Monday, May 1, 2017

Community Recap Q1 2017 | MusicBrainz Blog

Oh boy, oh boy. It’s been a while. Again. Huh? Well, now we’re back! Really! And so, so much has happened in the last while that we’re in for quite a ride here. So strap in!

Resuming the recaps

First off, let me just say that I am not resuming where we left off, I will jump straight to 2017 and leave the past in past. Or, well, in the annual reports. So watch out for those if the past year seems a bit a hazy and you need a reminder. ;)

I will use our new “ORG” project in Jira to help track stuff to write about for future community recaps. There’s an open ticket for the April recap and an open ticket for the May recap—please add comments there if you notice something of note in the community that you think might potentially be worth of inclusion in these recaps. While I try to keep my eyes and ears open, I am still only one person!

New hires

Alright. Let’s get on with the good stuff now! 2017 has so far seen no less than two new additions to the MetaBrainz staff: Elizabeth “Quesito” Bigger and Yvan “yvanzo” Rivierre.

Elizabeth came on board right at the beginning of the year as our new supporter catalyst. She helps interested companies and organisations to become registered supported of MetaBrainz, and she’s doing a great job so far, having become really engaged with the community.

Yvan has been part of the MusicBrainz community for a while now: as an editor, on the forums, being a mentor at the most recent Google Code-in, and as a volunteer developer on the MusicBrainz server code base. It is no secret that we’ve wanted another Perl hacker to help Michael Wiencek out with MusicBrainz, so when Yvan approached Rob (the MetaBrainz executive director) about the position, they quickly got things sorted, and in March he officially joined the team. This is historical: we now have two developers hired exclusively to work on MusicBrainz code!

Google programs

Also happening at the very beginning of this year was Google Code-in, Google’s program for 13–18 year olds, the little sister of their Summer of Code program. I talked a bunch about our Google Code-in participation in a blog post shortly after, so go check that out for more information.

Speaking of Google Summer of Code, February was also the month where we were told we got accepted for one more round of Summer of Code! 🙌 Accepted students and projects will be announced on May 4th, so stay tuned as to whether your favourite project will be worked on by a student this summer.

GSoC student prospects

Some of our prospective students for the Summer of Code arrived to our community early this year, and what an arrival they made! Regardless of whether they actually end up getting accepted or not, we’re really thankful for all their contributions so far!

We have Suyash Garg that came about in January and has been almost the sole contributor to CritiqueBrainz for this couple of months.

There’s Param Singh, who entered the scene in December last year, but really started poking around ListenBrainz in February. ListenBrainz is project that has a lot of potential and which we have high hopes for, but it had been mostly dormant for a while. Thanks at least in part to Param’s engagement ListenBrainz has seen a lot of movement in the last few months. Thanks Param! Tharam!

Another project that has seen a tremendous uptake in activity is our Picard tagger. In December last year Sambhav Kothari joined our IRC channels and soon started bombarding us with pull requests. He very quickly became the primary developer of Picard and almost single-handedly enabled us to make the first Picard release in over 2 years. … Wait, what??

Release eventually, release at last

Yes, indeed! With Sambhav Kothari’s aid we managed to finally get a new version of MusicBrainz Picard released, after more than two years since the last one. Development has also begun on Picard 2.0 and Picard’s “master” branch has already been ported to both Python 3 and (Py)Qt5—if that doesn’t mean anything to you, just note that it’s two key technologies Picard is based on that we’ve now moved to the most recent version of, making Picard’s code a bit more modern. Lots more changes than just a couple of technology updates are planned for the Picard 2.0 release though, so stay tuned to follow how it develops.

Libdiscid and python-discid also saw a new release, and there were quite a number of musicbrainz-server releases. ListenBrainz also published a beta version that may soon become the stable version, check it out and help out!


It was decided at the September board meeting of the MetaBrainz Foundation that the minutes of these meetings should be published publicly for the community. This finally happened. This lets you all have even more insight in what’s going on with our foundation that is supporting all these many *Brainzes. (Next board meeting is in May, so the next board meeting minutes will be coming in the not-too-distant future!)

We also got a bunch of new supporters in Q1—12 in all! Notably AEG Live joined our ranks as a unicorn and Naim Audio joined the golden supporters. Moreover, community member Tim (agentsim) was involved in having a new supporter join up: PS Audio in the silver tier. Thanks to all our supporters and other donors—you’re the ones keeping the boat afloat and enabling us to grow. :)


A lot of things can get discussed over the course of three months. And a lot of things were discussed. I’ve picked a few of the larger discussions, but I may well have missed something important. Let me know in the comments. :)

  • Elizabeth started a conversation about using data visualisations to represent the various MetaBrainz projects:
  • CatQuest, our resident instrument editor, is asking for feedback regarding how to deal with some of the trickier corner cases in instrument classification:
  • After some talk in the Monday IRC meetings, the discussion about a system for ratings in CritiqueBrainz got moved to the forums:
  • We had our first auto-editor election in quite a while: (spoiler: they got elected! Congratulations otters61. :))

And our Style leader Nicolás is always looking for input regarding the trickier parts of style rehashes. In the first quarter he’s been looking for input regarding the guidelines surrounding the “feat.” join phrase (it has now been deprecated), and also about getting some initial Event specific guidelines formulated. (There’s still no resolution on this, so go ahead and and chime in if you have any comments!)

We also got a couple of a new categories in the forums: one for CritiqueBrainz and one for ListenBrainz. Still not a lot of discussion going on there, but hopefully they will attract more attention soon enough. :)

Experiencing user experience

Q1 2017 is also when our work on researching better user experience really got started. We’re still very much in the “getting started” phase, but several people in the community are working on getting there. Leo_Verto took the initiative to create a user survey with the aim of figuring out where to target UX efforts, and our supporter catalyst Elizabeth joined his efforts. The survey has not yet been finished though, but they’re working on it and we should have more information about it in the very near future. You can read more about the survey on the forum topic here:

Conference presence

We had two people talk about MetaBrainz things at conferences in this first quarter.

I talked at the Danish open source conference Open Source Days about non-governmental open data with a focus on MetaBrainz’s projects, and Justin W. Flory gave both a presentation and a workshop about MusicBrainz and MusicBrainz Picard at Linux Weekend in Albania. The slides for both are/will be available at (Nicolás Tamargo also gave an improvised talk at Open Data Days in Estonia, but no slides or anything available from that.)

If you have a conference in your area and you want to talk about anything *Brainz, feel free to poke us and we’d be happy to help you out as best we can. :)

Wrapping up

As you might surmise, Q1 has been fairly busy. Plenty of things have not been mentioned here either, and even then, well done for reading all the way down here! The recaps should now resume on a monthly basis, so be sure to leave comments on the tickets if there’s something (or someone) you think should absolutely be mentioned next month. I won’t give any promises, but if they’re mentioned there, there’s a better chance than if they’re not. ;) Until next time! 👋


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