The MP3 blog aggregator HypeMachine is set to relaunch with a whole new website once 10,000 people have the site's splash page open simultaneously. When they reach that number, I expect the relaunch to be very well received. At "press/blog time" there are just over 3,000 people waiting, but major music sites will likely cover it soon and put that number over the edge. (Update: It appears the new site has launched.)
A new design, lots of smart social networking features and a DRM-free emphasis are the key points of the relaunch. Details and screen shots below.
HypeMachine was launched in 2005 by Anthony Volodkin but gained increased visibility in the Web 2.0 world when it won best in show at the third annual Mashup Camp and has since expanded its team. The site tracks and makes available music posted on MP3 music review blogs all around the web. It's always been a great site but the new HypeMachine is better than ever. If you're new to the world of MP3 blogs, or tired of waiting for HypeM to relaunch, check out Elbo.ws (correction: Elbo.ws is an aggregator as well, see comments section) and Aurgasm.us, two popular MP3 blogs that feed HypeMachine.
The new site is beautifully redesigned by new addition to the team Taylor McKnight, a former Gawker artist and co-founder of the eye-catching video aggregator Chime.tv.
Users can now create profile pages with lots of information about themselves, including their favorite songs, bands, searches, blogs and other users. The social networking component is very nicely put together and includes acronym-free tracking of the RSS feeds of your friends' favorites, your favorited blogs and new results in persistent searches.
Search results pages highlight buying options via DRM free music stores above all else. Video results are available in the very nice Chime.tv player (see screenshot below).
There's very handy Twitter integration, you can tell HypeM to send a tweet any time you favorite a new song, blog or search. I've been doing this manually for awhile when wanting to share music with friends.
There's no longer a Flash pop-up player, which is a shame, but you can still play all the songs on a page continuously and if you want to change pages without the music stopping you can just open links in a new tab.
In total, I think it's a very nice relaunch and I expect to use the service more now than ever before. As soon as 10,000 people amass, we should be able to see how well it scales and leverages the network effects of a mass user-base. Hype Machine is certainly a widely loved service, I expect that will only grow to be more the case in the future.