On September 13, 2014, Muzik MuzikAzia is a new Spotify-type site that focuses solely on Asian music./via MuzikAzia’s Facebook.
Azia, a new music streaming service specifically for Asian music, officially opened. Described as Spotify for Asian music, users can stream Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese music, and users can stream music from their favorite artists if they choose to do so.
MuzikAzia sounds like a promising concept right now, and a lot of users may find it helpful once a few kinks get worked out for long-term enjoyment.
Entering the website may be off-putting for many users as the initial language is in French. There is a language option on the upper right of the page to change the text to other languages, so you can do that, or you can simply add /en to the end of the URL. Since I read and understand French, I didn’t bother to change the language settings.
The homepage promises listeners many choices for their music experience. Each time I entered the page, I got a menu of different artists though CNBLUE was the most common, but content does change daily it seems. There are images of Korean, Japanese, and Thai artists, so it’s clear the site will cater to different listeners. It seems that no matter what a person wants, it may be available. This was especially true when using the “Library” tab, but it leads to some pros and cons of the site.
Pros and Cons
Pro and Con- The Library
Right of the bat, I noticed the site has some older artists listed like 1Tym, and a good mix of artists people will be familiar with overall like T-ara, TVXQ, Miyavi, Koda Kumi, and AKB48, as well as some obscure artists fans may have forgotten about like A.cian. Seeing some of these artists, I felt a bit hopeful I would see some other older, defunct, or obscure groups like Baby V.O.X, S.E.S, Seo Taiji and the Boys, SpringS, Sound Horizon, or Do As Infinity, but they’re not included. Maybe in the future? One could hope!
Con- Misleading Content
There are some confusing elements for some of the menus though. For example, “Find Out” suggests users can get news on different artists. Instead, there is a list of artists and users can play different songs from them. So don’t click on the link expecting news. Perhaps this is something the developers are working on to fix.
Most of the menus and links are easy to navigate, another plus for MuzikAzia. Many of the tabs and menus work well and load quickly when clicked, especially the “search” and “library” options. Searching for music is relatively easy, so users will not struggle with scanning the menus and entering the artist or song names users want.
The only downside is the links located at the bottom of the page. If users try to open them in a new tab, they’ll open the homepage instead, which isn’t intuitive. But, if you click on the links without opening in a new tab, they’ll work just fine.
Con- Not All Language Converts
Another tab, “Listen That,” has promise, too. It shows a biography for a recommended artist, and it’s a nice way to discover a new artist. But, regardless of language settings, the biography defaults to French, so users will have to use Google translate on Chrome to figure out what it says if French isn’t the understood language. If you don’t mind the awkward Google translation, it will suffice, but again, this is an element that may need work.
Pro- Sound Quality
MuzikAzia boasts some good sound quality. There are other Asian radio stations that have poor sound and bad connections which really impact the listening experience, but this isn’t an issue. Even when jumping to different pages on the site, sound isn’t interrupted. The only time the radio player stops is when I navigated to the home page, then I get a red warning across the top of my screen.
I’ve been around K-Pop and J-Pop a LONG time, but there are times I don’t recognize what artist is playing, and that happened a few times while listening to the radio player. There are other music sites that will tell you who’s playing at the time, which is an edge these sites have. MuzikAzia tells listeners what songs are playing if they choose a specific artist. If artists and songs are shown to users using the radio, it would be awesome and helpful.
Pro- The Potential Blog
While there are still many sections that have the default text, the blog has potential if the post focusing on photographer Aki Yukigawa is any indication. The content is informational, easy-to-digest, and a learning experience. Once this section expands, it feels like it will become a go-to source for readers to learn about the arts, culture, and even news. I know I already have the blog bookmarked!
Pro- Subscription Costs
Users won’t have to break the bank in order to enjoy a subscription. The launching offer is one euro (about $1.30 USD) per month. That small amount goes a long way for access on mobile devices, tablets, and computers, access to “thousands” of songs, and an ability to create playlists ad-free. However, when I went to click on the subscription link, the link doesn’t work, which is a shame for anyone wanting to support their site right now.
MuzikAzia has potential to be a great site for Asian music lovers of all kinds. There are a few kinks that need ironed out, but with growth, these may be eliminated. For a new site, it has a lot going on and enough to keep users happy. Over time, the site could assist the spread of Asian music to the world.
—- Joelle Halon