To solidify Billboard.com  as the Web's top music entertainment destination, Billboard has relaunched the site with new features and products that will provide music fans with a more interactive and customized discovery experience.
Billboard.com has been redeveloped from the ground up to leverage Billboard's exclusive access to top recording artists, providing fans with an engaging music environment complete with full-song streaming, authoritative music and touring news and social-media functions.
"Billboard.com delivers a truly exciting and immersive experience for both passionate and casual music fans," says Billboard publisher Howard Appelbaum. "The new site showcases the power of Billboard's unique assets."
The most striking feature of the new site is its extensive use of Billboard's exclusive charts data to create interactive features around the biggest hits of today and yesterday. Visitors can explore every genre of music, search historical charts dating back to the 1950s, post comments, find related news and artist information, listen to full-track streams of each entry and purchase songs -- all directly on the charts pages. In addition, for the first time Billboard.com is providing consumers with free access to the entire Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts.
Billboard.com's music streaming and music purchasing features are powered by Lala, the digital music Web site with a catalog of more than seven million songs and licensing deals with all four majors and a host of independent labels. The new Billboard.com was designed by Razorfish.
Other chart-based features include "Soundtrack of My Life," which lets fans build personalized, shareable playlists based on the songs that topped the Hot 100 at key moments of their life, such as birth, high school graduation, marriage etc.; "The Visualizer," which allows users to track the chart trajectories of any artist they choose and compare them head-to-head; and "The Chart Game," a weekly contest that asks users to pick five artists they think will perform best on the charts and then tracks their movements.
"It's a fun experience and it's completely unique,'' Appelbaum says of the new chart-based products. "It's something no one else out there has."
The new Billboard.com also boasts expanded artist pages featuring bios, discographies, new and archived articles, current and historical charts, photo galleries and video footage. There will also be exclusive content such as pre-release tracks, live performances, behind-the-scenes footage and in-depth interviews. Artists providing exclusive content include Jordin Sparks, Daughtry, Sugar Ray, 311, Asher Roth, Sean Kingston, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Ashley Tisdale and others.
The latest breaking news about artists, new releases and tours will appear through "The Feed," a news feed prominently featured on the Billboard.com. The redesigned site will also provide access to all Billboard album reviews and the ability to search for concerts by using "The Tour Finder," a Jambase-powered navigation tool in the Live section of the site. Fans can buy tickets to concerts discovered on Billboard.com directly from the site, through a relationship with Ticketmaster.
The new Billboard.com will also provide users with advanced social-media features. Registered users can customize their profiles and follow other members, as well as rate content, post comments, create personalized playlists, and share their activities on Facebook through Facebook Connect.
They can also see the most popular songs streamed on the site, updated on an hourly basis, through "The Buzz" -- a streaming music module located on the Billboard.com homepage.
Leading consumer brands, including Visa, Sirius XM Radio, Sprint and AT&T, are sponsoring Billboard.com's new features, drawn by the power of the Billboard brand to attract a wide swath of passionate and engaged music fans.
"We're going to fundamentally connect an advertiser's message with the consumers they're ultimately trying to reach,'' Appelbaum says.
The relaunch comes on the heels of already robust growth for Billboard.com. Monthly unique visitors have surged from 3.9 million in July 2008 to 4.9 million during the 30 days ended July 20. Billboard expects the relaunch of Billboard.com to build on these gains.
"We're going to be able to deliver the audience that brands want, while preserving a great experience for our visitors," Appelbaum says.
Billboard's industry and business news will remain on Billboard.biz.