Rate Your Music (rateyourmusic.com, commonly abbreviated as rym) is a user-built online music database for all kinds of releases (albums, EPs, singles, bootlegs and music videos.) The system generates weighted average ratings for all releases and creates charts for each year and decade (since the 1950s), as well as for all time. Artists and releases are cross-referenced by location, music style and label.

Features

Registered users can rate their collections and receive recommendations both from the automatic recommendation system and manually. The compatibility list helps finding people with similar tastes and users can compare their collections/ratings to anyone else's. They also have the ability to create lists and access to all kinds of statistics regarding their collection on rym. Besides rating and reviewing music, everybody can add artists or releases, upload cover arts, write biographies and submit corrections. An extensive wiki available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese helps new users to comply with the rules and formatting standards. There is also the possibility to send private messages, or participate in the thriving forum community.

History

The site is hosted privately and was introduced on December 24th, 2000 by Hossein Sharifi, who also started the comment management system YACCS. Rate Your Music began as a very basic website where you could only add standard albums, but with the time more and more new features were provided, such as yearly charts, artist profiles, and the ability to keep track of your favorite users' additions.

A huge change came with rym 2.0, which introduced track listings, labels, and venues/concerts, as well as a completely reworked interface. The new site had been beta-tested privately for weeks and was finally launched officially on August 7th, 2006. Reactions were mixed, most users were either enthusiastic because of the new features, or very disappointed of the new design. Because many features weren't worked out completely yet, 2.0 still underwent many changes after its launch, and this process is not finished to this date. Just after the launch of the new site, rym also introduced advertisements to fund the hosting expenses. This decision was made democratically after a suggestion on the message board, and the users' response was very positive, especially because it's still warranted that you can turn off the ads anytime when you're logged in.

Statistics

Rate Your Music has recently reached over 4 million ratings from over 60,000 registered users, the database featuring over 160,000 artists and around 500,000 releases with cover art (about 500 new sleeves being uploaded each day.) Most users come from the English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia) and from South America (especially Brazil) or Europe.

Advantages

Typical for the site is its democratic nature, everybody can participate in extending and improving the database by adding new artists and releases, submitting corrections, suggesting changes, voting on profiles or simply rating albums. It is very easy to find new music on rym, for example through other users' reviews, recommendations, or by looking through genre tags, lists, artists from a particular location, or the best-rated albums from a certain year.

The site is also known for providing cover art of decent resolution even for rather obscure releases, and the list-making interface is very user-friendly. Sign-up is quick and hassle-free.

Criticism

Due to limited server capacity, the site is typically slow. Since there are many different moderators and administrators, some of them handle the same questions differently than others, and decision-making regarding the database structure and standardization is slow and unclear. Although it's positive that users are able to contribute their own ideas and suggestions regarding the development of rym, Hossein Sharifi is the only person to do the programming at the moment, so that even obviously necessary interface changes can't be dealt with quickly. And because of the free nature of the contributing system, data such as track listing and release date is not always reliable, especially if provided by a single unexperienced user.

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