Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodreads for music?

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

2 comments:

  1. You can try Last.fm. It has its own limitations, to be sure, but it definitely keeps track of what you listen to, and there's a social element as well.

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  2. rateyourmusic.com sounds perfect for you.

    It really works the same as goodreads. Eventhough I think rateyourmusic's charts functions are better developed. Also the reviews have an high standard (something I miss on last.fm) and the website also looks, just like goodreads, more adult then other musicsites.

    It is the perfect way to discover music, maybe not everything is clear the first time you visit the site, but trust me, it is perfect if you're looking for something like goodreads (the database is huge, the reviews are really professional, the genre-network is impressive and the custom charts is probably the best way to get to know old and new music from every genre)

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