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Dial It In

Tonight we release a few much-anticipated updates to the Blip.fm community. Bear with us as we get the servers ready for world domination. While you’re waiting for the site to open back up, the following will give you a little rundown of what we’re doing right now. BUT: Because I completely forgot to write this blog entry before scheduling the update, I’m going to give you one feature at a time, while simultaneously running update scripts and checking for last-minute bugs. Yes, I’m that good. I hope.

1) The Fabled TagTuner
Fabled you say? I just looked it up in the dictionary widget, and a “fable” a short story with animals and a moral. So I guess it’s not really “fabled”, but more like just “awesome”. Right, so, the TagTuner will debut on the “All DJs” page (http://blip.fm/all), allowing you to filter the overwhelming stream of blips by any combination of artist, genres, and hashtags (those #special #keywords like on Twitter). You can save tag presets for easy access, and easily select whichever one you want. This is huge because it lets you discover both new DJs and new music based on your
criteria, and you can change it up to fit your mood.

2) Achievement Badges
At Blip.fm being an active blipper is a very good thing, and we think you should be rewarded for your time spent avoiding the pile of work on your desk. That’s why we’ve come up with an initial set of–hang on, let me count them. Twelve?–12 Badges. Some of them are pretty easy to earn… for level one anyway. Most have at least three ranks you can achieve, and you can read all about how to get the full set of them. We’ll be adding more as we think of them, so don’t think this is the end of it! The icons were created by a badass designer out of Brazil, Everaldo Coelho with Yellow Icon Studios.

For those of you who helped us beta test these new features, we’ve given you a special “beta tester” badge. There’s also one only for those of you who were using Blip.fm back in the early days, back when we were just getting started. Thanks for that.

3) Quick Add/Props
This is a power user feature that has been requested for a while now. Instead of having to go to a DJ’s profile page to add them as a favorite or give props, just roll over any user icon in the blipstream. You’ll see a little bubble menu pop up that gives quick access to the two most often used user actions. Hopefully you’ll stop emailing us about this now. Just kidding, we love you.

4) Block DJ
Ditch the stalkers. ‘Nuff said. OK, a little more could be said. You block them by going to their profile page, and selecting “Block User” from the actions menu (at the bottom right of the info box containing the user info. It has a gear icon on it. You can’t miss it).

5) Weekly Update Emails
We’ll let you know all about what’s been going down at Blip.fm as it pertains to you. We send a condensed weekly email containing the total number of props you’ve received, including the people who sent you the most props, your latest listeners and what they blipped, and the top five blipped tracks of the week. There might be some more stuff in it too, but I forget what it is right now.

6) Better Facebook
We’ve slightly modified the Facebook integration to include the YouTube video or embed a little player whenever possible, so you can hear the song right in your Facebook feed. We figure it’s a helluva lot cooler to be able to hear the music right away. We think you’ll think so too.

There’s probably a few more things in there. We’ve definitely sped up the page load a bit, and fixed a few bugs in the process. The next update to this blog entry will be to let you know that the site is back online. Right now we’re just waiting for all the blips to be processed for the new artist/genre/hash tagging system and we’ll be back. Something like 1.5 million blips in the last couple weeks left to process. Not bad guys.

We heart you.

UPDATE: We’re live again :) Sorry to make you wait so long. The TagTuner will get better with age, so start blipping now and blip often!

Mainenance: Debut of the TagTuner and Badges

We’re updating the beta site (http://beta.blip.fm) with some huge new features. Details to come after we get the site back online… hang in there, you’re going to like what you see!

All of these features will be on the beta site while we work out all the bugs. We’ll be acknowledging the people who help us squash the bugs, so make sure to send us your feedback!

#1: The TagTuner
This is a big deal in terms of music and DJ discovery. Now instead of sifting through all the noise on the “All Blips” page we make it easy to tune into the music that you want to hear. You are presented with a tag cloud of recent trending topics (broken down into hashtags, artists, and genres). When you select tags, only blips that match those categories will filter through to your blipstream. If you want to hear U2, Madonna and Acid Jazz right now, you got it. Nobody else does this. In fact, we have a patent pending on the concept.

#2: Badges
We’ve been seeing a ton of people do extraordinary things on Blip.fm. Some people find the best music before anyone else, others know how to work the crowd, some DJs get props from tens of thousands of listeners, then there’s the guys that blip all day everyday. We wanted to do something to let you guys show off a bit. After this update, you’ll see a box in the right column with the different badges that you can earn for reaching certain achievements. Some of them are pretty easy to get, others will take a bit more work. We plan to keep coming up with new badges as time goes on, so if you have any ideas for something awesome, send it our way.

NOTE: We’re going to reset these badges once we push all these updates to the main site, so that everyone can start out on a level playing field. Don’t worry though, for helping us work out the kinks you’re going to get something that can’t be got otherwise.

#3: DJ Quick Add/Props
Add any DJ to your favorites or give them props without having to go to their profile page. This is something we’ve had lots of requests for.

#4: Block DJ
Prevent a DJ from sending you @replies and adding you as a favorite DJ. You’ll never see their blips in your personalized blipstream again.

#5: Weekly Update Emails
This one you might not get to see for a little while, until we push the stuff to the main site, but it’s rad. Every week we’ll send you an email with the activity that’s happened over the past seven days (who’s given you props, reblips, new listeners, etc.).

#6: Faster Page Loads
We’re going to spend the next few weeks trying to get your pages loading and playing music super fast. This should be incremental if you use the beta site, so it should keep getting faster as we tweak things.

-ian

Visualize The Difference

Thanks @evablue for putting together this diagram of the new UI updates. It makes the transition a little easier for anyone looking for things that might have been moved around a bit.

New Blip.fm Interface Features (Oct 2009)
(Flickr Photo)

Shiny! New UI

Today we give Blip.fm a bit of a facelift. We’ve reworked the current feature set to make everything simpler, faster, and cleaner. There’s not a whole lot of *new* stuff in this update, but you’ll notice that all the existing functionality is just more refined.

Under the hood there’s a lot going on, and it’s getting us ready for a big set of new features we’ve already started working on. Here’s a partial list of what’s been changed:

  • Simplified top-level menu to get you to the three main streams (everyone, your favorite DJs, and yours)
  • Easy access to all your stats and pages at the top right of every page
  • Continuous scrolling for each station (eventually it’ll be continuous play throughout the entire site)
  • Easily pause / resume the blipstream (auto-update when new blips are available)
  • Easily add and toggle social networks you send notifications to on a blip-by-blip basis
  • Sort favorite djs and listeners by last blip, by date added, and alphabetically
  • Bandwith-limited users can now easily skip video blips
  • Improved profile page
  • Improved site performance

We’ve been testing this new UI at our beta site http://beta.blip.fm and taking feedback from users (email beta@blip.fm). It’s been a great way to let everyone check out the changes and keep us in the loop regarding what work and what doesn’t. In fact, the system has had such a positive response that we’re going to continue to push new stuff out to http://beta.blip.fm and let interested parties bang on the wheels before pushing it live.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback for this set of updates. We’ve gone through several rounds of changes and we’re pretty excited to let this loose on the masses. Don’t worry, we’re not taking any breathers either, we’ve already begun the next round of features. This next round is going to bring new features to both DJs and listeners.

Blip.fm Planning New SuperShop Experience

As a result of the recent unexpected closure of our merchandise partner, Blip.fm will be developing an even better store that will offer new services and fresh goodies sure to please blippers far and wide!

We apologize for the inconvenience this closure poses for those of you in the Bliposphere who currently have outstanding orders. We want to assure you that we are working very closely with our former partner to get your orders filled as soon as possible, or secure a 100% refund. We will be in touch with each of you over the coming days to give you a status report.

Though the circumstances were beyond our control, we take great pride in being responsive and supportive of you, our valued Blip.fm community members, and will take this opportunity to build an even better experience! We will keep you posted on when the new SuperShop will be launching.

If you have any questions about your order, you know where to reach us: support@blip.fm

Stay tuned and thanks for your patience!

The Blip.fm Team