May 17, 2008


With the advent of the internets -- that series of tubes -- there's been a breadthless proliferation of every kind of site, blog, vlog you can imagine, covering every possible, conceivable subject under the sun.

And with this massive overload of information, we're now seeing a corresponding mushrooming of sites that try to collate and organize all this information into some semblance of order.

Google, of course, is the largest and most well-known of these "collators". Yet as effective as it is, even a Google search can feel like you're dipping haphazardly into the pages of the I Ching.

For music lovers the possibilities are endless. The myriad avenues for finding new music are quite wondrous, if not downright daunting.

Long gone are the days when the music you heard was dictated by those who controlled radio and TV. (The interwebs have put paid to that kind of hegemony, and good riddance, I say.)

There's a veritable plethora of music sites, MP3 sites and music blogs out there now (including this one, lost and spinning in cyberspace).

Along with this explosion of noise are the sites that try to shape and order the chaos: Hype, Deezer, Elbows, 3hive, Fingertips, to name but a few (of the best). Then there are the ones that bring in the social networking aspect: iLike, Last fm, etc.

My absolute favourite, by far, of all these sites, however, is Fairtilizer.

Don't let the name put you off -- Fairtilizer is a music lover's paradise.

Truly international, with music from every possible genre, Fairtilizer works on the notion that, by "word of mouth", good songs will naturally out. Listeners can vote for the tunes they like, create playlists or listen to other people's playlists. If you vote for a song, it pushes that song higher in the charts. You can see what songs are charting the highest for that day, week, or month.

There are a few things that are less than perfect with the site: You can't search by artist, for example, which seems a bit odd. And the search function itself appears random (if not completely broken).

To me, however, these things only make the site more endearing. It's like finding a vast cave of treasures, where each and every gem you uncover is all the more thrilling because of the surprise of it. You can spend countless hours there, and know that you've barely scratched the surface.

When I joined Fairtilizer, it was still in beta, so I had to be invited by a friend. I'm not sure if that's still the case. [If you're reading this, though, and you think you'd like to take a squiz, then drop me a line and/or leave me a comment (with your email address), and I'll send you an invite.]

If you love finding new sounds, Fairtilizer is heaven.

I'll leave you with "Cockney Thug" from Rusko. Because who can resist a tune where the chorus consists of a dubstep loop around the word 'f-ck'? Who indeed...


JFG said...

Hey Kirsten, I work for Fairtilizer, thanks for your great review! How exactly do you see our search function as "random (if not completely broken)"? We'd love your help to improve the site experience. Please contact me by email or skype "jfgroff".

kirsten said...


Thanks for getting in touch! Unfortunately Blogger is not letting me see your Blogger profile or email details (and I don't have skype) so I hope you check back here.

To clarify about the search function remark (maybe I'll get rid of the "seems to be broken" line -- it's perhaps not entirely fair!). But the search can feel a little random. If I type Danger into the search bar, for example, the very top title is Carnies by Martina Topley Bird...and I don't see the word 'danger' anywhere -- until I go deeper, and see that it's been tagged with Danger Mouse. You'll also see on that front page Hellfire by Meat Beat Manifesto and Lies by the Black initially, as a user, you're thinking, "What...?! This search doesn't work." If you look closer, of course, you'll see the word danger somewhere: a producer, or label, or quelque chose.

Maybe if the search word (in this case, 'danger') was highlighted in each entry pulled, that would make it less confusing....?

JFG said...

Hi again,

Thanks for clarifying, you make a very good point. We search quite broadly in all of the available information for each track, and we should place tracks that have your keywords in the song title or artist name on top of the results list. The highlight of results is also a good idea... Time for some programming I guess ;-)

Sorry blogger doesn't want to put us in touch. You can reach me by email as jfg at fairtilizer dot com, and if you have more ideas, please use the "feedback" link in the upper right corner of the site.



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