Entries in Blogs (3)
The River of Music
The sites home page lists posts from all of the tracked blogs essentially providing a “river of music”. In addition to a brief snippet of the blog post, each entry also contains mp3 which can be played directly within the page. The sidebar also contains a search box and links to weekly top artists, recommended blogs, top blogs and recently updated blogs.
When you click on any artist name, you are taken to an artist results page which shows all blog posts that contain a reference to the selected artist. These pages also display artist bios (via Wikipedia), a link to their official site, related genres, music videos (via YouTube), discography (via Amazon), similar artists, and links to all blogs that discuss the artist. Like most sites that use web services from other sites, the information is often incomplete or just plain wrong (for instance, Of Montreal’s bio uses an entry for Bank of Montreal)
One of the nicest features is the mixtape player which takes all mp3 from the artist across all blogs and puts them into a single streaming playlist. There is even a link to the original blog post that contains the mp3.
Another cool feature is the artist widget which lets you embed all blog posts associated with an artist directly into your web site, social network profile or blog.
Clicking an individual blog link takes you to a page that contains all entries from that blog. In addition to the blog description and official link, the page provides stats such as number of entries, number of mp3s and number of videos. There is also a list of all artists that are mentioned in the blog’s posts though unfortunately they are not sorted alphabetically which makes it difficult to scan, especially with blogs that cover lots of artists.
While the service, currently in alpha, does not have the same level of features as the new Hype Machine, it is still an impressive effort. However, when it comes to blog aggregators, I think the new Hype Machine provides a much better overall experience - especially with their tracking features which make it much more useful tool than Boogie4.us.
There are literally thousands of music blogs on the Internet and keeping track of them can be a major hassle. Its also difficult to get an idea of what’s hot at the moment since the buzz is dispersed over so many sources. The Hype Machine is essentially Technorati for music - a music blog aggregator that tracks all of the music blogs on the internet and provides you with the tools to make sense of it all.
The recently redesigned site is a major improvement over the previous version. The site still maintains the spartan style of the previous version but utilizes color and simple design elements that make navigation is cleaner and text much easier to read. Aside from the standard list of all music pulled from every tracked blog, The Hype Machine has some very interesting and useful features…
The Hype Machine provides you with a dashboard that allows you to manage your favorite songs, blogs, people and searches. These items are then aggregated into your customized Love Feed. You can check your Love Feed for new music, play songs directly in the page and add them to your Loved Tracks. Unfortunately there is no way to play your love feed as a playlist at tis time.
Keeping track of what’s popular at the moment across thousands of blogs is easy with The Hype Machine. The Popular tab provides a ranked list of songs that are getting the most clicks and plays on the site. Its a great way to see where the blogosphere buzz is at the moment. However, there is no easy way to tell which songs are posted on multiple blogs which is also an indicator of buzz aside from just clicks and plays.
The Hype Spy is another interesting way to get a feel for the current zeitgeist. The Spy basically shows you what all users are currently listening to at the moment. Additionally, they also provide a list of the most recent searches.
When you click an artist name, you will see a list of blog entries and songs across the blogosphere that contain that artist. Additionally, these pages also include links to purchase music across multiple stores, tour dates and music videos.
You can also access the full list of blogs tracked by The Hype Machine. In addition to a list of top blogs, you can browse the directory alphabetically.
Overall the new Hype Machine is a welcome change and a site i will be using frequently to find the latest and greatest from around the net.
Even with all the great online stores and music discovery sites out there, sometimes you just need the advise of music experts, especially if you are into obscure genres. This is where music blogs really come into their own. You can be assured that whatever you are into, there is at least one person out there who is blogging relentlessly on the subject. While music blogs really fill the expertise and esoteric gaps missing from the larger services, there are so many, that keeping up with your favorites becomes a numbing experience. Songbird, the open-source desktop web player and browser mashup has features that let you track your favorite music blogs and easily download the mp3s posted on them. Songbird is still in a developer preview and my experience with it so far, while promising has been less than smooth sailing. That’s why I was so pleased when I came across Peel - an mp3 blog reader and player for the Mac.
Just add links to your favorite music blogs and see them appear in the left pane of the application. Click a blog name to see the list of available mp3s. You can then play the files directly in the application or download the directly to iTunes. The cool thing here is that you can listen to all the files from a single blog as a continually streaming playlist, which is great when you just want to listen to new music while you are working.
You can also click the “Web” tab in the right pane to view the blog as if you were using a web browser. Unfortunately, the browser mode seems to disable links so using the “open in browser” feature is a better bet. This is a missed opportunity. It would be great if I could navigate to other music blogs in browser mode and automatically add new ones as i come across them instead of needing to manually add them. Peel should also consider either partnering with or creating their own directory for music blogs so that the entire experience from finding, exploring, adding and managing music blogs is all under one roof. Even better would be a way to harness all the blogs bookmarked by their users in conjunction with some additional community tools (such as tagging, ratings, etc) as way to dynamically and create a collaborative music directory for the entire Peel community.
Despite some of these shortcomings Peel is a very elegant and simple tool for discovering and downloading new music.