Mayhem & Chaos (mayhem_chaos) wrote in lj_biz,
Mayhem & Chaos

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LiveJournal and MusicBrainz Cooperation, Take II


MusicBrainz is a community maintained music metadatabase similar to FreeDB and GraceNote's CDDB. MusicBrainz goes one step further to also allow the identification and proper categorization of digital audio files using the MusicBrainz Tagger.

MusicBrainz is completely open -- all of the data and source code is freely downloadable. The MusicBrainz community is also working to create a non profit corporation that has the express purpose of keeping the dataset open and to ensure that no one can sell out at the expense of the community.

For more information on MusicBrainz, please read the Introduction to MusicBrainz.

Goals & Motivation

Jesse Proulx (jproulx), the Community Site Supervisor for LiveJournal says:

"We're interested in seeing more music related features on LiveJournal, and we think a lot of members would be interested as well. Most of us are big music fans, and we like having fun new features, so this seems like a great idea. However, if the community is completely against the idea we won't support it."

The proposed music related features are designed to give music lovers more powerful tools for expressing their musical tastes, building communities based on musical tastes and allowing LiveJournal users to discover new music. These features are not likely going to be interesting to LiveJournal users who are more neutral on music.

Therefore, all of these features will be optional. Users will need to enable the new features in the customizations section in order to take advantage of them. For those users who wish not to explore these features, nothing in LiveJournal will change, except for one new option in the customizations.

These new features will also not change any of the LiveJournal principles -- no advertising or links to commercial interests will appear anywhere on the LiveJournal pages. Furthermore, these features will be implemented by MusicBrainz programmers, and should only take Brad a minimal amount of time to accept into the LiveJournal codebase.

With that said, there are three main goals for LiveJournal and MusicBrainz to work together:

  1. Expand the music oriented features in LiveJournal and enable the LiveJournal music lovers to use their journals to talk about specific artists, albums and tracks.
  2. Foster LiveJournal communities to participate in discussions about music. The LiveJournal users can then create their own music information ecosystem where journal entries are used to spread the word about good music and new artists. Part of this goal is to give the LiveJournal community a voice about good music, as opposed to the mediocre music that the big record labels are over-promoting on the radio. (Check out Clay Shirky's Big Flip Essay for a lot more details and the motivation behind this goal.)
  3. Encourage musicians to join LiveJournal and to talk about their music. The current record labels make it difficult for musicians to have any chance of earning a living. Having musicians write journal entries about their music and performances is an excellent way for musicians to reach out to and build a community of supporters.


Initially we could offer the following new features:

  1. When a user fills out the current music field and MusicBrainz can identify the album that the music originated from, then LiveJournal could show a link with a small note icon. This link then takes the LiveJournal user to a page that shows pertinent information about the artist/album and other albums by that artist. No coverart, advertising or other commercial links will appear on this page.
  2. Allow users to refer to specific artists/albums/tracks in their journal entries, just as they currently do with user links. This could allow LiveJournal users to communicate about music unambiguously.
  3. Allow users to create a music stash to let users express their musical tastes. This stash would have no direct connection to the user's actual music collection in order to avoid legal issues of the user owning the music in their stash. Standalone applications like the MusicBrainz Tagger can also have new features integrated into them that could allow the user to add artists/albums/tracks to their stash and also publish journal entries directly from the application.
  4. Allow users to create new communities based on their musical tastes -- this can help establish Taste Tribes and allow LiveJournal users to discover new users and new music based on similar tastes.

These are just the most important new features -- having LiveJournal be aware of MusicBrainz allows a host of other new features to be created.

We are actively seeking feedback on these ideas. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts about the following questions:

  • What do you think of these new proposed music features?
  • If you would like to see these new features in LiveJournal, which one(s) would you like to see first?
  • LiveJournal is considering sponsoring portions of the development of these new features. What features are worth being sponsored??
  • What other cool music features can you see emerging from the LiveJournal and MusicBrainz integration??

Thanks for your time and feedback!


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