September 15, 2022
New Releases Now is popular.
Since their launch in 2009, over 11 million avid music lovers have eagerly visited the site to check out the latest releases each week, discovering it mostly through Google searches where it ranks very highly - often position 1 or 2 - with music terms like "new rock albums".
Their main customers are record labels who pay to have their releases featured on the site - complete with a music player, album info, and links to buy the records.
But here's the thing...
Because it was. The design hadn't been updated since the launch.
The user experience couldn’t engage visitors compared with modern sites. Traffic had dropped and visitors were leaving right away. Record labels had slowed buying slots —and if they were, they were heavily discounted. It lacked key features. The site didn’t work properly on phones, and an outdated platform and tedious day-to-day processes were creating frustrations for the team and stopping them from focusing on more important things.
Vince, the CEO, was losing money, and with the pandemic as the icing on the cake, something had to be done or it was looking like the business wouldn’t last much longer.
And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, Vince accidentally deleted the email list…
We had previously helped NRN redo their backend so they already knew the quality of our work and how much we care about our clients.
In Vince’s own words, somewhat reminiscent of Princess Leah's plea to Obi-Wan in Star Wars Episode 4, “This is our last attempt before it’s done, you’re our only hope” he said.
First, we developed a plan. We understood NRN’s pains & needs. The path forward became clear. We would focus on the immediate needs of refreshing the branding and user experience, adding new features, and updating the technology and business tools…and, of course, rebuilding that email list.
Then once the website was relaunched, we would discuss Phase 2, exploring more dynamic moves and ways to grow the business.
We went for a personal feel to music discovery. It was all about a nostalgic feeling - being hip retro record store with the Vince as “the guy behind the counter“- a music guru who could lead you the music you love.
Working closely with Vince and his team each step of the way, we created mood boards & brainstormed UX in wireframes, solving key problems on paper before moving to design.
Working closely with Vince and his team each step of the way, we first created mood boards. A modern take on a retro style. Hired a designer and created the logo.
Next, we brainstormed UX in wireframes, solving key problems on paper before moving to design.
With that in mind, we simulated vinyls displayed on the walls, swiping through record selections, and sorting by genres in a record bin, and created an exciting new user experience to offer captivate/offer more value to both the music fans and the record labels.
Working closely with Vince and his team every step of the way, we created mood boards and brainstormed ideas for the vision.
We went for a personal feel to music discovery. It was all about a nostalgic feeling - being in a hip vintage record store with Vince as “the guy behind the counter“- a music guru who could lead you to the music you love.
With this in mind, we hired a designer and created the logo.
Then, we developed the UX with wireframes, solving key problems on paper before moving to design and creating an exciting new user experience to offer more value to both the music fans and record labels alike.
These benefits included:
With site management now a breeze, Vince could relax and the NRN team could focus on what was most important - making sure the site featured the biggest and best releases each week.
So all that was left was to optimize the site for super-fast loading using awesome coding techniques, alongside tools such as Blitz Caching, Cloudflare, and AWS (Amazon's super-powerful web services). Plus, we implemented cross-browser testing to ensure the site worked (and looked) flawlessly on all devices.
And best of all, we did everything with zero downtime, carefully maintaining SEO and Google rankings, and a clear redirect plan to avoid broken links. The result: a seamless switchover to the new site.
We wanted to make site management a breeze so we re-platformed/migrated the site to Craft CMS – a modern platform.
Record label submission form to replace labels filling out Excel files and manual data entry (thank god!).
Using Spotify players saved hours of uploading mp3's and typing out tracklists.
Made the selling process easier by on pricing packages and designed a simple sales sheet showcasing benefits and pricing for labels.
With this extra time, the team could spent it doing what they do best - sourcing the best releases.
Other goals achieved included:
"Something about all of this"
- Vince Hans ∙ CEO of New Releases Now.
And this was just Phase 1. Stay tuned for Phase 2.