ETCast, Episode 001 – Should Reviews Use Numeric Ratings?

microphoneHello all – Colton and I recently sat down to record Earn This’s first ever podcast (Earn This PodCast = ETCast). We’re still working out the kinks of the format, but we’re excited to brave this new frontier. We make no guarantees about how frequently we post new episodes, but we’re going to give this a try for awhile.

Download link (you may have to right click and “Save As”)

The topic of our first episode: Should reviews — especially album reviews — use numeric ratings? (E.g.: four stars out of five.) Colton and I take opposite sides on this topic.

Along with the merits of numeric ratings, we discuss a few other things: Colton proposes an alternate way to summarize reviews. How can reviews be “recommendation engines”? Does it matter how granular review scores are? Are numeric ratings only for stupid people? How does all of this relate to countdown lists?

A few sites and articles we specifically mention:

For now, we’re going to “bootstrap” this — by which I mean that I’m just going to upload audio files to our own server rather than distribute through anyone else. Thus, it’s not on iTunes or anything like that just yet. If that’s what you want, let us know.

So, what do you all think?

Into/outro credit: “Amazing Plan – Distressed” Kevin MacLeod ( – Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 –

Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

Colton O.

Colton O.

Colton drinks straight out of coconuts and writes about music for Earn This. He joined the site in 2009.

One thought on “ETCast, Episode 001 – Should Reviews Use Numeric Ratings?

  1. Should’ve occurred to me during the conversation, but I’ll add it here anyway: I think the most natural way to interpret a numerical rating is that the score is proportional to how much money a person would be willing to spend to have the album. (And I think the zero crossing is above zero, i.e., maybe “two stars” means “I’d only own it if it was free” and “one star” means “you’d have to pay me to listen to this again”.)

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