When I went into lunch this today, I saw a fellow with a bass clef dyed into the hair on the back of his head – so of course I had to sit down and chat with him.
Turns out he’s not a bass player, but he is Robert Kay, the brains behind MusicBrainz. MusicBrainz is working on becoming a public source of the kind of musical metadata like is commonly found in the commercial Gracenote CDDB service, or (as the web site says), a “community music metadatabase.”
Robert told me that he got pissed off when, after he had, as a volunteer, input data on hundreds of CDs that CDDB didn’t have, they went commercial and claimed the data as private property. He decided to do something about it and create an alternative.
They’ve currently got over 225,000 artists and 4.5 million tracks indexed, and more coming in all the time. They’ve also got some cool software that compares audio signatures and matches music in your personal library against tracks in the MusicBrainz database and adds the proper tagging to them.
Very cool, even if I didn’t get to meet another bass player.