Is Anyone Really Surprised By The “Wikipedia Trumps MySpace For Band Info” Story?

noah | March 24, 2008 2:15 am

It may be staffed by a bunch of lunatics who make Comic Book Guy seem like a fountain of pedantic restraint, but Yahoo! users apparently prefer Wikipedia to MySpace when looking for information on their favorite artists, according to Billboard. This despite Wikipedia only having data on some tens of thousands of artists, while MySpace boasts more than three million. According to Yahoo! label relations head John Lenac, “The interest that people had to go to MySpace to find out more about their favorite band is waning in favor of going to Wikipedia…. In the last six months, it’s surpassed it.” While I’m not a Yahoo! searcher, I too have found that Wikipedia is more useful for finding out information on bands. Why? The answers lie in usability.

1. Wikipedia doesn’t use Flash. Or blinking backgrounds. Or huge images that take up 1,068 vertical pixels before you get to word one of any sort of useful information. Or other slideshows that jam up your computer and make it crash when you’re in the middle of writing something and on deadline and AAGGGH.

2. Wikipedia may be crazily draconian in its efforts to police entries for “objectivity” (the Billboard story points out that artists and managers are missing out on using the user-generated encyclopedia as a “resource” for getting out their propaganda, but that would probably result in many “neutral point of view” wars that would ultimately be a waste of said artists/managers’ time), but you sure aren’t going to get the real lowdown on, say, the differences between the two versions of LA Guns if you go to either of the current bands’ landing pages. And what is “objectivity,” anyway? Wait, that’s a question for my media studies night-school class. Sorry!

3. MySpace does have one advantage over Wiki: The access it gives you to artist photos is much, much better. However, to get to those photos, you have to log in, which means you have to have an account, which means you have to open yourself to the possibility that your identity might be stolen to hawk Macy’s gift cards and Fergie porn.

4. Seriously, you guys. The Flash. It can’t be just me, right? My computer isn’t that old.

Music fans prefer Wikipedia to MySpace [Reuters]