17th level Hacker

Music and Metadata Panel in Palo Alto

There’s an SDForum panel presentation tomorrow about Music and Metadata:

Over the past 13 years, the web has grown from a simple content distribution mechanism into a vast repository of information and on-line data. As the amount of information available has exploded, and as the number of people using the internet as a source of both information and a way to purchase goods and services has increased exponentially, the use of metadata (or data about the data) has become more important.

Early experiments included Epinion’s reviews and Amazon’s collaborative filtering. Current experiments include RSS (metadata about which information is new), FOAF (metadata about social relationships), and the semantic web (expressive ways to encode metadata).

In this panel discussion, participants from the bleeding edge of musical metadata will talk about their vision for the future of music, and how metadata will help make that happen.

Fits in with a bunch of stuff I’m interested in. Why is stuff like this important? Because if we want to transform content from the top-down push that is today into a bottom-up form that looks more like peer-to-peer sharing than corporate content distribution, making systems that allow people to easily find what they’re looking for are much more important. The current model is that you flip on the radio or walk into a music store to find what you want. The content is pumped out over a number of channels, which exist pretty much just to give you a place to find music when you’re looking for music. But if the music exists “somewhere out there” on the Internet, how can one find what they’re looking for without reintroducing the controlling distribution channel. In some ways this is an analog of what has been happening with blogging replacing some forms of traditional media. For an example of some of the work going on in the area visit the XSPF wiki.