MusicIP open sources a small server extension

I’m pleased to announce that MusicIP has just open sourced a small extension to the MusicBrainz server!

MusicIP contracted me to write a set of SQL scripts that would take their mirror of the MB database and create an extra table that stores the first release date for each track. As you may know we have this for albums, but we haven’t had (or needed) this for the track level.

If you’d like to check out this extension, you can find it here. Take a look at the README file to see how this should be used.

Please note that this code is checked into the RELEASE_20060712 branch — once we’re finished with dev work on this branch we will merge it back into the trunk.

Big thanks to Wendell Hicken and Matthew Dunn of MusicIP!

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To search aliases or not?

In ticket #1731 we’re currently discussing the merits of having the artist aliases searched by default. Compare these two searches:

  1. Search without aliases for “Jennifer”
  2. Search with aliases for “Jennifer”

The perfect match for Jennifer is half-way down the page of results if aliases are included. Jennifer is all the way at the top (where it should be) when the aliases are not searched.

So, why does this happen?

Take for instance the top hit of the with aliases search: Jennifer Paige. She has an alias for “Jennifer Page“, so when Lucene ranks the search results, the word Jennifer appears twice, which is a better match than when the word appears only once. This disturbed our users and it plain feels wrong to me.

Then I tried to play with Lucene’s term boosting functions. Take this query:

aritst:jennifer^10 sortname:jennifer^10 alias:jennifer^0.0000001

In English, it says to search for Jennifer in artist names and sortnames and to make these hits 10 times more “important” than normal hits. It also says to search aliases and make hits from this vastly less important than normal hits. The result, Jennifer is at the top as we want. But, what happens when we search for Bjork (not Björk)?

We get this mess where Björk is the last search hit with a score of 0. (this is not the best example since the next version of search will automatically find Björk when searching for Bjork, but it still illustrates the problem)

As you can see, tweaking the searches to make things better one way, will make other searches worse. Do you think it its more important to search aliases by default or to have better search results by default?

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Call for bug-fix testing

We’ve fixed a number of bugs (321 of them as of right now!) and we should be ready to go for another bug-fix update of the main server this weekend. To avoid the mess we had last time, please take some time in the next few days to check the test server to see how things are looking. Please test now and not after the release!

I would also like to remind people that if you find a bug to report it via our bug tracker. Please do not mail bug reports or mention them in IRC in hopes of having them fixed. Also, if you don’t report a bug before the release, please don’t scream your head off if the issue hits the main servers when we do the release.

Go test on the staging server and report bugs or look at the list of closed bugs.

Thanks to Stefan for fixing all these bugs!

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libtunepimp releases

Lukas just released two new bug fix versions of the tunepimp library. The following changes were made:

libtunepimp 0.5.1:

  • Fixed broken symlink problem in plugins/tta/Makefile.am
  • Don’t write files/directories with leading dots. (#1427)
  • Added SetNotifyCallback to the Python bindings.

libtunepimp 0.4.3:

  • Fixed check for TagLib 1.4 in configure.in + few other build system fixes.
  • Fixed buffer overflow in lookuptools.cpp (patch by urs_fleisch at yahoo dot de).
  • Fixed memleaks in the WMA plugin.

Download either of these releases from the libtunepimp download page. Thanks Lukas!

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"Top something" Playlists do not belong in MusicBrainz

Edit #5258089 has raised the issue how MusicBrainz should handle “XY’s Top 50” playlists or the like.

After some discussion and a Request for Comments on the style mailing list, I have summarised the appearing consensus in this Request for Veto:

Bootleg torrents that are compilations based on playlists of charts authorities (like Billboard’s) should not be stored in MusicBrainz as releases. These playlists are often copyrighted by their issuers.

This has now been accepted. Therefore the “releases” representing such playlists should be removed from MusicBrainz, unless of course there are real compilations out there.

The logic behind this, is that these are not actual releases. The information they hold is just that of a playlist and releases are used as a hack to store this information in MusicBrainz. These “releases” clutter up the discography pages and might even get MB into trouble because of copyright issues.

Concrete cases are the Billboard’s Top n of the year yyyy and the John Peel Festive 50.

I still have not found a good place to write this down in the wiki. Suggestions are welcome.

Magic MP3 Tagger increases its sponsorship of MusicBrainz

Matthias, the creator of the Magic MP3 Tagger has offered to increase his sponsorship of MusicBrainz! We just agreed to have him sponsor us to the tune of 250 Euros a month or 10% of his registrations, whichever is greater. In exchange for the guaranteed 250 Euros a month, we added more prominent links to his tagger.

This is a win-win situation for both projects and I am really glad to have one more source of income to cover our increasing costs of hosting and maintaining this service.

Thanks Matthias!

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