Concert listings on MusicBrainz?

During the last summit we spoke about listing concerts on MusicBrainz artist pages. So far we’ve had three concert listing providers approach us about listing concerts on our artist pages.

I generally hate the idea of advertising and I find the idea of advertising on MusicBrainz as very distasteful. But, being alerted to a concert in your area while browsing MusicBrainz seems like a very valuable addition to our site, especially if people are willing to provide the data for us for free!

So, I have two questions for the general MusicBrainz community:

  1. How do you feel about concert listings on MusicBrainz?
  2. Should we make the concert data providers pay for us showing their concert information? Since three companies have already approached us, it seems that we have leeway to ask for payment for this service. (This then would allow us to pay for some of the programmers who slave over making MB better for everyone).

Regardless of payment or not, we would rotate providers while showing listings to give every provider a fair number of impressions for their concert listings.

Please post your comments below!

22 thoughts on “Concert listings on MusicBrainz?

  1. Geof F. Morris

    I can see the value added in this, in an old-style Upcoming.org way [before Yahoo! gulped them down and spat out Andy Baio]: having these advertisers help us get a knowledgebase on what artists are playing where and when. That will help those of us who routinely add bootleg recordings to the database: we would have a demonstrable fact to tie it to.

    Bonus points if the ads come with machine tags like Upcoming’s current ones do for easy hooks into MB.

    For example, I would kill for MB to have a handle on things like Waterdeep’s Touring Graveyard. For a site that purports to be a music encyclopedia, that seems like a win-win.

    After all, you take Amazon kickbacks … how would this be any different?

  2. Nick

    +1

    Sounds like a relevant, non-spammy and (hopefully) non-invasive way to add value to the site. Both in financial terms and benefit to end users.

    Any particular reason for the choice of rotating providers, rather than simply combining results? I expect some providers will serve different locales better and/or have wider datasets and there might be greater benefit in combining results on an equal playing field.

  3. Jay

    I see no point in this. I don’t use MusicBrainz for concert listings, I use last.fm for that. MusicBrainz is for helping me get my tunes tagged correctly, and that’s basically it. If you make money on concert listings, then great, but it’s not the reason I use (and contribute) to the site. But maybe people use this for different reasons. If I want to learn about bands, I go to allmusic.com. If I want to share what I listen to, or hear about upcoming concerts in my area, I go to last.fm. To get my music collection in a pristine state of tagged bliss, I go to musicbrainz.org.

    But, as I said, if it brings in some extra coin, and doesn’t have any impact on the core functionality, I have no complaints about it.

  4. djce

    “In your area” implies the collection of geographical data for users. A slew of questions to consider: Will this collection be optional? Will concert data still be shown in cases where geo data isn’t specified by the user? Would logged-in users be able to opt out of concert listings (and what would be the default)? How about not-logged-in users?

    Of course you get to be some sort of arbitrator between listings providers and MB users; *most* data providers would (I assume) want their data to be shown most of the time, thus the more you appease MB users (by giving the *option* of seeing such data), the less you please the providers.

    Final thought: I wonder how the data collection would be done. In-request fetch by mb_server from provider? Data feed from provider to mb, so mb_server does local data lookup? Or maybe something js-based within the browser (here be cross-domain JS dragons).

  5. Mo

    I wouldn’t use it myself, but very happy for you to go ahead if it helps with the revenue side.

  6. zazi

    I agree with Jay,

    MusicBrainz is always the Music Metadata Service in the background. So it will help, when all related data is merged together and could be recieved between different information services. That means Last.fm’s concert information should be backended to MB, Allmusic’s reviews and band description should be backended to MB etc.
    So that I can access als these information comfortly from one client, e.g. Songbird (they did this aggregation in a certain kind already on the client side). I don’t really understand how think about making money to provide an embedded concert service in MB? You are a community-driven service!

    Cheers,

    Bob

  7. voiceinsideyou

    I don’t see a good motivator to add this to MB, especially not if there is no financial reason to do so. The majority of users of MB are either trying to tag their music or heavy editors interested in productivity and accuracy. This just sounds like it will mess up the already complex interface and potentially put pressure on the MB team to meet the needs of a paying advertiser rather than be focussed on the needs of the community who drive MB’s data quality, and the needs of paying live data feed users.

  8. Alex Dupuy

    I would support this but would strongly suggest the following conditions

    * opt-out preference for logged-in users (default display is ok)
    * listings displayed only on relevant pages (by (related) artist)
    * not taking substantial space away from standard MB functionality
    * text/HTML-only in brief and standardized format: e.g. artist(s), date, location

    Essentially, take a cue from early Google ads approach – low-impact, not high-impact; if this is implemented, it should be done as a service for users, not as a way to derive revenue from them (reasonable to charge listings providers something to cover the overhead of adding and maintaining this feature, though).

  9. Wendell

    I think Alex has it pretty much right on, although I’d probably say only concerts for the exact artist on an artist page – I wouldn’t go down the road of “related” concerts (unless there was an opt-in).

    There is always the danger of extra feature requests and development time coming in (can I make a list of my favorite artists, and see concerts from them whenever I log in?), but I’m sure MB can manage this in a smart way (mostly by saying no).

  10. mkuzmin

    we have concerts on Last.fm already.
    data from single specific provider will be incomplete, so useless

  11. mfmeulenbelt

    I’m not in favour of this feature either. As others noted, this site is mainly for providing metadata for music. This information is something I’d go to Last.fm for. Also, the list of links on Artist pages is getting cluttered already, and this won’t improve things.

  12. Paul Taylor

    I think of Musicbrainz as a Repository/Database so if this data was the first stage of the data being pulled into Musicbrainz itself that would be useful but if it is purely something being advertised then it does not seem useful.

    Large Commercial Concert providers really should be paying to use Musicbrainz data rather than pushing their advertising onto Musicbrainz. Would feel better about if I was linking up with individuals i.e a tie up with something up with Discogs Marketplace sounds like a much better match

    I find it very unlikely that the service as explained could actually be done well, it would have to have to cover most artists to be useful, and then how does it decide how far I would be willing to travel, and then do I just get the same concerts listed on every page or do they relate to what I’m looking at. For it to have any chance of being useful would require some development effort, I would prefer dev effort to be on something else.

    I also wonder if the introduction of this type of advertising would have a negative effect on Metabrainz non-profit status (though probably not)

    So then the argument is that it brings in revenue – how much revenue are we taking about I suspect not alot. If the main reason is revenue there are other probably other alternatives you could follow such as links to other music purchase sites like is done for amazon.

    The fact that three concert listing providers have contacted MB is just recognition that Musicbrainz would be a valuable resource for them not the other way round, don’t feel pressurised because of the attention !

  13. Leonardo DNA

    I don’t mind having a concert listing on artist page, as long as it doesn’t impact the site usability and take much space.

    And of course, it’s only useful if MB receive for it. The more options to pay the bill the better =P

  14. Sami Sundell

    Like some other users, I don’t really see the benefit in this. Having the concert information as part of artist pages or something like that seems too static a way to handle it; sites like last.fm (I’m assuming there are others) already bring information about nearby concerts to your own calendar, so will the users need this kind of service? If it requires developing additional functionality, it would also mean additional work hours for those developers.

    Of course, having the concert information support the metadata aspect of MusicBrainz would be nice; collaboration with someone like setlist.fm might benefit both parties by providing them with “correct” artist/track names and additional data, as well as providing MB with information that could be used at least with live bootlegs.

  15. florent

    I would strongly support this idea, but in the way described by Sami. The “advertisement for upcoming concert” is much less interesting as would be the listing of who played what where when and who was playing with them at this time… Ultimately these info should be in MB anyway, so if some companies are ready to pay in money/development time/free data, then i’d say “go for it”. Now if it’s just some ultra specialized ads…

  16. vyvyan

    In my opinion this can be a useful addition if implemented properly. For an open project like MB any kind of promotion will be bad, but on the bright side if the concert data can be assembled, it will be of great help.

    I’m more interested in past concerts than current ones (Grateful Dead effect). So if information like date+time/venue/setlist for concerts are getting listed on MB overtime, it’s a good thing. On the other hand if it’s only ad from concert promoters by doing geoip filtering, it’s not worth the effort.

    Alex Dupuy’s comment above has says pretty much everything.

  17. max

    Venues and Location based services are becoming important as you all know, and i think that adding Concert Listings and venue too can be a really added value for MB…

  18. rockmaloins

    This need to be implemented on the Artists pages.

    At the moment there are performances in [non-album tracks] where someone has recorded a radio show and added it as a release. eg. Tiësto Essential mix here: http://musicbrainz.org/track/e64058dd-1700-496e-b91a-eb8f023cfc03.html

    And performances in Live Releases eg. FSOL Essential mix here: http://musicbrainz.org/release-group/1f27ffde-5b7c-3db0-b7e4-682e4175cffe.html

    It would be good if all live, radio, TV performances were standardised. Especially useful for people who record live gigs and want to have them tagged with consistency.

  19. jj

    How about some further integration with Discogs marketplace, as previously mentioned.

    Or even better, with the Discogs site fullstop, by getting them to reverse link back from release/artist pages to MB’s same pages.

  20. jesus2099

    I think it would be nice to have concert archive (could link to releases).
    Upcoming concerts wouldn’t be very useful for MB (already lastfm and news isn’t really related to database / historic approach of MB).

    BUT those providers you speak about would be interested in showing upcoming concert and keeping archive of concert would need great amount of dev on MB side (a new entity to manage).

    So I don’t think this would be seuch a great improvement this way.
    But I wouldn’t be against it.

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