the parlance of the Eurovision Song Contest - if you've never experienced that you're a fortunate guy - it's a ghastly annual freak show on this side of the pond that simply refuses to die). Sure there are peaks and troughs in numbers of listeners - we appear currently to be in a trough, for instance - but.........perhaps if a counter was run for a trial period??

Like I said, I'm relaxed about this and appreciate the issues - so if it's a no-go, that's fair enough.
posted by MajorDundee at 5:03 PM on September 3, 2009

pb, good point about "gaming" the numbers. But I don't see what gaming really accomplishes for anyone. There is no competition here. It's merely data. And you're right it isn't "exact" data.

For example, I know that I play songs from my own playlist (from my profile page) all the time. I also send friends here to listen to my stuff. So surely it's not a measure from my peers here. However, because I KNOW what's skewing the data, it's still good data for me and I can take such things into account for other people's posts.

I don't know how difficult it would be to implement, I couldn't code my way out of a paper sack, but I really did enjoy the counts.

Now, for the "most favorited" etc. lists...does anyone ever use those? I don't, and only because I don't know who I'm listening to. It's too blind.

Ok, I'll quit crying for now, but really, does anyone use those lists?
posted by snsranch at 6:55 PM on September 3, 2009

does anyone use those lists?

seeing as how 'punch 'em in the dick' gets anywhere from 5-15 new favorites each week, i'd say yes: likely from folks who haven't been over here before.
posted by man vs sun at 7:37 PM on September 3, 2009

One might ask WHY that song gets hits, but I guess it's pretty obvious.
posted by snsranch at 8:34 PM on September 3, 2009

It kicks ASS!
posted by snsranch at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2009

12-hour pregnant pause. I commend you, sir.
posted by man vs sun at 8:34 AM on September 4, 2009

It kicks ASS!

Wait a minute.. no, it dousn't kick ass, it punches dick. Right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:41 PM on September 4, 2009

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together...!!!

Huh, that brought back some memories.
posted by snsranch at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2009

Leaving artistic merits to one side, that one song can keep percolating to the top with five or fewer 'favorites' or 'playlists' shows you are dealing with pretty small number stats. One way or the other, I'd like to see more songs have their day in the sun.
posted by AppleSeed at 7:05 AM on September 7, 2009

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