Google ups its sponsorship of MusicBrainz in 2010!

I’m proud to announce that Google has decided to sponsor MusicBrainz once again in 2010! Google has pledged to donate $40,000 to the MetaBrainz Foundation this year! Tons of thanks to Chris DiBona, Leslie Hawthorn and Carol Smith (yes, the Carol Smith who is our treasurer/secretary!) of the Google Open Source Programs Office for your generous donation!

The extra $10k above the donation from last year aims to help us pay for the Kuno (Warp)’s paycheck as we work to finish NGS. However, Google isn’t likely to increase the yearly amount donated to MusicBrainz unless MusicBrainz can come up with some sort of way of giving some value back to Google.

I would like to finally allow Google to crawl the MusicBrainz web pages so that the rich information we have on our site finally gets exposed to Google’s search. But, that doesn’t really provide much value to Google — the value in doing this is ours.

In what ways can we do something that gives value back to Google for their continued support? Please post your ideas in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Google ups its sponsorship of MusicBrainz in 2010!”

  1. I’m glad that MusicBrainz will finally be crawled by Google. Hopefully more editors will be drawn to the site as a result.

    Google benefits from the use and advertisement of their products and services—this is difficult because MusicBrainz carries no ads and I can’t really think of a way to integrate with a lot of their services. One obvious idea would be to link to Google product searches [1] on release pages.


  2. I think that the value is already there, Google has to think about a way to use MB database. Google is all about keeping people online where they can click on ads managed by them. Music metadata is one of the things that will keep people online. Add a twist of social network with an recommendation engine based on user ratings of the tracks and users collections, and you’ll have a winner.

    I’m not saying that MB should become a social network, but it’s data could be used by another company (like Google) to sell ads. Just add a layer of social network over MB, and there you have it. A scrobbler will help too.

    Just think about it: the power of Google comes from the insight they have on peoples likes and dislikes based on search, use of mail, online activity in general, now imagine what you can do when people tell you directly the music they have on their computer and how much they like it.

    Much of this was already done by, what MB has and doesn’t is the consistency of the data and the fact that it is free. And is owned by CBS, it will slowly die, as CBS doesn’t know what to do with it.

    Chrome OS is coming later this year, we already know that it will have integrated media player

    So this is the plan:

    1. make the player synchronize the local library with the MB collection

    2. synchronize the ratings of the songs with MB

    3. add a scrobbler directly into MB

    keep these 3 free, as in freedom, then …

    4. create a kind of social network layer over MB owned by Google (relations between users, postings on the wall, messages, concerts, playlists and everything you can think of)

    5. make lots of cash

    6. world domination

    have fun, I had.

  3. Although it may not be what Google’s after, I wouldn’t necessarily agree that “But, that doesn’t really provide much value to Google”. Users see Google results and get value from them – this provides the value to Google as users prefer it to, say, Bing. If Google can crawl MB, and other search engines cannot, this gives Google an edge over those search engines (in an admittedly narrow way, but still…)

    Google should fund MB because Google has wads of cash, and MB is a Good Thing(TM).

  4. Here’s what I see happening in a post-NGS world, and where Google may fit in.

    * Handheld user services like Google Goggles and Google Shopper will use barcodes, catalog numbers, or cover art as an access to MusicBrainz content.
    * Letting Google index MusicBrainz will support Google in providing relevant structured results to search queries about music.
    * MusicBrainz will broaden the scope of information it presents on its website and provide additional types of valuable data for Google’s users.

    Some of the changes I envision are to start aggregating and displaying the following content:
    * inline music and video multimedia content (MySpace and YouTube)
    * reviews (BBC, etc.)
    * current events (news articles, blogs)
    * trends (BBC play trends, MusicBrainz stats)
    * concert information (??)

    One of the many things that sets MusicBrainz apart from other music sites is that a community of music fans collect and edit the content, this ensures that the quality of external links and content is high – even for niche and foreign artists – and will be of use to Google.

    So Google is able to offer a beneficial service to its Android and web users, and MusicBrainz receives more users to further expand its database and provide even more content for Google to consume. The circle continues.

  5. Mark up your HTML with HTML 5 Microdata.

    This will allow Google (and Yahoo’s SearchMonkey and every other semantic search engine/application) to understand more than just plain text on the pages, and they’ll be able to make something useful out of it.

  6. I’d look for input from Google product managers. Socialize the question you’re asking here within Google and they’ll figure it out for themselves.

  7. There are many ways for you or them to get gains out of this relationship. Of course the most basic would be some ads or add on the google toolbar or such. Incorporate some google gadgets to the database. Bring it up to try and get the picard tagger into the google summer of code program. Allow them to link from the music being tagged to other relevant artists and to music purchasing sites. Talk to them and find out what they would want and see if there is a common middle ground. Of course the larger and more accurate you grow the more likely google will continue to fund you, so making nice with additional databases of Niche music, Anime, Broadway, Classical, Video Game, etc. Would put you in a better position. Additional metric data on the users of the tagger or the information suppliers. Start getting scans of all the albums, pages etc to have a comparison against the entered data.

    Truthfully you should ask google these questions though, since only they know what they want, even if they won’t tell you. Hell maybe you can even get a tradeoff on usability tips or additional programmers.

    All the other previous suggestions are also good.

  8. Don’t ask what you can do for Google, ask what Google can do for you. 🙂 Seriously, for Google it is crucial to be in the loop, then they will find a way to make money out of it (that’s their business not MB’s). The simplest way is to push the MBIDs out to the web. What I am thinking about is stuff like:

    * Allow people to provide a MBID when they talk about music on the web (in their Blog, in Facebook etc.) This could be a microformat or just a link to the MB ressource that identifies the track/album/artist.
    * Let Google crawl the web. ;-P Oh and make them buy a datalicense so that they know the corresponding names to the IDs
    * Now if someone googles for something music related, Google will give them awsome results, because they both have PageRank _and_ MBIDs (plus the brains and machines to analyze all that data).

    Why would people do that? Well people link to Wikipedia in the same manner. They say: That’s whom I am talking about. In fact for the above scenario to work they _can_ link to Wikipedia. If the Wikipedia-Page has a link to MB, the ID is there.

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