Google is awesome: How should we spend $5000?

The Google Open Source Programs office is amazing!

In the past few years Google has sponsored our summit where we gather a pile of MusicBrainzers into one room and talk shop (and a bit of play) for a whole weekend. But, due to extenuating circumstances and our move to NewHost, we opted for a much smaller and lower key developer gathering in Barcelona. As a result we didn’t spend much money and I opted to not pester Google to support our summit as they have in the years past.

Then yesterday the lovely Cat Allman from OSPO send us a PO for $5000 and a stern reminder to send an invoice soon. After explaining the situation to Cat, she still felt it was appropriate to collect the money and to “use the money as best serves the project.” 

Wow, thank you!

The question I have, for all of our readers, contributors, editors, hackers and advocates: How do you think we should spend $5000 to best serve MusicBrainz and its sister projects?

I’ll leave it wide open to everyone to chime in — feel free to put suggest anything reasonable and meaningful in the comments. Please do the skip the “send it to me!” type comments. 🙂

Finally, I want to thank Google for its continued support of our projects. Through its annual support of $40,000, Summer of Code, Code-In, the paid data license for its Knowledge Graph and the support of our summit, Google is the biggest supporter of the MetaBrainz Foundation. By far: Google has donated more than $366,000!

THANK YOU GOOGLE. Your support really helps us along!

28 thoughts on “Google is awesome: How should we spend $5000?

  1. CatQuest, the Endeavouring Cat!

    ruaok: give the head developers a Christmas bonus?
    and buy the book scaner thing for the office too

  2. ruaok Post author

    Gentlecat: You think big!! 🙂

    CatQuest: I just gave the dev a bonus for making the NewHost deadline. 🙂

  3. ccc

    1. Make a list of the small free software/libraries projects Musicbrainz depends on, check which ones accept donations (eventually others too), and do them a favor.
    2. Share it amongst MB employees.
    3. Find someone willing to accomplish a paid task for MB.
    4. Move this blog out of WordPress and other external dependencies, pay the hosting with it.
    5. Give it to some free software/internet freedom activists group which campaigned (or not) for donations.

  4. Zag

    Bounties on Picard features such as extra cover art plugins

    Setup a dedicated web service server that is 100% reliable for open source projects that rely on it like kodi and Picard.

    Invite some extra people from other projects to next years developer conference

  5. ruaok Post author

    Ian:

    I like your comment #1. It may be time to hire a professional to help with the site layout.

    Comment #2 is off the mark, however. Did you know that MusicBrainz is the domain expert for music for Google? The schema.org bits that related to music were heavily influenced by MusicBrainz and fitted into the rest of schema.org by Google. Very soon Google will finish crawling us and we hope to make some publicity about this.

  6. MightyJay

    I’d love to see some changes regarding the user interface to make is seem less of a ui on top of a database. I recommend MB to all my friends regarding music metadata, but except for the programmers (or other people with a database background), nobody understands the site at all.

    I’d also like to see some more development into Listenbrainz. I’d love to see it grow into an open recommendation engine (so it’s capable of generating custom playlists and stuff like that). Currently, way too many tools/devices depend on Gracenote, and their database just plain sucks. 😉

  7. CatQuest, the Endeavouring Cat!

    I like the idea of using it on ListenBrainz!
    but instead of rewriting the ui completely, how about using the money to actualize the ability for separate ui’s? eg, for heavy editor “ui on top of database” is actually kinda ok. (thought I totally get why people looking up data, browsing or similar find it confusing)

  8. Ian Tresman

    @ruaok. I know that Google uses MetaBrainz’s schema.org. I didn’t don’t MB was the influencing force. What I meant was that there are some “gaps” in the existing implementation of JSON-LD. For example:

    1. MB Events do not generate an JSON, even though events are big with Google.
    2. Artist pages do not indicate which Groups they are a “memberOf”, though I think Groups do indicate who are “members”.
    3. Recording do no include schema markup to help in Rich Text “music actions”, see: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/music

    I think this is because some the stuff is very new, and some of it Google does not use at the moment. But I think it would be beneficial, because it helps Google find free streaming content. At least that is my understanding.

  9. Ian Tresman

    Another suggestion:

    I’d like to see it much easier to integrate MusicBrainz with a website. At the moment, you need to be a programmer with a knowledge of APIs. I’d like to see plugins/modules for WordPress and Drupal, and “snippets” that can be dropped into a site to display information. More details here: https://community.metabrainz.org/t/easier-integration-of-musicbrainz-with-websites/166747

    If you make it easy for a musician to use MB data, they have cause to use it.

  10. stragu

    It might seem superficial to some, but I do think that making the website more attractive and responsive, and adding functionalities that cater for the wider audience (e.g. recommendations with Listenbrainz integration, general search…) would attract more users, and eventually more contributions to the database.

  11. aerozol

    1. Treat yourself to something nice
    2. Nicer UI/UX/Design for both Picard and MB

    And please feel free to hit me up if you want to go with 2, happy to donate some time!
    I like Ian’s ‘snippets’ idea too, but I think a bit of a visual rethink is required before that or as part of that.

  12. Justin W. Flory

    I’m just one more voice to the mix, but I liked the ideas mentioned by others to either (1) hire a UI/UX designer to work on a more modern layout for the website (or Picard too!), or (2) bug / feature bounties for pestering bugs or wished-for features.

  13. Commonman

    Create an open source competition for a new web site design for musicbrainz.org and make $5k the prize for the best entry. The criterion should be usability by non-technical people and should rely more on graphics than text and have a mobile web option for access via phones and tablets.

  14. bierm

    I’d really love to see a ConcertBrainz project. Some sort of combination of songkick and setlist.fm. Maybe the money could be spent to kickstart this.

  15. Richard Diggins

    My suggestion, would be to use it to host more regular VM refreshes, so that new mirrors did not have so much time to synchronize, this would also offset the overall data traffic for the mirrors, catching up. Perhaps a regional approach to a mirror that hosts the VM, and a automated script?

    You guys should use the rest to buy some coffee for the team and nice chairs.

    Love you guys@!

  16. bierm

    The current Event entities primarily focus appears to be on past events whereas songkick.com, bandsintown and whatnot are focusing on future events as well and have a completely different usage pattern than musicbrainz.

    The wheel would probably not have to be reinvented as the event entities could probably be used as the backend for a new site with a new UI. This could result in more users contributing to the project and maybe even in a new revenue stream via referral programs with ticket sellers.

  17. Freso

    I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but most events I add are upcoming events, not past ones. (Of course, by now most of them will be in the past, but compare the date/time of the event with when the edit was made.)

    MusicBrainz’s events are (intended to be) as much about upcoming events as they are about past ones. But, like all other things in MusicBrainz, we only have the events that editors having actually entered into the system, so it is up to individual editors whether to focus on adding past or future events.

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