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Being an avid fan of music, both new and that stemming for the 90’s and 80’s, I am always on the net, looking for information, news, fansites, lyrics and whatever else may take my fancy about whichever band’s in my CD player.
Of course there are more traditional methods to access music information, the most notable of this is the printed version of NME, out every Wednesday. Problem is, by Thursday, things have changed in the music world, and you need an instant music news fix!!
NME.com is a good comprehensive site, but I do visit dotmusic.com from time to time too – the focus of my review here.
Dotmusic (lets call it DM from here on in) was originally developed some years ago, independently I think, but is now owned and managed by BT, being part of the vast BT Openworld network. Being such a profiled company/organisation, DM clearly now has leverage in getting quality people working on the site, with quality exclusives and everything musical in general.
There’s loads to see and do on DM, I’ll cover the more important parts first, then overview the whole concept.
News – this is music news in general and starts you off on the front page, with a sentence or two on the top news stories of the day, with instant links to the full picture. On the left hand banner you’ll see a link to all the news in the music world. The quality of the news is accurate and in-depth, with the occasional scoop that others have yet to pick up on from time to time!
Charts – needs little introduction. Personally the charts mean nothing to me, I listen to lots of bands and artists – some which chart often, some which don’t, and quite frankly who gives a monkeys who’s at number 1 or how many weeks its been on the charts. There’s much more to an artist’s career than getting to No. 1 all the time!
If charts are what you want then DM will give you the weekly top 75 singles and album, and the top 20 specialists charts, indie, dance, rock and so on. (Ok so I do look at these ‘occasionally!) Future hits is a feature where the writers predict chart placings for the singles to be soon released, and there is also a feature to have the charts delivered to you by email, oooh the excitement.
At this point I’ll mention advertising on the site I think. Pop-ups are sometimes seen, though not every day. When you do see them they are the most annoying ones – the ones that stop you in your tracks, and take over the screen. Grr I hate them! There are banner adverts scattered throughout, though nothing too obtrusive. Also in an effort to make more cash for the company (you don’t think your phone and ASDL bills pay for this site do you!!??) they have an affiliation with CD-WOW.com, those excellent people who sell CD’s for £8.99 delivered!! Please kids, don’t pay £13 from HMV any longer. The CD-Wow banner is always down the right hand side, showing relevant CD’s to buy for the page you may be viewing at the time.
Back to the program – Artists is the next section you can tune into. Essentially you have links to featured artists, these are the bands and artists who are riding high in the ‘charts’ at the present time. Click through to your choice and read a little more about him/her/them, and read all the past news relating to him/her/them. Also you have a chance here to enter discussion forums for that artist. Go and diss their latest single, or rave about that last gig perhaps??
Well ‘Reviews’ needs little introduction – after news, it’s probably the most visited set of pages for me. Here you can read reviews of many of the latest albums, singles, and live gigs that have occurred of late and also trawl the archives through a searchable facility, which does, thankfully work well. Given that some 150 singles and 300 albums are put out each week not every single one is reviewed obviously!! I like the reviews section, not that I take too much notice of what they say, but I find it interesting reading other peoples thoughts on CDs I have recently purchased.
Release Schedule – Again, self-explanatory, I find this section very useful to finding out what’s coming out in the next few weeks. The information here is generally pretty accurate, and is frequently updated like everything else on the site. Of course labels sometimes do change plans at the last minute, and this may give the odd error on the DM release schedule.
The Live section is best for those on faster connections as you are blessed with access to live webcasts from time to time. Essentially a clever feature, though do you really want to watch a band play live in some studio in London on a stamp-sized window?
Broadband is, naturally another sections for those of us that don’t dial up. This little section has a smattering of video offerings from some of the current bands doing the rounds, along with a track download or two, if that’s your bag. You can also watch the top 10 music videos, but if you have Sky or Cable may I suggest a slice of one of the many music channels instead??
Community – well it’s not a place to hold an online wedding reception, but it is a place to voice your opinion, in the various forums and live chat areas, again if that is what you want to do. The forums are ok here, but I prefer those on NME.com, they seem to be a bit more varied than here at DM, in my opinion. Other options in this section allow you to give feedback to the site managers themselves, so don’t hesitate to tell them if they’re wrong or how much you hate pop-up adverts WITH SOUND!
Overall this is a music portal that’s run well with frequent updates. Its leanings are certainly towards mainstream, but the odd- up and coming band may get a look in somewhere. The downfalls are the pop-ups (though aren’t seen every day as I said) and maybe the cd-wow banner section could be a little less intrusive?
Other than that, a close 2nd to the firm favourite in my music bookmarks folder (NME if you hadn’t guessed!)
This sounds really good! Might take a look. sara x
gobbygirl 03.08.2003 14:52
Hate pop-ups! It is a good site, it's very full and regularly updated but I sometimes find it a bit, not sure of the right word... soul-less, that sounds harsh but I mean as it is such a big site it can lose the feeling of personality that you get from smaller indie sites.