Friday, February 23, 2007

Hands On: Critical Metrics

I stumbled across Critical Metrics a couple of weeks ago, quickly tagged it as a a music review aggegrator (similar to MetaCritic, or Parsefork). I came back to it this week, and realized it had a lot more going on that I had originally given it credit for.

Music review aggregation is a, if not *the* major component of the service - but from major publications like NME, Rolling Stone, Blender & Spin - in addition to major music blogs like Stereogum). But, it is also part MP3 aggegator (like The Hype Machine), part YouTube mashup and part playlisting site (like Fiql).

Here's how it works:
  • they filter all recommendations and all reviews ranked four stars or greater during the user selected time period, displaying the "most highly rated, diversely recommended, broadly circulated and recent results first"
  • users can filter by review source or category (e.g. "hip hop publications")
  • next to every song is a list of the relevant review snippets and their sources - with links back to the source publication (click the expand button to open the listing to see more)

  • as a nice bonus, they will pull in music videos for the song from YouTube if available
  • coming soon is the ability to deep-link to any number of music stores/service providers to buy/download the song
  • you can play the song (in-page) via a simple and slick little flash interface
  • quickly add songs to one or more playlists
  • also in development is the ability to export these playlists into other services (like Rhapsody and eMusic)
  • share you playlists via custom URLs that bring others pack to their site - I assume they will soon have embeddable players too, but don't appear to have them yet

One of my issues with in-page playback is that you essentially get "trapped" on a page, if you follow any of the links the song you are listening to stops playing. It looks like they are remedying that by including an pop-up player (based on the open source XSPF Web Player) although it seems buggy right now and wouldn't load the playlists.

There is also no notion of community, users are annonymous (which is nice in some ways since there is no registration required - but this cookie-based way of identifying me means that the playlists I create on this machine aren't available to me on my work machine (unless I email or post the share link somewhere I can get to it). It also means that comments I leave on songs have no attribution, but I'm guessing that is in the works.

But, all-in-all, Critical Metrics is a very slick site and service with a lot of potential. I'll see if it sticks as part of my daily routine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks J, we're adding new features every week, so keep checking back. - CM