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rosso on 01/26/2018 at 06:11AM

New Player in the Works

We have received many bug reports and feature requests concerning the audio players on the FMA site.  This includes the in-page player (play buttons on the webpages) and our outdated flash-based pop-out playlist player.  I am currently developing a brand new html5 pop-out playlist player for the site and am working to remove the last traces of flash from FMA, which includes portions of the image and audio uploaders.  I hope to have all of this completed by Jan. 31 so keep watching here for updates!

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rosso on 07/19/2017 at 02:25PM

Listen/Download counters broken

As some FMAers have noticed, the per-track, per-album, and per-playlist listen and download counts have not been updated for several days.  We are aware of the issue and are trying to correct it.  None of the download or listen data has been lost, but there is a large backlog that our statistics engine is struggling to keep up with.  I will be optimizing the statistics system and returning the counters to normal as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of the week.

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rosso on 06/30/2017 at 04:48PM

API Keys and Android Apps

Hello!  I have a couple of news items!

API KEYS - To better manage our costs and to curtail some abusive behavior, we are no longer allowing users to generate their own API keys.  If you would like an API Key, please visit the API Docs and follow the directions there. If you are interested in using the FMA for Machine Learning, Music Information Retrieval, other research, or if you simply want a way to acquire most of the FMA's collection, please see the dataset prepared by Michaël Defferrard et al.

ANDROID APP - There is an updated version of our official Android app in the Play Store.  If you are a regular user of our Android app, please upgrade as soon as you can.

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rosso on 05/08/2017 at 03:02PM

May 8 Outage Postmortem

Our sincerest apologies for the FMA site outage this morning which lasted from roughly 7:00 EDT until 14:00 EDT.  In the interest of increased transparency about the FMA's operations, I've decided to write this brief entry describing what happened today.  We have a very small staff and I wasn't able to begin rectifying the outage until about 11:30 EDT.

What happened?

Certain types of requests made to the FMA's servers are logged directly in our database.  The size of these logs reached a point where the hard disks on our database servers were filled to their capacity.  When that happened, the database servers (a master and several read-only replicas) became completely unresponsive.  Since the site relies entirely on our database cluster, no pages could be rendered and no api requests could be completed--end users saw a giant error message!

What was the solution?

As soon as I was able to begin working on the problem, I put the maintenance page up and began downloading a snapshot of the logs which filled the database servers' hard disks.  This took much longer than anticipated.  Once I was able to retreive the data, I truncated the tables in question (truncated meaning deleting all data in the tables--a database table is similar to a spreadsheet).  After that, I waited for the read-only replicas of our master database to catch up.  It's not enough to restart the site with only the master database running--the site depends on the read-only replicas as well.  I waited almost an hour for the read-only replicas to catch up, but they didn't.  Due to the nature of our hosting provider, it was faster to delete the read-only replicas and create new ones.  That took another several minutes.  Once the replicas were rebuilt, I was able to restart our front-end servers and restore the site to normal operation.

How will we prevent this from happening again?

Logging directly to a database is definitely bad practice, but it was implemented on FMA many years ago by the original development team.  For now I will keep my eyes on database disk usage and will set alerts to let me know I need to do something before the disks fill up again!  Longer term, I will move all logging activity to a separate service, for example just flat log files.  Unfortunately, FMA is no stranger to outages, but whenever they happen, we try to restore service as quickly as we can and take steps to prevent similar outages from happening subsequently.

Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes!  FMA operates with a tiny staff (2 people) and extremely limited resources.  The best way to help is to Donate!  If you are a developer and have any technical suggestions, please write to me directly at - We greatly value input from our users and the community.  We're dedicated to making the FMA the biggest and best resource for Creative Commons licensed, and other royalty-free music, anywhere on the Internet.

What is this song?

One of my all-time favorite FMA tracks, and an adequate description of how it feels to finally fix a major outage.

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rosso on 09/24/2016 at 04:20AM

Zoom H4n Pro -- WINNER!

Congrats to our winner, Abraham!

Thanks to everyone who entered and who has donated to our fundraiser so far!  Your support means a lot to us!

Thanks to Z'EV, Schemawound, Lee Rosevere, and Carlos Giffoni/Okkyung Lee for the music used in the video! All music is from the FMA and is linked below.

Special thanks to fellow FMA developer Erik Schoster for mixing the music and doing the drawing!

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rosso on 07/09/2016 at 01:38AM

Activation/Notification Email Problem Solved

The FMA is once again sending out new user registration emails and other notification emails.  If you tried to register over the past several days and never received a confirmation email, there is no need to register again.  We will be going over the backlog of registrations over the weekend.  You will receive an email when your account has been activated.  Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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rosso on 06/22/2016 at 04:03PM

The Echo Nest and the future of FMA Search and Discovery

As of May 31st, Spotify chose to shut down the Echo Nest Rosetta Stone, which was a product FMA used for years to power our search engine and similar artist recommendations.  Rosetta Stone allowed FMA to psychoacoustically analyze our own tracks for abstract properties like mood and separate our library from the rest of the Echo Nest universe.

As of right now, the FMA search engine can no longer search by mood or tempo, and artist pages will no longer include a list of similar artists.  However, we are currently working on major upgrades to the search engine, including an expanded set of filters, more sorting options, and a more complete keyword search.  We are also looking into alternative third-party music metadata and acoustic fingerprinting services.

If you have any suggestions for features you'd like to see in the FMA's search engine, please comment below.

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echo nest search
rosso on 04/22/2016 at 04:08AM

This is a test

This is a test.  This is only a test.  This is a test of the Emergency Blogging System.

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rosso on 10/09/2015 at 02:00PM

A [slightly] new look for the FMA!

Hey FMAers! We've been hard at work making improvements to the site, and you may have noticed a few changes.  The most prominent are the header redesign and change in fonts.  The participate menu and profile/log-out links have been moved to a 'user' menu at the top right of the site, just under the search bar.

There have also been many back-end improvements resulting in a much faster FMA experience, SSL encryption where appropriate, a more functional pop-out player, and many bug fixes.  Our goals are to make the FMA easier to read, navigate, and use, to modernize it for mobile browsing, to improve music searching and browsing, and to add more functionality.  This is just the beginning of many great changes to come, so stay tuned for an even better FMA!

Of course we welcome your feedback, so please sound off in the comments below or send an email to

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