8tracks starts rolling out new web interface for enhanced playlist discovery

8tracks-rectangle canvasPlaylist radio service 8tracks has launched a new web interface in beta to a limited number of users. The refreshed user experience is underpinned by technology which surfaces playlist suggestions based on listening history, previous searches, and social activity on the 8tracks platform.

We snagged a beat view of the site and gave it a spin, comparing the new interface to the existing one.

The main change is on the Profile page, which is dramatically enhanced in the beta version. The current version shows any playlists you’ve subscribed to, and any playlists you’ve created. The new Profile page is rich with suggestions and recommendations based on history, genre, and mood. We found traceable connections between our past actions on the site, and the playlist content surfaced to our Profile page.

More assertive music exploration is supported by a new tag interface — 8tracks “DJs” enjoy full creativity in assigning descriptors to playlists, which has long been one of most charming aspects of the platform’s music discovery.

The new interface is being rolled out gradually, and within a month will offer a larger test group the option to toggle between versions. Soon after that the switch will be final for all.

Creating a more immersive initial experience has been a long-stated goal of 8tracks founder and CEO David Porter, and the new web interface is a clear first step. He sees a productive blend of human music curation (the playlists are built by 8tracks users) and information science which powers the new homepage experience for each registered user.

“We have always put the human touch ahead of a purely algorithmic approach in delivering compelling listening experiences,” Porter said. “However, today’s new web offering leverages data science and personalization in an optimal way to present the most relevant handcrafted playlists and DJs for a listener’s taste and context.”

In May, 8tracks hired ex-Rhapsody exec Jon Maples as head of product. the new web interface is the first substantial product change since Maples joined the company.

Brad Hill