The Hype Machine (http://hypem.com) is a site that keeps track of what music bloggers write about. The site handpicks a set of music blogs and presents what they discuss on the Hype Machine site. The Hype Machine tracks a variety of MP3 blogs. If the blog post contains MP3 links, the site adds them to its database and displays them on the front page. There is a convenient play button shown beside each blog post summary, where the user can listen to the track that is being shared or commented on in the post. Users can search the site using a convenient search bar which is shown on all pages of the site.
Users can also browse the contents of the site based on several criteria – Latest, which shows the latest blog posts which have been added to the site, Popular, which shows the most popular blog posts, Twitter, which shows the most popular posts on Twitter, Spy, which shows what other users are currently listening to, and Zeitgeist, which shows the Best Artists, Albums and Songs of the year. There is also a Hype Machine radio show which is always playing tracks and an area of the site for buying Hype Machine-branded merchandise. Users can add a track to their favorites by clicking on a heart next to the post for that song, and can favorite users and searches as well.
The Hype Machine site was launched in 2005 by Anthony Volodkin, Taylor McKnight, Zoya Feldman and Scott Kidder. Anthony Volodkin is currently CEO.
Competition to The Hype Machine comes from sites such as Songza and Skreemr. Songza is a music juke box and search engine. They aggregate their content from sites such as YouTube and imeem. Skreemr is a search engine for music files from across the Internet. The site uses its own music player to play tracks, but does not host any music. The site uses a unique AudioRank algorithm, to place quality songs near the top of the list. The major difference between The Hype Machine and these two sites is that the Hype Machine gets all of their music selections from music blogs.
The Hype Machine site has a somewhat uncluttered look and feel. Page loads happen fairly quickly and searches are returned in a matter of a few seconds. The site is quite responsive overall and navigation is intuitive, with a convenient top menu bar shown on all pages of the site. Categories on the top menu bar include Latest, Popular, Twitter, Radio, Spy, Zeitgeist and Merch and Dashboard, where users can access their favorites. Advertising is displayed on the site, but it is relatively unobtrusive.
Registration to the Hype Machine site is free and is not required to read blog posts or listen to tracks. Registration is required in order to maintain favorite tracks, users and searches and to build playlists. The registration process asks for email address, username and password. Validation of the email address is required.
The Hype Machine is free to use.
The Hype Machine site is recommended to all music lovers. It provides a convenient and informative way of finding new music – by listening to the music that is being blogged about the most. The search and browse facilities are easy to use, and the site is organized into helpful categories for finding music. The site’s music player works quite well, as do the favorites lists and playlists features.