As some of you know, I am always on the lookout for music. I have posted several times here about music discovery websites, applications, and other services, and some of them worked great. But lately I have come across a new service called, Upto11.net. The service has its own “secret sauce” that it uses to find you the best results for your searches and even to provide you with information on artists. What is that secret sauce? Well, it is a recipe with P2P, some mathematics, Wikipedia, and of course, you, the members. Pretty tasty, huh? So, I gave it a try and found that I find it extremely helpful with finding artists.
Above is the main page that you will find recent information about member activity. You will see a column for “Newest File Unders,” which are pretty much another way of saying, tags. You can see the latest playlists that have been created along with an XML file to subscribe to. Also, you can see a section for the latest bookmarked artists (you can subscribe to this too). I like the bookmark feature because it allows you to bookmark any artist that you come across and refer back to it later in your profile page. A great way to build up a list of bands you want to look at. On the top you get your search form. You can search recommendations, artists, albums, songs, and then the community. Now, I will search for the artist, “Fall Out Boy.”
The results for “Fall Out Boy” came up and I selected the band. This will bring you to the Artist Information page. Upto11.net has done an excellent job here. You can see the popularity of the artist, what it is filed under (or tagged), top songs from the artist, top albums, playlists, and best for last, the information area. What is so great about the information area? It gets its information about the band from Wikipedia. Because of this, the information given on a band is very accurate, provides a lot of information, and other information that is provided for the artist from Wikipedia. I found this really helpful because when coming across a band you don’t know, you can now find out its history, favorite songs, the members of the band, and even bands that Wikipedia includes as relation. The information area isn’t my favorite feature of Upto11.net. My favorite feature is the recommendation system.
The music recommendation search uses a very unique method of finding bands for you. As stated earlier, it uses results from P2P and Upto11.net’s own recipe. This is great, but the part that gets me all excited is the popularity slider (top left in the screenshot). With Upto11.net, you can search for an artist and then get popular results at default. But what if you are trying to find the less known bands? That’s something that I am always on the lookout for and because of the slider, now I can simply drag it to the left a little at a time and see the results change by popularity. Most of the popular bands that come up for “Taking Back Sunday,” I already know. So, I took the slider and dragged it back to 75%. Ok, I still know some of them. Let’s move it to 50%. There we go… now it is getting interesting. I know about 10% of the bands listed and now I can view all their information and hopefully find some music to purchase. I really like the use of the popularity slider and I feel that this is what makes the recommendations search so powerful.
The last feature I want to touch up on are the playlists. You can search through playlists that other members have created and you can also create your own. I do feel that the playlists on Upto11.net do lack though. I have come across some buggy searches and don’t usually find a playlist with an artist I like by searching but rather by viewing artist information and then using the related playlists area. The one thing I do like about the playlist area is that you can see what others are interest in or you can find playlists that deal with a specific genre. I also like how it provides you purchasing links to iTunes, Amazon, MSN Music, and Buy.com for all the songs and when you hover over one of the stores, it provides you with some details from the service.
Upto11.net seems to be working great for me. I have already purchased three CD’s because of the service. I feel that the recommendation search and the artist information are the strong points of the service and really are all that I need. If you give the service a try, let me know how relevant your results are. I am interested in seeing if I am the only one that is getting positive results.