The SoulTracks Poll: What we learned

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    Many thanks to SoulTrackers for the hundreds and hundreds of responses to our recent Readers' Poll. The information you gave us was insightful and will help us make a better SoulTracks. Here are a few things we learned, and what we will do:

    • You read SoulTracks using lots of different devices -- Almost all of you read SoulTracks on your computers, but over half of you also read it on your tablet or your phone. Well, we have good news! This Fall we will be redesigning SoulTracks so that it will be much cleaner and easier to read on mobile devices. Both pictures and text will be larger, and it will be easier to navigate through the website.
    • You still buy CDs and they also buy mp3s -- While music sales are down everywhere, SoulTrackers continue to support artists by buying their music. So, we will commit that whenever we write an album review or run a story about a song or album, we'll try to include a link where you can purchase the album or song from
    • You miss the SoulTracks free downloads -- A few months ago we ended the free downloads because so much has changed in the music world. Fewer artists are releasing full albums, and more of them are releasing singles or shorter EPs. That meant it was more important for those artists to sell, not give away, their singles. So now we offer the Song of the Month, which gives SoulTrackers the ability to hear new music, but allows the artist to sell the mp3.
    • You really like watching "Unsung" and other biography shows online -- We've worked hard to post episodes of "Unsung" as soon as they are made available for online viewing by TV One. Unfortunately, the network often removes episodes after a year or so, so we're constantly looking to include as many soul music biographies as possible. We'll keep working hard, and if you find other biographies online, please let us know and we'll check them out for possible inclusion on our SoulTracks TV page.
    • You want to read about what's happening with classic soul artists -- During the past year, we've put a special focus on updating readers on classic soul artists. We began a new feature called "Now and Then," where we interview those artists about their careers and what they're up to now. And we've tried to post any new music from those artists that we hear about, such as this recent story on new music from 80s superstars, the SOS Band.
    • You also want to discover talented new artists -- There are so many new artists that it is tough to keep up with all the promising ones. We'll continue to increase the number of "First Listen" stories we run, so that you can hear music from new artists. And this month we began a new feature: New Artist of the Month. This will allow us to dig deep into the music and personality of a talented new artist every month, and give SoulTrackers and chance to meet them. Check out this month's story on newcomer Dominique Toney

    Be on the lookout for these changes and improvements over the next few months. We hope you'll continue to visit SoulTracks regularly and tell your friends about it.

    I also want to acknowledge all of the very kind notes we received from so many of you, expressing your love and support for SoulTracks. SoulTracks is a labor of love for those of us who work on it, and it is gratifying to know that our work is appreciated by so many music lovers. Thank you!

    By Chris Rizik