Bembel-B Blog

2006/01/23

Musical and social networking, acoustic fingerprints, music file tagging

Extend your musical experience, get your music files tagged correctly easier.
Last.fm Social Music Revolution

Last.fm

This free service is a combination of a musical and social network web-application based on the Audioscrobbler technology. You have to submit the music you listen to with your PC’s mediaplayer(s) via plugins, e.g. for me Rhythmbox, XMMS, Winamp. Based on that data, charts of your most “favorite” music are calculated and compared to other charts. Thereby you will be recommended artists you haven’t listened to yet and also people with comparable musical taste. You can also listen to webradio in context to your taste. Paying subscribers will get their own personalised webradio.
There are lots of other features (like fan listings and groups), so best check it out yourself.
I haven’t done research on whether this service is thrustworthy, but they seem to be quite nice ppl there! :) Privacy is taken seriously (server logs are deleted every 3 days) and the content is Creative Commons licensed. I guess they are enthusiasts (musically and IT-related) and earn their money through subscriptions, Amazon affiliation, reputation.
In the future Last.fm’s database will be fully coherent with MusicBrainz, in order to avoid collecting badly/differently tagged music data. So if available, use a plugin with MusicBrainz integration and/or tag your files like in the MusicBrainz database.
You can take a peek at my userpage at Last.fm.

MusicBrainz

A database collecting metadata (artist, album, title etc.) for every audio track. Tracks are identified by their acoustic fingerprints (TRM); that’s some checksum magically generated by the amplitude, frequency spectrum, length of a audio track, as far as I understand. The data is user-maintained.
On the project website you can browse the database, download software and keep yourself informed about the project’s development.

Tagging your music files (with Linux)

I tried 3 MusicBrainz enabled taggers for Linux. Most of my problems are probably caused by my old and broken Linux installation (Fedora Core 3), where the RPM database got wiped. With RPM and up-to-date software this shouldn’t be that much of a hassle.
So unfortunately I only got QMBTagger to run. There’s an (new) official MusicBrainz tagger called Picard Tagger, but I obviously failed to update from source to the required wxWindows/wxPython version. Kid3 compilation aborted with an error.
There are many tagging applications around, but my favorite so far is EasyTag! But no MusicBrainz support (at least in my version).
Guidelines for MusicBrainz compliant tagging seem to be: Use correct English upper- and lowercase spelling (e.g. “Tales from the Crypt” and not “Tales From The Crypt”), keep foreign spelling as-is (what about non latin letters?), keep “The”-prefix (i.e. “The Doors” and not “Doors”), don’t add anything to the album title like “CD2” or “EP”. But this is just my impression! I bet there’s an official guideline somewhere on the project site. And in the end, as this is user-driven, any spelling could be “correct”.. :/
And there’s also libid3tag and its command line utilities, which can be handy for mass tagging and checking tags..

Other interesting music related sites

Allmusic
A vast database of artists/bands featuring professional artist and album reviews, style categories, discographies and more.

Discogs
A community-based discography database.

Liveplasma
A neat 2D map displaying artists’/bands’ relations in style and involved persons(?). Formerly called Musicplasma.

rolldabeats
A database for drum & bass, jungle and related music.

Musicline
A (mainstream) music portal in German language including the commercial “rororo Rock Lexikon”.

ChangeLog

[2006-04-22: Add tags.]

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