Rate Your Music and other online music reference sites

Music magazines used to provide features about the hottest band and insightful music reviews. These functions have now been replaced by the internet, and instead of browsing Rolling Stones, Q, Melody Maker and the like, I now visit various sites for information and search their databases for reviews.

The sites I have ended up using the most up to this point are All Music Guide and recently Rate Your Music.

All Music Guide offers a wealth of information, from artist biography to discography and reviews. They possess a comprehensive database for most genres and I have found the reviews mostly reliable, is a bit safe and leaning towards mainstream tastes. AMG features a professional web layout. Load times can be slow at times.

Rate Your Music is a typical Web 2.0 site. Users register into the site and rate the music they have heard. I feel the database at this point is not as sizable as All Music Guide, but the ratings reflect what real life fans enjoy rather than the views of a critic. This proves useful for critically abhorred genres like pop and when the fan base’s preferences differ greatly from critics, which happens frequently in the many subgenres of metal. Users can submit reviews should they wish to do so – but I have these of limited value. The site boasts a clean interface and a decently smart search.

For classical music, I am still relying on Gramophone Magazine’s site for the latest news. For logged in users (free registration), the site has a searchable database of reviews. The site’s traditional media mentality is obvious – care has obviously been taken to insure the site does not cannibalize readers of the magazine. The result is a poorly implemented search (information has to completely match before results appear) and a very limited collection of articles (considering the magazine’s vast archive).


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