There are a plethora of netlabels out there and with the technology we currently have, it is easier than ever to set up your very own creative commons music distribution website. The downside to this open share culture is the sheer mass of media fighting for your attention. Despite the vast amount of music available to the individual who spends time seeking it, there seems to be a number of netlabels going that extra mile, demanding attention and presenting high quality (and imaginative) user interfaces which people can interact with and enjoy. I have found the following netlabels and their respective designs and user interface to be either extremely inventive, imaginative and interesting or just plain sexy.
The website design for SHSK’H Netlabel is up there as one of my absolute favourites. I first stumbled upon it for some modern classical sounds and when I landed there I got much, much more than I had bargained for. The design is sleek and intuitive, every release is contained within a small circle vertically down the page, suspended by numerous coloured lines upon a dark grey background. Moving the mouse over the releases allows the user to drag each circle out of place, immediately being able to manipulate the netlabel environment is liberating (and fun)! Should you decide to go ahead and check out a release, simply click any circle and the page immediately transforms into a dedicated release information hub – where track titles spring outward from the release circle and the first track streams with a rolling sound wave quivering to the music. The website is sleek and intuitive and playing around with it is an absolute blast.
Check it out Here
Elpa Music Netlabel
Another simple yet extremely effective netlabel design here. The user is whisked away into this peaceful scenery immediately – rolling green hills and a slightly overcast sky greet the user with six or so small circles floating to the right of the screen, select one and a small rectangle floats in from the left containing further information on releases etc. The design is simple yet very effective and visually pleasing. It really does suit their ‘melodic electronica’ description as the small rectangle changes soft colours as you navigate through the various menus to explore.
Check out the site Here
Finally, Modularfield present an interesting case of netlabel design. Interesting in the sense that they have designed their visual appeal based on their namesake, the website is indeed modular with its background constantly reinventing itself depending on where you navigate around the site. The field modulates between cloudy skies, dense rain forest and baron shipping containers – the further you navigate the more landscapes you reveal as they disappear and reappear as the blocks flicker before your eyes. I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to open up any new windows wherever I go on the site, whether it be new releases or a contact page to let them know my thoughts on their label. It is sleek and easy.
Check out the website Here
So why highlight netlabel website design? I think the very fact that netlabels offer music for free to share is amazing in itself – and going the extra mile in refining website design to present something that is appealing, alluring and beautiful takes time. It is worth highlighting the dedicated work by netlabels stepping outside of the comfort zone, pushing the boundaries and creating a much more rich netlabel experience for the users out there.