Walter: Actually Songbird has a Wikipedia add-on that helps to provide that sort of context. Just the other day I was trying to come up with a better search solution than that, as Wikipedia isn’t really very comprehensive in the bands it covers. What if I’m currently listening to Grouper and I want to see, in one place, all her releases, notable critical commentary, related artists, etc.? I couldn’t even think of a proper “jumping off” point, some site that has even links to all those things. Last.fm is a decent solution, as part of its function is to serve as a wiki for every band, in theory, but you’d have to go elsewhere for critical context.
Since almost every band has a MySpace page now, that’s actually a good start, despite all the things I hate about MySpace. Lesser-known bands especially tend to link to reviews of their albums, blog announcements about new releases, and provide presskit-quality artwork and biographical data.
There’s actually a great article about what you’re describing that I meant to link to in this post:
But the content experience on the Web is crap. Go to Aquarium Drunkard, click an MP3. If you don’t get a 404, you’ll get a Save As… dialog or the SAME GOD DAMN QUICKTIME BAR FROM 1995. OMFG. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS IS ALL WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED IN 15 YEARS ON THE WEB? It makes me insane.