The Sixty One


I’ve recently been spending quite a lot of time at The Sixty One, a site that presents an interesting way of the community interacting with music and filtering out the good stuff. I’ve written briefly about The Sixty One before, talking about how websites like it harness something in the human nature that is very receptive to encouragement and measures of progress and achievement. The Sixty One does this by using a system of levels and reputation. Users ‘heart’ songs to show they enjoy them, and then if the song does well and receives lots of hearts subsequent to one hearting it, you receive ‘reputation’. You can also complete quests, which consist of tasks designed to familiarise yourself with the sites workings. Once a certain amount of reputation is reached you go up a level, and achieving certain levels unlocks features.

Users have an incentive to find good songs, and the gems are brought to the community’s attention. The Sixty One has effectively harnessed peoples’ self interest for the greater good – through hearting tracks people are helping to filter the infinate amount of crud. What I think is fascinating about The Sixty One is that they have created an abstract and almost meaningless measure of acheivement, (‘reputation’) but one feels compelled to move up the ranks and come back to the site time and time again. I find myself proud that I have once again gone up a level, but what does it really mean?

I’ve discovered a great number of amazing bands, and the fact that these are all brought together into my ‘personal radio’ that anyone can listen to is really fantastic as well. It enables me to easily share songs through facebook as well with just a few clicks. All things considered, I think The Sixty One is a great music site, with huge potential. I think the most challenging thing about the changing face of the music industry is that there are all these great indie artists on the web, but there aren’t really effective tools for the discovery of new music. The Sixty One sorts the gold from the dirt and allows good bands to rise to the top, which otherwise might remain unheard.

You can see my profile on The Sixty One here.

Levels and experience

I was struck recently when listening to music over at The Sixty One how if you add levels and experience (reputation in this case) to anything it instantly makes it infinitely more addictive. I think there is something about the of gaining and moving up levels, a sign that you are doing well, that at some deep level reinforces the action and compels us to do it more. I think that anything that incorporates levels of achievement has an amazing power to manipulate the actions of the people that interact with it, even if that ‘level’ means absolutely nothing.