Sounds & Fury Top 50 Classical Music Blogs

Eligibility and Methodology


The Sounds & Fury Top 50 Classical Music Blogs quarterly rankings include only currently active English language blogs (at least six posts made over the quarter, at least two of which date from the last month of that quarter), each written primarily by a single individual and devoted principally to classical music including opera (blogs written by the same duo will be considered a blog written by a single individual for the purpose of the S&F Top 50 rankings). The rankings do NOT include institutional, promotional, or group blogs; online magazines; or so-called "index" blogs (i.e., blogs that are principally a listing of links to articles elsewhere). Rankings are determined by the count of incoming links — what Google calls "Backward Links" — to a blog's index page (i.e., its main page) as indicated by Google's count of Google-gathered Backward Links to that index page. Backward Links (incoming links) is the universally accepted measure of a blog's relative importance within the universe of blogs under consideration; in this case, classical music blogs. It's been argued (but not by us) that a ranking by relative popularity (i.e., by number of readers) rather than relative importance would be a more useful ranking. Whatever the merits (or lack thereof) of that argument, the argument is moot because there exists no publicly accessible data set from which a statistically meaningful sample representative of the entire population of readers of classical music blogs could be drawn to establish such a ranking; ergo, our ranking by relative importance exclusively.

The count of Backward Links is generated by Google by compiling the active Backward Links to a blog's index page from ALL currently active sources, not merely incoming links from other blogs, including that blog's own archive pages that, like almost all blog archive pages, contain a link back to the blog's index page (that last protocol sounds just a bit crazy but makes perfect sense as will become apparent shortly). Most importantly, that Google-generated count is a "filtered" count, its number filtered by Google's PageRank of the pages that are the sources of the Backward Links. That PageRank must be above a certain PageRank threshold in order for the source pages' outgoing links to be included in the Backward Links count for the target page, so, for instance, if your blog is linked to by, say, 25 cousins of yours, all of whom have websites or blogs that are little more than family photo albums or personal diaries read largely only by your own family, it's more than likely that the Google PageRank of the page(s) of that website or blog that contains the link(s) to your blog will fall well below the PageRank threshold required to be included in your Backward Links count. The same will almost certainly hold true for the links contained on most of your own blog's archive pages, including their links back to your blog's index page — unless, that is, a page(s) in that archive is linked to by so many others as to earn a high enough PageRank in its own right in which case its link back to your index page will be included in Google's Backward Links count for your blog (see the logic behind that at first seemingly crazy protocol now?).


By way of comparison, Technorati, for instance, which also uses incoming links as the measure (but does not refer to them as Backward Links) handles the incoming link count to a blog very differently. It counts incoming links to a blog only from other blogs, the count reflected in what Technorati calls the target blog's "Authority" rating. Only one link per other blog is counted no matter how many outgoing links that other blog may have to the target blog and only for the most recent 180 days, and it counts those incoming links indiscriminately on whatever blog it finds them no matter the importance of that blog. So, in effect, Technorati's Authority rating does not reflect a count of incoming links to the target blog but is merely a raw count of linking blogs over the most recent 180 days no matter their importance or lack of it. Additionally, Technorati's Authority rating for a blog can rise and drop precipitously, literally overnight. For instance, Sounds & Fury has at various times seen its Technorati Authority rating rise from 72 to 96 literally overnight, and drop from 76 to 62, also literally overnight. There has to be something fundamentally amiss statistically with a statistic of this kind that's so wildly volatile. All the above holds true even when Technorati's database is not woefully out of date or corrupt, which it too often is to be trusted.


Google's entire "filtering" protocol goes a significant way toward ensuring that the count of Backward Links will reflect accurately the incoming links to a blog undistorted by attempts to trick Google into counting incoming links the number of which has been inflated artificially, or the sources of which are marginal in importance. In short, Google's Backward Links count is a statistically "clean" expression of both the quantity and quality of the incoming links to whatever blog is under examination, and therefore a perfect number to use in constructing a statistically distortionless (relatively speaking) ranked list of classical music blogs. Due to ties in ranked position(s), the S&F Top 50 list may contain more than 50 blogs as tied rankings are assigned the same ranked position.


As Google counts all qualifying Backward Links from all sources without respect to any specific time period, blogs that have been active for a long time at the same URL will initially have an advantage in the rankings over blogs that are relatively new or have recently changed their URL (because more people will have had more time to discover and link to such blogs). Not to worry. As the S&F Top 50 rankings are updated quarterly, this new-blog/URL disadvantage will soon be "smoothed" away.


How To Read The Sounds & Fury Top 50 Classical Music Blogs Listing


Each entry in the list is ordered and displayed as follows:


Rank    Blog Name | Blog Author | Author Category | Backward Links | Rank Last Qtr


Author Categories


M = MSM Classical Music Journalist or Critic

C = Composer or Performer

A = Aficionado

U = Academic (classical music field)

B = Back Office Administrative or Managerial (classical music field)


Rank Last Qtr


▲ = Up

▼ = Down

▮ = No change

■ = Not included in last quarter's rankings