There are a number of ways that you can contribute to the MusicBrainz project. You might contribute money, or put effort into entering or moderating data, writing code, design, testing, or documentation.
There are several ways that you can contribute data to MusicBrainz:
- Use the web interface to add artists, albums and tracks. Use the search page to go to an artist page, or if you can't find it, add a new one. From the artist page you can click on the Add Release or Add Recording links to start contributing. Make sure to follow the style guidelines!
- Download Picard – the official MusicBrainz tagger – and use it to identify and clean up your digital music collection. The tagger will attempt to automatically identify your files and walk you through the process of matching up unidentified files.
- Using Picard's "Add Cluster as Release" plugin, use your existing tags as a starting point for adding releases with the web interface.
- Pop an audio CD into your CD drive, click the lookup button and follow the instructions from there to contribute Disc IDs.
- Help others match their files by setting up AcoustID with Picard and submitting fingerprints where they don't exist already.
- Using MusicBrainz for Android, submit barcodes, ratings, and tags.
While new data is important to MusicBrainz, our existing data can always use further improvement as well, both to correct mistakes and as new information becomes available, style guidelines change or are added to, or new server features are implemented.
To help maintain the existing data, use the search page to find information to review. If you spot mistakes, missing data, or duplicate data in the database, then please use the Edit, Delete and Merge links on the artist/album pages.
You can also subscribe to Artists, Labels, and other editors in order to keep yourself apprised of changes and to help with voting, and there are reports that deal with some specific sorts of data maintenance tasks. We also have some community projects that center around various needs.
Each change that's made to the database is entered into the MusicBrainz moderation system. MusicBrainz editors then have the opportunity to review these changes to make sure that they are correct and in accordance with our style guidelines, and to vote or comment on the changes.
Review and voting by other editors is important to ensure data entered into MusicBrainz is correct from the start! Check out Introduction to Editing and Introduction to Voting for more information on the editing and voting system, or go straight to the open edits or edit search to find edits to review.
If you feel that MusicBrainz is a worthwhile effort, please consider contributing money to the MetaBrainz Foundation. The MetaBrainz Foundation is a 501.(c).3 tax-exempt non-profit based in California that operates the MusicBrainz project. All of your donations will be tax-deductible in the United States; you will receive a receipt to use with your taxes.
Your donations will be used to help cover the operating costs of the MusicBrainz project. This includes paying for ongoing expenses like hosting, hardware, maintaining a modest office in San Luis Obispo, California, and perhaps even paying a pittance to those working on developing MusicBrainz – if there is enough money in the budget to afford that!
- How will we use your money? See our non-profit white paper.
- Where has it gone? See our transparent finances.
- Who else is contributing? See our sponsors.
MusicBrainz (really, MetaBrainz) also sells commercial licenses for our Live Data Feed, which is otherwise licensed CC-BY-NC-SA. This provides a great way for companies to support us while also getting better use of our data.
This is not technically required even for commercial users: Anyone can download data snapshots that are at most a few days old or use our web service to have instant up to date access to the data. We charge our commercial users for timely and convenient data access only. For example, a data license provides a convenient way to get around our web service rate limiting.
Code / Design / Testing / Documentation
Last, but certainly not least, you may also contribute your various talents to the development of MusicBrainz. MusicBrainz is dedicated to the Open Source software development model, and thus the server and client libraries are available under the GPL (GNU General Public License) and LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License), respectively.
- If you're a programmer, please help out and write some code for the server, Picard, or for client libraries. If you're looking for a place to start, the bug tracker has endless things that need doing, or come talk to us in IRC. If you're writing server code, you might be interested in Server Setup and/or the MusicBrainz Sandbox server.
- If you're a designer, we always need help and advice on UI and UX, and we can always a few more aesthetes as well.
- If you're neither, you can still help -- we always need people to help test new features (on the test servers or on sandbox servers) and write documentation for the things we've already created.