Type of site
Music website
Available in English
Owner Jeremy Ferwerda
Created by Jeremy Ferwerda
Website www.sputnikmusic.com
Commercial Yes
Registration Yes
Launched January 2005
Current status Active

Sputnikmusic, or simply Sputnik, is a music 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 allows both professional and amateur content to co-exist, distinguishing it from similar 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 IMDb.

Over time, the site has come to be established as a credible source, becoming a featured reviewer on Metacritic,[1] and being used as a news source by other websites.[2] As a general rule, the staff writers tend to focus on new releases; however, any user is welcome to submit a review of any album that has been officially released. All genres of music are 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 has often been on non-mainstream artists, with the likes of Burial, 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,[3] 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.[4] 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

Currently on Sputnikmusic, four classes of reviewer exist that 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 is assigned a word, ranging from 'Awful' (1.0) to 'Classic' (5.0). However, certain albums have a "fixed" rating system, where users cannot rate the album lower than a 2.0. This is the case with Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, which users are unable to give a low rating to. The staff of Sputnik have not commented on this, despite being asked.

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

Staff's top albums by year

Year Artist Album Top 5 Albums Ref.
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]


  1. "How We Create the Metascore Magic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  2. "Cradle of Filth news, music videos, pictures and albums - AOL Music". Music.aol.com. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  3. Youngs, Ian (2005-12-12). "Entertainment | Song sites face legal crackdown". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  4. "Sputnik Music & Musician Forums". Musicianforums.com. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  5. "Staff". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  6. "Staff". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  7. "The Top 100 Albums of 2010". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 Dec 2013.
  8. "Top 50 Albums of 2011". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 Dec 2013.
  9. "Top 50 Albums of 2012". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 Dec 2013.
  10. "Top 50 Albums of 2013". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 29 Dec 2013.
  11. "Top 50 Albums of 2014". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  12. "Top 50 Albums of 2015". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.