Monday, May 7, 2018

Why we made a new design for COVER.INFO

We want to explain why we introduced the new design of COVER.INFO to which you unfortunately need to accustom yourself.

We had to think for a long time intensively about the question how to show the complex relations which we have in our modernized database. The old design using tables is not able to represent them.

The old one assumed that there are only covers and originals. Cover on the left, original on the right. That's how we naïvely started in 1999.

Meanwhile we learned: The world of music is not that easy. Indeed there are covers and originals, but originals can contain samples from other songs for example. Such a sampled song can itself be a cover version which has an original. Thus there are chains of song relations. These can't be represented in a two-columns view.

Therefore we decided on a representation with two or three boxes. This is done chronologically from old (at the top) to new (at the bottom).

You always consider one song. The two cases with two boxes are the following:

When nothing is derived from the considered song, for example the latter is a cover version which doesn't sample or quote anything, then this considered song is on the bottom and its originals (original version, quotation sources and sample sources) are above it, as shown in the following example.

(Note: The following information about the colors and the texts of the labels is partly not up to date. Meanwhile we optimized the labels. See the description of the song relations in the Help section.)
Fictitious example: As the considered song "Volé" has an original (green label), you can conclude that it must be a cover version.
When there is nothing older, then the considered song is situated on the top and its covers, samples, quotations, etc. are below.

The third case is the following: When the considered song is itself based on other songs (quotes them for example) and however also has been covered, then it is represented as one of three boxes, namely as the one in the middle.
In this fictitious example, the examined song "Stolen" contains a quotation of "What A Nice Song" and "Stolen" is the original of the cover version by The Original Samples. Furthermore, "Stolen" has been sampled in the "Sample Song".
Furthermore in the old design, there was not enough of space for our new additional information such as languages of the songs, references and YouTube videos (more to come).

Probably everyone will be convinced of the new design after a short period of practice. It is a bit exhausing to learn how the new design works but it's worth it.


  1. I like the redesign from a UI perspective, but from UX it's really hard now to get a quick overview of data. Like for example I want to get a feeling which artists were sampled by Daft Punk, I now have to click through every single track. With the old tables I got a full overview on one site. I'd recommend to think about providing more data views on higher navigation levels, even if it's not the complete set.

    1. Thank you for your feedback! The wish to see all song relations of an artist on a single page has been expressed multiple times in our German blog. Thus we are planning to test a kind of artist-overview page. /TWA