It's now nearly a year since the Coronavirus spurred us to massively expand our video listings: a search for all videos now shows nearly 1,000 results. We've become only too aware that this can be a bit daunting: faced with that much choice, how can you possibly decide what to watch?

So we've made some improvements in the last couple of weeks to try to make things easier for you.

First, we've started labelling videos with a note saying whether they're free to view, free but require you to create a login, viewable for a one-off payment, or requiring a subscription. On a phone, this condenses down to the word "Free", a person icon, a £ sign, or "£sub". We label most of our videos, but sometimes the answer is too complicated or we simply didn't know the details at the time the listing went in, so if you see a blank, that's why – you'll just have to try it and see.

Next, we've given you more control over the search results. There are four new tick boxes:

  • Watch today limits the search to videos that are visible today. Use this when you're looking for something to watch now (or perhaps later this evening). Beware of time zones: a concert which starts at 8pm in San Francisco may have today's date, but it won't be watchable in Europe until well after midnight.
  • By rating puts videos we've reviewed first in the search results, in descending order of how many stars we gave the performance. Use this to find performances highly rated by our expert reviewers. Note that the review might be of the video itself, or it might be of the live event that was filmed or a different evening in the same run.
  • Recently added limits the results to videos we've published details of in the last 60 days and shows the most recently added first. Use this if you're a regular visitor to the site and want to find videos you don't already know about.
  • Ending soon limits the results to videos which will cease to be available within the next 30 days. Use this to make sure you don't miss them.

"By rating", "Recently added" and "Ending soon" are "radio buttons" – i.e. you can only choose one of them at a time. "Watch today" can be ticked or unticked independently.

If you don't choose any of these options, you might be wondering how we decide the order in which to show you videos. The answer to this is surprisingly complex. We start by looking at the dates when the video might be available (whether it's coming soon or expiring soon). When we've taken those into account, we can still end up with dozens or even hundreds of videos matching your search where we have no real way of knowing the best order to put them in. So what we do is to allocate an order at random, which we change daily. The random order means you get to see lots of different options, rather than just the same ones again and again. The change is limited to once per day because otherwise, every time you refreshed your page, the listings you found last time would be in a different place (or absent from the page altogether), which would be a very poor experience.

We hope you enjoy this added flexibility and that it helps you watch lots more wonderful music! As ever, use the contact form if you have any suggestions or things that aren't working the way you think they should.