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Declan McGlynn
27 March 2024, 14:35

Discogs announces community advisory group to help direct development of platform

Kevin Lewandowski, Discogs founder and CEO, details the Community Advisory Turntable in an exclusive interview

Discogs logo

Discogs has announced that it is assembling a new group of independent advisors from its user base to help direct the development of the platform.

The Community Advisory Turntable is designed to represent the “diverse” voices of Discogs’ users, collecting feedback, suggestions and concerns from across the board. 

The new initiative comes after a report that claimed a number of Discogs sellers believe that new fees and restrictions on the platform caused their sales to shrink significantly last year.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with DJ Mag about the the new initiative, Discogs CEO Kevin Lewandowski, said, “We want the Discogs community to know that we are listening. With the [Community Advisory] Turntable, the community will have representatives in the room with myself and the leadership team to advocate for their concerns in an actionable way.”

The timing comes on the brink of a tech stack rebuild behind the scenes, as the company embarks on a foundational redesign of the site's functionality, hoping to limit bugs and scammers with the update. “Discogs was built nearly 24 years ago,” said Lewandsowki. “We made [many of the features] ourselves, adding one after the other in a patchwork of code. Adding or changing one thing had the potential to break something else. That meant it would take a long time to check for bugs before adding new features, and even then we’d miss some.” 

The organic nature of Discogs’ growth and community approach means that many different types of users expect many different types of things. In a survey last year, the company found nine distinct types of record collectors and seven different collecting habits. “We get feedback and suggestions from them all,” said Lewandowski, “based on their unique and personal perspectives on how they use the site. Optimising a feature for one group of users has the potential to impact another group. So we need to be smart about how we roll out any changes.”

discogs kev

Addressing this imbalance is a core part of the motivation for the new advisory group. “The Community Advisory Turntable will advise on which new features and updates the community wants us to address first,” said Lewandowski. “I can’t get into too many specifics about the roadmap, but I think it’s safe to say you can expect to see some updates soon to seller inventory management,  the Wantlist, and updates to the Discogs app.”

Members of the new group will be selected by Discogs after an internal review, similar to a hiring process, according to Lewandowski. That group will then meet regularly with the leadership team, which includes Lewandowski, the COO, and CTO, to “get a closer look at our development roadmap, give feedback on prioritisation, recommend adjustments, and so on.”

After a tough few years for Discogs, the community and marketplace platform aims to emerge stronger through both a tech redesign and a new approach to customer engagement. 

“Communication and transparency are important,” said Lewandowski. “We’ve increased our customer support staff to more quickly address user issues. We send monthly updates to our email lists on the status of new features and developments. And we’ve made a commitment to be responsive and engage with the community in any form we can. But, ultimately, we know we’ll be judged on our actions and our ability to modernise the Discogs platform to meet the needs of today’s users. We take that responsibility very seriously, which is reflected in the resources we’ve dedicated to getting that done.”

The Community Advisory Turntable will be assembled via an application process across three groups: sellers, collectors and contributors. You can apply to be part of the group here.