Last updated
Type of site
Music website
Available inEnglish
OwnerJeremy Ferwerda
Created byJeremy Ferwerda
Website sputnikmusic.com
Alexa rankIncrease2.svg 17,237 (August 2018) [1]
LaunchedJanuary 2005
Current statusActive

Sputnikmusic is an American music community website offering music criticism and music news alongside features commonly associated with wiki-style websites. The format of the website is unusual in that it includes both professional and amateur content, distinguishing it from professionally written music websites such as Pitchfork Media and Tiny Mix Tapes, as well as collecting and presenting a wiki-style metadata database in a manner comparable to Rate Your Music and Discogs.


Over time, the site came to be established as a credible source; it is now among the sources that Metacritic uses to compile "Critic Scores" and is used as a news source by other websites. [2] [3] As a general rule, the staff writers tended to focus on new releases; however, any user was welcome to submit a review of any album that has been officially released. All genres of music were covered by the site, with dedicated subsections for metal, punk, indie, rock, hip-hop, and pop; an 'Other' section also caters to electronica, jazz, reggae, trip-hop, classical music, and soundtracks.

The musical focus of the site's staff had often been on non-mainstream artists, with the likes of Burial, Converge, Kidcrash, Cynic, Kayo Dot, Off Minor, and The Tallest Man on Earth performing strongly in the staff-voted Best of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 features.


Sputnikmusic was originally launched by Jeremy Ferwerda as an offshoot from the Mxtabs network, which also included MusicianForums; the reviews that existed on the website on launch day had been imported from the latter's CD Reviews subforum. At this point, the site was simply a source of amateur content; it is also worth noting that due to its association with MXTabs, the site's focus was noticeably skewed toward guitar-based music, notably metal and rock, at this time.

In June 2006, following claims made by the MPA about the supposed illegality of music tabs, [4] MXTabs was closed, later to be acquired by MusicNotes. At this time, Sputnikmusic became its own separate entity, with MusicianForums renamed as the SputnikMusic Forums. [5] It was at this point that the focus of Sputnik began to shift toward providing professional content, with a news page added, and a stratification system implemented for reviewers. As part of this shift, several features have also sporadically been provided by the site's staff writers, including live reviews, interviews, exclusive MP3 streams, and year-end features.

Reviewer stratification

Sputnikmusic has four classes of reviewer identifiers to demarcate whether content should be considered professional or not.

Rating system

Sputnikmusic operates a simple 5-point rating system, starting at 1, that allows .1 intervals for staff writers and .5 intervals for all other users. As a guide to new reviewers, each of these values are assigned a word, ranging from 'Awful' (1.0) to 'Classic' (5.0).

As well as showing the score a reviewer has given to the album, a review page allows the scores given by other individual reviewers, and the average rating given by all users. A bar chart shows how many votes each rating has once it has received at least two and a review.

Staff's top albums by year

YearArtistAlbumTop 5 AlbumsRef.
2010 The Tallest Man on Earth The Wild Hunt [7]
2011 Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver [8]
2012 Swans The Seer [9]
2013 Julia Holter Loud City Song [10]
2014 Flying Lotus You're Dead! [11]
2015 Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly [12]
2016 David Bowie Blackstar [13]
2017 The National Sleep Well Beast [14]
2018 Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour [15]
2019 Laura Stevenson The Big Freeze [16]

Related Research Articles

A review is an evaluation of a publication, service, or company such as a movie, video game, musical composition, book ; a piece of hardware like a car, home appliance, or computer; or an event or performance, such as a live music concert, play, musical theater show, dance show, or art exhibition. In addition to a critical evaluation, the review's author may assign the work a rating to indicate its relative merit. More loosely, an author may review current events, trends, or items in the news. A compilation of reviews may itself be called a review. The New York Review of Books, for instance, is a collection of essays on literature, culture, and current affairs. National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr., is an influential conservative magazine, and Monthly Review is a long-running socialist periodical.

Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of films, TV shows, music albums, video games and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged. Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts in 1999. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of green, yellow or red summarizes the critics' recommendations. It is regarded as the foremost online review aggregation site for the video game industry.

Chart Attack is a Canadian online music publication. Formerly a monthly print magazine called Chart was published from 1991 to 2009. The web version continues to be available online; however, content has ceased to be updated since mid 2017 when owner Channel Zero laid off the site's staff.

GameSpot is a video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information on video games. The site was launched on May 1, 1996, created by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. It was purchased by ZDNet, a brand which was later purchased by CNET Networks. CBS Interactive, which purchased CNET Networks in 2008, is the current owner of GameSpot.

<i>Pitchfork</i> (website) online music magazine

Pitchfork is an American online magazine launched in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, based in Chicago, Illinois, and owned by Condé Nast. Being developed during Schreiber's tenure in a record store at the time, the magazine developed a reputation for its extensive focus on independent music, but has since expanded to a variety of coverage on both indie and popular music.

Rate Your Music is an online collaborative metadata database of musical and non-musical releases and films which can be catalogued, rated and reviewed by users.

MXTabs.net was an American music tablature website created in 1999, offering free guitar, bass, and drum tablature created by users of the site, in addition to music reviews and instrument lessons. Although the site shut down in June 2006 in response to claims made by the Music Publishers' Association (MPA) about the supposed illegality of music tabs, it has since been bought by MusicNotes and now offers free, legal tablature.

Dotmusic was a music webzine that existed as a standalone website from June 1995 to December 2003. Initially intended as the web complement to the UK music industry trade magazine Music Week, the site was relaunched in December 1998 as a website for music fans with features, interviews and the UK Charts. The site was edited by Andy Strickland and among its most prominent writers were Nimalan Nadesalingam who contributed artist biographies and James Masterton who contributed a weekly UK chart commentary. After an internship in summer 2000, Alex Donne Johnson used his experience at Dotmusic to go on and found the urban music website RWDmag, which later become one of the key players in the development of grime, UK garage and dubstep online.

Ultimate Guitar, also known as Ultimate-Guitar.com or simply UG, is the largest guitarist community website including guitar and bass guitar tablature, chord sheets, reviews of music and equipment, interviews with notable musicians, online written and video lessons, and forums. It was started on October 9, 1998, by Eugeny Naidenov, a student of the economic faculty of Kaliningrad State University, Russia.

<i>Rise Above</i> (Dirty Projectors album) 2007 studio album by Dirty Projectors

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<i>Twilight of the Thunder God</i> 2008 studio album by Amon Amarth

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AbsolutePunk was a website, online community, and alternative music news source founded by Jason Tate. The website mainly focused on artists who are relatively unknown to mainstream audiences, but it was known to feature artists who have eventually achieved crossover success, including Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, The Gaslight Anthem, Anberlin, Thrice, All Time Low, Jack's Mannequin, Yellowcard, Paramore, Relient K, and A Day to Remember. The primary musical genres of focus were emo and pop punk, but other genres were included.

<i>Journal for Plague Lovers</i> album by Manic Street Preachers

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<i>On the Impossible Past</i> album by The Menzingers

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