This a two part MusicBrainz tutorial in two posts. The why first. What is MusicBrainz? It is a user-maintained open community that collects and makes available to the public, music metadata in the form of a relational database.

A relational database matches data by using common characteristics found within the data set. The resulting groups of data are organized and are much easier for people to understand. For example, a data set containing all the music-releases in the world can be grouped by the artist, the year the recording was made; or it can be grouped by the label; or it can be grouped by the album title; and so on.

If you are like most people, you’ve already said; Boring. What does that mean to me? They got mp3s? It maybe boring, but it is brilliant and no they don’t have any music just in the form of music metadata. MusicBrainz provides data about recordings, not the music itself.

If you have ever played a song on your computer, and somewhere on the web said player gathered song title, album cover, and tack list — That is music metadata and the largest supplier of that data is crowd-sourced MusicBrainz. If your music metadata isn’t there, it should be and that is the reason you should take control of your own music metadata.

MusicBrainz captures information about artists, their recorded works and the relationships between them. Recorded works entries capture at a minimum the album title, track titles, and the length of each track. These entries are maintained by volunteer editors who follow community written style guidelines. Recorded works can additionally store information about the release date and country, the CD disc ID, an acoustic fingerprint for each track and have an optional free-form text field or annotation attached to them. As of 2 February 2010, MusicBrainz contained information about 517,993 artists, 772,130 releases, and 8.9 million tracks.

musicbrainz

MetaBrainz Customers

The following companies have licensed our data for their own operations. This list does not include any individuals or companies that are using our Public Domain/Creative Commons data snapshots — there are many users of this data beyond the licensees listed here:

Last.fm is a social music site that combines the power of social networking with the power of music to provide first class music recommendations. With Last.fm you can create your own music profile and listen to personalized radio stations that play your music recommendations. On 30 May 2007, CBS Interactive acquired Last.fm for £140m ($280m USD).

Amazon.com uses MusicBrainz data to power their music site SoundUnwound, which allows the Internet community to edit music information in a friendly Wiki-like manner.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) uses MusicBrainz data to provide detailed information about the artists who get played on their radio networks. The BBC also has a team of editors who are participating in editing the MusicBrainz data for use with their internal systems and the /music web pages.

BandPage is a musician application, enabling over 500000 bands and artists across all genres to connect directly with their fans on Facebook.

Grooveshark is a peer-to-peer digital music brokerage and social community that rewards users for sharing their music. Grooveshark uses MusicBrainz data to fuel its music discovery system.

AOL Inc. is an American multinational mass media corporation based in New York City which develops, grows, and invests in brands and web sites.

Google is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products.

Radio Tuna is a real-time search engine and player for online radio. Powered by MusicBrainz data, it tracks the music played on over 20,000 internet radio stations around the world, enabling them to be searched by artist or genre.

Spotify allows you to share songs and playlists with friends, and even work together on collaborative playlists, Friday afternoon in the office might never be the same again! Spotify is brought to you by music lovers like everyone else.

That incomplete list, if you missed it – are MusicBrainz Customers. This community generated music metadata is important to you the artist (especially if you are not a English speaking artist, without western releases), because this information is about you, your work and is public knowledge. Used by sites aggregating the data; to define your existence, the spelling of your name, your homepage, your discography (track lists), your label (lack of label), your youtube, myspace and facebook pages, mp3 store, etc, etc, etc. Don’t rely on fans to get it right, or wait for your promoter/label (yeah, they know about it) to assign someone to your Musicbrainz entries. Roll up your sleeves and dive in – your music metadata can be your friend.

In two weeks: Musicbrainz – How?
Cheers
~D