Ektoplazm - Psytrance Netlabel and Free Music Portal
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Ektoplazm Metamorphosis: Update 4

Blog | July 17, 2014 | Posted by Basilisk

Hello everyone! I’d like to take this occasion to share some of what’s been going on behind the scenes here at Ektoplazm since my last update. I am happy to report that new distribution process has been successfully implemented, easing my workload (so I can concentrate more of my time on the redevelopment effort) and reducing delays and errors (so labels and artists stay happy).

Since making these changes the free music has been flowing almost continuously. I’ve generally been keeping to a pace of about a release a day—which is quite a lot of work! Each and every release takes several hours to download, review, prepare, upload, and promote. Since the crowdfunding campaign ended Ektoplazm has published 572 new releases, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of the community at large and, of course, the labels and artists providing such awesome music for us all to enjoy.

I also continue to be deeply engaged in the redevelopment process. Work on the new site continues, though I have taken a slightly different approach in recent months. After the crowdfunding campaign ended I focused most of my energy on developing the back-end release management service—something that labels and artists will be able to use to post releases themselves. This service needs to be able to convert between different file formats, package up releases, create samples, store everything in an accessible place, and serve content on demand. It also needs to scale out of the box: Ektoplazm already serves more than 100 terabytes of data every month—and that number is bound to go up when improvements are made and access restrictions are lifted. Designing a distributed, fault-tolerant system to process, manage, and serve so much content is neither cheap nor easy.

I put that effort on hold this winter to refocus my attention on the front-end, the user-facing interface that everyone sees and interacts with today. It is this component that I will be refreshing first—before overhauling the back-end. The reason for this change in direction is simple: I’d like to show some movement on this project after so many delays—and the front-end is in dire need of a facelift anyway.

So, what can you expect in the near future? My goal is to roll out a cleaner, more responsive and mobile-friendly front-end design with an HTML5 (as opposed to Flash) music player. This new site will be up to modern web standards, unlike the current design, which is now about eight years old (and showing its age).

I have already sent out emails to potential beta testers to help me work through the final weeks of testing before pushing these front-end changes live to the site. If you supported the Ektoplazm crowdfunding campaign and claimed a perk relating to beta testing but did not receive an email please contact me and I’ll sort things out.

Once the new front-end design is launched I will return to working on the back-end. I wouldn’t mind a little help with this—but only the right kind of help. If you are an experienced server-side developer with proficiency in Node.js and an interest in volunteering 10+ hours per week feel free to contact me to examples of your work—and please be up front about your capabilities, expectations, and availability.

Finally, I would like to thank all the crowdfunding backers once again for sticking with me through all these ups and downs. To say that things haven’t gone according to plan would be a massive understatement. I made the mistake of assuming that with some decent funding I could find some qualified people to work with, get up to speed very quickly, leapfrog over several looming technical challenges, and launch a new site within months. I also vastly underestimated the amount of time and money required to deliver the promised perks—the postcards, Greatest Trips compilation, and Ektoplazm t-shirts, among others. This was horribly naive of me—but all is not lost. I remain dedicated to delivering what was promised—and I look forward to sharing more tangible results of the long redevelopment process with you very soon.

For reference: this page gathers up a wide variety of content related to the Metamorphosis project.


28 Comments

  • Neural says:

    Excellent news! It’s always a pleasure to see how this site keeps evolving and evolving. Trully the best distribution platform so far. Keep the music flowing! :)

  • Erfan Moharramy says:

    We deeply thank you for sharing arts which heal our hearts

  • Tchud Trance says:

    Can’t wait to see the new site! Thanks for the update!!

  • Arronax says:

    That must be one hell lot of work, but I’m sure you’ll manage to deliver something truly unique and special. Looking forward to the next update, and ultimately, the new Ektoplazm :-)

  • swamrollbre says:

    you had me at “mobile friendly”!

  • MAFCELLO says:

    Great News, Thanx for sharing………cant wait for the new layout!

    Keep it up the good work!

  • Francesco Turco says:

    An HTML5 music player for Ektoplazm is an excellent thing. Flash is non-free software and should be abandoned as soon as possible.

  • Buba says:

    Thank you for your job man! People like you make the world!

  • Matthew Rutledge-Taylor says:

    I just sent you another 20 Euros. Keep up the good work.

  • As much as I’d love to see the new Ektoplazm, I don’t feel duped at all. I’m just glad my donation was used to keep the free music flowing :)

  • Samuel Seed says:

    Really appreciate all the amazing work you do, this is definitely the best distribution platform out there in many ways and I look forward to it getting even better. Keep up the good work!

  • DaveHi says:

    All that extra work and not a hiccup Customer side. A lot of major concerns could learn from how you are handling the evolution of Ektoplazm!

    Only one request please don’t lose the flavour of Ektoplazm. The basic design may be eight years old, but, it has an ageless character worth preserving. Having said that the sooner you dump non-free Flash the better.

    Have been streaming while writing this and have found another work for my library so off to hit download (FLAC naturally) and then the Donate button!

    Really appreciate the hard work yo put into this site, would be lost without it.

  • Carlos Cabron says:

    Thanks for the heads up, this site has become one of my favorite sites on the web.
    Keep up the tremendous job

  • SonicMancer says:

    Thanks for All! Great inspiration, great work i want the t-shirt!! haha this site change my life ! <3

  • Geneptor says:

    Sounds promising. One question: why Node.js? Is it based on personal preference or are there concrete benefits for the project?

  • PsYGnOsIs says:

    Keep up the good work mate ! Ektoplazm is the BEST !!
    Ektoplazm changed & expanded my musical life , Thank you and RESPECT !

  • Senol says:

    Hi all
    IMHO it won’t be much work to convert the current Flash player into an HTML5 player.

  • Miffolog says:

    Super!!!

  • Flarkus says:

    I’m with AuralCandy.Net, just keep on serving up the audio goodies and we’ll support you! That said.. them T-shirts are superbodalicious

  • lyedyanoy says:

    Hey, thanks, as always, for the great work you do!!! I would like to add my voice to the one above on keeping the Ektoplazm design. It has this peculiar flavor, which is a joy to see!!! I would hate to see one of those “clean”, sleek modern designs that make all the sites indistinguishable from each other! Hey, thanks again!!! :)

  • zeltmacher says:

    appreciate your work bro!! keep goin’ :-)
    thanks for all your effort ;-)

  • Wrong Mantra says:

    Thanks for your work Alex, we are happy to be a part of Ektoplazm ;)

  • Antandra says:

    You’ve put together something really special here. Thank you for all your hard work.

  • Dewed says:

    Any chance of an Ektoplazm android app? Since flash is a pain on newer versions of android.

    Or is HTML5 working and I’m missing something?

  • Basilisk says:

    Dewed: no, the site is not yet mobile-friendly but it will be when the redesign goes live :) there likely won’t be an app though; the web site should work just fine on most smartphones going forward.

  • Dewed says:

    Thanks Basilisk

  • Vinil Varghese says:

    We Love You

  • TheProfileth says:

    Hey if you wanted someone to make you an app and/or redesign the website I have experience with both and am willing to do both if necessary as I am seriously blown away at how amazing this community is yet it lacks a modern touch that could totally make this into an amazing experience, like an alternative to soundcloud that is more open and transparent. Feel free to contact me via my email I would love to help in any way possible.


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