Thank you Microsoft!

Microsoft reached out to us back in early 2018 in order to use our data in Bing — we followed the normal sort of on-boarding procedure that we use for our supporters. During one of these on-boarding calls we were asked if there was more that Microsoft could do to help us and support our mission. Soon thereafter I provided them with a list of things that would be useful to us. Sadly, the request to buy a major record label and then to give it to us to manage was turned down for being too expensive. 😦

However, Microsoft did like two items on our list and agreed to support us — they were:

1) Azure hosting credits — we’re always looking for more hosting capacity and these credits will allows us to provide virtual machines to our team and to close collaborators who are doing good work, but might be lacking the computing power to push their projects forward. This contribution is of direct benefit to our community — often times our projects contain quite a lot of data and thus have some heavy processing requirements. We’re currently using our hosting credits to do some large data set crunching and some testing for the Virtual Machine that we provide to users who wish to get up and running with MusicBrainz data quickly.

2) Sponsoring our summit — our annual team meeting and foundation summit happens at the end of each September, normally in Barcelona where we have our main office. Microsoft’s sponsorship allows us to invite more people to the event, since we have the means to cover their expenses. Our summits have traditionally been our annual forum for meeting the other team members and volunteers and to take a breather from the normal course of business. At the event we see a more human side of each other and we’re more easily able to discuss our challenges and the vision for the future.

We really appreciate our supporters who go above and beyond the normal levels of support for us — these contributions really sweeten the deal of hacking on open source software!

Thank you so much to Microsoft and everyone at Microsoft who helped move this contribution forward!

State of the Brainz: 2019 MetaBrainz Summit highlights

The 2019 MetaBrainz Summit took place on 27th–29th of September 2019 in Barcelona, Spain at the MetaBrainz HQ. The Summit is a chance for MetaBrainz staff and the community to gather and plan ahead for the next year. This report is a recap of what was discussed and what lies ahead for the community.

Continue reading “State of the Brainz: 2019 MetaBrainz Summit highlights”

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MusicBrainz Summit 11: Rotterdam

Hello everyone,

The 11th MusicBrainz summit was held this past weekend in Rotterdam, NL.

It was a very productive weekend with lots of discussions and plenty of social time. We had 17 people in attendance, 5 of which were from our sponsors/partners. The complete summit notes are now available on the wiki.

For those who didn’t attend, here are some of the things you missed out on:

  • 3 lbs of chocolate
  • banana pizza
  • stroopwafels
  • generic beer and energy drinks
  • overloading the wifi and having to rely on tethered cell phones for wifi access
  • an extremely high density of Google phones
  • 3 hours of discussion about works
  • information about BookBrainz
  • very large traffic lights

Thanks to everyone who came and to warp for being our local contact.

See you all at the next summit!