Frequently Asked Questions

What is this website about??
The main feature of the website is the elaborate music database and rating system. We try to provide a platform which satisfies both simple and very complex approaches to categorizing and rating music. The idea is that there are very advanced and sophisticated levels of detail, but you don't have to use them - if you just want to say "album xyz is great" then you can easily do that, but you can also be much more specific and/or elaborate. You can also submit generic info at first and then add details later.
In addition we provide some other music related services. For example we maintain a database with links to music websites which offer free downloads/streams, there's a signature image service which you can use to create small images which display information about your data (listening history, favorite albums etc.), and many more things.
Should I join this website?
Some people join simply because they want to use the signature service ... and that's fine with us. But our main focus is the music database and its key aspect: the collaborative rating and tagging system. Currently there are many albums in the database that don't have any genre or prog status assigned. If you have a good idea about what's prog and what isn't, then you're very welcome to join ... simply rate and tag your collection, and add new albums to the database as you're listening to them. Your information will be a great help to other users, and there's a good chance that you'll also benefit from the combined knowledge of the database.
This website seems to be much smaller than other popular music ratings sites.
Yes, that's true. Currently there are about 10-20 regular users ... we would be happy to attract more users, but we are also aware that our unique approach is not for everyone. Still, our top albums chart compares nicely to other top albums charts of prog websites, especially as far as new releases are concerned. This is because most of our regular users have rather extensive collections and listen to a lot of new releases.

You're very welcome to try other music communities ... and many of our users are also using other communities. Big sites undoubtedly have their appeal, but a small community of experts can also be nice.

So how do I join ... and are there any "catches"?
Of course participation is 100% free. You simply fill out the registration form - all that's required is for you to pick an unique user name and enter a valid email address for the activation process.This makes it more difficult to create duplicate accounts and prevents abuse. Of course we won't give this email address to third parties or send spam ... but you may use it to be notified when you receive personal messages via the website. It also comes in handy if you forget your password - you can always have it sent to your email address.
"Progfreak.com" ... does that imply that it is exclusively about prog?
No. Our target audience is definitely the enthusiastic fan of progressive music, but you may add any music you like. The most obvious reason is that most prog fans don't listen to prog all the time. It wouldn't make much sense to offer a playlist service or pages that list the collection of a user if only prog was allowed. Another reason is that "prog/progressive" is a highly debatable subject ... one person's favorite prog album might not be prog at all for someone else. So: add any album you like, but please use the tagging system to show others whether you think it's prog or not (or in between, which we call "Prog-Related").
So - are there no limitations at all, can I add anything?
The basic rule is: Anything which was released as an album (CD/Vinyl) or music video (VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray) can be added. Classical music is a bit of a problem because in the structure of the database you can't yet enter composer information. So right now the focus is on any style of music except classical, but we might change that in the future.
How is this website's tagging system different from others?
The most obvious difference is that you can't create tags yourself. Most other tagging systems work on the premise that tags are simply words/phrases which you can type in, or select from lists/clouds if others already used them. On this website we try to carefully define the tags so that there are no duplicate spellings, and that the set of tags is both complete and as small as possible. Of course it's never 100% complete ... you can suggest tags at any time, and we'll consider whether they fit in.
Another difference is that we don't have "combined tags" here ... the tags are all elementary. For example, on other websites you might find the tag "symphonic metal" ... here you would use the tags "symphonic" and "metal" separately. By not allowing combinations we keep the set of tags small, and at the same time you can make lots of interesting combinations by simply assigning a list of tags to an album or track.
How does the rating/tagging system work?
At Progfreak.com we specialize on what we call "releases" or "albums" ... this includes CDs, vinyls and DVDs/Blu-Ray discs. These are all collections of tracks. Tracks are the foundation of the rating system -all the ratings and tags which you assign are stored on that level. You can also rate an entire album with one click - this simply means that the system assigns the rating to all the tracks of the album. The track data is then aggregated for the album, and using a similar mechanism the album data is aggregated for the artist. The same is done on a per user level - so the info shown with your reviews is aggregated from your track assignments, and the info shown in your "favorite artists" list is aggregated from your reviews.
What are the steps of ratings and tags?
In the database ratings are stored as percentages ... so theoretically you have 100 steps at your disposal. Practically we narrow it down a bit, to keep things manageable - you get the full "resolution" in the upper part of the scale, and larger steps in the lower ranks. The rating is always displayed as a range from 0 to 10. Tags are also stored as percentages, but currently you can only select 10 steps - or 11 if you count zero as a step. This is because we want to keep things simple, and you usually don't need that level of detail there. One thing to keep in mind is that when you assign tags to something your assignment will only be shown if the level is at least 6/10. Assignments at lower levels still make a lot of sense though, for example when other users assigned higher levels and you disagree with them.
What do the prog abbreviations mean?
First of all: For most abbreviations used on this website there's usually some mouse-over tooltip that gives you more details.As far as the prog abbreviations are concerned:
  • "Prog-Related": This means that the maximum level of either "Progressive Approach" or "Prog by Style" is 4 or 5. levels below 4 are shown as "Non-Prog", levels above 5 are shown as "Prog". So, "Prog-Related" means that the album or track is sort of in between Non-Prog and Prog.
  • "Prog-A", "Prog-S", "Prog-AS": in those instances the "A" stands for Pressive Approach and the "S" stands for Prog by Style. This compact notation allows you to see immediately which one of those tags the users assigned to the album. The letters are also printed in a lighter color if one of the tags has only been assigned in the 4-5 range. Example: "Prog-AS" with the "S" in lighter color means that the album or track is Prog by approach, but only Prog-Related by style.
What does "Prog" or "Progressive" mean anyway?
That's a good question. Instead of trying to answer it ourselves, we'd like to refer you to wikipedia:

Progressive music is typically based on Rock or Metal, but theoretically you can apply the approach to other genres, too. Originally it was rooted in Rock though. A long time has passed since the first prog albums (1970s), and over the years bands were experimenting a lot ... new styles like Post Rock were "invented", which are also associated with the original Prog movement ... at least by some people. There are many differing opinions not only on how to define "Prog", but also on how wide or narrow to make the definition. One of the main characteristics of prog are experimentation, virtuosity and epic songwriting, but not all pieces of music which exhibit those characteristics are usually called prog.

What do "progressive approach" and "Prog by Style" mean?
In the past we were using just one tag called "Progressive". At some point we decided that a bit more flexibility is needed in this area. The basic idea is that sometimes a piece of music can be quite progressive, but its style is not really related to what's usually called "Prog Rock" or "Prog Metal". In that case you can assign a high level of "Progressive Approach", but a low level of "Prog by Style". As long as either of the two tags has at least level 6, the music will be listed as "Prog", but in addition the letters "A" and "S" will also be shown, depending on the levels which were assigned.
So for example when you see something listed as "Prog-A" you'll know that according to the tags it's "only" truly progressive (that's what Progressive Approach means), but the style is very different from Prog Rock/Metal. When it's listed as "Prog-S" you'll know that according to the tags it's not truly progressive, but the style is similar to Prog Rock/Metal. And if you see "Prog-AS" then it's both truly progressive and prog by style.
Are there no genres, like there are on other websites?
Well ... yes and no. On this website we only use simple tags. Some of them are genres ("Rock", "Metal" etc) and we also have sub genres, but no complex sub genres like you will find on most other sites. But many complex genres may be seen as combinations of tags, so in effect by assigning a combination of tags you are assigning a complex genre. The key benefit of modelling complex genres as combinations of simple tags is that the system can find related albums more easily. It also keeps the number of tags down, and since you can combine all the tags the resulting list of possible complex genres is much more extensive than on other sites. And last but not least: Even when people assign complex combinations of tags, it is still possible to offer a more generic point of view based on the same data. For example, if you assign "Symphonic", "Prog" (either Progressive Approach or Prog by Style will do) and " Rock, then people will find your album regardless of whether they're searching for "Symphonic Progressive Rock" or just plain "Progressive Rock".
How do I rate an album?
That's really easy: Go to the album page. There you'll find an area which contains a little editing symbol (pen/paper) and a dropdown for the rating. Simply select a rating value from the dropdown - voila. You can use the editing symbol to open the full editor, where you can assign a lot of other information about the album. All of that is completely optional. The system "nags" you though to also assign main genre and prog status for the album - it only takes a few clicks and helps to complete our database, particularly if nobody assigned main genre and prog status to the album yet.
How do I set up a signature image?
Simply find the "Signature" link in the upper right corner box (you need to be logged in) and follow the instructions.
How do I add a band?
Simply find the "Add Artist" link in the upper right corner box (you need to be logged in) and follow the instructions.
How do I add an album?
Go to the discography tab on the artist page and follow the instructions (you need to be logged in).