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How did you make your way to AM?

As we all know, this website is a true gem. The lists offer a fascinating overview of the musical landscape of the past 100 years. This site is peerless in its method and scope, and I think we all owe a great deal to one Henrik Franzon for making it all possible.

The implementation of a forum has been one of the best parts about the site, in my opinion. This community has grown and blossomed into a great place to be for musical camaraderie and knowledge.

I thought it would be cool to see how each of us stumbled upon this site.

Like many of you, I'm an avid listmaker and music geek. My obsession with lists knows no bounds, and I've gone to the tedious lengths of even ranking my favorite states of the U.S., presidents, letters of the alphabet, and anchors on The Weather Channel (Dave Schwartz rules!). In my endless quest for lists, I avidly searched for music lists based on charts (which led me to rockonthenet.com, polyhex.net and acharts.us), sales (riaa.com, worldwidealbums.net) and rankings of the best albums, singles and artists out there. I was really surprised to see Prince at the lofty position of 18 on VH1's list of the 100 greatest artists of rock and roll in 1998, so I thought I'd seek some other lists for comparison. Mostly, I found webpages designed by one author merely listing their favorites- not very interesting. I narrowed my search by restricting it to various years, and voila! Website manna! Back then, the lists weren't nearly as extensive, didn't feature the genre details, links to purchase, etc., but the methodology and the extent was incredible. I checked the site rather obsessively for updates, praying for 1999 to crack the top 100. Then the forums opened up in 2004, and the rest is history!

So, fellow AMers, how exactly did you happen upon this beauteous site?

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

back in 2004, i met a girl who started "educating" me about music. after a while i started looking for a way to discover music other than having it showed to me by her. so i did a big search for "top 100 albums" lists. eventually i found one that i already owned a fair few off; spin's "the top 100 albums in spin's lifetime" or something like that. where i found this list was actually where someone had posted it on the AM forum! one time while looking at the list it occurred to me that i might find more lists elsewhere on the forum. i don't remember whether or not i did, but i do remember clicking the "return to website button". my jaw dropped almost to the ground upon seeing this mother of all lists. i was immediately a huge fan of the website. the number of people who have been sent a link to this more than once is one i can only imagine. i think about a year later i started posting on the forums... and i'm still here :)

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Well, like Moonbeam, I too am an incurable lifelong list-maker and list-hunter, especially with regards to music and movies. I loved finding lists of all-time greatest albums, particularly if they had some veneer of critical legitimacy, but I was always frustrated by their limited scope. Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if there was some kind of master list that synthesized all these other ones? Then, in the summer of 2000...

I don't even remember how I stumbled across Henrik's original Top 500 list (titled, if memory serves, "20th Century's Most Acclaimed Albums"), which appeared on the message board of a German music-list website similar to the great RockList site. It was probably through Google-searching for various combinations of album titles (the thought being, if a list contained all of these albums, it was a good one) - something along the lines of " 'Hot Rats' 'Swordfishtrombones' 'Parallel Lines' ", you get the idea. I scrolled through the list, read a little about the methodology, and literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. This was exactly - EXACTLY - what I'd been looking for.

I counted how many of the top 100 I already owned. I had 86. Within two weeks I had purchased the remaining 14 (except for MUSIC FROM BIG PINK, which was in the process of being reissued and for which I waited another couple of weeks). By the end of the year I had the whole top 200 (again with one exception - Richard and Linda Thompson's I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT, which until its reissue was next to impossible to find and which I didn't snag until summer 2001). Over the first few months of 2001 I slowly accumulated the albums between 201-300 that I didn't have, figuring I would stop there.

In the fall, Henrik launched his own website - a bare-bones version of the AcclaimedMusic.net we've come to know and love. I was thrilled. The list had been revised slightly, and expanded to 1000. The first day that I became aware of the site, I saw that there were two albums in the new top 300 that I didn't have. I bought them both that day. At the end of 2001 I owned the top 500, give or take a few strays that I had to order online.

For a long time after that I restricted my purchases (except for brand-new albums, of course) to whatever entered the top 500 with each new update (they used to be quite frequent when the site's scope was smaller). Gradually, I expanded my parameters to the top 750, then 800, then 1000, then... And that's how I found myself with over 2900 CDs. Thanks to Henrik, I am both a richer and a poorer man.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Where to start?

From early 80's up until 2005 I had been subscribed to the Dutch music magazine OOR (that's Dutch for 'ear'; see also www.oor.nl).
The main use of this magazine for me was to read album and concert reviews, and encouraging me to spend way too much money on LP's and CD's. By mid 90's my collection had grown so much, that some albums I had listened to only once or twice. At the same time I realized that my music scope was (and still is) quite limited, so further research and listening was needed.

Luckily internet had come to us ... but how to find the right stuff? My focus was first on altavista-ing end of year lists,
then looking for music encyclopedias with good reviews. All Music Guide became my main source and it still has a lot of valuable
information for me.

Via the end of year lists I got to sites collecting end of year lists, like e.g. the rocklist.net site ... and this AM site! This must have been sometime around 2002 or 2003. And although I had seen Henrik's statement

"You mean you don't want to sit in a dark, smoky bar with friends debating the fact that The Velvet Underground are the 8th best Albums Band but only the 425th best Singles Band?"

and had clicked on it a few times before, I (shamefully) have to admit that it took until 2007 before I really started reading in this forum. Now I am so addicted, that I sometimes wish I had never found this forum ... (just kidding)

Nowadays, AM and RYM are my two most visited music sites, but sites like e.g. AMG, Metacritic or MusicMeter.nl are visited regularly as well.

So, probably not as intensive as Moonbeam or Harold, but I also like to make lists. AM happens to have a pretty decent reference list, but what I like even more, is the sharing of our own lists right on this forum!

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Great Thread Moonbeam, and one I cannot answer, all I know is that I first stumbled across this site in etiher late 2001 or early 2002 and like everyone else here it has shaped my musical world emmensely. I was poor and in college then so my cd buying capacity was limited but after reading Harolds post I realise now that I may have the same affliction that struck him several years back (right now its 24 to go from the top 250). I,m definitely a little lighter in the wallet for the whole experience but I dont think you can truly put a price on the joy of great music. The Ray Charles albums gonna hurt a bit though and we,ve just had our second budget here in Ireland in 6 months so I,m gonna have to become a bit more of a bargin hunter me thinks.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Honestly, I don't remember. I know I went to metacritic for a while before I found it. Either somebody mentioned it on their forums or I found it in some random google search for best album lists.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

i found this site all the way back in the summer of 08! i was using rolling stone's top 500 albums and songs lists when i began to realize that my taste wasn't really expanding at all. so i started googling "best album lists" or something like that and i found this site! i was immediately pleased to see 90s and 00s albums in the top 100 because it meant a musically diverse list.
because of this site my music passion and knowledge has icreased immensely.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

I'm obsessed with information that pertains to things I find interesting, and I love rock and roll music. So one day I was reading the Rolling Stones wikipedia page, because wouldn't it be embarassing if I didn't even know everything about the Rolling Stones? Amidst their accolades it mentioned that they were ranked the 2nd greatest artist of all-time by Acclaimedmusic.net, so I decided to click the link to see the site. And then I discovered that there was a forum and I started posting.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

I think I found the site a 3-4 years ago, probably googling for top albums and I'm pretty sure I started posting here once I realized there was a forum and fun polls. I've stayed because I love the small community and I've really enjoyed that we aren't a bunch of snotty kids who think we know everything. It seems like everyone here is truly interested in other AM'ers opinions. Are there bigger forums that are constantly buzzing? Sure. But, I don't think there is another community where not only are there a good bunch of knowledgeable music fans but also one where you feel like you really know the regulars. It's like our own little music driven dive bar.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Long story. But if it's coming from me, it's bound to be long.

It started with movies.

I used to work at a Blockbuster Video, and that's what first got me hooked on movies. My DVD collection grew by leaps and bounds. I started following the IMDb Top 250 list and trying to collect all the movies on there. Then one day while prowling the depths of Roger Ebert's site, I saw he made mention of a book called "1001 Movies You Should See Before You Die." I'm too cheap to actually buy a copy of it for myself, but someone had posted the list online. So I took it upon myself to watch all 1001 movies on that list.

At that same time, I worked at my college's radio station as a jazz DJ and I was beginning to be immersed in the "indie rock" scene. That's how I discovered artists like Sufjan Stevens, Shout Out Louds, Camera Obscura, etc. Somewhere along the line, I discovered Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. I found that and thought, "Well, I should probably try to get all the songs on this list." So I started downloading. I remember when I started, I had a little under half of the 500.

In following the "1001 Movies" list, I came across a similar book: "1001 Albums You Should Own Before You Die" (or some title like that). I decided, "Well, I've already got the 500 songs; I might as well try for those 1001 albums too!" A couple of weeks after starting on that little project (scouring my radio station's library, scouring my college library's CD collection, begging my friends to let me borrow their CDs, etc.), a buddy of mine told me about acclaimedmusic.net. I don't know how he found it, but my initial reaction was, "Why do I need this? I already have the 1001 Albums list!"

But seeing as how I am a compulsive collector and a compulsive list-maker, it wasn't more than about a day or two before I started trying to collect all 3000 albums. Then maybe a week later I started working on downloading all 3000 songs. Then after I realized that the next time Henrik updated his site, some of the "bubbling under" songs might pop onto the top 3000 list, I decided to go after all the "bubbling under" songs as well.

So that's where I am right now.
I have 2,796 of the top 3,000 songs.
I have 774 of the (however many) "bubbling under" songs.
I don't know how many of the top 3,000 albums I have, but I'm nowhere near being complete. I'm guessing I have maybe 10-15%. But I have 23 of the top 25 and 71 of the top 100. I'd buy them, but I'm cheap and would rather just rip a copy of it to my computer.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

july, 2007 (2 years ago)

i was compiling a lot of country and blues sources and I stumbled upon the critics' list page.

then I went to the homepage and jumped.

I remember my first bewildered post here

2 years after, i'm still hooked

AM really helps me to perfect my musical culture. The decade polls are a great way of systematically explore the history of popular music.

And I've found friends here too. Haven't met anyone in the flesh yet. Funny, no ? I've been knowing some of you for 2 years but we've never met..
That's internet...

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

If someone asked me to list my favorite forum threads, this would be my number one.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

If someone asked me to list my favorite forum threads, this would be my number one.

And here I thought it would be the "when is the next update" threads?

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

I heard about the actual accliamedmucis website on RS, and that site lead me here.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

I found this site a few years back through a link in google when I was looking for a "best albums" site, and I have been consulting this site daily ever since, first only the lists, but after a while the forum, and more specifically the monthly update by Stephan, my main source to discovering new music.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

In middle school and early high school, I transitioned from a pop/radio hip-hop fan to a classic rock fan. But I didn't really start caring about music until I began playing Guitar Hero and getting into many of the artists featured in those games. The first band that really clicked for me was Black Sabbath, as I remember a friend giving me their greatest hits CD in the tenth grade and me listening to it compulsively every night. I then became a fan of many classic metal, classic rock, progressive rock, and mainstream alternative rock groups.

Then something changed in my music listening philosophy that I can't exactly pinpoint. It happened around January 2009, when something motivated me to begin listening to many classic albums and discover new artists. I discovered RYM, Last.FM, and Acclaimed Music all around this time, probably through extensive Google searches for albums and songs lists (which, as anyone who tried this process can attest, leads you to many awful lists). I think I had seen each of those sites before, but never really cared enough to check out any recommendations. Seeing a list with thousands of albums/songs you haven't heard before can be quite intimidating for a newcomer.

I had already been obsessed with lists and statistics before this point. I still have documents on my computer of 128-song brackets and best guitar riffs/solos I made before discovering any of these sites. But of course finding AM and RYM made me only more obsessed. I began downloading or buying as many classic albums as I could. One huge influence was the `05 and `08 greatest songs list on the AMF, which led to me discovering many gems that are now among my favorite songs. I started lurking on the forums around May 2009 and began posting around September, intrigued by Bracketology. My introduction to the forum just happened to coincide with an extremely interesting time for lists, with EOD, EOY, and many forum lists taking place. I am now in the process of using individual lists from our song and album polls to further expand my taste.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

One reason: a link on theyshootpictures.com

I was in filmlists before I was in musiclists. First I only scanned the AM-list. Then I watched it toroughly. And finally I visited the forum as well.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

About ten years ago... i discovered Henrik's early lists in Tommi's Popular Music B-O-L's comment section, so a couple of years later, while the greatest of all pop list statistics stories took off, its biggest scam did as well.. because there were no chicks at all in sight.. and since i had learned to grow up with the James Cameron kind of "there has to be at least ONE tough Gina" during my 80s childhood... i did cramp myself into it with an obnoxious because secretly absurd ratio of o/estrogenic "Thus this, batches!"..

and how wrong i thus'd..

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Actually, I just realiazed that RS didn't lead me to tihs site. I was on wikipedia, reading the article on the Beatles' "Rain" and it mentioned this website, so I decided to check it out.

Moonbeam, who is you favorite president? (FDR!)

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyways...I Like Ike!

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

Actually, I just realiazed that RS didn't lead me to tihs site. I was on wikipedia, reading the article on the Beatles' "Rain" and it mentioned this website, so I decided to check it out.

Listyguy, almost exactly the same way as me. Wikipedia is a really good place for advertising AM.

I guess I was forum shy for about six months before a few interesting topics and Jackson's poll.

I Think...

I stumbled onto that list ranking albums by country acclaim and such, and from that, I found the site. I don't recall whether it was through rocklist,net (if that indeed was in existence before AM).

Finding AM indeed was a gem of a find for list fans. One can never say it's a fact that such and such is a better act than another- but, one can say it's a fact that critics and music "experts" have more reverence for them.

Re: How did you make your way to AM?

I've always been hungry to hear what the critics loved, and my way here was a long one. Even back in middle school and high school I loved to search (altavista back then!) for, say, "greatest albums all time" and "rolling stone five stars" and stuff like that. My first source for what music to listen to was the Tower Records site (haha) as they very helpfully post some reviews by top publications and lists an album made it on. From them I figured out which lists I happened to agree with the most (Spin, NME, Uncut) and used those to collect more music. This is back before I started making money, so most of it was downloads--through painfully slow dial-up speeds.

But after awhile (start of high school, 2000) I wanted some order, and I quickly turned to the "more is better" philosophy. What music made it to the most lists? First I tried tallying manually, but then I happened upon a particular site back in my junior year of high school. I can't even remember the name, but it was my go-to source for a couple of years, and it basically collated together 10 or so of the most "prestigious" lists and told me what albums made the most of those lists. This was around the time when I began making money and collecting music seriously so this site worked just fine, as I was starting from the beginning and didn't mind that rock and rap were mostly what I bought. But in college (2005) I got into subgenres and jazz and electronica and I had exhausted most of the main "greatest" albums, so I began seeking other sources for the best niche music. I discovered the benefits of allmusic's love affair with hindsight, noticing that their 5 star reviews were pretty accurate as far as seeking out an artist's best work, and that they were impressively diverse with covering different styles. So there was a period there when I collected all of allmusic's 5 star albums, which really helped me discover the best albums of specific genres. Wikipedia also became a great reference for slightly obscure gems, because an article might say something like "so-and-so is considered one of the most influential so-and-so-genre albums" and it would list accolades and reviews by more genre-oriented sources. Well, a wiki entry for one of these albums--forgot which one--linked to Acclaimed Music and voila! I was in music reference heaven overnight. That was back in about 2006, and I still use this site as my main reference for which albums to buy next. Thanks Henrik!

PS: I skipped a lot of my music-collecting methods. Wow, I did go through a whole lot of phases before discovering AM, even going so far as collecting the top 250 of Rolling Stone's 500 (rewarding), and every Grammy winner for Best Album (waste of money).