Category Archives: Summit

MetaBrainz Summit 17

While the streets of Barcelona were filling up with the referendum conundrum, a bunch of people were spotted chattering and bantering, sometimes with pillows and colorful socks, searching for gelato.

Yes, that bunch of people would be us. 😀

Our annual MusicBrainz summit was held on September 30th–October 1st in the colorful, lively city of Barcelona. We had people (and chocolates) from nine countries: Spain, India, Germany, UK, USA, France, Estonia, Denmark, and Iceland.

Summit participants with *Brainz pillows

From left→right, top: Wieland (Mineo), Sambhav (samj1912), Sean (Leftmost Cat), Nicolás (reosarevok), Ben (LordSputnik), Jérôme (loujin), Alastair (alastairp); middle: Leo Verto, Freso, Michael (bitmap), Elizabeth (Quesito), Chhavi; bottom: Yvan (yvanzo), Rob (ruaok), Param (iliekcomputers), Suyash (ferbncode). Laurent (zas) behind the camera.


Having a majority of our team in a room with food obviously lead to lots of productive discussions. We talked about translations, recommendations engines, voting, and packaging. We also talked about SpamBrainz, user scripts being included as part of our projects, documentation, single sign-on for all Brainz, and a bunch of other things.

One of the nice things we could do this summit was to go over our user survey results. As you might remember, we had this banner on our site asking us to take part in a survey. The results gave us a good idea of our community in regards to what language they use, what Brainz project they use more, how do they come to know about us, and so on.

Summit session in progress

Summit session in progress.


We got to know what you like, but more importantly what you don’t. We heard all of you, and we are on it. We will publish a detailed report on that soon.

You cannot be in Barcelona with such a good lot of people and not end up exploring the city. The team ended up cycling on the streets of Barcelona (many times on the wrong side), climbing up to the mosaic-y Park Güell, snacking on pinchos and tapas, visiting the Pompeu Fabra University (where our AcousticBrainz project resides) and taking their daily after-lunch strolls through the Arc de Triomf.

Apart from that, some of the record-breaking points from the summit would be:

  • We had nice colorful pillows with all our kids (we mean, Brainz projects) printed on them. And summit t-shirts too.
  • The summit was live streamed on our YouTube channel, for all those who couldn’t make it. That went pretty well, with only minor technical difficulties, and it provided a good overview (literally! 🙂 ). For those who missed it (or want to rewatch it), the archived streams are available on YouTube.
  • We finally decided to improve the user experience of our projects (more on the blog about that later).
  • We worked on a new wonderful Sound Team recording while having a terrace barbeque hosted by Elizabeth.
  • More gelato was eaten than ever before. (That shouldn’t be surprising.)

We’re wrapping up the summit with this blog, but we have all the memories preserved. Find the amazing moments captured by our in-house photographer Zas in his Facebook gallery, and those moments in motion in my own video here:

Until next year,
Cheers 😀

Live streaming MB Summit 17

The MetaBrainz Summit 17 is slowly starting up, with everyone having arrived in Barcelona now, and people have already started discussing a bit in the corners of the MetaBrainz office. (As well as devouring a lot of chocolate!)

The summit officially starts tomorrow however (we’re aiming to begin at around 11 AM Barcelona time (CEST)), and while we’re having probably the most people at a summit ever, we recognise that a lot of people from the community are not able to be here for one reason or another, so we’re going to try something new tomorrow: live streaming the summit!

We’ll be live streaming on our YouTube account at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClC89t81khDKLCVs45prLqg/live – there will be a live chat as well, which I will try to monitor as best as I can. Keep in mind that this is a first for us, so sorry in advance for the technical difficulties we will almost certainly encounter. 🙂

Recap of the MusicBrainz Summit 15

The MusicBrainz Summit 15 participants.

From left→right (top) chirlu, reosarevok, ruaok, Freso, (bottom) Leftmost, alastairp, Gentlecat, bitmap, zas, and LordSputnik. Special guest on the laptop monitor: caller#6.


A couple of weeks ago (Oct. 30th through Nov. 1st), the MusicBrainz Summit 15 took place in Barcelona, at Rob “ruaok”‘s place. We had all of the MetaBrainz employees there, Rob/ruaok (local), Michael/bitmap (US), Nicolás/reosarevok (Spain/Estonia), Roman/Gentlecat (recently local), Laurent/zas (France), and myself, Freso (Denmark) – in addition to a bunch of other people from the community: Sean/Leftmost (US) and Ben/LordSputnik (UK), the two lead developers of BookBrainz; chirlu (Germany), long-time volunteer developer on MusicBrainz; and Alastair/alastairp (local), lead of AcousticBrainz. Between us, we represented 7 countries, 8 nationalities, and 9 languages.

Talking around the table. We managed to cover a lot of ground on the serious topics, discussing how to avoid data/MBID loss and how to version data, how to deal with labels (the entities, not the corporations…) and other unresolved style issues, how to integrate all the various *Brainz projects more and better, and a bunch of other things. The official notes for the summit is stored in a public Google Docs document. Feel free to read through and it jot down your own comments!

One of the big things was the we decided again-again-again (for the third or fourth year in a row?) to release the translations of MusicBrainz.org. But this time we actually did it! So MusicBrainz.org is now available in German, Dutch, and French (in addition to English) – go check that out if you have not done so already. 😉 At some point in the not-too-distant future™ we will also enable translating all of our documentation. Sean/Leftmost volunteered to look into options for this. Expect to hear more on that later!

MusicBrainz Style BDFL: Nicolás/reosarevok

Our Style BDFL: Nicolás a.k.a. reosarevok


We had some talk about how and why MBIDs get lost and what we can do to prevent this. As part of this discussion, we decided to make more edits autoedits for everybody. This was partly due to a wish of having a shorter queue of open edits (and there’s been a significant drop in open edits since Nov. 16!), but also very much to avoid losing MBIDs once they have been generated. More in depth discussion of the reasoning (and some of the community’s response) can be seen in the server release blog post and its comments.

We talked about a few other things like genres, reviewing the work of the style BDFL and the community manager, the future direction of the MetaBrainz Foundation, and a couple of other topics. The summit notes should contain more information on what we talked about and decided on these points.


Obviously it was not all talk and talk and talk. There was also plenty(!!) of chocolate. yeeeargh helped us by getting a lot of Ritter Sport as he apparently lives right next to their factory, and sending it along with chirlu to Barcelona. Thank you, yeeeargh! Gelato! We also managed to take in a vast amount of gelato (Italian ice cream), as there was an amazing gelato place close by Rob’s apartment. And got to walk a bit around the city of Barcelona. And have various social hanging out that only most of the time was Meta-/MusicBrainz related… but not all of it. 😉 Our system administrator, Laurent/zas, also took a bunch of pictures capturing the summit. A few of them are shown here, but you can peruse them all in the slideshow at the bottom.

Finally, a big thank you to Google and Spotify for helping to fund this meeting. It would have been a lot harder to bring all these people together from around the world without their (continued, no less!) support. Here’s to 2016 and summit 16!

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MusicBrainz Meetup: Chicago, IL, USA, 25-26 January 2014

In case the name didn’t tip you off, this is rather more casual of a get-together than our usual summits, but for those of you with the inclination, a free weekend and a decent way of getting to Chicago: we discovered that our fearless leader Rob was going to be in the same city as one of our developers (bitmap) and figured we’d fly me (the other developer) in too and make a thing of it! We’ll be hanging out in-person through January 25-26, plus probably part of the evening of January 24th, and we’d love to have you join us.

We don’t have much by way of details, at present, in part because this is quite informal. However, if you’re interested, we have a wiki page with arrival times for those of us with plane tickets already, and which we’ll update with any other plans we end up making. If you’d like to come, please add yourself!

MusicBrainz Summit #13

Over the weekend, 17 MusicBrainz fanatics got together at WikiMedia’s German headquarters to discuss the immediate future of MusicBrainz. And in short – we had a blast! A tremendous amount of topics were covered, and we feel this was one of the most productive summits we’ve had so far. From genres to acoustic properties, to internationalization, to artist & label artwork, an incredible amount was discussed.

MusicBrainz Summit #13 Atendees

From left to right: ijabz, CatCat, ianmcorvidae, reosarevok, ruaok, navap, santiissopasse, Anders Arpteg (Spotify), LordSputnik, ocharles, warp, fractalizator, Freso, Mineo, kepstin, JonnyJD

A summary of all topics covered and points discussed can be found on the wiki, with thanks to diligent note taking by everyone who attended. As you’ll see, a lot of topics are now actionable, so hopefully work will begin to move forward with these. While it remains unclear what the solution is to some topics, the constructive conversations around them is helping us slowly move forward in the right direction.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a MusicBrainz summit if it was work work work – there was plenty of mayhem and play too! On Saturday we had our summit meal at Max & Moritz – complete with a police escort due to some unfortunately timed protests. A novel twist for a group meal… yet oddly consistent with the fresh and unpredictable nature of MusicBrainz.

ruaok takes a hard earned break... on Freso!

ruaok takes a hard earned break… on Freso!

We also want to thank our sponsors who made the summit possible. Thank you to Spotify and Google’s Open Source Programs Office! Your support paid for some airfares, our lodging, summit meals and a large pile U-Bahn tickets. And of course, a big thanks also goes to Wikimedia Germany and in particular to Lydia Pintscher for baby-sitting us all weekend and also for making awesome introductions to other people to help with specific summit topics.

Thanks again to everyone who attended. Until next year!

MusicBrainz Summit 13: Berlin, Germany 21 & 22 September 2013

After we were not able to confirm space in our previously agreed city, we started looking for alternative places to host our summit and Wikimedia Germany in Berlin graciously agreed to host us!

This means that we’re going to hold our annual MusicBrainz summit at Wikimedia Germany in Berlin on September 21 and 22. However, please note that space is limited to 20 people, so if you’re interested in attending, please sign up as soon as you can!

Please take a look at the summit wiki page and then add yourself to the appropriate places in that page if you’d like to come.

I’m looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces!

MusicBrainz Summit 12 – a Brief Summary

Last weekend approximately 20 dedicated MusicBrainz fans and customers all got together at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona to discuss all things metadata. Now that the weekend has passed, and everyone is back at their respective homes, I can fill you in on how this fantastic summit went. We talked about a lot of topics at the summit, and I encourage you to read the extensive notes that Ian took (a huge thanks!) if you’re interested in all the details.

Friday was a lazy day while people arrived, but we did spend a bit of time at the summit venue. We got an introduction from Music Kickup – a new Finnish startup which offers a cloud based record label for artists. Spotify presented their ingestion process, which was helpful as at MusicBrainz we’re beginning to plan the new Ingestr project.

On Saturday we got under way with the summit proper. Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive spoke on how the Archive works, and its plans going forward to try and archive even more about music. The general motivation is to provide listeners with more ways to explore and discover content, and the Archive are looking for ways that MusicBrainz can help with its linking its metadata to the Archive’s content.

Next, we moved on to discuss the Artist Image Archive – or more generally, adding more images to MusicBrainz. The conclusion was here that this is certainly a wanted feature, and we would like to try and use Wikimedia Commons to store public domain/CC-licensed artwork and fall back to the Archive for other content. We also lightly talked about adding label images, and the Archive are again happy to host this content if that’s needed.

While waiting for the full CompMusic team to be present, we outlined Ingestr, a forthcoming MusicBrainz tool to work with dumps of metadata. CompMusic then presented what they are working on, and how it ties in with MusicBrainz. They are currently storing some data outside the MusicBrainz schema, but would love to store as much as possible inside our database (and we’d love that too!). They are interested in adding more information to works, such as ragas and talas for Indian classical music.

The final topic on Saturday was to try and get some ideas going on how we want to store events, locations and venues inside MusicBrainz. No conclusions were reached here, but there was a lot of excitement and considerations and what we want to store, with the suggestion that some of this work might make a fantastic Summer of Code project next year.

We picked up on Sunday, and dived straight in with a discussion on bringing multiple release countries/release dates back to single releases, with a consensus that this should be done. Work here will probably resume in February, with the next schema change.

Dynamic work attributes were next on the agenda, and we sketched out a plan on how we can add new attributes to works that don’t depend on schema changes. This should allow us to add ragas and talas for the CompMusic folks, but also many other interesting properties. Again, work on this one is looking likely to begin again for the next schema change.

Much like Summit 11, the instrument tree came up again. People were in agreement that we want richer data about instruments, and making them entities that can be used in relationships (including between instruments) is probably the way to go.

nikki outlined her proposal on data quality, and we all spent a bit of time discussing what we’re trying to achieve with data quality, how to overcome the social problems with the word ‘quality’, and so on.

Warp bought up the problem of capturing series of releases in MusicBrainz, and we discussed how to solve this problem (for example, consider the ‘Dubstep Allstars’ series of releases). We agreed that the best way to move forward is to introduce the idea of ordered series, and deal with unordered series later.

The difficult topic of box sets came up, and while we didn’t make a clear decision on how to solve this problem, people had the chance to explain solutions as they see them, and everyone has a good understanding of both the challenges of box sets and the information that we’re trying to capture.

Like in Summit 11, we once more discussed the hard problem of genres, as these have become something that customers are increasingly requesting. We outlined all the various solutions that other projects use (such as SoundCloud, Music Kickup, and SoundUnwound). This topic didn’t reach any type of conclusion, but it was good to have some cross-pollination of ideas.

We wrapped up the day with some social topics, and ocharles started a discussion on how we can better promote ourselves and communicate our new features. There was a lot of energy in this discussion, but some of the key ideas were – more community interaction on blog posts, a clear ‘checklist’ of what to do when we release big features. kepstin also volunteered to look at rewriting the landing page with something more interesting than the static page we currently have.

The summit has proven once again to be a fantastic experience, not just for the quality of discussions, but also the level of interaction between participants. With the Saturday group meal, socialising at the apartment and continued discussions during breaks at the summit itself, it was great to see people chatting, laughing and generally having a great time.

Thanks to everyone who came for making the summit what it was. We hope to see you all again next year!