Spotify has launched a new crowd-sourcing website asking users to input certain metadata for the music that can be found streaming on its platform. The aim is to build up a database of information about artists, songs and albums, as well as to understand better how listeners interpret music.
The company’s new Line In website asks users to input information on things such as genres, moods, the offensiveness of lyrics, and aliases used by artists. More pertinently, it allows users to suggest updates to any information Spotify has on artists, songwriters and other personnel involved in individual tracks. There are parallels with other crowd-sourced music data projects like MusicBrainz, Discogs and Last.fm, all of which the Spotify site seems to tap.
When Spotify recently added songwriter credits to songs and albums on its desktop software, using data inputted by the record companies when they pump tracks into the streaming service’s servers, it highlighted numerous errors and omissions in the labels’ data.
Problems over identifying who wrote or published any one song have caused all sorts of legal problems in the US, of course, where there is no collecting society that can provide a blanket licence covering all works. As part of the dispute over unpaid song royalties, Spotify has previously committed to build its own database linking recordings to songs, and the writers and publishers of those songs.
That’s not quite what this project is, but it could help placate songwriters and record producers in the US and elsewhere who, in addition to gripes about royalty payments, have often complained that they don’t get credited in the digital world in the way they did on physical music releases. Though, as with any crowdsourced data, there’ll need to be some system for verifying the accuracy of information provided.
Line In has been tested with a small number of subscribers since last autumn, and is now being rolled out to all users.
Speaking to Variety, a Spotify spokesperson said: “Listeners describe music in different ways, and understanding that information will help improve, extend, and confirm the information that describes music on Spotify. We hope to better understand how Spotify listeners interpret music, so that we can improve experiences for both listeners and artists. We’ve also seen that listeners are eager to describe the music they’re passionate about in ways beyond traditional concepts like genre and mood”.
Allaying any fears that this could just create a bigger data mess, they added: “Spotify considers the source, and thoroughly reviews and checks the accuracy of this information, before the suggestions are folded into the data that powers our services”.
In part, the veracity of the source will be based on a number of surveys users are asked to complete when they sign up to take part in Line In. These assess the individual’s level of musical knowledge across various genres.
This is one of a number of new features being developed by Spotify as it nears its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Music Ally has spotted that the streaming service is also experimenting with auto-mixing on some dance music playlists – similar to the service offered by the Pacemaker app.
The company also announced this morning that it is launching in four new territories – Israel, Romania, South Africa and Vietnam. This brings the total number of markets where the streaming service is available to 65.
There may well be further announcements as Spotify draws further towards that listing and its big investor pitch on 15 Mar. Bloomberg now reckons that the company is planning to begin selling shares publicly during the week commencing 2 Apr.[from http://ift.tt/2lvivLP]