Feb 28 2013, 14:36
So she caught my eye and when I opened the website, it was love at first byte.
The dark red and grey colour-scheme is soft on the eyes, I detest websites with all that white space. Yeah, less chaos and roomy but also useless and hard on the eyes, like a bright light that's pointlessly shining in your eyes. Who knows how many Gigawatt's of energy could be saved around the world if all that white space would be toned down to darker colours or even black. Well, Presto.fm made a good impression with that.
Love the Googlesque, simplicity of the layout, you don't need to be a nerd or experienced internet user in order to get it to work. Just type in some artist's name and they do the rest, without even having to sign-in. I guess the involvement of Last.fm & Youtube (stats?) helps building any radio-station. It's not just plain songs you are offered but videos of Youtube. Now, I'm not into watching videos that much but I don't mind it cause it's just in a small window at the top not grabbing all the space of the page. Ofcourse you can maximize it and view the videos in HD if available. Since almost any artists is represented on Youtube Presto.fm can build a station instantly.
Also very cool is that besides artists, you can also build a station on a genre such as "classic rock". And even better very many tags of Last.fm are available as radio-stations, even obscure tags as "Mare Tranquillitatis" :-) Although it looks at artists in general connected to that tag and not to albums or songs, is my experience. If you open an account and sign-in you have some extra benefits like building a collection of favourite artists and start a radio around that. You can also save radio-stations build-up out of several genres or artists. They do recommendations and have a list of popular stations. All very easy to use and move around the website. So why aren't they more known, more popular? All the simplicity is also limiting it's reach, no likes or shares or community not even a forum. When I first visit it they had about 700 likes on Facebook and now 2 months on it's "climbed" to 875, so 2-3 likes added daily. So not many talking about it even though it's free and no adds in sight, it seems not to appeal that much.
I guess partly due to so many big players being out there, Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Grooveshark of which some with a lot of money. But the main problems are of stability, the website is not always available, a very big problem! Some videos do not play or have content that is not by the artist but some fan cover or a remix or a poor live recording. I dismiss about 1 in 15-18 videos. The volume on those videos is also an issue, some are to soft and others to loud. The website also feels a bit slow not just when building a new radio-station but also when marking an artist favourite. It works with all browsers as far as I know and I've used Opera & Pale Moon (Firefox). I think the slowness is due to to many images loading even if not within the visible space of the browser.
I still like the general idea of Presto.fm but it's not as interactive or social as Last.fm is. If I want a radio station that offers me 3-4 songs an hour by the artist I want to hear at that moment, I can. That is also great that the similar artists radio can be tweaked that way. I love to come back to Presto.fm and see some social interactive improvements but for now my friends and I have to leave it. Specially when I heard that Deezer was gonna be free in The Netherlands for a year.