General FAQ

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Revision as of 02:13, 12 March 2006 by WolfSong (talk) (wikidocs prep; some items moved to AccountsFAQ (Imported from MoinMoin))

NOTE: We are currently standardizing the terminology used in our documentation. In some the following terms used interchangeably. 
  • album and release
  • moderate and edit

Release and edit are the new standards.

You can update the content of this page on the wiki but please do not add questions without answers. If your question has not been answered here, ask on the MailingLists instead.

This page lists some very general FrequentlyAskedQuestions about MusicBrainz and how to use the site. 

If your question is not covered here, please check the official General FAQ on the main site, which is more complete that this here. There are also FrequentlyAskedQuestions specific to different subjects, like the ModerationFAQ. If that still doesn't help, please find us in one of the MusicBrainzForums or via the contact page.

General Questions

What's the purpose of this site?

This site is intended to be a free, on-line encyclopedia of music information. We (and you, if you decide to join us) are building an open-source database containing all the information you would ever want to know about songs, albums, and artists.

Why would I need to use your site? What's wrong with Gracenote's CDDB?

No one needs to use our site, and nothing's wrong with CDDB. We just have a different aim from the maintainers of CDDB. Check the history pages for more information on the origins of this project.

This site is free. CDDB is not.

CDDB was made by volunteers sharing the track listings of their CDs with the central server that was run voluntarily, not for profit. This freely volunteerd effort was effectively stolen by Gracenote, who made it a commercial service that you have to pay to use in your music player software, or if you want to download large parts of the database for whatever reason. (RJMunro)

Why would I need to use your site? What's wrong with FreeDB?

FreeDB is based on the last version of CDDB that was freely available. While it is a very useful site, it is technically inferior to this site as it is based on a flat format. Ie. Albums are not grouped by artists, they just have a text field "Artist Name". Different printings of the same album that are not quite identical go into the listing twice etc. There is no concept of a single track being on more than one album - a track doesn't really exist in its own right. While MusicBrainz is not perfect in this respect, it is a lot better, and plans for improvements are laid down. The path to acheiving those goals is clear. It would be very hard to give FreeDB those facilities. Eventually it is envisioned by some that MusicBrainz could take over from FreeDB, although they may evolve to take different markets, or be competitors continually spurring each other on.

In certain places, MusicBrainz itself uses FreeDB when it doesn't know an album already. (RJMunro)