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View Profile IoTheEternal
I am Io - the eternal. Hey guys, the names Shawn, but you may remember me by my old account. I have been submitting music to this site since 2003, and I have hundreds of songs and artworks. I hope to return and to bring the era of fun back to newgrounds

@IoTheEternal

34, Male

Systems Designer

Ontario

12/21/14

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We need to fix the audio portal

Posted by IoTheEternal - 6 days ago


So I returned after 4 years (I have been submitting to newgrounds audio portal since 2003 under a different account) to find the audio portal in complete shambles. I learned that it all stemmed from the 2012 redesign. 

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It was a chain reaction from changing the listening system which deprived listeners from the ability to vote, rate, and in some cases like the radio player, to even get to the songs page.. so all people did was listen, everyone fived themselves, crap stayed at the top of the charts, people stopped checking the charts and nobody rated anything or reviewed anything for 6 goddamn years. It was basically a wasteland.. people stopped getting the constructive feedback, and felt like they were just eternally submitting to an unlistening populace and so they slowly left, one by one.

This left the inexperienced people to just keep submitting inexperienced songs, badly mastered (sorry who am I kidding , not mastered at all - most aren't even aware what proper mastering or proper mixing is), badly composed music, with literally nobody telling them their songs were bad or rating them honestly. Thus over time people tried less and less and the portal was flung back into 2003 era dark ages of just utter crap, but while the portal was young back then and the songs were few, and the people were just starting out, this is a regression with millions of pages and no good excuse.

This is what happens, imo, when people who do not understand how the system works try to change things, but don't do it efficiently with the chart system in mind.

At this point the only way to fix things (without rehauling the system again) is the manual method - go through the charts, rate honestly, review honestly and get people collaborating and cross listening - the views go up - the rates go up - bad music goes down good music goes up. The problem isn't the portal in the end - it's people who are too focused on their selfish little musical silos and not focused on bettering the community.

What a novel concept - things change for the better when you actually CARE about other people, and not just about yourself.

 

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So here is my proposed system to manually fix the portal:

1) Don't have a lot of views? Not being seen? Feel ignored? Try reviewing other peoples songs - reviewing other people lets them know that you exist, and they may just check your music out, if you review enough of their music, and who knows, you may get some rates from them, some reviews back, and maybe even start to get a following! People who follow you will get notifications of your new songs on the main page of newgrounds - so treat reviewing people and getting followers like catching pokemon - gotta catch em all!

And leave GOOD constructive reviews - the reviews system exists to elevate, and criticize - tell them what they did good, and what they need to improve on - it really helps them out!

My system involves (on a 5 star system) taking off a half point for every thing I don't like or every mistake I find. So if you get 4 out of 5 stars I found 2 things I didn't agree with. It's fair, and they appreciate it.

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2) Your music not being seen on the charts? You got a score that is less than 5? Start looking at the charts and rating things based on the quality of their submissions. There are pages upon pages of 5s that noone has even looked at that have been up on the charts for YEARS - so start depositing daily to increase your voting weight, and start voting songs based on what you think proper criteria is!

My system:

5: Perfect sound, perfect mastering.
4: It's ok, not really my type but the quality is there, or it's not quite perfect.
3: It's meh, or it's a short forgettable loop.
2: The mastering is not good or the melody is not good.
1: It actually hurts my ears and the mastering is terrible.
0: Stolen, used software that isn't allowed, or complete and utter garbage.

Get a system going, and start to just regularly comb the charts. Back in the day there was no such thing as "5" songs - they lasted a short while and then were rated down, to slowly build themselves back up. Let's get back to that so voted down songs and older songs can shine as well!

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3) Need ways to improve? Join the newgrounds audio discord. The only criteria we have is you have to be at least 16 and your account has to be at least 3 years old. This allows a user to mature and contribute to the portal before seeking advice from others. Also anyone who is the min. required age of 13 when they sign up in 3 years should be 16, so if you signed up underage and you're 14 3 years later, well guess who gamed the system lol...

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4) Getting zerobombed? Get a circle of support from people who you review and support. Musicians need to relearn the value of community, and need to start to learn to help each other out. We all did it back in the day. Just make sure you song is worthy of a five, and note that anything under a 5 will drag your song down, so you might not have been zeroed, you might have just .. gotten any score under 5 hehe..

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5) Want to rebuild the community? Host a contest! Contests are great ways to bring the community together. Just make sure however, that the judges know how to judge the genres they are listening to, and that there is no favouritism involved in the judging. There will always be bruised egos with those that lose and that's just a part of life.

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In summary: This is a community, and the only way the community survives is if we all help each other out. I get angry when people wail the system is broken, but they have done none of the above to try to help it out. The answer starts with you - and you all need to start doing your part. I have done all of the above and I have done it for 15 years. People like me were what kept this community together - now it's your turn.

 

-chron-


8

Comments (11)

Truth! It's up to all of us to make things better. First, I'd like to reiterate on the importance of voting and reviewing, then there are a couple of things I'd like to add:

It only takes a few seconds to visit a song's page and leave a vote! And hey, at that point you might as well take another handful of minutes to give the artist some constructive feedback in a review. Let them know what you liked and why, what you feel could use some work, and don't be afraid to offer up a few suggestions for improvement. Easy enough, right? I mean come on, we all have opinions! Express yourself.

If you're an artist yourself, giving out solid reviews can lead to a mutual "review for review" relationship, or - at the very least - odds are good that someone will return the favor. I personally respond to every review I get, and then I tend to check out each user profile to see if they have anything submitted to one of the portals so I can repay their kindness.

Conversely, never beg for reviews or, if you're new to the Audio Portal, to be scouted. That's ridiculously bad form, and it just looks desperate. Scouting will happen naturally once you've made enough quality tracks and gotten noticed.

In conclusion, just remember that fans come and go, popularity is overrated, and nothing truly worthwhile is ever easy. Experience is always the best teacher, so don't hesitate to put in the time and effort required to improve.

WELL SAID!

Personally I am swamped with so many new people I haven't really had too much of a chance to check out my reviewers (although many of them I already know hehe)

And yeah rebuilding the community voting and reviewing is key.

I think it might be more that people making music these days aren't really the most social people when it comes to making music. On Deviantart the artists who are popular (and even here, to an extent) are the artists who draw pictures of popular anime/cartoon characters which people actively look for. You don't have anyone who searches for songs about Pikachu on Newgrounds. For movies, collaboration is essential and has always been essential, because you need voice actors and oftentimes you need at least a partner or a team to make a decent animation. To put it another way, there's a very good reason why Zone is so popular.

For musicians, especially now, collaboration isn't necessary. You can create great music with just some free time and ProTools. Heck, you can create great music using some free time, Audacity and some loops you downloaded from FreeSounds. As an example, when Frank Zappa discovered that he could simply use MIDI to create his music, he ended up deciding that he wouldn't work with live musicians again if he could help it.

Plus, there was definitely a change in the way that music was used on Newgrounds as opposed to the way it was used in the past. At one point finding electronic music to use as background music for games/movies (especially loopable music) gave you limited options. If you wanted background music for a game you pretty much only had Youtube, MySpace and Newgrounds. Now, you have Soundcloud and various other sites. But, even if those other options for finding audio to use didn't exist, you now have a ton of tutorial videos and MSFs to use to create your own music for your animations/games. Admittedly, this problem has it's roots in the old Doom mods where people would download MIDIs of popular songs to use as background music. As I said earlier, people aren't generally social by nature, and true altruism doesn't really exist. If animators don't have to communicate with audio people, they won't, and the internet as a whole has been providing alternatives to collaborating with audio people for almost 2 decades at this point.

Really, the audio portal is a bit of a mess, but that's mostly because of the way that the internet works right now. Deviantart is a mess, Youtube is a mess, even Newgrounds as a whole is a mess (check out the crap animations and movies, in addition to the good stuff). The main difference is every other form of art with the exception of music encourages collaboration and encourages people to search for things that appeal to their own selfish tastes.

Plus, there will always be crap, that's how people improve. It's far too often taken for granted these days that when artists first start posting stuff online it's lousy, but that's mainly because when artists first post online they are young and inexperienced. They need to be able to post that crappy looking photoshop of Pikachu with breasts before they can make something cooler in the future, and they need positive encouragement and feedback even on their earlier work when they are at that stage. The audio equivalent is the now infamous MySpace junk where an amateur black metal musician would record whispered vocals, a repetitive guitar riff and a looped drum machine, then post it online. But, looking back, a ton of extremely talented musicians got their start doing that (Happy Days, for instance). Plus, Bob Dylan used to be a pretty lousy songwriter before he put in the effort to improve. The crap will always outnumber the good stuff, but it's very important that you don't become disheartened at the very real fact that in every site that allows people to post art/animations/music, probably 95% of it will be crap. Hell, I'm a huge fan of Merzbow with his 2000+ songs, but part of being a fan of his is acknowledging that most of his songs are lousy. Of those 2000 songs, probably 30-50 are actually very good, which means that about 1960 of his songs are lousy. But, I'm happy that all of those crappy songs exist because without them I wouldn't have the songs I like.

If you want to 'fix' the Newgrounds Audio Portal, you have to 'fix' a lot more than just how the site and community operate. You have to fix attitudes learn from an early age by the new generation, and fix the inherent tendency of musicians to avoid collaboration whenever possible.

I would agree, if I hadn't been on here for 15 years and actually seen the portal when it was working properly. My old songs had at least 7 pages of reviews - often more.. so something has definitely changed.

And yes people are allowed to post crap - it's when that isn't rated honestly that it stays at the top forever and then "everyones first songs" become the precedent for anyone making music.

And I agree things across the internet have stagnated as a whole because people always go the path of least resistance and the most exposure, and because they are lazy. I reiterate that it is up to us to make the changes though, at least until they implement a new system that sort of forces people to engage more.

And yes this generation needs their attitude fixed, but the good news is that the old regime sitll exists, with their intact proper mindset, so also reinjecting the old users could help immensely.

Collaboration is also a big thing - but it's one of those catch 22s where the community has to be there for the collaboration, and if that fades away then you need the collaboration to build the community.

Still, glad to see some well thought out discussion!

@ti-on-suxandrox @IoTheEternal I have never been too interested in the Audio portal so I can't say I know how it works. However, the 7 pages of reviews was probably because back in the day, there were far more people on Newgrounds. I mean, at its peak, Newgrounds had like 2 000 000 users. I'm not saying what you said isn't also true but this is the case for all the portals. I often see movies and games that have no reviews, and it saddens me. I try to leave reviews on some of those, but there just aren't that many people nowadays willing to go through the inconvenience of leaving a review (much less an intelligent one), and that just adds itself onto the problems you listed, meaning that the Audio portal, through a chain of unfortunate events, is in the worst state of all the portals. Like I said, you know way more about it than I do.

yeah... I think the smart phone movement a) took a lot of people away as newgrounds didn't keep up with the times and b) turned everyone into a bunch of mindless short attention spanned self-centered "please me immediately" generation.

I think it may also be a problem internet wide - but the good news is those that used to fill the portal are all still around - even if it was just THEM filling the portal, then we would be no worse off than we were back in the day.

Granted newgrounds had a lot of people of the same age group who have now grown up and moved on, but I would like to think we still must have faith in this generation. I have had to shock some people into wakefulness but I also proved it can be done - a lot of people just need to face their own mirror and realize it's their responsibility to make changes if they want to see change.

Some of the people I talked to had never checked the charts, and when they started their first response was "WTF IS THIS" as they would link me some horrible song they found that was sitting at the top of the chart for.. years.. so I think people are just.. asleep.. they are so inundated with stimulation it means they are not really involved in any of it.

I think sites like youtube and soundcloud also pulled people away, as did the slow death of flash - as newgrounds was kinda the "goto" place for those things. If newgrounds wants to remain relevant it has to keep up with the times imo.

I think you are going to find this portal at least starting to wake up - I am not big enough to spread across the entire site but I can deal with the audio portal, and deal with it I shall :)

@Thegamingtrickster @IoTheEternal @IoTheEternal

Well, another reason is something that is brought up in discussions about why Youtubers who constantly complain about Youtube don't move to another site, or why flash animators moved away from Newgrounds to Youtube (and why they don't generally promote their Newgrounds stuff if they do post on both sites). The harsh truth is that people move to sites like Youtube and Soundcloud because they believe that they'll get more viewers doing so, and they'll continue to stay on the sites for the same reason.

So, that's the main reason why creators are leaving and with creators leaving, the audience goes with them.

So, what's the solution? Well, if you can somehow attract more content creators to the site it would be a great start. A mobile app is usually a good idea, and the audio portal received a dramatic boost in both the audience and the creators when Geometry Dash became popular. So, perhaps it would be a good idea to attempt to focus more on the mobile scene.

But, another solution is promoting daily engagement the way that Youtube, Twitch and Reddit do. I remember when the site used to allow users to vote on a single submission as many times as they wanted, including their own, but they could only vote once a day. I know that the idea was criticized, but looking back, one of the worst decisions NG ever made was removing that feature. Whether you agreed with it or not, if someone wanted to bring their submission back to the top of the charts (in any category), they would need to log on to the site every single day to vote on their own submissions. Once NG removed that, the user base slowly dropped.

Another thing I've been thinking about is if NG had an 'artist of the day' for all categories on the site (as well as a 'song/movie/game of the day' feature). The site is generally focused on promoting games and movies, and less on audio. So, if there was more of an effort in promoting a single artist at the top of the page, as well as a single song/movie/game, at the top of the page on a daily basis, then the amount of new creators coming on the site might go up. It would take a serious commitment, but I think that some users could volunteer for it if it means attracting new talent.

The more serious issue is that many of the younger generation aren't aware that Newgrounds even exists or see it as a relic of the old days of the internet. The older generation is moving to whatever platform gives them the most money/attention, the younger generation is moving towards whatever site tempts them with fame and fortune, as well as the sites that their friends use (Twitch, Youtube, Soundcloud). This is a problem that is very difficult to fix, but it's definitely possible.

I wonder if it would be possible to link up online banking accounts to the portal, which would allow a person to make impulse purchases on the site. I could see being able to sell songs for 5-10 cents each, videos for the same price and games (full games, I think) for 50 cents each being enticing to many. If you remove obstacles to allowing people to pay for things, and provide things for low prices, people will pay for them. It might be a good idea.

Also, this might be a bit controversial, but I remember that when NG was probably at it's peak there was a big emphasis on Adult games. These games were fairly easy to make, they used audio found on the portal and people would place artwork found on the site (and on Deviantart) for the games, they would also pay animators to create animation for the games. Everybody got something from the focus on creating and promoting the games it seems. Then, the decision was made to make an effort to hide the Adult section of the site, when before it was easily accessed from the top of the front page. it might not be a bad idea to, at the very least, make the Adult section easier to access by having access to the section at the top of the front page, just like it used to be.

Just a few thoughts before I take a nap. I don't know why, but I've been feeling so tired lately.

geometry dash, from what I have seen, became a plague on the audio portal with people submitting endless stolen content to be used in geometry dash.. apparently it was so bad people don't even like to talk about it.. so be careful what you wish for.. not all publicity is good publicity..

Yeah you have some good points.. the problem with voting every day though was that you could also utterly destroy other people doing so. Also the only saving grace to the past 6 years was that they removed that - imagine if these crappy songs, which have stayed at the top for 6 years, had been self voted on EVERY DAY - you would have a crisis of never being able to remove the crap and it would essentially stay up there for all eternity. So I have mixed feelings on that.

A lot of people see newgrounds as "bad juju" - esp. because of the general portal, and the fact it is generally a hentai site. Look at the art portal - look at the monthly weekly and yearly features - all women art, all hentai basically. Then look at the high ranking classics - the quality has def. gone down because people realized they didn't have to make as high quality stuff to get noticed. When you set the bar low people don't rise to the occasion. If you make quality art but only hentai is ever featured - are you going to stick with quality that never gets you noticed or are you going to conform and get the attention? It's a terrible precedent, and it applies to the audio portal as well.

Personally the first step needs to be that the audio player and radio player need to have an option to vote and to review for each song. As it stands people listen but they have no real way to input , or they don't care to - and since it's not offered (only faving the song is) then they never click the song to review - people only notice things that are right in front of them - and if they are new they won't click to "find out".. so the first step is to make the system as idiot proof as possible, placing the option do to things right in front of their face.

This instant gratification society now expects everything to be handed to them and told to them - they don't try to figure things out themselves.. which is pretty sad. So that needs to change.

I don't know if paying for songs is such a good idea on here - but I do think a "donate" button per song and per account would be useful - like a paypal button - donate a dollar to this artist ect.

ParagonX9 coming back would revive the audio portal.

the the staff took his songs and put them on the front page of audio portal which put him on a pedestal and then his fanbase got so rabid and demanding he resorted to hiding from the populace - he will never return.

Oh no I'm probably one of the artists that you describe of having badly mastered songs. I'm just gonna like sit in a corner and stay there... forever...

In all seriousness though, this was a really good argument. I will try to vote other people's music in the future. Heck, I could do it now...

YES YOU STAY OVER THERE - you.. badly mastered.. people.. you..! lol..

I was kinda known for my mastering abilities so badly mastered but otherwise really good songs always really irk me.. like an image file saved as a jpg over and over and its quality is crap hehe..

and yes you really should, and when you find people that need help in improving, or really good songs that deserve a shoutout, give them a review~! Reviews are literally everything to a person in the audio portal.

Cheers!

cheers!

Hmmm this is an intresting thread i agree that the portal needs a bit more love..i am a musician and ive been uploading music of all genres my friends and i make.
its actually very good if u take a look and im sure theres something for everyone to enjoy.

i think what we need is a section on the main page for audio Like for example
"Popular songs this week"
or something of that nature

not to sure who Paragonx9 is but if there was some one that had the audio section in good shape im sure someone can do it again...im trying >.<

paragonx9, like me, was one of the founders of the audio portal (those around from 2003 on) - he had some pretty popular music at the time - so back in the day the audio portal page had an audio player at the top - they put paragonx9's music in there and pretty much immortalized him as his music played nonstop for over 10 years - imagine what that does to your stats. It wasn't fair though - to only highlight one user and it skewed things and a lot of resentment occurred - he won't ever come back.

the front page does have the featured audio, like featured art, which I am sure must help.

@IoTheEternal yeah i see now, but what would one have to do to get front paged on the audio section? i feel as if actual music goes unrecognized here because people just arent looking for it. id love to start some animation to some of the songs i have on my page or even have it featured in a Game or movie.. what seems to get the most plays is the video game section

Literally everything we create is very high quality and recorded Mastered and mixed in Professional studios we even compose our own sounds... But i digress

take a listen

https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/806649

well right off the bat I notice in your song that the drums have a sound on them that emulates peaking - every time it hits it sounds overdriven - which is undesirable in any listening experience, esp. to a seasoned masterer - esp. if it is the sole focus of the piece. It's also too loud in the mix making it the only thing the person can focus on, and not on the sound in the background.

Compare to my song I just submitted yesterday:

https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/810238

This song is perfectly mastered - its got enough space for bass as its been sidechained to let it through - and the percussion can be focused on or the main melody - nothing interferes, no sounds are jarring, it's wide and it's just overall well set, impo.

You can have all the high quality samples you want, mastered in studios and create your own sounds, but if the output overall sound isn't pleasant to listen to, or something in it is offputting, then it's all for naught in the end.

And yes vg is the highest submitted to genre, for its styles know no genre, and thus everyone can relate to it, connect to it, and have memories associated with it. When I submitted as chronamut, it was MY genre to submit to - I was there since the beginning and I kept it clean. I came back to 32 pages of all 5ed songs - which means that literally anything of quality in it is now buried. I have it down to about 12 pages of 5s now - I still have a ways to go. In the meantime though I have uncovered some real quality artists so I am happy about that - but still - the amt of crap that was in there was just terrible.

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The frontpages are handpicked by the mods. And yes a lot gets unrecognized because it gets buried. There is only one way to solve that. Most songs don't stay at a 5 score - so all those pages upon pages of 5 only scores have to go - be voted down honestly, so that literally anything that has a score under 5 can be seen. Doesn't mean the songs have to be zeroed - just rated.. honestly.. sure some songs might retain a 5 if you think they are brilliant enough to be warranted a 5 score, but trust men, most won't be.

yeah youre right now that i think about it the drums are a bit loud hmm.. although that is one of many.. i see what your saying about the voting, itd probably help. some songs go un voted cause they get "buried" as u say causing the user to vote on there own work which brings the problem back full circle no... i think the voting system should be redesigned all together friend

yes I do as well - personally id like to see the voting system removed and the review votes counted as the actual vote for the song. Then people have to be honest. It's a controversial idea but it would also cause people to have to vote. I also floated the idea where you have to review x amt of people and they have to be good votes before new people can submit songs, and before you can submit new songs - like space earned. With that idea the reviews would explode.

@ti-on-suxandrox @IoTheEternal I don't think the vote per day thing is good at all. Like you said, you could destroy something by doing that, and also, I believe all users should get to vote once, the vote power is determined by experience so it isn't an unfair advantage, if everybody only got that one vote (like now), no one would have too much power. Hentai isn't featured actually. Most of the featured art is rated E or T, with the occasional M, the movies also don't feature any hentai, because, you know, it's not as good as Zone's.

I dunno man those featured pics are all women - like 99% women.. it just seems like its sexually motivated what gets featured and what gets weekly monthly yearly etc.

The one vote a day works for now.