Where should CritiqueBrainz go in the future?

CritiqueBrainz has been stuck for sometime and we decided in the Mini Summit that we would focus on adding stuff that increases CB’s user engagement. This involves increasing community interaction and adding more “social” features. We have come up with the following and would like feedback.

Allowing “Quick” Reviews (Blurbs)

Presently, a user can add a single review for an entity. These reviews are aimed to be rich in content. Quick reviews would allow users to write a short review for the corresponding entity in not more than 280 characters. Users would be able to add a quick review (from different MetaBrainz projects also) and a detailed review for an entity. License of quick reviews will be CC0. This would allow us to have detailed as well as short reviews for the entities.

This would improve engagement of users with CritiqueBrainz as they would be less hesitant to add a new review.

Tags on Reviews

Allow users to tag reviews. For a review for an album, the possible tags can be: individual tracks, lyrics, beat, mood, etc. When the data is publicly made available, tags can be used to filter reviews. Tags can also be used to indicate the type of reviews a user writes.

Community Picks

Because we want to increase community engagement with CritiqueBrainz, and encourage people to write reviews, we’re thinking of doing something similar to artist cleanup months that MusicBrainz does, where we post an artist on the MusicBrainz blog and the community reviews that artist’s music. This would be a really fun music discovery tool and would increase the number of reviews in CritiqueBrainz. We can introduce a feature where an entity (for eg: an Artist) can be chosen and shown as “Artist of the month”. The artist can then be listed on the homepage.

Comments on Reviews

We can introduce comments on reviews of entities. Note that it is intended to keep the comments similar to Stack Overflow, so that they add more content to the review while not distracting from the actual review.


This part of the idea would be to extend functionality, so that users can follow each other. There will be a feed for each user that shows the activity of the people they are following.


We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time. We’d like to cross pollinate the data between the different projects that we have. We’re going to start with ListenBrainz and CritiqueBrainz. We will introduce an option in ListenBrainz that allows users to write a quick review of the tracks they have listened to recently. Chhavi is going to work on mockups for this. Stay tuned. We also plan to show the corresponding Spotify mapping of the track (or the release group) on the ListenBrainz page. This will also help us populate MBSpotify faster.


All the feature which are listed in this post is amazing.

I had my ideas on this feature and wanted to discuss them:-

Maybe, we can use the concept of data visualization and display “most rated”/ “most popular” for each entity type. Instead of the homepage, I would like that a separate page will be there for this feature. Moreover, ratings can be helpful for this feature in addition to the “community” reviews.


@Freso, we were thinking of doing blog posts with call for actions allowing discussion of a particular album (or artist) each week (or month), this would be something like MetaBrainz community picks of the week (or month)? How feasible do you think this would be, I could volunteer for writing the blogs, but we had doubts on whether we should do artists of the month (like the MB cleanup) or albums of the week. Would love your opinions on this.

Is this a way to distiguish professional reviews easily. When you compare a review done by BBC Music with the most of the standard reviews non by a non-journalist the difference in quality is extreme.Basically need a way to distinguish between a professional review and just someone commenting on their favourite album.

I know you can indicate if you found a review useful or not, but this does not indicate between professional and amateur. For example Im not interested in review like this , its hardly a review.

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There are much of such “reviews”, like here and here and here just as a few example from the actual start page only.

That sounds like a great idea!

So would each review have to be only mini or regular-sized, or would you be able to mix and match the two?

Because in addition to being conveniently Twitter-sized, a short summary is also conveniently similar to the heading part of reviews you get on, say, Amazon, which would surely help people import their old Amazon reviews. I could see the ability to add a review of any summary/full/both combination being really useful. Of course, I’m biased, I’m starting to rewrite and import a stack of old reviews with summaries…

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One thing that sonemic (successor to rateyourmusic.com) does, is it categorizes all “reviews” into comments, commentary, and reviews.

Comments having their own section on the side, which are, as they sound, just comments on the release.
Commentary is essentially our “blurbs” which gets mixed in with reviews on the main review section of the release
Reviews are the full blown reviews

In their words:

  • Reviews: Writing that is heavily focused on the content of the release and that meets strict formatting and content standards , similar to standards that would be required to publish in a newspaper or magazine.
  • Commentary: Writing that has few restrictions; includes stories, essays, humor, one-line/very short reviews and similar. Must have some focus on the release in question.

The user then defaults to having blurbs/reviews mixed together in the main section, but has the option of filtering by either as well.


Would it be possible to mix this with BookBrainz as well? We could have an all in one resource for CC reviews/collections/etc. and as far as I know there is no open alternative to something like Goodreads.

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Hate to bump, but I was thinking that some sort of achievement system might encourage people to write reviews. Examples:

  • Badge for writing 10 reviews
  • Badge for adding reviews to 10 release groups that had no reviews beforehand
  • Badge for writing reviews in multiple languages

Misc thoughts:

  • For the crosspollinaton idea, you could have a “verified” review of an album if ListenBrainz showed that you listened to the whole thing (and show how many times that person listened to that album on the review itself)
  • Some way for you to easily mass-import old reviews from Sonemic, AlbumOfTheYear, etc.
  • Show artist blurbs/reviews on artist pages on MB
  • Let people plug in MB ids into the search box to easily find the exact artist they want (and show the disambiguation comment)
  • Maybe let people submit reviews through Picard?
  • Smartphone app? To my knowledge there aren’t any good music review apps on iOS

Edit: more thoughts
The rating system could use an upgrade. As it stands. there’s not much incentive to actually rate things, so people only bother rating things they either really love or really hate in order to give out 5s and 1s. Plus you can’t (?) see the average rating of something and have it rated at the same time.


  • Show an average score for whatever is being rated, you don’t have to write a review (but perhaps your rating is weighed more highly if you write one) when rating but you can see your rating next to the average as a number (not as a few stars)
  • Allow more flexibility with rating (I think adding half-stars would be right, it would let people more easily import Sonemic ratings and a lot of places grade on a 0-10 line)
  • Make it so you can generate a chart of ratings based on year, artist, genre, whatever

It would be interesting to see how MB’s taste compares to Sonemic’s!

Another edit: Maybe that verified review idea could be extended to ratings as well. Your scores get a higher weighting if you can show you’ve actually listened to whatever you just rated. Maybe your stars can be silver instead of purple-ish in a rating list or something.