Whatever happened to the CDDB and to FreeDB?
CDDB evolved into Gracenote. It looked like they were losing their stranglehold when Roxio moved to FreeDB in 2000. A closed settlement resulted in Roxio moving to Gracenote full time. I hope they were clever enough to get free stock in Gracenote for the pleasure.
The next death knell (although no one knew how important it was at the time) for FreeDB was that Apple went with Gracenote and then disabled any ability for users to submit to FreeDB (for a couple of years it was possible to use the FreeDB servers instead by monkeying around in one’s hosts file, but it was a pretty techy solution). Without
iTunes or Roxio’s Toast, FreeDB was cut off from any oxygen in the Apple ecosphere.
Gracenote was recently sold to Sony for $260 million. The venture capitalists and the thugs at Gracenote managed to get something for their trouble.
In the meantime in about 2006, the FreeDB had a melt-down between the project owner and the lead developers. In the meantime, the horribly named Musicbrainz hit the scene with a music recognition algorithm. Terribly complicated, terribly slow. Apparently it works. But there is no easy way to submit data.
My inspiration here? There isn’t a single tagging client I can find for OS X which will allow me to upload to either FreeDB or Musicbrainz!
There should be a client (free) which will grab the Gracenote/CDDB info which iTunes collects and resubmit it to both FreeDB and Musicbrainz. iTunes can’t do something like that as part of its own license but the new client can.
If Gracenote wants to shut this client down, it begins as open-source and goes offshore. The client should include a manual option so that not all of the data is polluted. The client should allow itself to identify itself as alternative software (to make sure that the database recipient can’t be faulted for accepting the external data).
Personally, I’d resubmit all my music info to Musicbrainz and FreeDB if this app existed. And I know a hundred more who would do so as well. Litigation is likely to drop off at this point, as the aggressive thieves at Gracenote have been paid out now.
I can’t imagine Sony wants to go whacking through the bushes, snatching at end users.
The CDDB story is one of the best examples I’ve seen of how human beings can turn any act of grace (pardon the pun) into loathsome slavery.
This sad saga worries me as it suggests that Apple is more than prepared to turn our computers into corporate property. For the moment, OS X is very free and my data is my own, but frankly the rumours of DRM on the iPad for ebooks worry me.
If Apple thinks its core audience (hey remember us, we’re the guys who kept you alive through that huge trough at the time of the clones) will put up with proprietary data formats and heavy DRM, they are very wrong.
In the meantime, I want a client to let me submit track and album info to FreeDB and Musicbrainz.
Alec has been helping businesses succeed online since 2000. Alec is an SEM expert with a background in advertising, as a former Head of Television for Grey Moscow and Senior Television Producer for Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia.
The are actually at least two apps that support every music tagging website: Max and XLD, both with their strengths and weaknesses…. and they are both free
Rip can do this. On the menubar:
Compact Disc > Submit metadata To > …
You could pull the data from Gracenote (via iTunes), which Rip can also do, or fill it in manually — and you could then push it on to FreeDB or Musicbrains, if you’re so inclined.
It’s a darn good ripper, too. Best one on OS X even though it’s still in beta:
Jaikoz will let you submit to Musicbrainz
I used to use FreeDB — in support of a Filemaker DB called “Audiofile” that cataloged my CD collection almost automatically. Audiofile folded a while back. Isn’t there– Delicious libary– or something like that? Is there a Windows or LINUX FreeDB client?
You can upload clusters of albums inside Picard with a plugin. But, I suspect that you are looking for a bulk method to uploads bucket loads of data.
We’re carefully considering adding support for this, but primarily it would be to easy to overload the community with data submissions. Consider this: As people enter data into MusicBrainz one release at a time, the peer review process has a chance to keep up.
Now, if we allowed users to bulk upload a 1000 albums at the same time and we had a 1000 users do that at the same time, we would create a mountain of peer review work that no-one is interested in doing.
Whenever we dream up new features for MusicBrainz is important for us to consider what this will do to our community. And the community is very important — MusicBrainz is not software. Its not data. MusicBrainz is a community that cares about data and software.
I hope this helps a bit.
Now, what FreeDB’s excuse is… I’m guessing that the project is essentially dead and on cron job life support.
Thanks for the suggestion about Rip. Rip really is a very serious cataloging tool. The way it switches easily between databases (you could even add menu hotkeys via Keyboard Maestro) for getting and sending track names is very impressive.
Unfortunately the ripper doesn’t accept LAME MP3. I understand that MP3’s are an inferior technology and not lossless but at extreme settings LAME is pretty good. More importantly MP3’s play almost everywhere. I don’t much feel like encoding everything into FLAC and then having a very narrow choice of playback software.
But it should be possible to use Rip for cataloging and iTunes LAME for encoding with no particular issues.
I also found iCDc (a cute pun on the rock band?) since I wrote the article, $15 shareware from France but it hasn’t had much work lately and doesn’t handle the switching between databases nearly as well as Rip. I’ll be donating to Rip and using it. I hope Rip will get some additional development.
Thanks for stopping by. I had a look at your peer review documentation. You guys are really pushing the audiophile envelope. That’s either a good thing or an awful thing. Sure it’s great to have perfect tags. On the other hand, it’s a lot better to have some kind of tags than none at all.
I think you need to separate the databases into peer reviewed and raw data I’m a pretty persnickety technical person (I run a programming and web development company) and I have trouble seeing me learn your whole complex system to submit my albums. I’m also not going to sit around typing into a web browser all day. Make it easier for us please.
KISS would seem to be the name of the game. And if you guys are doing better, you should continue to support FreeDB. I noticed and was impressed you have outgoing FreeDB format for those who want it. You should consider adding incoming FreeDB format.
In any case, thank you so much for your efforts to provide an alternative to a commercial service (which could just be cut off and buried any given day).
Freedb is dead in part because it suffered technologically. It was basically completely flawed, because the original CDDB software it was based on was hobby-level quality. So was the data that they started out with (the same data “stolen” by Gracenote). Both data and technology needed to be improved, but the freedb guys were apparently not up to the challenge. Had they brought both up to professional quality, freedb might have prospered. Seems like musicbrainz doesn’t suffer from those same problems.
There are a number of apps that take iTunes/tag data and allows you to submit it elsewhere. No lawsuits from Gracenote, so that probably means they don’t care. Data is mostly a commodity nowadays. It’s service and solutions that matter to most music product developers. For someone to beat out Gracenote, they have to have those things. Only Mac(Rovi)sion has that kind of mojo currently.