MetaBrainz Projects in the news

During the summit this past weekend we talked about posting more updates to our blog. In the spirit of that, I wanted to share two articles where MusicBrainz and AcousticBrainz were recently mentioned in the news: In July the BBC wrote an article covering research from UC Irvine in California:

They found a significant downturn in the positivity of pop songs. Where 1985 saw upbeat tracks like Wham’s Freedom, 2015 favoured more sombre music by Sam Smith and Adele.
The UC Irvine research team analyzed the publicly available data from AcousticBrainz to arrive at this and several other conclusions.

This wasn’t the first time that our project was used to analyze music trends over time and we’re proud that researchers can carry out this kind of work on our public data. In October Insead Knowledge wrote about the gender gap in the music industry:

We also used song credit information from crowdsourced database MusicBrainz to determine how many women and men worked on the writing, production and performance of each song. . . . At first glance, our overall results appear quite simple. In line with past research on creativity, we find no baseline relationship between the novelty of the songs in our sample and the gender identity of the artists involved. Men and women appear to be equally capable in terms of creativity. But when we controlled for genre and, importantly, the gender composition of artists’ genres, the picture changed. Our methods were guided by an awareness that women in music work in a different context than men do: By a kind of gender-slanted gravitational pull, the music industry drives women into certain genres (e.g. pop) and collaborative networks.
We’ve long known about gender imbalances in the music industry and while we’re happy that people are using our data to demonstrate this, we’re dismayed at most of the findings in this article. What is more concerning is that we have a general impression that our community has a slight bias towards adding more information about music created by women, which means that the overall situation may actually be worse than what one can deduce from our data!

As a reminder, all data in MusicBrainz is contributed by members of the community. If you see any situations where women or minorities are being mis- or underrepresented, we encourage you to add this content to MusicBrainz. And if you get stuck, don’t hesitate to ask for help on the forums.

2 thoughts on “MetaBrainz Projects in the news”

  1. Thanks for this, I would indeed love to see more posts like this one! Very important to see how the data is being used.
    And thank you for talking about our gender bias. To increase visibility, could we have events that promote adding information about artists who are women or part of a gender minority?

    Also: the AcousticBrainz link is not formatted right.

  2. Hi!

    I maintain the Composer Diversity Project collection (https://musicbrainz.org/collection/2d5b6052-9f4b-49c1-8e86-2c83cdc3b6e3)
    with that idea, so if anyone who edits classical music wants to be added as a collaborator to be able to add more artists to the collection, they can let me know!

    I don’t think we currently have similar things for other genres, but I certainly would be interested in giving a hand if someone organized it.

    And thanks, fixed the link (hopefully, WordPress is being extra weird recently 🙂 )

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