Why Open Source Rocks (and the music industry does not)

August 9, 2009

If you ever looked for song lyrics online, you know how most lyrics sites are. Plenty of ads, popups, silly scrolling flash gadgets, bad punctuation, and no easy way to send in corrections. Why not apply to lyrics the same community-driven editing model that has made Wikipedia so successful?

LyricWiki.org has done exactly that, and more. They have provided an API, making it easy for media players to query the database and fetch the lyrics for a specific song. To get an idea of this project’s success, check out these stats. At the time of this writing, LyricWiki is the fifth largest MediaWiki in existence, and the largest wiki that is not a Wikipedia or Wiktionary. What an inspiring example of a community built around the ideals of improving content and making information available. What could go wrong?

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Updates

January 10, 2009
  • I now have a flickr account. I’m particularly proud of this photo.
    smallp1000498
  • The Satyrian lyrics have been removed. Better edited versions are available on darklyrics. Even uncredited, it still feels good that they originated from me
  • The quotes section has been removed. There are just too many good ones and my preferences change too often. Of those that were on that page, here are the ones that I still like:
    Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. (Lao Tzu)
    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. (attributed to Albert Einstein)
    Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. (J. R. R. Tolkien)
    Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better. (Albert Camus)
    Dreams permit each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. (William Dement)
    There is no spoon. (The Matrix)
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (Equilibrium) (actually W. B. Yeats)
    I believe if there’s any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me, but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed, but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt. (Before Sunrise)