One of the best online music resources to emerge in the last couple of years has to be The Hype Machine. For the uninitiated, The Hype Machine is an aggregator of MP3 music blogs that allows punters to search for blogs and websites that have both written about a particular band and also made an MP3 available ‘for evaluation purposes’.
Type in the name of a band and it returns a list that you can plough through and listen to right there on the page, or alternatively follow the links to the original sites and read more. Think of it like a Google that returns nothing but music and reviews, and to understand how comprehensive the service is, how deep it digs into the lonely corners of the internet, you can even find reviews on and music by Friends of the Stars.
A statement such as ‘it’s an aggregator of Mp3 music blogs’ would have made absolutely zero sense as little as 5 years ago, so we’re very much not in Kansas anymore, and it hasn’t taken long for savvy folk to cotton on to the fact that blogs are a great way of reachinga wider audience. Equally, it hasn’t taken most music bloggers long to realise that there is a living to be made and free music to be had by producing a regular and trustworthy source of new music and comment. PR and Record Companies are now desperately cosying up to the very people they recently wanted to shut down and it seems even your Grandparents could explain to you what a Tastemaker is. We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time.
So, does the fact that a lot of people have written about a particular record make it a ‘good record’? Obviously and categorically not. I won’t name names here, but there were one or two albums released in 2008 that were both underwelming and overexposed, but what’s new…..
Does the fact that a lot of different people, each servicing their own niche audience (of whatever size), have chosen to feature (for whatever reason)the same album during the same calendar year make for a more interesting list than most 2008 lists? Yes, obviously. The Hype Machine’s 2008 Zeitgeist is, then, a quantative list of the artists, albums and songs written about by thousands of independents worldwide and online during 2008.
Each section is being released in chunks of 10 over the next few days. Yesterday saw the release of 50-41, today is 40-31 and so on and so forth until Friday 9th January, when we find out who and what is Top of the Pops. Aside from this being a clever way of making us all return each day, it also infuses this particular list with some authentic, old-fashioned tension - the like of which the actual charts haven’t had since the Top 40 countdown actually meant something… and that, by the way, is a good thing.