Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gracefully Identifying any Tune

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Whenever I use Itunes, or Creative Media Player, or Winamp, to play an audio CD or any MP3 files, on my computer at home, a "Gracenote" icon briefly appears on the screen, and instantly all of the artist and track information appears displayed in the media player.

I have been amazed by what Gracenote can identify. Any CD that is placed into the home PC is usually fully identified, even Hal Leonard CD's that accompany learning guitar books are fully detailed with all track names. The other amazing thing is the speed at which Gracenote links to the internet and completes this task.

I have been wondering for a while what exactly Gracenote is all about, and so I decided to research this matter further.

Here is information about the Gracenote music identification process from the
Gracenote website at : http://www.gracenote.com .

Gracenote "MusicID" is the industry standard for digital music identification for both CDs and individual music files.

Gracenote MusicID® provides fast, accurate, and reliable music-related content for people all over the world. Gracenote's technology is relied on by many of the world's leading consumer electronic devices and media software applications. Gracenote MusicID uses a multi-step recognition method to enable identification, categorization, and organization of digital music. Regardless of source or format, Gracenote® gives music fans the tools to manage and enjoy their music collections.

As of 2009, Gracenote databases held information on nearly 100 million audio tracks and more than a million videos.

The Gracenote Media Database supports both networked and embedded applications for the home, car, portable, and mobile phone markets. It's the world's largest global media database of music and video metadata.

Gracenote pioneered CD recognition technology in 1995 under the name CDDB®.

In addition to the original audio CD track and artist recognition services, Gracenote now also provides:

MusicID File (Search by File Fingerprint) - A digital audio file tagging service that computes an acoustic fingerprint for MP3 and other audio files and matches it against a fingerprint database.

MusicID Stream (Search by Audio Fingerprint) - Similar in concept to MusicID File, this service computes a more robust acoustic fingerprint in order to identify a song by listening to a sample anywhere in the middle.

VideoID DVD, VideoID Blu-Ray, VideoID File - The video counterparts to the audio services for obtaining meta-data about a disc or TV episode. Like music CDs, table of contents data are used to identify DVD and Blu-ray discs, and a video fingerprint is used to identify video files.

There is a good interview with one of the founders of the original Gracenote company at this address:


Gracenote is based in California and was aquired by Sony corporation for
$ US 260 million in June 2008.

Itunes and Winamp

Both the Itunes and Winamp music players utilise Gracenote.

We can download Winamp for free from : http://www.winamp.com/player .

Winamp runs Gracenote, connecting to the Internet, and performs a search whenever we put a CD into the PC. For example, here are the results for an Aerosmith compilation CD that I made for driving in the car.
(Yes I do own all the original CDs, as I quite like Aerosmith).

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Gracenote "Lyrics to Go"

Gracenote "Lyrics to Go" is a web page widget that puts a search engine onto our blog or web page like the one shown below:

Try out a search in the above window by typing in "fire in the sky" and clicking the search button. ("Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple should be found, along with several other songs that also contain these same words).

If we then click on the "Smoke on the Water" song title that is displayed, a new window will open that will contain the full set of lyrics to the song.

Alternatively, we can perform the Lyrics Search at the Gracenote Website:

http://www.gracenote.com/lyricstogo/ .

With Gracenote's Lyrics To Go search widget, we have instant access to the world's largest legal database of lyrics. It's simple to implement onto any webpage and lets users search by Lyric Text, Artist Name, or Track Name.

Lyrics to Go is a great way to identify a song's title and Artist, if we only know a few of the words to a song. This is often the case where we might have heard a great song on the car radio, but can only remember the chorus line.

For example,typing in "get your motor running" soon brings up: "Steppenwolf - Born to be Wild", as well as the lesser known : "Shasta Beast - Eagles of Death Metal", which also contains these exact same words.

If we cannot find the lyrics we need using Gracenote, another great site for song lyrics can be found at: http://www.lyricsmode.com .

Gracenote Music Map

There is also the Gracenote "Music Map" http://www.gracenote.com/map/ that shows what music is currently popular in different countries and states anywhere around the world.

Click a country on the map below, and then scroll to the right to see the current
Top 10 Artists and Albums. (Or use the link above to go to full page view).

For example here are the results of a recent check of the latest Top 10 Artists and Albums in Iceland :

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So where ever you are in the world, Gracenote is there to help guide your musical journey.

Big Passy Wasabi

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