Archived Annual Reports




We did it! The Next Generation Schema (NGS) went live in May 2011 after more than five years of planning and two years of active development!

The changes in NGS moves MusicBrainz from a "will this work?" open source project aimed at identifying Audio CDs, and solidly moves it towards being a comprehensive music encyclopedia. The previous schema we used was simple, but it could not capture all of the nuances inherent in music metadata. For many years we'd known that we needed to overhaul our schema and our website and deciding what and how we wanted to do it took more than 3 years of planning. Then after 3 arduous years of re-writing all of MusicBrainz we were finally somewhat ready to unleash NGS on the world. On May 18th we finally flipped the switch and set MusicBrainz NGS live on the 5 spiffy new servers we had just purchased with money raised in a fundraiser we held in March. To get more information on NGS, please see the NGS release notes.

MusicBrainz Picard saw a lot of progress this year with four versions released, NGS support added, and planning initiated for a 1.0 release. acoustID support was also introduced.

Our web service API also saw a major overhaul with version 2 adding support for all the new NGS entities.

Finally, MusicBrainz, through the efforts of Jamie McDonald, also released its first mobile application, the MusicBrainz Android application.

New customers

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper that started using our data in 2010 to identify and link to music related articles on their web site. In 2011 they became a customer of the MetaBrainz Foundation.

Google Summer of Code

We had three students for Google Summer of Code. Ian McEwen (ianmcorvidae) worked on collecting and visualizing our database statistics and Michael Wiencek (bitmap) took on the task of making Picard NGS-ready. Eliza Gebow also participated and hoped to create MusicBrainz widgets, but she never finished her project.

On a related note, Jamie McDonald's MusicBrainz Android App from last year's Summer of Code was officially published in the Android Market.

MusicBrainz summit

The 11th MusicBrainz Summit was held in Rotterdam, NL, from Oct 15-17th. The summit was a great success with 17 people in attendance, including representatives from the BBC, Google,, musiXmatch, and Zvooq.

There were many popular topics discussed at the summit such as how to improve the edit system, how to define data quality, how to integrate third party datasets, and much more. Copious amounts of chocolate, energy drinks, stroopwafels, and sandwiches (the family-sized, Spanish variety) were consumed over the course of the summit. For lots more information, view the summit session notes.

Special thanks to, musiXmatch, Google, and Grooveshark for sponsoring the summit.


Sponsorships $4,622.99
PayPal Donations $14,851.68
General Donations $50,612.00
Consulting $1,500.00
Live Data Feed licenses $94,653.09
Bank Interest $290.95
Amazon Associates $968.20
Reimbursments $2,783.43
Tagger Affiliate Program $18,485.64
CC Data License $6,575.00
In Kind Donations $49,480.00
Total Income:$243,922.98
Officer Salary $40,726.12
Depreciation $5,879.00
Bank $1,060.00
PayPal $1,937.23
Rent $2,856.00
Hardware $19,550.94
Travel $8,441.75
Internet $182.05
Development $104,730.01
Gifts $423.89
Events $4,026.25
Hosting $17,250.00
Filing Fees $162.00
Software $641.99
Entertainment $381.07
Books $9.89
Insurance $2,025.00
Accounting $1,701.46
Shipping $99.12
Payroll Taxes $27,672.30
Total Expenses:$239,756.07

The Profit & Loss shows:


A hardware fundraiser was held earlier in the year in preparation for the NGS release. After a month of gentle prodding and poking, our community and sponsors came through and exceeded our goal by donating a total of $15,527.50. Thank you Google, SoundCloud, EchoNest, Matt Mullenweg (WordPress),, Magic MP3 Tagger, Grooveshark, Songkick, and Affinity Chiropractic (the people MetaBrainz rents an office from), and thank you to the 83 individual donors who helped make this happen.


There was a significant increase in traffic over the course of 2011. We started the year at 9M hits/day and ended the year with a whopping 22M hits/day. This is a significant increase of more than 140%!

As a consequence of our increasing traffic and finite resources, harsher rate limiting rules were implemented on a global level as well as for some specific misbehaving applications.

Top contributors

Top editors
1 reosarevok 87568 13 salo.rock 27061
2 drsaunde 86575 14 monxton 26766
3 HumHumXX 61687 15 hrglgrmpf 25300
4 MrH 57458 16 kepstin 23480
5 murdos 54557 17 Benji99 19511
6 brianfreud 52847 18 ojnkpjg 18440
7 gswanjord 44122 19 rphill 17071
8 fmera 38333 20 gnu_andrew 16535
9 Senax 35842 21 zos18 16500
10 mudcrow 31363 22 dimpole 16007
11 jesus2099 29486 23 Torc 15771
12 nikki 29057 24 MeinDummy 14641
Top voters
1 MrH 40692 13 HumHumXX 14576
2 chabreyflint 35864 14 rswarbrick 11792
3 fmera 27754 15 PhantomOTO 11303
4 drsaunde 27460 16 Dr. Default 10948
5 salo.rock 24141 17 Bitmap 10170
6 MeinDummy 24032 18 gswanjord 10162
7 symphonick 20795 19 Ataki 9064
8 reosarevok 20625 20 Erik Warmelink 8625
9 murdos 16783 21 rphill 7710
10 chiark 16063 22 nikki 7423
11 hrglgrmpf 15966 23 matalaxe 7048
12 mudcrow 15340 24 liDEL 6897

A big thank you to all 23,637 editors/voters who contributed in 2011! MusicBrainz would be nothing without your hard work!

Server farm

At the end of 2011, MusicBrainz had 13 machines in service. From the top, going down:

Over the course of 2012, we're going to remove and donate the retired servers and replace them with the servers that were donated to us at the end of 2011. MusicBrainz uses 8mbits of bandwidth per second on average and draws 27 Amps of current for a power consumption of about 2,970 Watts. MusicBrainz physically occupies 20Us of space (half of a rack) at Digital West in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Words of appreciation

2011 was a challenging year for us, but in the end everything turned out quite well. With the release of NGS and the many months of bug fixing that followed the release, we were able to complete a massive five year project. Towards the end of the year we finally found time to work on new features and and other improvements that were not related cleaning up after NGS. We've now moved past NGS and have a fresh, clean and stable codebase that will allow us to make MusicBrainz even better.

Our traffic keeps increasing and community support is also on the rise. Between the fundraiser and the donated hardware MusicBrainz looks quite a bit more mature than it did a year ago -- we've done a lot of growing up in the past year. And most of that was thanks to you, our users, editors, developers, sponsors, friends and board of directors. There are so many people to thank, we wont even attempt to do so because we know we can't possibly think of everyone who helped us through this critical year.

Thank you for your continued support; we're going to work hard to make MusicBrainz even better!