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Digital Technologies Compare and Contrast Music industry ( 2 major and 2 independent music labels)

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The objectives of website design Important factors • Accessibility: A website must allow all users of a site to interactive, regardless of disabilities. This should be built into all web sites since it is a legal requirement under disability and discrimination law. An accessible design supports visually impaired site users and other disabled users with limited limb movements. Also, an accessible site helps users accessing the site with a range of different web browsers using different devices such as mobiles or PDAs and it also assists search engine optimization. • User-Centered Design and Usability – Usability describes ‘the extent to which a product can be used by specific users to achieve specific goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use’. With a user friendly site, visitors can find the information they are seeking, have a satisfactory experience and complete actions efficiently. User –centered web site design is an essential approach to ensure the website meets visitors needs. • Information architecture and find ability – analysis and design to create a sound system of stricture and labeling content in headings and navigation is essential to help find ability through standard navigation and on-site search. • SEO – search engine optimization. – This involves ‘achieving the highest position or ranking practical in the natural or organic listings on the search engine results pages after a specific combination of words or keywords has been typed in’(D, Chaffey). If SEO isn’t considered in site design and within content management systems, search robots will be unable to crawl content and the relevance of different pages will be unclear. By typing in ‘independent record label UK’ into Google.co.uk, XL Recordings can be found on the 10 th page. • Web standards – Complying with standards to produce consistency in the way sites are coded and displayed in different browsers as promoted through the World Wide Web consortium and the Webstandards Project. • Persuasion to deliver commercial results – Your design should emphasize specific content and journeys through the site in order for your site to meet its objectives. • Visual design - The overall design of this particular website is modern, quirky, simplicity. Each page is laid out slightly differently, though consistency with regard to text and colours remains the same throughout. The overall colour scheme is right for the personality which fits the target audience of the site. • Web analytics – Developing a good system of web analytics is vital for controlling your digital communications. Web analytics help you check whether your objectives are achieved and should be used for ongoing improvements. • Legal requirements – Site owners need to check they comply with the many laws to control a web presence. Emarketing Excellence

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XL Recordings XL Recordings is extremely accessible. The user-interface allows viewers to navigate easily around the site to find what they need quickly and efficiently. The minimalistic style of the site allows the information to flow freely and the navigation buttons are displayed simply. The typography is generally large in size, which allows the visually impaired users to read the text clearer. With regard to User-Centered Design and Usability, XL’s site is extremely user friendly. With navigation buttons laid out neatly at the top of the webpage, the user can find what they are looking for within seconds. The page itself is simple, to the point and minimalistic. In terms of SEO, when typing in ‘independent record label UK’ into Google.co.uk, XL Recordings can be found on the 10th page. When looking at information architecture, the navigation buttons in this particular website are laid out in a simple way. The main links run across the top of the site, which take the user to the most important pages. A selection of XL’s artists are displayed in the centre of the homepage. The user can click on an artist and is taken to a detailed webpage with information. The website emphasizes specific areas of its content with the bold navigation buttons. The content throughout the site is informative. When selecting an artist, the user is taken to a colourful blog styled page with several updates including tour dates, new track releases and more. The user can also insert their email address directly on the homepage and can also click to join the Facebook and Twitter page which allows more interaction between the user and brand.

The overall design of this particular website is modern, quirky, simplicity. Each page is laid out slightly differently, though consistency with regard to text and colours remains the same throughout. The overall colour scheme is right for the personality which fits the target audience of the site.

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Warner Music Group

The objectives of website design

The Warner Music Group site is generally user friendly, with simple typography, bold headings and large imagery, which instantly allows the visually impaired to view the website clearly. With regard to User Centered Design and Usability, the navigation buttons to the main pages (About, News, etc) run down the left hand side. The main focus point of the homepage is the centre, which displays a slideshow of images for the user to observe, which instantly informs them of which musicians the label is in charge of. In terms of information architecture, navigation buttons are clearly laid out on the left hand side. By selecting the main three headings, (Recorded Music, Music Publishing and Artist Services), a selection of ‘drop down’ buttons appear, with a box of text to the right of the link to allow the user to select exactly what they are looking for. This site has a vast range of information for the user to read, unlike XL Recordings, which overall is simple and minimalistic. With regard to SEO, when typing in ‘Record Label’ into Google.co.uk, Warner Music Group appears on the 6th page after searching through. The site has a varied amount of information, displayed clearly for the viewer to see. Specific content is connected to navigation buttons which are on top of a blue background. The overall visual design stylish and classic. The colour scheme of white black and blue adds simplicity to the pages, and this is seen throughout the pages of the site. Flash animation appears throughout the site which adds a touch of excitement for the viewer when searching through the pages.

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EMI EMI’s site is similar to Warner in terms of accessibility. The font size itself is clear, yet slightly smaller than XL Recordings bold typography. The visually impaired may find the layout confusing as there is a vast amount of information displayed on the main page and throughout the site. With regard to User-Centered Design and Usability , EMI’s content is complex. There is a vast amount of information and imagery for the user to view. Links run across the top of the page and down the left hand side, similarly to Warner Music Group. The user is able to access specific information quickly with the help of these navigation buttons. In terms of information architecture, EMI’s site has several navigation buttons running along the top of the site which allows the viewer to quickly select what they are looking for. A search box also allows the viewer to type in what they are looking for. With regard to the sites SEO, when typing in UK record label, when typing in ‘Record Label’ into Google.co.uk, EMI appears in the first page. The overall design of this particular website is modern, quirky, simplicity. Each page is laid out slightly differently, though consistency with regard to text and colours remains the same throughout. The overall colour scheme is right for the personality which fits the target audience of the site. Similarly to XL Recordings website, the ‘blog’ style seems to appear throughout the pages.

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Website Goals/5 S’s 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Sell – provide ways to buy products and services online and generate leads Serve – quick easy access to up-to-date info Speak – personalised content and social media engagement to enhance brand relationship Save – access to online applications and interactive services can save visitors time and money Sizzle – sites should seek to differentiate themselves, build the brand and deliver a quality visitor experience

XL Recordings Warner Music Group EMI

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AIDA The AIDA model is applied to sites to help achieve persuasion. Attention: The website must grab attention through graphics, interaction and must allow the viewer to have easy access to relevant information. Interest: After the website has grabbed the attention of the viewer, the site must provide more information and incentives to gain interest. Desire: The website must emphasise the brand values through site design and make visitors feel compelled to engage further with the brand. Action: The website must contain information on how to subscribe, buy or seek extra information. (Emarketing Excellence). XL A: The site grabs attention from the viewer through the use of simple, bold, vibrant graphics displayed on the homepage. I: After grabbing the attention of the viewer, they are inclined to seek more information. A vast amount can be obtained from the ‘About’ page and the viewer can select an artist from the main page and a variety of information is displayed. D: The viewer has access to up-to-date information relating to the artists featured on the site. A: The viewer can easily subscribe to extra information from the music label by inserting their email address. Warner Music Group A: The Adobe Flash graphics in the centre of the homepage immediately grab the viewers attention. The neat and professional looking site also appeals to the viewer. I: There is a large amount of information and content for the viewer to observe, including music videos of the artists. D: By selecting an artist from the homepage, the viewer can instantly watch a music video. This interaction draws the viewer in. A: The viewer can easily find more information by selecting the appropriate navigation button. EMI A: The images and use of colour draws the viewer in. I: There is a good selection of information and content on the site including updates from Twitter. D: The viewer can access regular news and Twitter updates from the site. A: The site contains a Search box. The viewer can simply type in a keyword or phrase and information will appear relating to the search.

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Integration with marketing and business objectives

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Integration with marketing and business objectives

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Online value proposition ‘Online value proposition: Defines an organization’s online offering distinct from offline or competitors offering’. (Chaffey,Smith.2008:page:493) Search bar The search bar being placed here, allows the site to be accessible. It encourages the three click rule and frays away from the interested users getting agitated with the length of time it takes them to access things on the site. Or bored with the amount of things they need to do to get to their desired place.

Networking sites Encouraging social networking sites is a good way to gain more of an insight into the latest fads and trends . Warner Music are able to target their important users and make the site more accessible for their interests. I

Artists’ Pictures of the artist provides more of an interest rather than names and writing as the visual is more engaging . Once clicking on the picture, viewers are able to watch the latest videos from their favourite artist . This keeps the interest consistent

News

The news section on the homepage is a place for fans to be exempt from rumours and hear the latest news straight from the labels themselves. That way they know they are reading the truth, instead of reading false blog stories 10


Quick search Search bar Similar to Warner, the search bar being placed here, allows the site to be accessible. It encourages the three click rule and frays away from the interested users getting uninterested.

The feel EMI have created a blog type setting for their site. This involves regular updates of what artists are doing and why they are doing it for example: •Live shows •Last minute concert releases •Appearances •Interviews •Press releases The site allows fans to hear music before it’s released and expresses views and feelings about their latest releases. EMI’s website has built their own fan base using the fans that their artist have. The blog setting creates more of a relaxed feel therefore encouraging bloggers, unsigned artist and music lovers to enjoy the site.

Online value proposition

A way for interested searchers to go straight to what they’d like to see rather than search through pages of irrelevan information

The latest tweets This encourages people to know what happens offline with artists as well as online.EMI shows the relationship between them and their artists as social networks build a status of relationship and friendship. The general interest shows fans that EMI are serious about the artist they sign.

Recent posts, Archives A list of the last 6 post. As well as posts in the archives for months and years ago. This gives bloggers an opportunity to stay up to date and reblog and gives fans the option of knowing all that's available about their artists.

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XL Recordings The constant image of XL plastered around the site reinforces the label to the online visitor until they feel obliged to return to the site. Rather than seeing an artist and not knowing where they have come from.

The feel XL Recording have used a blog type setting for the website with regular updates. However one could debate the accessible navigation as it is hard to separate updates from features of the site this could frustrate visitors.

Online value proposition

Search bar Similar to Warner and EMI the search bar being placed here, allows XL Recordings site to be accessible. It is also very clear as to what XL Recordings want from the online visitors. The idea is for them to sign up to their XL Recording site, Facebook and Twitter in order to be regularly updated via emails, updates on Twitter and page posts on Facebook without having to visit the site it’s self . Out of all three websites XL makes it clear that they are trying to create more leverage for the website as well as their artists recognition offline.

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Online value proposition

Warner music, EMI and XL Recordings have one thing in common and that is all three labels are trying to create leverage for their websites. Although one may argue that it is not essential for a record label website to have regular visitors, but rather that their artist websites have the most visitors in order to create public awareness for themselves. It is a good way for Record labels to keep up with what the latest trends and fads are, as well as being able to promote the other artist signed to the label. This could be defined as the labels proposition. Record labels often do collaborations with artist from the same record label and use their sites to promote that record. Out of all three labels (EMI, XL recordings and Warner music) XL recordings is the only website to provide a visitor to the site the option of signing up and becoming a member. By signing up to the XL recordings website members will receive regular emails and updates to create more public awareness and advertising using offline methods such word of mouth. Offline promotion: offline promotion uses traditional media such as TV or newspaper advertising and word of mouth to promote a company’s web site. (Chaffey,Smith.2008:page:493) XL recordings are also able to identify there target market with the sign up option. This will enable them to improve features on their website by making their website more accessible to their attracted market. Fortunately all three label websites have used social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter as a mean to connect with their market. This is another way for them to advertise their labels with regular updates and frequent posts. To concur the labels are able to keep up to date with peoples interests and ensure the artists are promoted in a way to benefit themselves and the label. XL recordings and EMI, both have blog style websites, uploading links to particular artists interviews and articles, as well as YouTube videos and latest information on what artist are up to using informal banter . However XL recordings tend to provide links to videos rather than providing the video on the site unlike EMI. This could prove rather inconvenient as links have a tendency to expire. Warner differs from these two websites by encouraging as 13 much interest in the brand (Warner music) as it does in it’s individual artist.


Customer orientation – audience segmentation

Customer orientation: providing content ,services and offers on a web site consistent with the different characteristics of the audience of this site. (Chaffey,Smith.2008:page:487)

Both EMI and XL Recordings are recognised for their blog styled websites and attract a lot of visitors due to their regular updates. Offline, a lot of rumours are made up about artist. Often these rumours are influenced by online blogs. ‘Blog: An online diary regularly updated by an individual or group with topical news and views.’ (Chaffey,Smith.2008:page:485) Consequently EMI and XL Recordings attempt to provide positive publicity for their artist to tackle the negative blog publicity. EMI and XL recordings fortune from having a blog styled website, as it is less formal and more likely that visitors will become regular and will spend more time on the site. On the other hand Warner music's website does not have a blog theme however, does show its artists latest videos as well as information on Warner music and related labels. Warner also promotes their artists personal website using links to the artist website This creates publicity online and offline for both the Warner label and its artists. Online promotion: online promotion uses communication via the internet itself to raise awareness about a web site and drive traffic to it, e.g. Hyperlinks from other web sites, banner adverts or targeted electronic mail (e-mail) (Chaffey,Smith.2008:page:493)

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Customer orientation – audience segmentation

The following questions were asked to five individuals in order to come to a conclusion as to what the music label websites EMI, Warner music and XL Recordings offer to the those whom visit these web sites.

1.) Out of EMI, Warner music and XL recordings websites, which one would you say interests you the most? 2.) Why? 3.)What keeps you interest in the site (what features are on the site that keeps you intrigued) 4.) Why do you visit that particular music labels site rather than any other? 5.) What would you like to see change on the website? 6.) What social networking site are you signed up to?

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Customer orientation – audience segmentation

Name: Kwame Age: 20 Gender: Male Profession: Student 1.)EMI 2.) I am very musical. Having had a love for music for years I like to check up on labels to see what is new and what is old. I am currently working on music of my own as you know, so I like to make sure that what I am doing is still ‘hip’. EMI have like a blogging kind of website so the updates are regular, so it’s like getting my info straight from the horse’s mouth. I keep up with blogs just to see what people are into also what the labels are looking for and interested in, what is popular and what artists are being blogged about the most. I don’t really go on the site to look at individual artist but rather to see what is going on across the border. 3.) The blog style 4.) I do visit other labels especially independent labels. But out of the three options you have given me I only really go on EMI don’t get me wrong though I do visit Warner quite a bit. 5.) Nothing really maybe has the updates every three days rather than every six days. That’s the biggest issue I can think of and that’s not really an issue. 6.) Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud and Myspace

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Customer orientation – audience segmentation

Name: Omari Age: 18 Gender: Male Profession: Student 1.)Warner 2.) Just because it’s the one I know of. But I don’t go on the site a lot, because I can hear the music off blogging sites or YouTube. I don’t even go on the artist websites any more just because they don’t update as quick as bloggers or YouTube or another popular site called World Star Hip Hop. 3.) To be fair I don’t really go on Warner but if an artist mentions something on twitter or I’m looking for something (musically) that I can’t find I’d go on the site. But it wouldn’t be my first option, no. 4.) No reason in particular but they represent two of my favourite artist Wale Lupe Fiasco 5.) I don’t visit the site enough to know 6.)Twitter and Facebook

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Customer orientation – audience segmentation

Name: Phoebe Age: 19 Gender: Female Profession: Student 1.) Warner 2.) Because I am aware of a lot of my favourite artist are signed to the label. Also I have heard of Warner brothers for loads of other reasons. To be honest I wouldn’t say I go on their regularly but I do check sometimes, like to see if an album is being released or to tweet something. 3.) Its a good way to keep up with my favourite artist, as well as their tour dates and album releases. 4.) Just because it’s the one that I know the most. Like on my favourite artists websites, Warner is sometimes listed at the bottom of the page as a link. 5.)Nothing really, probably just less formal if anything. 6.)Twitter ,Facebook and Tumblr

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Customer Name: Shae orientation – audience Age: 23 segmentation Gender: Male Profession: 1.) I like all three to be honest 2.) I’ve done a lot of music before I was a member from the urban group Bomb Squad and we had two videos and at that point I really wanted to get signed so it was important to be up to date with what labels were looking for and signing. I mean YouTube was something we regularly used just to be viral so the odd freestyles and filming in studio was often put onto Facebook. I mean it was something that we really wanted at the time so making sure we knew what labels were more us than anything was important. We didn’t get signed but I’m not sure if that was our lack of determination or our lack of knowledge with the music industry. But I would recommend anyone that is interested in the industry to look at all labels having a preference isn’t important it’s understanding what the labels offer if you know what I mean. 3.) It has almost become habit for me to spend time on these labels sights. I’m not at all interested in getting signed anymore but I still love music and I still like to be up to date. I have this urge to always want to see new and raw talent. Although you can see raw talent more on YouTube, MySpace or Sound Cloud, raw talent doesn’t stop when a person gets signed and that’s what a lot of people forget. I like to stay up to date signed or not and to me those websites give me the real thing. But I have to say EMI does provide the most updates. Their stuff is never more the two weeks old. 4.) Like I said I like all three and more. I am just a music person so if I know I can hear good music, I’ll most definitely tune in. However I’ll go back to EMI and say that they do allow you to hear prereleases, and labels like XL Recordings are good as they have signed a lot of UK artists who have become mainstream like, Adele and Dizzee Rascal. Only thing is they just have links thrown all over the page (laughs).

5.) I think would just change the layout on XL Recordings

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Customer orientation – audience segmentation

Name: Hayley Age: 22 Gender: Female Profession: Sales 1.) EMI 2.) I like the homepage because it’s like a blog and my boyfriend is a DJ so he checks out all these music label sites so he can remix the songs and stuff whilst I get my latest updates 3.) I just like a site I can get my updates regularly from like show appearances’ 4.) No particular reason 5.) Not really fussed to tell you the truth 6.) Facebook

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Dynamic design and personalisation The Warner Music, XL Recordings and EMI website share a similarity in Dynamic Design and presentation as there is no Sign in or anything that is personalised to the visitor. All three websites strictly hold basic information which is accessible by all visitors. However the third music label XL Recordings does allow visitors to enter their email address to access a newsletter however a free membership is required. The following images are screenshots of all three websites showing that there is no way of signing in, or no personalised web content, however as you can see the top right hand corner of the XL website contains an area you can enter your email address to receive membership newsletters.

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Sign up available for regular newsletters.

No designated log in area for potential members.

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Site Personality

Aesthetics

The Warner Music Website is very corporate and professional, in comparison to the EMI and XL website which are very blog like on the home page, the EMI website also contains a twitter feed on the right hand side of the page. Brand Values The 3 music labels do follow their brand values on their website, in the sense that each of them uses their corporate colours and identity throughout each of their website. Sound Neither one of the websites contains any sound unless you click on a video link of one of their artist, which is only available on the EMI and XL websites. Graphics, video The EMI and XL Website home page do not contain any graphics in comparison to the Warner Music website which contains a photo gallery of each of their artists. However the EMI and XL website which are similar to a blog in style do contain embedded videos of latest singles released by their artists.

Colour, style, layout The colour styles on both the three websites are quite similar in the sense that they both use their corporate colours throughout the website (Warner – Blue,white,black)(EMI- red,white,black)(XL-Black,White) in addition to this the labels use black writing with a white background in all three websites. The font size is also very similar, the reasons for this are because these are neutral colours that can make any website look professional and classy. The layout of the three websites are quite simple, the Warner Website is split into 3 main columns, the first the navigation bar, the second a picture gallery or content and the third a news feed. However the other 2 websites XL and EMI are very similar,23the both follow the layout of a blog, the both contain a navigation bar at the top of the screen and a blog like content underneath.


Aesthetics

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Page Design

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Copywriting Copyright refers to laws that regulate the use of the work of a creator, such as an artist or author. This includes copying, distributing, altering and displaying creative, literary and other types of work. Unless otherwise stated in a contract, the author or creator of a work retains the copyright. [online]available at: http://graphicdesign.about.com/od/legalglossary/g/copyright.htm

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Warner music

Chunky & brief The heading is both highlighted and bold. All other headings are in a bigger font and are boldly typed and briefly written

Copywriting

Footer ( scanability) The terms and conditions and copyright statement is placed in the footer so it is the last thing a visitor to the site is going to see if seen at all

Copyright (relevance & accuracy) The year the copyright was last updated which was 2009. meaning it is still relevant.

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EMI

Chunky & brief The heading is both highlighted and bold. All other headings are in a bigger font and are boldly typed and briefly written exactly like Warner music

Capital letters (scanability) The sections which should not be ignored are in capitals mid page highly likely one would not pass it as it differs from the rest of the headings and other texts. Unlike Warner music’s website.

Copywriting

Copyright (relevance & accuracy) The year the copyright was last updated which was 2011. meaning it is still relevant.

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Navigation and structure The navigation the Warner Music website is very professional, the navigation bar itself is located on the left hand side of the screen, the buttons are blue and stand out from the main content of the main page, in comparison to the XL and EMI website the navigation bars go across the top of the screen and are in black and white, with the font size being 12. The navigation around each of the websites is very short and quick, with every click on XL and EMI going back to a page similar to a blog but specific to the link you clicked on, however the Warner music website remains the same with the only area changing is the second column which contains content, The Warner music website navigates visitors to its artist websites, where as the other 2 websites EMI and XL contain information within the actual website.

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XL – 3 Click Rule

Navigation and structure

All links lead to other webpage's within the same website. Within 2 clicks.

The first page of the website

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Warner – 3 Click Rule

Navigation and structure

The third click leads to a music video of the artist, not always up to date. The first click gets you from the photo gallery to the second step which enlarges the artists photo. The second click enlarges the artists picture to cover the entire size of the picture gallery. 31


EMI – 3 Click Rule The first click directs visitors from the home page to the artist page by clicking on “Artists”

The second click directs the visitor to a new page from which they can select the artist the want.

Navigation and structure

The third click re- directs visitors to external artist websites.

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Interaction

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Interaction

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Conclusion

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Digital  

compare and contrast of XL, EMI and Wanrer music websites