Open Music Database

The following are a set of notes that start to define a project that I call Open Music Database. The purpose is to create a free discographical database about recorded music. This project needs a good deal of design work to get under way.

There are other music databases online (including mine), but they all have a lot of limits. By far the largest such database is the All-Music Guide -- it is wonderful, but has a lot of problems.

I think that a project like this could eventually draw a fair amount of industry support. One of my hopes here is to get reviewers involved, and eventually build up a large metadata log of writings, comments, and ratings.






Queries / Reports

Integrity and Accountability


Database Representation

I am not a database expert, and this domain (which is large, complex, and ill-behaved) is beyond my skills to suggest a representation. The following are notes on the types of information that needs to be represented. How to do this is TBD.


One record per person, in any way referenced by database. Not to be confused with Artists, below.


I'm using Artist to refer to any name under which a record is released, which may be a person, an alias, a group.

Records / Releases

A record is a set of releases, where each release has substantially the same contents under substantially (or exactly?) the same title. The main reason for the grouping is that things like ratings get diluted without the grouping. (Although ratings could be summed for several related records; e.g., "Greatest Hits", "The Best of ...", "The Very Best of ...", "The Ultimate ...", etc.)

Also, while most information is common among releases, some will vary. Mostly common information:

Information that tends to vary by release:


Styles / Categories

Style or genre classification is necessary for targeting queries and evaluating reviewers. The definition of such styles / genres is often very subjective, and sorting it out will be a lot of trouble. Also, note that hierarchical models (like AMG) break down with fusion (hyphenated) styles.

In addition to conventional styles / genres, we may want to provide other categories that relate to conceptual classification. For example, I once proposed a "quark scheme" of classification: up, down, strange, charm, top, bottom. Categories may vary by style / genre.




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