Secret Structured Google Music Search

1 February, 2006

I do a lot of Google-searching for lyrics. I mean, a lot. I spend part of my day hand-screening suspicious looking new MFDZ uploads for piracy (for example, I don't think that cutegirl457 really made the song "50 Cent - In Da Club"). I've found that the best way to suss out more subtle pirated uploads (ones that don't provide the name of the actual artist or the song themselves) is to compose a Google search that includes the word "lyrics" and some of the words that you can pick out from the song (one big obstacle to this strategy is that you've got to find lyrics that aren't such a horribly common cliche as to be useless, which can be a challenge with some of the terribly cheesy music that gets uploaded). These kinds of searches usually return a page full of links to lyrics or fan sites and I can usually hunt down the song from there.

I do this so regularly that I was totally shocked last night when I idly searched for "M83" and the top hit took me off to a whole Google music universe that I never knew existed.

For each artist, they've got links to a list of their tracks, to their homepage, to the results of a Google image search about them, and to a Google group for discussing their work. The goodness goes all the way down to with album pages with track listings, links to reviews, and album art as well as track pages with links to various different download purchase options. (I wonder if Google is an iTunes affiliate and gets paid when people click on these links. If that's true it might make the universe explode.) Their catalog of who shows up seems to be pretty robust, too, insofar as my five seconds of test searches can show: Broken Social Scene was the only thing I tried that didn't work, Madonna, Metallica, The Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Philip Glass, Animal Collective, Juan Martin, and Madvillain were all in the system.

This seems like an incredibly helpful service and kind of an excellent model for ways of aggregating raw search data into meaningfully arranged structured data. Way better than the artificial user-entered system of Google Base. I mean this is all user-created data itself, after all. Just in this model people are able to create the data wherever they want all over the web and then Google can subtly combine it together into a useful service rather than forcing people to come to them to play.

I wonder if they do this for any other types of information. Books? Movies? Government transcripts? It kind of seems like they should. . .

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