MusicBrainz Server/Setup

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Products > MusicBrainz Server > Server Setup

MusicBrainz Server virtual machine

Running an NGS virtual machine requires some Linux knowledge, but it vastly simpler than installing NGS from scratch. To use the virtual machine instance, follow these steps:

With Virtual Box

  1. Start downloading the latest virtual machine instance (UK mirror). Beware: This is a large (5Gb) download!
  2. Download and install Virtual Box on your machine.
  3. Start Virtual Box and choose Import Appliance from the File menu. Select the downloaded file.
  4. Once Virtual Box has imported the appliance, select the imported virtual machine from the list of virtual machines and click on Start.
  5. Once the instance has started up, log in on the console using the username musicbrainz and password musicbrainz. This account has sudo privileges -- if you would like to set a root passwd, you can do that via sudo.
  6. Run ifconfig and look at the inet addr for eth0. This is the IP address of your virtual machine. Note this IP address.
  7. Optional: The console for Virtual Box is very slow. I find it faster to SSH into the virtual box with a good terminal program.
  8. Copy lib/ to lib/, and update MB_SERVER_ROOT and DEVELOPMENT_SERVER values
  9. To start the NGS server, enter these commands:
musicbrainz@clear:~$ cd musicbrainz-server/script 
musicbrainz@clear:~/musicbrainz-server/script$ ./ -r

Now you can reach the MusicBrainz server by pointing your browser to port 3000 of the IP address in step 6. If your IP address from step 7 was:, then point your browser to

To change the default port (3000) to some other port use the --port option when running

For more configuration options, see the -help switch:

musicbrainz@clear:~/musicbrainz-server/script$ ./ --help


If you update the code base in an early version of the virtual server, you may encounter an error that complains about DEVELOPMENT_SERVER not being defined, please add this line to your lib/ file:


And then start the server.

Running Replication

This VM comes "replication ready". To enable replication, and have the database catch up with the latest replication packets, do this:

  • Switch your instance to be a slave. Edit musicbrainz-server/lib/ and ensure REPLICATION_TYPE is RT_SLAVE.
  • Start replication
cd musicbrainz-server/admin/replication

This will load all of the changes to the database since the VM update. To automate this, add this script to a cron job that fires off 10 minutes after each hour. NOTE: Loading replication changes might take a long time. If the VM is more than a couple of weeks old, it might be better for you to import a fresh data set. Check the INSTALL file for how to import new data.

Accessing the database

To access the main postgres database, you can do this:

cd musicbrainz-server/admin

to accces the RAWDATA database (that also contains edits), use RAWDATA, instead of READWRITE. If you would like to access the DB from outside the virtual box, take a look at how to change postgres connection settings.

Turning the VM into development box

If you would like to use the VM to do development instead of using it as a simple database slave, you'll need to edit lib/ and set REPLICATION_TYPE to RT_STANDALONE and run admin/psql READWRITE and execute the following queries:

DELETE FROM annotation WHERE editor > (SELECT max(id) FROM editor);
DELETE FROM release_annotation WHERE NOT EXISTS (SELECT 1 FROM annotation WHERE = release_annotation.annotation);

then from the command line execute:

  1. run admin/psql READWRITE < admin/sql/CreateFKConstraints.sql
  2. run admin/psql READWRITE < admin/sql/CreateFunctions.sql

TODO: The server will probably run out of disk space during this process. We need to add instructions on how to move the DB to a new partition.

Setup MusicBrainz Server from source code

This can potentially be a very laborious and time consuming method of getting a functioning MusicBrainz server. Using the virtual machine is recommended.

Get a copy of musicbrainz-server from git:

git clone git:// musicbrainz-server
cd musicbrainz-server

And follow the instructions in the INSTALL file.


The setup process may look daunting, but please don't let this discourage you; the INSTALL is thorough and contains a lot of information, and we are willing to provide assistance. If you have questions about installing, join us in the #musicbrainz-devel IRC channel or post a question on the developers mailing list and we will attempt to help you out.

We recommend that you dive in and give it a try - who knows how far you'll get and what you might learn along the way!


In order to set up a running MusicBrainz server with the full database you will need:

  • A linux box, preferably Ubuntu, that is a PIII-700 or better with 256MB RAM.
  • 8GB of free disk space, (if you are a developer and only want the server code and database structure 2GB is more than enough).
  • Git knowledge which will enable you to check out the source code.

As a developer the following knowledge/skills are beneficial:

  • Apache, Perl, mod_perl, PostgreSQL and a number of perl modules.
  • How to compile and install packages from source on a Linux box.
  • How to patch existing packages, although we can help you out if you have questions about that.

Note: The server has never been ported to Windows, and we suspect that it would be a fair amount of work to make that happen.


The MusicBrainz Server is licensed under the GPL (Gnu Public License).