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What Artists Should Know About thesixtyone

In January 2010, thesixtyone unveiled a complete redesign, eliminating the social aspects of the site. Predictably, long-time users revolted and eventually left. This article and the comments that follow provide a brief history of the rise and fall of the site. While you may still find it worthwhile to upload your material, there’s little you can do to influence your chances of success.

Update 2/2/16: It’s back! A few weeks ago, the site reverted to the version we know and love. While it’s not as popular as it was in its heyday, it’s still a lot of fun. All advice in this article still applies

thesixtyone is quite simply my favorite music site, both as a listener and and artist. Billing itself as “a music adventure,” t61 is like a massively multiplayer game, complete with reputation points, levels, quests, and achievements. It’s a fun way to discover and be discovered. The rules are constantly in flux, so I’ll omit the fine details and walk you through the broad strokes of establishing yourself as an artist.

Create a listener account. You’re given the option to convert it into an artist account, but don’t do it. You’ll need separate listener and artist accounts to effectively promote your music, because some crucial functions are only available to listeners.

Learn the basics. Select your genre in the right hand column and listen to some of the music in top songs and hot right now, under the popular tab. If you like a song, heart it! You’re given a daily allowance of hearts based on your level. Once you reach level 5, you can heart the same song multiple times. When you “max heart” a song, you’re rewarded with a loud “holy shit!” (which made me jump out of my chair the first time I heard it). As the song grows in popularity, you’re rewarded with reputation points. The earlier you heart a song, the more points you stand to earn. At some point the song may “hit the home page,” moving it from the browse tab to the popular tab and providing a large point bonus to supporters.

Complete your profile. Click the save link on your favorite songs to create your radio, which anyone can play from your profile page. Access your profile by clicking your name at the top of the screen. Show off your taste by picking three of your saved songs to feature. Upload an avatar and write a short bio. Make it clear that it’s the listener account for your band, or for you as an artist.

Make some friends. Explore profiles to find listeners with similar tastes. You can find suggestions under social>invite friends>suggested users, or just look at who’s hearting and commenting on your favorite songs. Unlike most social networking sites, you don’t need to request an add. Just click subscribe on a listener’s profile page. Like Twitter, the connection is one-way. If you leave a comment to introduce yourself, they might subscribe back.

Join a group. Large groups have tremendous influence on t61. Explore them under social>listener groups and find a good fit. Make sure the group is active and motivated. If you’re into electronic music, consider joining Electro Freaks. You won’t find a more passionate group of electronic/dance fans anywhere on the net. I can say without reservation that I owe all my success on the site to them.

I suggest getting to know the site as a listener for a week or two before creating your artist account. Gain some levels, complete some quests, and find some great music to share with your friends and your group. It’s a lot of fun!

Color Theory at thesixtyone

Create an artist account. OK, you’ve had your fun. Now let’s get down to business! Remember, you want to create a new account. DO NOT convert your listener account to an artist account. Artists can’t join groups, and can’t comment on listeners’ profiles unless the listener hearts one of their songs.

Complete your profile. Upload photos and fill out your bio and maybe a news item or two, but DO NOT upload a song yet!

Tip off your group. Log in to your listener account. Go to your group page and let them know that you’re going to be uploading your first song in 10 minutes. Ask for their help and support, and link to your artist profile page (using standard HTML). Giving your friends a heads up allows them to reap the greatest rewards when the song succeeds.

Upload one song. Log in to your artist account. Upload one, and only one, song. Make it your best! Be sure to have a witty or interesting song “factoid” handy. If you choose to place the song in an album, use your profile pic as the album cover. You want everyone to see the same little icon next to all of your songs, so that they associate that image with you.

Get the word out. Log in to your listener account, go back to your group page, and link directly to your song. Hopefully group members have already found and hearted it. Soon it may appear on the group’s radio, generating more attention. Next, go to your artist profile (still logged in as a listener) and use the share link on your song to share it with friends that aren’t in your group.

Say thank you. After 24 hours, log back in to your artist account and go to your artist profile.  Click on the commented x times link, then hearted by. Go to the profile pages of your biggest supporters and personally thank them. The site’s spam protection won’t allow you to copy and paste more than a couple times, so keep it fresh. Listeners like to see that the artist is personally involved, and some may even be starstruck.

Rinse and repeat. Wait until the initial hype dies down (at least a few days) to upload another song. You want to renew interest in your first song, but not compete with it. Everyone that hearted your first song will see the new one under artist uploads on the just for you tab. As you continue to upload new songs every week or two, you’ll gain more listeners to support your efforts. When one of your songs hits the home page, your listenership will grow even faster.

DON’T HEART YOUR OWN SONG. It’s bad form, and people will notice (though I’ve gotten away with hearting other artists’ remixes of my songs). Also, tone down the sales pitch. Listeners are there to enjoy the shared experience of music discovery. Blatant self-promotion pollutes the site and abuses the system.

Can’t I just create an artist account and upload my songs? You can, but you’ll reach more people in less time if you follow my advice. When someone hearts one of your songs, they bet on your success. If you don’t already have a track record of success, they’re less likely to bet on you. The best way to establish that track record is to build up support before you upload your first song, and hit the ground running!

This sounds like a lot of work. Why should I bother? If you have no interest in discovering new music, then you probably shouldn’t. If you do, t61 a great way to establish relationships with potential fans who share your tastes. I’ve made a lot of new Facebook friends, and yes, even a few sales. Last week I even got a request from a music publisher who heard my songs on t61. Just today t61 launched a patronage system, where I’ve already earned a couple bucks in tips. Your mileage may vary, so I suggest you give it a shot and see what happens!

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73 Comments

  • Reply
    Jay
    May 29, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Just read the re-post at MTT so I thought i’d drop by the source! I think you wrote a great intro to the Sixtyone, and its one of the first artist perspectives I’ve ever read on it.

    I think T61 is a great site, speaking as both as a listener and as an artist. Your artist strategy is spot on…I wish I could have read your insights before I joined…I did everything ‘wrong’ (uploaded too many at once, joined as an artist first) because I had no idea how the site worked and that was to my detriment for sure.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    May 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks Jay! I was lucky to have friends already on the site to walk me through it. I still managed to make my share of mistakes though. 😉

  • Reply
    Jeremy Mathews
    June 11, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Great article, Brian! I actually joined t61 when I read your mention of it back on the OurStage page and, like Jay, did everything wrong. I’m curious if I should delete my artist account and try starting it again, or clear out my songs, or what. I was actually quite excited with the response I got initially—I found more interested fans in a day than after years on Myspace or Facebook. But after my initial songs leveled off, I can’t seem to get any attention anymore.

  • Reply
    Daniel
    June 11, 2009 at 5:33 am

    thanks for the heads up. It’s a great site …!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    June 11, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Jeremy, I’m not sure I’d start from scratch. As long as you’ve got some fresh material, I don’t see why you can’t follow the steps above with your existing account.

  • Reply
    Jay
    June 11, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I’d second what Brian says.

    You clearly have some fans that dig your music there, and if you delete your profile or your songs they’ll lose the the points they’ve gained from hearting your music….instead, those fans should be the ones you champion.

    The best thing you could do at this point is create a listener profile, so you can learn a bit more about how the site works from a listener perspective. Make sure you add to your little bio that you are the guy from NSPS, and feature a couple of your NSPS songs on your page. From there, join a group which holds similar interests to your own, or likes your genre of music. Look at the groups your fans belong to for starters…maybe there will be one that really jumps out at you. Once you join one, start actively participating as a listener on T61. Get to know your fellow members, and support them with radio bumps. Let them know about cool songs you’ve found and contribute to the discussions. There are a ton of great people on T61, and its very easy to make friends…this is another great aspect of the site. Let them know that you have an artist profile, and they will listen and help you out. Once you get a few more hearts under your belt and move up to Level 2, you can add some more tunes; but do it slowly. Let everybody in the group know that you intend to upload a new track; give them a chance to grab the ‘first heart’. You will find that with the support of your friends, it will be much more fun (and rewarding) to release your new songs.

  • Reply
    Marie-Therese
    July 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    You should get some events/gigs going offline. It would be great to meet fellow t61 fans and musicians alike. Real music lovers, boutique events across the globe. Speaking from Ireland, niche market gigs and events catering for a limited base of people are doing really well.

  • Reply
    Stuart
    July 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I actually found this post through google. Nice post. I will be bookmarking your site. I have been on thesixtyone for a while now but will be adding an artist page in a month or so. These tips are great. I have been listening to tons of music and completing quests more recently but haven’t gotten into the community side of it yet. Thanks Brian.

    Stuart

  • Reply
    Grant
    July 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Brian,

    Thanks for the great post. I went about most of these steps back in the bumping days, and have a lot of fun with theSixtyOne. I was a listener for a long time, and recently joined with my band, 1 UP ON ME. From what I’ve seen and read (artist perspective), it seems it’s good to wait at least 1 month before posting new music.

    As a listener, I couldn’t enjoy theSixtyOne more. I also want to give props to theSixtyOne staff who are always right on top of feedback and issues with the site.

    Thanks again,

    – Grant
    1 UP ON ME

  • Reply
    beta.max
    July 21, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Wish I had read this before uploading my tracks. Very good advice. Any idea how milestones are passed on artist accounts? Didn’t realize there were upload limits…

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    July 21, 2009 at 11:55 am

    It took me a minute to figure out what you meant by “milestones.” I had always called them “levels,” but the site’s terminology keeps changing. I assume it’s based on listens and hearts. Here’s the latest e-mail I got from t61:

    Dear Color Theory,

    Congratulations on hitting milestone #15 with a total of 7841.0 points! Since you’ve reached or past the 7th milestone, there is no limit to the number of songs you can upload.

    You currently have songs on thesixtyone:

    Monochrome (1557 hearts, 4 comments, hit the front page 3 days ago)
    Hypothetically (Rupesh Cartel Club Remix) (1319 hearts, 1 comments, hit the front page 3 months ago)
    Ponytail Girl (1424 hearts, 4 comments, hit the front page 1 month ago)
    Sagittarius (1386 hearts, 4 comments, hit the front page 2 months ago)
    Photobooth (930 hearts, 3 comments, hit the front page 4 months ago)
    If Not Now When (1800 hearts, 3 comments, hit the front page 2 months ago)
    Figured Out (1602 hearts, 5 comments, hit the front page 2 months ago)
    Zero Crossing (1147 hearts, 3 comments, hit the front page 2 months ago)
    We’re Not Getting Any Younger (1860 hearts, 12 comments, hit the front page 3 months ago)
    Leave in Silence (992 hearts, 3 comments, hit the front page 5 months ago)
    If It's My Time to Go (1486 hearts, 11 comments, hit the front page 3 months ago)

  • Reply
    XolinXI
    July 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    I understand. But what should I do if I’ve already started?

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 2, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I suppose it depends on how successful you’ve been. If your songs have less than, say, 50 hearts, and have completely stalled, you might delete them and start over. Otherwise you could just establish you listener account for awhile and then resume where you left off. Be honest with yourself though – if your music clearly isn’t in the top 10% of the genre, you probably won’t get much traction until it is.

  • Reply
    Feelin' Phill
    August 15, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Great advise, I am going to start over because I think I uploaded too many songs at once.

  • Reply
    Sampson Ohio
    August 19, 2009 at 4:17 am

    What does an artist need to do/earn to post more then 3 songs on T61? It’s not in their FAQ section, and they won’t answer my email questions.

  • Reply
    Jay
    August 19, 2009 at 5:13 am

    Sampson-
    You start out with the default maximum of 3 songs. As an artist, you will earn points from the hearts that your songs receive as well as the listeners you gain. As you reach certain point levels, you will progressively achieve ‘milestones’ or levels which allow you to upload additional tracks. I’m not certain as to how the point system works or what the formula is; like Brian, I recieve emails informing me on the new milestones I’ve achieved.

    So in short, in order for you to upload more than 3, you must reach the next milestone. If you haven’t recieved notification yet it means that your songs need to earn you some more points.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 19, 2009 at 6:48 am

    What Jay said! Once you reach level 7 or 8, you can uploaded as many tracks as you want. But first, they want to make sure there’s some interest in your music.

  • Reply
    Jo-Pete
    August 19, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    First off, t61 is awesome – I tell people about it all the time (but I still don’t think I’ll ever get that evangelist quest). Second, I love Color Theory. Third, please don’t delete your songs if you can help it. It generates bad will with the fans you most want on your side – the ones who gave your music a shot early-on. If you have any uploads left, wait for a week or two and post your best song. Hopefully that will get you enough attention to get you up over the limit for the next level and then you’re home free from there. If you do have to delete one, choose carefully and hope that nobody notices. But definitely do not delete all your songs – it’s a major bummer for the listeners not only because they lose points but because they can lose some of their favorite songs. By the same token, only upload over an existing song if it’s an obvious correction (oops I cut off the end). I have one artist who changed the song after I maxbumped it and the new version just doesn’t jive with me at all. Talk about a let-down.

    In general, artists will gain the most attention if they space the uploads out enough that one hits the homepage before the next one is uploaded. Of course some artists just don’t get the attention they deserve (okay, and some artists just really are bad, but I’m trying to be positive here) – I’ve had a couple of my favorites sit dead in the water at 80-100 hearts (about 1/5 of them from me!) and there’s not much you can do but blame it on poor timing or whatever twist of fate. The reason why it’s critical to get one on the homepage isn’t even because of the extra exposure (particularly since it seems that listeners all start on their “just for you” page now), it’s mostly because music discovery on t61 is most heavily influenced by two factors – artists you’ve already saved and songs your friends like. You want as many people as possible to like your first song so that they all get notification of your second song.

    One last thing. As mentioned a couple times, the site does change a lot. It’s a typical internet startup trying out new combinations. Don’t get too upset if the rules change in ways that don’t favor you so much. The change from bumps to hearts hurt me relative to other people because I don’t have the luxury of getting on every day. It’s okay, though, because ultimately it’s all about the music. Just remember what the goal of the site is and you’ll find that every change is geared around sharing and encouraging the enjoyment of music.

    Enjoy!

    -JP
    http://www.thesixtyone.com/#/petiejoe/

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom JP! A lot of good points there. I hadn’t considered the way deleting songs undercuts your most dedicated fans. Probably best to avoid it unless your page is a complete cricket chirper.

    By the way, I really appreciate your support on t61. You’re my top patron! I’ve earned $24 so far, $20 of which goes to t61. There’s a $25 payout threshold, which means I’ve got to earn another $21 before seeing a dime. Even if that never happens, it’s not a big deal. I’m just grateful that fans are committed enough to chip in financially.

    As for uploads, I took a break for awhile, but I’ve decided to slowly fill out my latest album and EP and then tag them for sale. Fans can already stream all my releases for free on Lala, so there’s no point in holding out. Success on t61 seems to be all about momentum, and I don’t plan to let mine die off again.

  • Reply
    Lex Zaleta
    August 25, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Excellent advice all around here!

    I’m curious if listeners are aware that artists cannot thank them for hearts if the listeners don’t save the songs too. It’s frustrating to type proper thank you notes only to find they cannot be sent, and it must be “disheartening” for listeners to give hearts to songs and not receive any acknowledgment.

    A second small point … it’s not possible to subscribe to someone, listen to his or her radio, and then leave a message that you just did that stuff. That person has to subscribe back to you before the walls open up. Is there a way around that?

    Lex

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 25, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Lex, I know that stuff can be frustrating, but on the whole I appreciate the protection from spam and gaming. I make a habit of leaving messages to the top supporters when a song they hearted hits the homepage. Every once in awhile the message doesn’t take for the reason you stated, but it’s rare. I guess listeners willing to dump 10 or more hearts on a song usually make it a favorite.

    As for your second point, are you talking about doing that from your artist or listener account? I guess either way, it’s good spam/gaming protection. It seems like it would be easy to make a bot that would scan pages, subscribe to the radio, and then leave a message. This way the recipient of said message has to “opt in” first.

  • Reply
    Lex Zaleta
    August 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I guess it’s a fair trade off, Brian. Sometimes, it gets overdone though. For example, SilentK “hearted,” commented on, and featured “No Napkins in Nashville,” but I still couldn’t thank him as an artist. I had to get to him from my listener page. All minor stuff … bottom line is that this is the best site out there for artists looking for listeners.

  • Reply
    carlos bertonatti
    September 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    hey Brian,
    I’m a brand new user..and today i was trying to reply to all the people that left me message son my page and only after 3 posts the site told me that my posting privilidges were temporarily dissabled…do you know why only after a few post (3 at the most) and what i have to do to be able to post again???
    i really appreciate the help
    C

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    September 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Carlos,

    It sounds like their bot protection kicked in. IMHO that’s a good thing – it prevents artists from copying and pasting all over the site. A pop-up should’ve warned you that you had two and then one more attempts before cutting you off. You should be able to post again tomorrow, perhaps earlier. Next time, try to vary the language of your comments.

  • Reply
    differentieel
    October 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    hi Brian,
    thnx for your comment on my account on T61. if i should be honest: T61 is one of the worst music websites if have seen lately. special the warnings, the strickt rules are from another century. those rules are based on power not on listening music. the more point you have the higher level you reach. does remind me of ideas developed in 1930 in old europe. and we all know what happened ten years later. yes, you understand me correctly. i am not a fan of T61.
    if you have a free choice of listening, visit my albums at last*fm on http://www.last.fm/music/differentieel/+albums
    anyway, thanks for all your efforts and happy listening.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    October 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I’m surprised to hear that! t61 is the only site I actively promote on now, and I’ve grown to love it more and more over time. The rules (it is supposed to be a game, after all) provide structure, clarity, and purpose that is missing from other sites. But what really makes t61 special is the sense of community. I know I’m not the only one feeling the love!

  • Reply
    differentieel
    October 4, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    let me be clear: it is the music that counts, not all the fuzz around.
    when you feel the love: that’s great! it should be that way.
    but why bully the artist?
    the artist delivers the content for the game.
    why give me a warning when i thank my listeners for there harts?
    dear listener Brian.
    i am 62 years on this planet. i like to make music, i like to share that music with you and with everyone that loves music. to everyone who likes t listen.
    it is absolute INSANE to bully me. i feel very very bad about it.

    dear listeners.
    please be so kind to free me from the systemlords of T61.
    start an action to make it possible to publish ALL of my music (and ALL of the music of my fellow artists) freely on T61 without all kinds of silly regulations.
    those regulations are not in the interest of the listeners,
    not in the interest of the artists,
    not in the interest of the systemlords (they prevent to have content).
    please make it clear to the systemlords that they have to show more respect for there content deliverers and stop those regulation for artists.

    on behalf of all my fellow artists thank you for your support.

  • Reply
    Jo-Pete Nelson
    October 4, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    differentieel:
    I disagree with you. The regulations are actually there to protect the listener. The owners of t61 have every interest in having as much good content as possible. That means that they set an arbitrary lower bound for how many people have to show interest in your music before you’re allowed to have unlimited uploads. It’s not really a very high threshold in the grand scheme of things, so if you’re falling short then you should rally your listeners and get them to promote your music. There are plenty of valid ways to promote music through t61 – it’s at its very heart a music sharing site.

    As for the warning for thanking your listeners, the listeners (whether they know it or not) have the option to allow you to leave comments. Have you considered that maybe some of your listeners don’t want to receive 30 messages a day from artists they’re not interested in “favoriting”? Hearts mean different things to different people – I’m not really interested in getting a canned thank you for every heart I leave (I heart about 30 songs each day). If I were you, I’d hold off on the “thank you” until you notice that the same person has hearted more than one of your songs. That means something to me when an artist makes note of me hearting two different songs.

    “the more point you have the higher level you reach. does remind me of ideas developed in 1930 in old europe. and we all know what happened ten years later. yes, you understand me correctly. i am not a fan of T61.
    if you have a free choice of listening, visit my albums at last*fm ”

    no, the concept is reminiscent of video games in the late 80’s through the present. Last.fm serves a great purpose for me – it keeps track of music I listen to and makes various recommendations (I especially like that they tell me when my favorite artists are playing locally because they know who my favorite artists are). But Last.fm really sucks for music discovery. They have some mappings for “based on your past music interests, you may also be interested in…” but that doesn’t do anything for showing me cool new kinds of music. And because they only have a small percentage of music posted, their charts aren’t very helpful for finding new music. I tried using last.fm radio stations for a while, but I could never actually play the songs that _I_ wanted to play and they had all kinds of restrictions for how many times I could hit skip and whether I could play a song twice in a row and stuff like that. Talk about silly regulations and letting the rules get in the way of the music.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    October 5, 2009 at 7:23 am

    In my opinion, filters are responsible for the success of the site. They narrow the listeners’ focus to the tracks they are most likely to enjoy. Take away the filters and we’re left with MySpace.

    As for the freedom to upload more songs, the bar isn’t astronomical. I’ve spent the last couple months mixing the debut Rain Rain album. She posted two of the songs we finished on t61. Both were well received, and now she can post as many as she wants. If people enjoy the music, the artist can post more songs. If people don’t enjoy the music, there’s no reason for the artist to post more songs.

  • Reply
    stephenmcaines
    October 10, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Hey, Brian, many, many thanks for this link – really interesting reading, and it’s good to hear how much fun thesixtyone can be… cheers,
    SMC/Spirit of Play

  • Reply
    gylepomp
    October 10, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thank you Brian for the introduction, but it were better to read it before joining. Think, I made all wrong too, but however I´m glad to have found this friendly community an,d I ´ll try to ounderstand and dipscover it ;-).
    btw: what is RB?
    cheers G.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    October 11, 2009 at 9:06 am

    RB is short for “radio bump.” It means you went to a listener’s page and listened to their radio, which helps them reach the “disc jockey” achievement.

    Looking at my listener profile, it says I have 139 listens. The other day, someone posted “radio bump 137” and the song name, so I suppose listening to that song made them my listener #137. So far so good. The confusing thing is I have the level 2 disc jockey achievement, for 250 listens. Hmm…

  • Reply
    pablotee
    October 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    well well , that’s alot of varied comments… i would like to commend you on the ‘system’ – over the last few years a number of us have attempted to relay the ‘rules’ however the dreaded ‘mass post warning’ thingy reared its ugly head and put a stop to that.after the first 6 months there was a mass purging of listeners and artists (some good,some bad).also there used to be a more personilized feeling then more and more regs. began pissing off some and i suppose when the ‘hearting’ thing began it was the last straw for others.personally alot of the games and rules i find very irritating although i continue ‘playing’ (out of spite?i dunno-we used to have a fantastic forum and comment section but the mysterious sam and dave nixed it all) ultimately it still is a great site to hear new music (albeit some really good and woah woah woah some really bad)
    ciao fer now , glad someone is trying to keep the ball rolling,pablo

  • Reply
    Pete Smith
    October 28, 2009 at 5:41 am

    Just signed up toT61….. site looks interesting. When I find a little more time I will get to know a few people and start posting.

  • Reply
    Pitch Twit
    December 5, 2009 at 3:09 am

    I wish I’d read this before putting me tunes up – when will I ever learn!

    Thanks for the article,

    ptwit

  • Reply
    Eric Steffensen
    January 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Like Pitch, I wish I too had read this before I had joined the site.

    From what I can tell, the T61 algorithm punishes artists who have hearted songs from their listener accounts, reducing the amount of points a song can accumulate which sucks for the listeners who heart that artist’s songs because they can’t earn as many rep points, and also sucks for the artist because it’s harder to reach the homepage and harder to level up.

    Do you have any advice for artists who have been punished by the algorithm? The fans I’ve talked to seem don’t like the idea of artists deleting tracks at all…and I’ve got a feeling that even creating a new artist page won’t help much.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    January 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I never hearted my own songs, except once as an experiment long after the algorithm kicked in for me. Personally, I’m skeptical that hearting from one’s listener account or IP address makes a difference. In my case, songs would consistently hit the homepage after 24-48 hours of posting, then all of a sudden, nothing. None of my songs have hit since, even though one has topped 1,200 hearts! Still, I’m not complaining. They can run their site however they want to, and my listener count continues to rise.

    btw, Pitch seems to be doing very well!

  • Reply
    Joe Armani
    January 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hey Brian, I posted music on the sixtyone for the first time 2 days ago…I love the site, just didn’t understand it until now! Thanks!!!

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    January 5, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    My pleasure! I’m hearting your new one right now. 🙂

  • Reply
    Toby Charlwood
    January 6, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Brian,

    Very interesting! We’ll give this a go and keep you posted!

    Many thanks
    Toby
    http://www.er36.com

  • Reply
    Toby Charlwood
    January 10, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Well, 3 days into this and we’re off to a very good start, thanks largely to Brian’s potted guide here.

    I’ve generally found it to be a far better process than Jango. It’s “free” except that as Brian says, it takes considerable time, patience and commitment. But it’s also genuinely interesting and fun.

    I hate to be regimented by rules but I can see that on T61 they are really an education process for the site in addition to a filter for those passing by hoping for a quick result. So I can see that this makes perfect sense.

    Having tried LastFM, Jango and T61 I’d go for T61 every time and if I change my view over the weeks ahead I’ll come back here and say so.

    Not that it’s in the spirit of T61, but we’ve sold more music via T61 in the 24 hours after loading up our first track than we did in months on Jango. So that’s a real encouragement. Having said that, the numbers aren’t huge. I can only correlate one CD sale to Jango so this wasn’t hard to beat!

    Thanks again Brian, you’ve made a big difference.
    Toby

  • Reply
    Thomas Louis
    January 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Thanks for the great tip. I joined T61 first as an artists, but after reading your post I created a listener account and now I really get to see what the site is all about. I haven’t started promoting my artist page as a listener quite yet, but I’ll probably try that as well. I think T61 is the best music community site out there. You never know what you’ll find next.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    January 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

    The site redesign went up last night, and my initial feeling is that it’s a huge step backwards both in usability and music discovery. We can still access the old site at http://old.thesixtyone.com. For now, login only works at https://old.thesixtyone.com. My browser gave me a warning before letting me access that URL, but it’s safe.

    Their new “etiquette” section has a couple interesting clarifications. Among other things, it says DON’T:

    1. Heart or revive music you’ve uploaded. [okay, so now it’s official]

    2. Complain why your song isn’t on the homepage. It’s cool that you’re passionate – it’s the defining characteristic of an artist – but this attitude makes you look insecure and/or jealous. Take a deep breath and let your work speak for itself. [in other words, don’t complain about the algorithm, fair or not!]

  • Reply
    Jo-Pete
    January 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks for the tip for the old url. I was online when they made the flip to the new site and while it looks flashy with lots of stuff moving around, I agree that it is definitely a few steps backward in terms of usability. I tried to find the feedback page to report a couple IE8 bugs, but it was nowhere to be found.

  • Reply
    ViVi
    April 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Hi!

    Does anyone know how to delete a thesixtyone account?

    The site is hopeless and I’m not using it.

    Thanks/ ViVi

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    April 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Unless you want to make a “protest vote,” I see no reason not to leave your stuff up. I still get occasional comments on my songs, so they’re reaching new people.

    But to answer your question, I don’t see any way to delete your account. I guess you’d have to use the feedback form?

  • Reply
    rritz
    May 1, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Hello all of you out there. I read your post coming along from the MTT site and thought, this sounds great. I signed up as a listener right away.
    But I can´t make head or tails of this site. I don´t understand the way the music is sorted and selected. I tried to find some music I liked. At the moment this is hard rock. I tried the rocky mood. I tried to set filters in my account so they give me rock music to listen to. Actually I got French chanson with accordions, jazz, electro, dub and some singer / songwriter. Maybe there´s no rock up on the site? I don´t think I´ll ever find out.
    I stayed a really long time trying to find something. Not one of the songs was interesting at all.
    When I explore music, I want to find something that hits me emotionally and goes with my mood. I don´t want to listen to tons of music in shalala style if I am in a hard metal mood.
    So what is the point of this site really? I don´t get it.
    You wrote “Select your genre in the right hand column” What right hand column? Where is it?
    “Explore profiles to find listeners with similar tastes.” Where are the profiles? I can search a listener by name, but how to browse by taste? Never found anything to help me search other listeners and sort by musical taste.
    “Explore them under social>listener groups” Now where might this “social ” be situated? I never found it.
    This is easily the best site to get the listener frustrated in short time.

  • Reply
    Lex Zaleta
    May 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Hey, Rritz!

    All of those really fine features you are looking for were on the old 61. All of those features that are frustrating you now are what the site owners deem dazzling improvements. Most of the best artists and listeners have abandoned this mess, this wasteland that was once the most vibrant music community online. It would have been easy to maintain the best of the old site while adding the glitz, and that would have kept the old guard at 61 and attracted tons of new artists and listeners who would become long-term loyal members … but what do I know … – Lex –

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    May 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Unfortunately very little of what I laid out in the article applies to the site in its current form. Most of the social stuff is gone, and it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. Its really meant for music discovery alone now. 🙁

  • Reply
    rritz
    May 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Brian,
    wow this site really lives. Two comments in under one hour.
    Sorry I only read the follow up later, finding that there was a old site where all the features were to be found. I looked at the old site only afterwards.

    Anyway let me say thank you for all the work you put into sharing your expperience. I just read all about Jango and Taxi and it was great help deciding against them both.
    I tried a few promo sites myself, not mentioned here: iSound, Soundclick, Purevolume, Reverbnation and garageband. I usually create an account, find a some 100 bands out there I like, add them and then let the site take care of itself. It´s not too much work and it pays a little. The only site that is quite different is garageband. I enjoy doing reviews! You get to hear lots of good music too.
    As I am also promoting a Christian artist I will mention this site: indiegospel.org
    It´s a small community of about 350 members. Still I have made more sales through Indiegospel that any other site. There´s nothing like targeted audience.
    I was thinking about setting up some sites of my own, like rocktheworld or newblues. Maybe they are out there already and I just haven´t found them. But thinking about setting up and administrating a website like that just tires me out. ..

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    May 2, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Apparently Lex was typing at the same time and beat me to the punch!

    Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you’ve found the articles useful. I’m also on iSound, Soundclick, PureVolume, and GarageBand, but never felt they warranted an article. They’ve never done anything for me, so I rarely if ever go to those sites anymore. A lot of people advise getting your music everywhere, but for my sanity’s sake I prefer to target the handful of most promising leads.

  • Reply
    Lex Zaleta
    May 2, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Hi, Brian!

    I’ve been on most of these online music sites since way back in the days of Tonos. Two things have held true through the years: (1) almost every site boils down to artists trying to promote to other artists, a fruitless venture; and (2) most of these sites hit a popularity peak and then stagnate or die. To me, building and maintaining your own site seems to be the safest way to go. Use the other OMDs as lead-ins to your site, but don’t depend on them to promote you (or even stay in business). You control your content and direction that way, and misguided management (like t61’s) cannot derail you. – Lex –

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    May 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Your own .com site and mailing list should be your foundation. The vast majority of my promotional efforts on other sites are efforts to push traffic to colortheory.com.

  • Reply
    rritz
    May 3, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Hi Lex,

    while I agree with part (2) of your sentence I dont agree with (1).
    I found it not fruitless to try to promote to other artists, on the contrary. I get response and true fanship from musicians and artists. And how do you know that the listener on your homepage or attending your show isn´t an artist too. So he came to leave some flyers for his own show? He came to leave a comment, that you should check out his music? Well no matter why he came, give him a reason to stay … and although he´s bent on his task, maybe he´ll stay or come back later.
    It´s true that there are artists, who put up an account and then go in for promo not looking right or left, and not taking an interest in other artists. But there are more who do take an interest. Because if you are serious about finding your targeted audience you cannot help listening to other people´s music, or at least, that´s my experience.
    On Soundclick I found lots of hobby, semi pro and pro musicians, who were interested, ready to buy, serious about getting and keeping in touch. And while I do my promotion, so do I get serious about getting in touch with bands I like.
    I also agree with Brian: “for my sanity’s sake I prefer to target the handful of most promising leads”
    that´s what I do too. But though you wrote a success story about ReverbNation in one of your blogs, I couldn´t make this site work for me. I put more effort into it than any other site, but so far I haven´t even generated visitors on my site, let alone plays or fans, and so obviously no sales. On Soundclick and iSound on the other hand, I have generated sales.
    So I think you can´t say offhand, this site works, this wont.
    You´ll just have to find out, which site will work for you and your band. It may be luck, or being in the right place at the right time. Who knows. So I judge these sites purely personal and emotionally, like : do I like the look and layout, do I like the way provided to get in touch with other people, what can I do for free here, how much does the site slow up my computer, how easy is it to find the right genre for my bands, how easy is it to find music that I like, … I haven´t been too far wrong, though of course it´s a lot of trial and error.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    May 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    True. I bet you could find a way to promote effectively on almost any site, big or small. It’s all technique and persistence. I haven’t focused on Soundclick since 2002. I know because my 2002 album is the one being discussed in my bio there. 🙂

  • Reply
    ng
    June 20, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Thanks for the ongoing commentary with this. Remarkable. Let us know if T61 gets their heads out of their butts!

  • Reply
    Loon
    August 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    For anyone who still cares the site seems totally dead.
    I tried to stick it out but as there is no one to talk to and share music with it is just redundant.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 23, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve posted a couple of songs from my new album, and I’m not getting much traction out of them. They’re stalling out at 200-300 hearts, where they used to get 1000+ in the first 24 hours. Other than a couple tips and comments, I’m not seeing much action. I only bother to check in once a week.

  • Reply
    Loon
    August 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I started a new venture and I’m getting sweet FA. Uvumi (which is the supposed alternative) is also pretty dead.
    Although Jamendo, which I also recently started seems to have a bit more life in it.

  • Reply
    MusicMissionary
    September 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Brian, I have a couple of suggestions. First, maybe you could put a note at the top of the article stating that it pertains to the old version of TheSixtyOne? I noticed someone in the comments got excited by the description and then went in and got confused by their redesign.

    Second, would you consider doing an update on T61? It’s been a while since their redesign and I’m curious about how it has worked for you as an artist. Is it worthwhile to stay there if you already had tunes on the site? Would it be worthwhile for a new artist to put songs there? Despite how bad the site ticked me off, I would probably advise an artist to stick. You might not reach as many people as before, but you might reach a few extra people, which is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

    Also I’m curious what you think they might have been trying to do. Whatever it was, doesn’t look like it worked, but then again I might not be seeing the whole picture. Maybe it’s less fun for music explorers and less beneficial for artists, but they’re somehow making money or have the potential to do so.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      September 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Great ideas! I’ll definitely at least put a note at the top.I’m still uploading new songs periodically when I post them on colortheory.com, because it takes all of 5 minutes. My latest has 325 hearts after three weeks, so there’s still an audience there to reach.As to what they were trying to accomplish with the redesign, my guess is it was another step towards profitability. Perhaps it only makes sense in a larger context that we’ll never fully understand.

      • Reply
        Sam Page
        October 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

        “Perhaps it only makes sense in a larger context that we’ll never fully understand.”

        Awesome statement. Great articles and commentary on this site.

  • Reply
    matt wheeler
    September 27, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I read this entire article today, having only just discovered it. It’s indeed a bummer to find that things have changed since it was originally written. I too would be interested in a followup either from the author or another commenter.

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      September 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I don’t think the new iteration of the site deserves a full write-up. The process comes down to: 1) Upload, 2) Cross Fingers.

      • Reply
        matt wheeler
        September 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I shall practice my finger crossing exercises.

      • Reply
        W00dzy33
        October 1, 2010 at 3:40 am

        In other words, what’s already been pointed out: the community and social networking aspects are now dead. I think it’s basically just an online radio now. Kind of like Pandora but without the fancy algorithm.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    October 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    t61 may be dead to us, but Electro Freaks are still going strong.

  • Reply
    Mick Merrifield
    February 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    promotion , promotion, promotion. thanks for the above wise words.

  • Reply
    Skulastic See
    August 13, 2013 at 3:44 am

    did I just join the wrong site, I do not see a "social" tab anywhere.

  • Reply
    Skulastic See
    August 13, 2013 at 3:54 am

    there is actually two sites a new the sixty one.com and a "old" the sixty one.com.

  • Reply
    Brian Hazard
    August 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Two views of the same site.

  • Reply
    Knowledge Gonzalez
    January 10, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    just found this post…. i uploaded a few days ago and have yet to have 1 listen, i feel like im missing something, is there a way to promo it or…. im not getting it fully…..

    • Reply
      Brian Hazard
      January 13, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      The last few tracks I’ve uploaded have earned a disappointing couple hundred hearts each, which is negligible to me. Still, the algorithm is obviously being a lot more generous to me than it is to you! I don’t know of any way to get more plays, other than sharing the link on social media. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the bother. Better to just put the tracks on SoundCloud and YouTube IMHO.

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