Metisse Music is a small music publisher in France, focusing mainly on Jazz and World Music, but also publishing the works of the likes of Public Enemy, Ani di Franco, and Brian Eno. Their main line of business is in sub-publishing international catalogues and in promoting local artists, although they also publish local catalogues internationally and help international companies promote their catalogue locally. Their website was to cater for two audiences: on one hand, the members of the press or of the general public wanting information about the artists or records they were working with; on the other, other publishing companies considering the company as a potential partner for the French market. The website was to be easily maintainable by a member of their team, and be flexible enough to cope with changes in the way they might want to present information.
The first step in constructing the website was to understand how the information it contained was to be structured. Because of the different audiences it is catering for, and because of the complexity of the catalogue structure, it was decided the site was to be record-lead, and the data organised in a hierachichal structure starting with the four different types of catalogues at the top, through companies held as part of that catalogue, through the artists represented by each publishing company, through to the records released by each artist. This allows for a maximal amount of flexibility for the way the data can be manipulated both by the site administrator and by the site itself, in how it displays the information.
In order to implement this data structure, an administrative interface was built over a MySQL database backend, using the PHP scripting language to act on the data. The interface is based on a files and folders metaphor, in which each category or subcategory is represented by a folder, whereas the data to be displayed is organised by files; both files and folders can be created, modified or deleted by administrators as they would on a computer interface, allowing for administrators to work with familiar constructs, whilst interfacing with what would otherwise have been a more complex system.
The design for the site is in keeping with the company's corporate identity, making use of the colours and styles it has adopted throughout its communications. The navigation of the site is geared towards simplicity, reprising a traditional web page alyout with a menu on the left accessing informaion to the right. This conveys the message of a company geared towards artists and their work; bearing in mind the information on the site is not to be exhaustive, it also allows for the site's main group of users (journalists) to rapidly find out how much information is available on the site.
The site was lauched in September 2001, and is seen by the company as a significant improvement in helping it promote its catalogue base and improve its general communication strategy. The site can be viewed here