[uf-new] Microformat for Music Downloads

Marian Steinbach marian at sendung.de
Tue Mar 6 23:44:14 PST 2007

Hello all!

Several days ago I wrote to the microformats-discuss list [1] and
stated that I was interested in development of a microformat for music
downloads. Several replies were sent, but then the discussion was
redirected to this list, microformats-new. This is the attempt to
restart the thread here and gather input from those who are

First of all: To those who replied to the former music thread, please
drop in here and make yourself heard again.

My own motivation is twofold. I am experimenting with the automatic
discovery of audio files, especially music MP3s, on web pages. And I'm
not the only one. Several search engines do so. And at least one
interesting client application named "Songbird" [2] does this, too.

What Songbird, myself, and some other "consumers" of this data want
is: Provide users with the correct metadata about the audio files so
users know who it's from and whether or not they want the file. In
case of music, this usually means an artist, a song title and so on.
For audio in general, this could also mean size of the file, duration,
bitrate and some other technical parameters like DRM info etc.

Currently, what songbird and other applications do in order to aquire
that metadata is very expensive both for the client and the server:
They read each audio file, at least partially, hoping that it provides
useful and valid ID3 tags or OGG comments. Not only that this consumes
bandwidth, it also manipulates access statistics for the files --
something that should become more important for music vendors.

So a microformat for audio downloads, especially music downloads,
could help a lot of people out there enhance the user experience and
save time and money.

For people like me, who have just joined the microformats discussion,
it could be worthwhile to know the status of the current efforts on
music, audio and media microformats. There are several pages in the
wiki I'd like to point out here:




I thinks it's also important to set the scope of this effort. While
some might want to solve the "media metadata" issue (including images,
moving images, audio, etc.) I would like to focus on music downloads
here. I'm note even sure if streaming media should be part of the

While the vast majority of the downloadable music out there is pop
music, also jazz and classical might want to be considered, since
there is a difference in decription of meta information
(title/artist/album vs. title/musician(s)/composer vs.
title/orchestra/conductor/composer/work). I read in earlier music
discussions that OGG comments [3] provide a pretty useful model for
the description of classical.

For now, I hope that this is enough to restart the discussion. Please,
drop in your requirements -- again, if you already did so.



[1] http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2007-February/008848.html
[2] http://www.songbirdnest.com/
[3] http://www.xiph.org/vorbis/doc/v-comment.html


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