I always thought I was pretty on top of my music knowledge, and had a good grip on the various kinds of genres, top hits, and artists out there. But, as I have recently discovered, I thought way too highly of my knowledge of music. For some of you this may come as a shock, but until about three weeks ago, I had no idea who Fleet Foxes were, and had never heard their music. I was introduced to them by a friend because he could no longer stand the idea of having to drive to work with me again while listening to “my” music. He burned me a CD of songs he felt were “better” than mine and that was when my narrow and limited knowledge of music became very apparent.
This idea of discovering new bands and artists started to intrigue me since I had been so stuck in my ways of only listening to my music, that I never really gave myself the chance to go out and explore. But, as I quickly learned, this exploring thing was not as easy as I thought. There are thousands of artists out there with multiple albums and I suddenly became very overwhelmed and defeated. This task was way larger than I anticipated and I was very close to giving up on my new project. Luckily, I was sent an article about an online site that makes the process of discovering new artists and bands a lot easier. GoRankem.com is “crowdsourcing the music discovery process. By aggregating the expertise of the existing fanbase for every artist, the prospective fans can more easily embrace a new artist or dive deeper into a catalog than they ever had before” (GoRankem). The site not only offers rankings on the artist’s best songs, but also provides interactive features between its members.
GoRankem is very straightforward and easy to use. Even technology novices can figure out the site and can begin their search for new artists with ease. The process is simple, just type in an artist’s name and instantly a list of all the artist’s songs and albums are listed and ranked in order of most popular based on a point system. In addition to ranking songs, members can also rank their “fanstanding” of an artist, essentially indicating how big of a fan they are of a given artist. Furthermore, the site offers interactive features such as the “rec” feature. If you believe a certain member has good taste and agree with their rankings, you can rec them and give them recognition on the site. Another feature GoRankem offers is “badges.” “You can earn badges for accomplishing certain tasks. The first set are set up to reward users for four different feats: Trendsetter (being the first to rank an artist) Recruiter (inviting others to check out the site), Socialite (sharing your ranking across different networks), and last but not least, The Douchebadge (ranking a certain mystery artist)” (GoRankem).
Although the features and idea of GoRankem are great, I can’t get past this one imperfection. How are the points for song rankings assigned? I played around on the site to see if I could find an explanation but didn’t find anything. I decided I was going to get the bottom of this so I ranked one of my favorite bands and their songs. I ranked my ten favorite songs and was waiting for the ability to assign points to each song or at least find out how the points were divided up, but that ability and info never appeared. Shouldn’t this be an easy feature to figure out? I mean without the knowledge of how points are assigned, in my mind, the rankings become irrelevant. Just a small description in the FAQ’s would really go a long way and help members better understand how points are assigned.
Despite not understanding this aspect of the site, I would still advise artists to use GoRankem since this could be the push and recognition they need to get to the next level. Artists could provide links to their GoRankem page and advocate fans to rank their favorite songs and albums. In addition, artists can also get recognition from related artist’s GoRankem pages. On each bands page, there is a section on the left hand side suggesting similar artists. Therefore, whenever a fan visits a bands page, they are refereed to other bands, which facilitate the discovery process. In contrast to sites like Pandora and TheSitxyOne.com, which are essentially online radios, GoRankem provides a more “educational” experience due to its widespread list of songs and albums for each artist. When using GoRankem, users can find a wider spectrum of songs for a particular artist instead of only hearing a single song. Similar to bands and artists, social media marketing companies, such as Oniracom, can benefit from GoRankem due to its interactive features. Once a user gets recognition, their suggestions become popular and the snowball effect commences. The more fans that become members and rank their favorite band, the more “recs” the member will receive, and in turn, the more acknowledgment the band will get. Companies like Oniracom strive to increase fan bases and popularity for their clients and GoRankem is a simple way to get fans to interact and assist with the recognition process of a band or artist.
So, after becoming a member, playing around on the site, and enveloping myself in GoRankem’s features, I have discovered that the number one ranked Fleet Foxes song is “White Winter Hymnal” and their most popular album is “Fleet Foxes.” But Fleet Foxes were only the beginning of my new music discovery process. Because of GoRankem, I was referred to other great bands like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine, and now feel that my knowledge of music has definitely broadened and expanded. I have also ranked some of my favorite artists and am waiting to receive my first rec and badge! After listening to and familiarizing myself with new artists and bands, I was able to satisfy my friend’s thirst for “good” music and find new bands I could sing to in the car. Without the help of GoRankem, I would have definitely given up on my project to discover new artists and continued my life of being a “top hits” only girl.