Labs: Feedback on The Listening Room
Personally I am all for the Listening Room sort of arrangement described in the email. We do have a predecessor here: the former incarnation of Peter Gabriel's realworldremixed.com used to include a 'radio station' playing random mixes uploaded there.
I am of course biased here since I own everything I know today about producing digital music to that site, which allowed me to post in several mixes per contest etc. for free. But the idea of an entry player was good indeed.
The proper way of applying the idea here is of course another ballgame. I would personally be content with a specific player for each of the contests randomly playing the entries sent there. Nowadays a lot of good stuff go unnoticed since no one here really browses through several dozens of entries just to find a good piece of music: after all the people are here mostly because they are themselves involved in making music which is also time-consuming.
Thus a simple player putting out entries from a specific contest would meet my criteria for quality leisure time. I did visit the listening room, and was indeed unable to use the service in any meaningful way. I'd keep it simple, I'm not sure if people living in 12 time zones are more after need to chat than to listen to music.
Lastly, the entry player should work 'in the background' so that other things could be done on the computer at the same time (i.e. multitasking) while listening to other people's work.