Monday, February 2, 2009

Awesome Websites For The Collector: Part 1 - Music Encyclopedias

I have alot of music, both legally gained and gained by "questionable" means, but one thing is for sure, I would not know as much as I do (about bands and websites) without reading other people's work. So I am passing the knowledge on to whomever needs it.

[Note]: I am not condoning the illegal download of music, or anything. Although I have partook in that pastime before, I am currently a member of several legal sites, and I enjoy the physical trading of CD's (of which I'm not sure of the legality).

Music Encyclopedias
These sites are what I use to write this blog, to correctly title the songs in my library, and to find new and exciting bands:
  • Wikipedia - Not the best for accuracy, but it often times links to useful sites. Alot of which are listed below. Also they are almost always linked to the Band's web site. So you can easily double-check most of the material.
  • Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives - The Wikipedia for metal music, although I trust this site alot more. There are alot of sites out there that claim to have the largest collection of music, but I believe that Encyclopedia Metallum has it. Having over 84,000 bands, all broken up by genre, letter, or country, with an easy to use search engine, this is easily one of the most ambitious sites I have ever seen. My only complaint is that it is hard to directly link to any band page, as they host the searches within the homepage, not opening a stand-alone page. Also, if you couldn't guess from the title, it's only for metal bands, with any non-metal bands being removed (by the administrators).
  • Last.FM - Not only a great site for web radio (my favorite), it also hosts quite a large collection of band pages. Often nothing more then a paragraph explaining the band, it's not enough to really learn much, but it can let you know the genre and you can listen to a track or two, a handy guide if you're interested in the band but not sure about it's music.
  • The Prog Archives - I just found this one about a week ago, and haven't searched it very far. It seems to be a review site for progressive bands, which is nice, as it can be hard to find any info on prog bands. Although most of the bands I searched for had a page, not alot of them had any more info then just the band's name and release. If you are really big into progressive rock/metal then this would be a great site to have, if not I'd just pass it over.
  • Metal From Finland - As the title suggests, this web site deals solely with artists from Finland. It is broken bu by genre, and has an artist of the week, but is quite limited. I love Finish metal, so I use this site to find new artists, but as I said, it is for a small piece of the music pie.
  • Allmusic - The epitome of music encyclopedia websites. This site is trying to have EVERYTHING. Every genre, every band, every album, ever. They do a pretty good job overall, but alot of the lesser known artists (which is the only reason I frequent music encyclopedias, for the info that other sites don't have) have nothing but their discography page. This site focuses on mostly pop or mainstream rock, so for someone like me, who listens to alot of metal and alot of stuff off the grid, it can be frustrating at times. My biggest gripe is that each page takes forever to load up, often times erroring and making me start again. For a website that plans to have millions of pages, you would think they would have better page recall and bandwidth to handle the plethora of people visiting. But hey, that's just me.
  • Rock Detector (or Music Might as it is known now) - It used to be another website where you could submit your own articles for different bands and whatnot. Which of course made it just as reliable as Wikipedia, but it was still useful for some of the more out-there artists, as well as finding information about rare EPs or demos the band released. I hadn't been on it for a while and when I came back it had the different title (still the same web site though). I guess some guy named Gary Sharpe-Young bought it in September of 2008 and is now doing all the submissions manually. The page says on it's FAQ that you can mail (read: snail mail) him any updates, all the way in New Zealand. So I don't know what is going on exactly with that. But it still has several thousand artists, and so is still useful as a location to read up on an artist.

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