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MusicML (a.k.a. MediaDB) is an XML specification for storing meta-data on multimedia content, typically non commercially recorded music or videos.



MusicML supports data files as separate XML files, or as metatags within the media file, or as a network accessible database like FreeDB or MusicBrainz. The database consists of a few dozen tables that are designed to allow very complex searches to be made. It started life as a markup language for music metadata. Although MusicML was initially developed for audio, it also works well for photos and video. We're probably stuck with the name in any case since we've been calling it that for several years now.

Unlike other existing schemes, MusicML is designed to work with media from all sources, not just for media that comes on a CD. The idea behind MusicML is that one acquires metadata with data, and that metadata is integrated into a database that describes the data that one has acquired. The database can then be searched, and can also be used to control media players and handle rights management.

The overall project includes the following:

  • The tag definitions,
  • Tools for data entry and manipulation,
  • Search tools,
  • Sample media player, and an
  • Initial database prototype.

An initial prototype database is up and runnig for testing purposes and to further refine the specification. MusicML metadata is a superset of that provided by both freedb, MusicBrainz, etree, imdb, and other existing databases. Appropriate links will be provided between the MusicML database and these other systems. Their databases, which are limited to commercially recorded music, is a small subset of this prototypes.

Likewise, search tools and a sample media player are being worked on for testing purposes. These allow MusicML to be tested to ensure that the desired end-user functionality exists. The data entry and manipulation tools will allow for community data entry but will provide controls in order to keep the data integrity high. Search doesn't work very well without accurate data!

Help this project find a name

The overall name for the multi-media database hasn't been chosen, and we're at a total loss at picking a name. So far the only suggestions have been these:

What This Project Needs

Like any project just getting launched, several more developers are needed to get the prototype to a generally usable system.

  • Web programming
Help write php/css/javascript/mysql code for the search page and meta-data pages.
  • Meta-data entering and editing
Add meta-data on your favorite performers! So far our Dead Head heritage shows in our collection of data. Help make this more broad based.
  • Data scrappers
utility programs or web pages to scrap data from other web databases, like the US Copyright Office.
  • Database tuning
We're not gurus about high performance database design, so advice is always appreciated.
  • Flash programming
Help create a media player in Flash that is meta-data aware, and uses Gnash to it's fullest.
  • Somebody to implement the CDDB protocol that talks to this database for looking up info on commercial music.

Existing Music Databases

A free CDDB database, now shutting down.
A commercial CDDB database.
A different way of cataloging commercially recorded music. They're taking over the domain, and adding a CDDB interface to the MusicBrainz database. hosts the Etree project, which is a collection of live music uploaded by users.
Midomi lets you find nusic by humming a few bars.