Q: What do Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa, Prince’s 1984 and Iron Maiden’s Powerslave have in common?
A: These 4 albums are among the 1000 Top Albums of 1984 as rated by users of rateyourmusic.com.
Incidentally, they occupy the first 4 positions in the ranking. Metallica’s record leads with an average rating of 4.12 (out of 5). A total of 7,760 users rated it. Purple Rain, the number three, was rated 3,657 times, with a 4.08 average.
Going to the bottom of the list, we learn that Grace Slick’s Software is ranked 964th (28 ratings, 3.20 average). Madonna’s Like a Virgin is 341 (1,022 ratings, 3.33 average).
Besides rating the album from 0 to 5, the user has the option to write her own review. There are 298 reviews for Iron Maiden’s Powerslave.
Going beyond 1984, one can find the 5000 top albums of all-time. The Mummies’ Never Been Caught (1992) is the 5000th. (The album is classified as garage punk and garage rock). The Beatles’ Abbey Road is number 1.
A concise definition from the FAQ:
Rate Your Music (RYM) is an international metadata database where musical albums, EPs, singles, videos and bootlegs (collectively referred to as “releases”) are added, rated, and reviewed by users. This data is then used to generate automatic music recommendations for users, create lists of compatible users, and to create lists of top-rated music albums. Weighted averages are used to calculate the ordering for these lists; regular members who write reviews and rate more albums have a greater weight applied to their ratings
So, if anyone is looking for some massive amount of user-generated music information, this is a site to have a look at.
As of December 2006, RYM contains information on over 700,000 releases, by 168,000 artists. Many artist profiles include detailed information such as birthdate, members, related artists, genres, and biographies. Many albums include cover art and track listings.
What I think is the most curious: the site has been online since 2000 and I never heard about it. It is perplexing/sad how the site could go on so long and so far and still remain a niche, never evolving into a major destination like Last.fm or a wiki-like alternative to Allmusic.com.