Florian Huber

Transforming music data into a PoolParty project


For the Nolde project it was requested to build a knowledge graph, containing detailed information about the austrian music scene: artists, bands and their music releases. We decided to use PoolParty, since theses entities should be accessible in an editorial workflow. More details about the implementation will be provided in a later blog post.

In the first round I want to share my experiences with the mapping of music data into SKOS. Obviously, LinkedBrainz was the perfect source to collect and transform such data since this is available as RDF/NTriples dumps and even providing a SPARQL endpoint! LinkedBrainz data is modeled using the Music Ontology. Continue reading

Andreas Blumauer

Seevl: Explore the cultural universe based on semantic web technologies

Just recently Alexandre Passant from DERI Galway went public with a new web service called seevl. First impressions after test driving the system reveal that the seevl team is keeping the promises they have made: “Seevl reinvents music discovery. We provide new ways to explore the cultural and musical universe of your favorite artists and to discover new ones by understanding how they are connected. In addition, we let you comment every piece of data about them.”

I was talking with Alexandre and asked a couple of questions:

Q: seevl.net aims to offer a new way of music recommendations. What exactly can the user expect from it?
The main idea is to offer context around the recommendations, while existing systems are opaque, or rely on collaborative filtering techniques. So that a user know why he could / should like X if he’s browsing page about Y. We hope (and we’ve seen it from our user feedback so far) that it can help to discover new bands and hidden connections.

Q: Yes, indeed this is something new. Maybe for the typical users this could be too complicated. This brilliant feature should somehow be hidden – working just like a magic button?
So far, we include this in the “why is related” button, but we’re constantly working on the UI / UX. Also, we only provide text for now, but are working on dataviz interfaces.

Q: seevl offers for developers a Web API. It seems like you don´t use semantic web standards for that?
We use content-negotiation to provide machine-readable data for every page (search results, entity description, related artists, etc.). If by non-SW standards you mean non-RDF, indeed, we provide JSON instead of RDF/XML or N3, etc. But our JSON integrates URI that you can dereference and follows a similar approach than other existing RDF-JSON serialisation. So, why JSON you may ask. Because our developer target is music hackers, and all APIs from this community (last.fm, echonest, etc.) offer JSON, not RDF. Learning a new JSON schema takes 5 min, learning RDF takes much more.
But we believe that a JSON-RDF serialisation combines the best of both worlds. Actually, we could say we provide our data using standards (we’re giving back a graph that follows the RDF abstract model, with links to dereferencable URIS) but not in a (so far) standardised serialisation.

Q: I agree. But mid-term oriented I would go additionally for SPARQL. A lot of people learn how to SPARQL at the moment.
Yes, we have to measure the cost / ROI. Complete SPARQL can lead to complex queries, that’s why they are somehow hidden behind our search interface (that basically construct a controlled SPARQL query). But that could be something provided to advanced customers.

Q: seevl.net is based on linked data sets like DBpedia, MusicBrainz or Freebase. Is seevl itself offering Linked (Open) Data? I can also see heavy use of the open graph protocol. How could a facebook application of seevl could look like?
Yes, we provide our data back at http://developers.seevl.net. We’re using the Music Ontology and a bit of other models (FOAF, etc.). So far, the OGP markup is used for Facebook likes – but we are looking at other things that could be built on top of this.

Q: Which business model are you following? Can one integrate your service into his shop? would you offer this a cloud service? for how much?
We’ll have B2C (new features on the website are coming soon) and a B2B freemium model. We’re currently identifying how much calls we can support as part of the free-calls per day (so that will indeed be cloud-based, our architecture is on EC2). So, integration of our service / data in shop websites, etc. is definitely what we’d like to see and to feature in our upcoming app-gallery ! The only requirement for data-reuse is attribution and linking-back to the service.

Thanks Alex, and I wish you and your team all the best with seevl.net!


Andreas Blumauer

BBC Music relaunch: Linked Data goes Business?

Since SWC is involved in a couple of semantic web projects in the media industry, I was watching for the BBC Music relaunch. Now the new platform is online – and from an enduser’s perspective the new system offers comfortable ways to navigate through the world of music: Bands, their members, biographies and outgoing links like to Wikipedia or MySpace are retrieved from MusicBrainz and mashed up with BBC blogs, playlists or reviews.


Matthew Shorter, interactive editor for music at the BBC, told silicon.com:

We’re kind of on a journey of moving from what’s effectively a magazine/print publication-based metaphor around web publishing…to a world where we recognise that that’s not the way that people use the web.

No doubt: Linked Data is a great deal for the end-users but what´s in for the providers, in this case for BBC?

From a media company’s perspective Shorter has mentioned a handful of interesting arguments why linked data could be useful:

  1. reusing data from MusicBrainz and Wikipedia also provides better value for the licence payer as the BBC isn’t wasting resources reproducing data already in the public domain
  2. from an SEO point of view, once we start generating a lot of meaningful links among our pages, then we’re going to improve the find-ability of our content via web search
  3. by having as open a platform as we can, then our hope at least is that people will pick up that content and do things with it and we’ll benefit from incoming links as a result

This could be summarised as follows (by adding a fourth item):

  1. re-use existing data
  2. increase find-ability
  3. extend your eco-system
  4. understand users’ interests

By saying that linked data can help providers to understand their users in a more profound way which is based on the more granular way how information is offered in the linked data world (paradigm shift: page versus linked data) I´d like to ask a short, value-free question: Which side of the internet will drive the business in the future – the visible web or the deep web? Was linked data designed only for the visible web?

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