Irish music site www.muse.ie was resurrected from the ashes of the dotcom boom when it relaunched in March this year.
Previously owned by Eircom company Rondomondo, it Is now in the hands of Mediaspace.
Muse.ie is more of a portal than a site, with all of the web 2.0 accoutrements that make young people flock to MySpace, Bebo and YouTube.
As well as providing the requisite band, gig and CD reviews, it allows for user-generated content to be added and shared.
The homepage is clear and easy to navigate, with plenty of Irish-only content on gig guides and music news, as well as international gossip, and has an editor in the form of Steve Cummins, formerly of NME Ireland.
When I first visited the site, however, I didn’t like the fact that Google ads randomly run across the top of the page in between the banner ads. It doesn’t fit in with the overall design and looks like it has just been plonked there.
The layout is intuitive but not exactly slick or pretty. Then again MySpace doesn’t look too good compared to other social networking sites, but because of user participation and content it is by far one of the most popular.
Muse subscribers have free membership and can create a profile page and do all the usual things like build up a friends network and add comments. They can also keep track of upcoming gigs and add favourite reviews.
As per other networking sites like this, users can upload videos but independent bands looking for recognition can sell their music because Muse.ie has a partnership with 7digital’s Indiestore. 7digital is user oriented in that bands can upload their own songs for purchase, which is the way bands seem to be going these days.
The site seems to be an overall one-stop music shop in that you can read and write about music, make friends with other music fans, download tunes and even buy a huge selection of band t-shirts.
The one thing that would make me return is the exhaustive Irish-oriented gig listings and reviews but I think I’ll keep my social networking to MySpace and Bebo.
Personally, I would prefer if the site took a step in the direction of Lastfm.com and enabled users to listen to different songs based on likes and dislikes. Interactivity like this is key to grabbing the attention of content-hungry music fans.
By Marie Boran