Hype Machine, the smart, long-running MP3 blog aggregator, has posted its annual collection of the most-blogged-about albums, songs and musical artists of the year. Once again, the project is a pleasure to consume and will unfold throughout the month of January. Top albums 50 through 41, Mumford and Sons through Monsters of Folk, are available now in full for streaming.
The album collection combines weighted rankings - based on submitted top 10 lists from 550 MP3 blogs - with a widget from Grooveshark to listen to the album, and a Creative Commons photo of each band. It's quite nice. The newest addition to the project is unusually low-tech; it's artist renditions of the top 50 musical artists of the year.
Last year's Zeitgeist combined different technology to present the top albums and is still available as a list. It's not as easy to listen to, though, perhaps because it was powered by Imeem, which MySpace bought and made a tragic mess of last month.
This year's Hype Machine Zeitgeist is another example of the awesome potential of free online music combined with smart technology and excellent design. Check it out and be inspired. Is this era the end of the music industry? It sure doesn't need to be.