This week, Goodreads sent me a list of all the books I read this year. As I contemplated why the number was so low (mostly, I forgot to record the dates read), I wondered how many albums I listened to this year. I realize that it doesn't take as long to listen to an album as read a book, but I've probably listened to 30 or 40, at least. I'm sure I would listen to more, had I the time and money.
Maybe I would know if there was a Goodreads for music—an online forum where you could keep track of your own listening experiences and then share those experiences with your friends. In an ideal system, many people could easily share and find sound recording reviews and ratings, maybe with recommendations based on previous reviews and ratings (some monetization is necessary for survival, of course).
There is one site that comes close to this: Discogs.com. While Discogs has much of the functionality of Goodreads, with star ratings and reviews, its focus is different. Discogs is mostly for audiophiles who are trying to buy and sell vinyl. It isn't really people-centered. The "community" activity is really negligible (electronica/techno may be an exception for this), and people aren't really there as themselves to share their musical opinions with their friends. Also, a large percentage of resources is spent to describe the variants of a single "master" recording—something that is only slightly important in Goodreads.
Of course, Goodreads would need to be altered for use with sound recordings. There are a few issues that make this medium different. Genre is a problem, as there are more possible genres and sound recordings have a harder time fitting into genres than books. I think, however, that an online forum and crowdsourcing (letting users describe the album's genres themselves) would actually help solve this problem. Another problem is that many more people are involved in the creation of a sound recording than a book. One solution might be a IMDB-style person tool, so that a user could find everything produced by a particular person (Discogs is pretty bad about personnel information, too).
Would something like Goodreads really work? I don't know. Music apps like the ones developed by MySpace and Twitter have failed to gain traction, but those failures could be based on technical problems more than anything else. The shear volume of metadata needed for each recording makes a sound recording system much more complicated and time intensive than it would be for a book system. At the moment, the best system for musicevangelism is still word of mouth (or word of Facebook).
Would you use a service like the one I described? Any Discogs users out there?
Vocab: vinyl, audiophiles, metadata