Synthesia Music Store

Archived development update discussion from past versions
Archived development updates.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

jimhenry wrote:The history of compulsory licenses is sort of interesting...
That was really cool. I hadn't heard a lot of that background. Thanks for sharing!
proxima wrote:Ah, I've read about [Limelight]. It sounds like a pretty nice service...
Yeah, there are a few others but the company owned by Google (Limelight by RightsFlow by Google) that handles licensing for YouTube seemed like a pretty safe bet. Their pricing is the best I've seen, too.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

MUSIC STORE: synthesiagame.com/store

Just pushed an update with the following changes:
  • Arrangements now include a rough difficulty approximation and instrument list.
  • Pressing Enter in the search box will no longer reset the search.
  • Suggestion page now has a "shortcut" question at the very beginning of the questionnaire.
  • Diacritic marks are now stripped from download file names.
  • Hovering over the column headers on the main song page now shows a hand icon.
Still not finished: order history resending and buying gift cards.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1821

Post by jimhenry »

Yay for difficulty indications. Would be nice if they were in columns on the main song page so you could organize the page by difficulty. For songs with different difficulties for two versions, you probably could rank them by the average of the two--Easy/Easy = 1, Medium/Medium = 2, Easy/Medium = 1.5.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

Yeah, the very moment I started testing it with the difficulties in there, I wanted to see them on the main store page too.

I'm trying super hard to keep that list simple, but it also seems like showing the number of arrangements included would add a lot of context for the pricing.

EDIT: I also had my music guy give me the difficulties using the metadata scale (1 to 100) so they could be used in Synthesia. The store uses the same numbers and only converts to Easy/Medium/Hard text at the last second, so averaging the difficulty of each arrangement can be more accurate than only having three gradations.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

MUSIC STORE: synthesiagame.com/store

Another small update:
  • Difficulty is shown for each arrangement on the main song list.
  • Typing a difficulty name (easy/medium/hard) into the search box will filter the list to only those with arrangements of that difficulty.
  • The new column sorts by the average difficulty of all included arrangements!
I like that solution! Instead of two separate columns, you're getting an implicit arrangement count by virtue of listing each difficulty. A graceful solution that also makes the page a little more visually interesting.

Sorting by price now has the intended effect. You can see right away that the lower priced songs include fewer arrangements.
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stephenhazel
Posts: 223

Post by stephenhazel »

This store thing is pretty incredible. I'm looking forward to it A LOT !!
(And will point everybody I run across to it.)

So my first question is how do you determine that difficulty value?
I mean, easy isn't too hard to determine. But there is a moooonster range
between medium and hard.

I don't think I'd call any of those songs hard when a ton of great
classical music pieces completely dwarf all of those songs.
I mean, I'm learning Claire De Lune now (still!!) and I've learned "A Thousand Miles".
An intermediate player like, say, me, could have A Thousand Miles
down in, oh, a month. But Claire De Lune will take at LEAST 6 months (9 so far).

Do you have some kinda formula like you do with song scoring or somethin?
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

So, I suspect this won't be a very satisfying answer... ;)

I asked my music arranger "Hey, go through each of those and rate them 1-100 where 100 is the hardest thing you could ever imagine creating for the store". :lol:

We explicitly decided we weren't going to count the crazy classical pieces. In order to have a meaningful range (instead of every song listed as "Easy") it made more sense to keep it in terms of the store's audience. Synthesia has always attracted players that are primarily in the beginner to intermediate category, so ideally a song listed as "Hard" should be challenging for an intermediate player.

In terms of the ranking algorithm, I deferred to his judgement. My arranger (let's call him Matt) has been scoring and arranging music for as long as I've known him (15 years). We've had a few discussions about my thoughts re: automatic difficulty assignment in the past and each time I've learned that he still knows a lot more about music than I do!

As soon as he sat down to start assigning difficulties he remarked "you know, people are going to disagree with these" and I replied "I'm sure they will!" :lol: In this case, I believe having something there is a lot better than nothing. I'm happy to adjust things once feedback starts coming in.
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stephenhazel
Posts: 223

Post by stephenhazel »

> So, I suspect this won't be a very satisfying answer...

Actually, that does make pretty good sense.

As it's almost impossible to truly rate difficulty, I guess if you limit the songs
to "just pop" (which is probably perfectly ok), then just a simple stab at
easy/medium/hard should be fine.

You may end up with some songs moving from medium to hard (and visa versa).
But, eh, that should be ok.

Ok, I'm good. My only request is to give us post 30 yr olds some good pop, too :)
"A Thousand Miles" is pretty decent. But I already learned it.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

The launch set is a little heavier on the most recent pop. (If there was going to be any ambulance chasing of iTunes' top 100 list, it made sense to release them first.) The rest of the backlog has more from the 60's-90's.

And like I mentioned a few days ago, some of my personal interests are going to (inadvertently?) bias the store towards things like video game themes. Already in the backlog: a five arrangement bundle from old Square-Enix RPGs. "To Zanarkand" seemed a little too obvious, so we went for slightly less ubiquitous themes.

Lots of room for all sorts of content.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

MUSIC STORE: synthesiagame.com/store
  • "Order history" link at the bottom of the main page that will resend all your orders.
Still missing: gift cards and a neat promotion involving the "Dreamy Piano" song from the front-page video.
proxima
Posts: 9

Post by proxima »

If the music has been scored 1-100, a simple 1-10 score seems to strike a nice balance between artificial specificity and three coarse ratings.

As for showing this cleanly and concisely on the main page, how about a vertical bars with different heights (and color-coded, e.g. easy = {light green, medium green, dark green}, medium = {light yellow, medium yellow, dark yellow}, etc. for 1-10.)
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

I picked 1-100 for the internal representation because that's the same scale Synthesia's metadata files use. This way I can reuse those numbers in-game, too (where the difficulty bar has 10 increasingly large slivers that go from green to red).

As for showing finer gradations in the music store, once we're really sure those ratings are accurate, that will make a lot of sense. For now, I want to wait and see if even the super-coarse 1-3 rating is accurate.
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

MUSIC STORE: synthesiagame.com/store
  • "Gift card" link at the bottom of the main page where you can purchase a gift card code for friends and family.
(This is getting a little ridiculous making one of these posts each time I add a single thing. :lol: )

The last thing I want to add before going "live" (that is, adding a button on the front page of the site) is a neat promotion involving that "Dreamy Piano" song from the front-page video. It's going to be something like Amazon's Super Saver shipping: spend $5 or more and get that song for free. It's a really nice arrangement from the section of the song that appears in the video. That special feature will be the ONLY way to obtain the song!

I just kicked off the licensing request. Once the licenses come back and I add the song to the store, I'll be walking through the handful of orders that have already been placed and adding it where it belongs so you early testers don't miss out.
Raymond
Posts: 528

Post by Raymond »

Will it be $5 at once, or $5 total from email? (hopefully promo-codes count :lol: )

Also is there a RSS feed to watch for new songs?
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

$5 at once! :lol:

As for using the total before/after promo codes, I'm still thinking about it. The reason for the promotion is to encourage people to stay away from very, very small payments where the payment processors end up eating a huge percent of the payment.

To give you an idea, buying one of the $0.99 songs by itself usually only ends up being around $0.66 after processor fees on my side. Then, consider the mechanical license costs another 9.1 cents and you're down to $0.57 or almost half gone!

That said, it would be kind of strange if you were about to get a cool reward, but then lost out on it because you were paying with a gift card. I generally try to always have things go in the user's favor, so I expect it'll use order total before promotions.

An RSS feed is a great idea. Right now the mailing list or the @SynthesiaLLC Twitter accounts are the only way (outside of checking back each week). I personally have a seething hatred for mailing lists, so I really like the idea of providing a feed. Just added it to my list. Another alternative: the release schedule will be timed and predictable, so you should be able to check first thing in the morning of release day each week... once I decide which day is release day.
Raymond
Posts: 528

Post by Raymond »

I figured it would be something like that. I guess Ill have to wait until there are $5 worth of songs I want. ;)


I am following @SynthsiaLLC and @SynthesiaDev. I find it helpful to have RSS. So I don't feel like I have to check it every day, just when I want some info off it. That and RSS doesn't generally need you to do anything, so you get stuff faster. :D
Nicholas
Posts: 12471

Post by Nicholas »

How would you feel about it being included in the "Synthesia News" RSS feed? Maybe just one post a month. I try to be really conscientious about not spamming people's inboxes. Once a week... maybe isn't that bad, I don't know. Historically that feed is very low volume. Something like one new entry every six months.

Still, piggybacking on that feed means there would be less fragmentation. Similarly, on the Twitter side, I consider merging @Synthesia and @SynthesiaDev all the time. For the culture you find inside Twitter, even SynthesiaDev's volume is still low enough that merging them doesn't feel like it'd be a hassle for the @Synthesia folks.
Raymond
Posts: 528

Post by Raymond »

Ya 'Synthesia News' doesn't get too many posts. Than you have new program versions and new songs in one feed. Witch makes sense. ;)

Edit:
I wouldn't merge @Synthesia with @SynthesiaDev because you don't want everyone to grab the previews, some people will get them just because they have more features, then complain about bugs.
revilo2
Posts: 115

Post by revilo2 »

It would be cool if there was a pdf file of the song included.
kiwi
Synthesia Donor
Posts: 1178

Post by kiwi »

Ok i have take the time too try the songs from the store.
I think some only piano songs needs to have some markers.

A pitch info at the song tittle screen would be good too (eg:canon tonanilty Am)

And sometimes a bad choice for instruments midi sound.

Other than that arrangement and fingering are really nice :)

Does it be possible to coloring the markers with many colors?
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