MusicBrainz is a project that aims to create an open content music database. Similar to the freedb project, it was founded in response to the restrictions placed on the CDDB. However, MusicBrainz has expanded its goals to reach beyond a compact disc metadata storehouse to become a kind of structured "Wikipedia for music".[2]


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 according to a common style guide. 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 Dec 31, 2007, MusicBrainz contained information about 350,718 artists, 534,986 releases, and 6.3 million tracks.[3]

End-users can use software that communicates with MusicBrainz to tag their digital media files, such as MP3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC.

MusicBrainz initially used Relatable's patented TRM (a recursive acronym for TRM Recognizes Music) for acoustic fingerprint matching. This feature attracted a lot of users and allowed the database to grow at a fast rate. By 2005 it became obvious Relatable's fingerprinting solution didn't scale well to the millions of tracks in the database and the search for a viable replacement began.

On May 12 2006, Robert Kaye posted an announcement on the project's official blog about a partnership between MusicBrainz and MusicIP.[4] Part of the agreement allows MusicBrainz to use MusicIP's MusicDNS service for acoustic fingerprinting (PUIDs). After a grace period of 6 months, TRMs will be phased out and MusicBrainz will rely solely on PUIDs. MusicBrainz uses RDF/XML for describing music metadata, which is available for automated processing via HTTP GET and POST methods according to REST architectural style for distributed hypermedia systems.

MusicBrainz's core data (artists, tracks, albums, etc.) is in the public domain, and additional content including moderation data is placed under the Open Audio License (which is a Creative Commons share-alike license). The server software is covered by the GNU General Public License. However, MusicBrainz uses a binary version of the Relatable TRM server, which is proprietary software. The MusicBrainz client software library, TunePimp, is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which allows use of the code by proprietary software products.

In December 2004, the MusicBrainz project was turned over to the MetaBrainz Foundation, a non-profit group, by its creator Robert Kaye.[5]

On 20 January 2006, it was announced that the first commercial venture to use MusicBrainz data is the Barcelona, Spain based Linkara in their Linkara Música service.[6]

On 28 June, 2007, it was announced that BBC has licensed MusicBrainz's live data feed to augment their music web pages. The BBC online music editors will also join the MusicBrainz community to contribute their knowledge to the database.[7]


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