Monthly Archives: July 2008

The BBC unleashes dynamic artist pages beta

The BBC has just released its next MusicBrainz enabled feature: Dynamic artist pages.

You can see how often your favorite artists have been played on the BBC networks since last year. Turns out Coldplay is quite popular. To see how often a specific artist has been played, find the MBID on MusicBrainz and then go to this URL:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/<artist mbid>

For instance, Portishead has mbid 8f6bd1e4-fbe1-4f50-aa9b-94c450ec0f11, so to check on Portishead, you’d go to:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/8f6bd1e4-fbe1-4f50-aa9b-94c450ec0f11

The folks at the BBC assure me that all the artist MBIDs have a page there, but the page isn’t guaranteed to have much data. Even the MusicBrainz test artist is there. :)

Well done BBC! I’ve learned lots and lots about how the BBC operates and to see my friends at the BBC make highly visible progress tickles me pink!

Matthew Shorter of the BBC offers a little more insight:

Why are we doing this?
Currently our offerings around individual artists tend to be dispersed and hard to find. This leads to poor search performance for BBC music content, which means that users will typically only find content if directed by broadcast, or serendipitously by browsing brand sites.

Persistent unique URLs for artist pages which automatically aggregate what the BBC has to offer around individual artists will lead over time to much improved search performance and facilitate wider syndication of our content, building reach to brands. Automation and dynamic publishing means the pages can be created and maintained with a fraction of the manpower and server
load of the current generation.

Building good interrelated metadata for artists and programmes will also help greatly to enrich the music offering of radio & TV sites, offering such things as a chart of artists most played by a network, further information behind tracklists, rich now-playing information and so on.

What’s the offering?
We have a page for every artist in the MusicBrainz database – c.350,000 and counting. They contain, where available, basic information about the artist, discographies, high-quality images and details of play count by BBC networks & programmes. (It’s worth pointing out that for most of these pages, most of the time, there won’t be much content, but that’s fine, because pages will only ever be linked where we have broadcast or otherwise featured an artist, which by definition makes them significant.) See instructions at the bottom of this mail for how to access a given artist page*

Help wanted: Add release AR links to Wikipedia

Wendell and Sergey from MusicIP have done another crawl of Wikipedia — this time the goal was to match up releases in MusicBrainz with Wikipedia pages that exist for those releases.

Just like last time the results have been broken into convenient chunks of 100 with the proper links to let people verify the matches and quickly enter them into MusicBrainz.

If you’re interested in helping, please follow the instructions on the wiki and jump in!

Thanks!

Testing PPC build of Picard

If you have a PPC Mac that runs 10.4/10.5 and have been waiting for a DMG of Picard, please try download and install this version. Please let us know if it works in the comments.

Jon Hermansen and I have been working on building Picard with only MacPorts prerequisites — that is how this DMG has been built. If this install works then we can proceed to work on a Universal Binary that should work on 10.4/10.5. If we can reach that, we should be able to release Mac binaries at the same time as we release binaries for other platforms.

Thanks for all your hard work Jon!

UPDATE: We’ve found a problem with PUID generation and have fixed it — we hope. The above link now points to the updated dmg. May not work on Tiger yet — if you have a Tiger PPC box, please try it and let us know.

Squashing the rise of the sock puppets

We’ve recently seen a rise in Sock Puppets here at MusicBrainz. We’ve observed editors creating separate sock puppet accounts who vote through the edits of the editor in order to get changes through MusicBrainz faster. This practice obviously side-steps our peer-review system, and up until now we’ve had to have other editors go through and follow the trails of naughty editors to clean up after them.

To avoid this from happening continually, we’ve update the main server with a minor patch that requires people to have more than 10 approved edits in order to vote on other people’s edits. This makes creating a sock-puppet account much harder — each sock puppet account created will need to have a lot of work invested in it before it can be useful. We’re hoping that this simple tweak will discourage sock puppeteers.

Help wanted: Add Wikipedia ARs

MusicIP did some matching between the MusicBrainz data and Wikipedia in order to find artists inside MusicBrainz that didn’t yet have an AR link referencing their Wikipedia page. Brian Freud then went and created a set of pages that make adding these links a snap.

Now we need more help picking up a section of the list and going through each of the listed artists and adding the ARs. If you’re interested in helping out, please take a look at the wiki page that coordinates this effort.

Thanks!