ListenBrainz as a music and playlist sharing tool

I discovered ListenBrainz the other day while looking for something I’d like to exist that has a bit of a different focus. I’ll outline the thing I have in mind, would love to know to what extent its features are already there, would be good additions, can be found in other services, etc.

(I’ve been playing with ListenBrainz to evaluate this myself the past day or two, but now it’s started timing out on me so I have time to write this :p)

What I’m envisioning is a platform-agnostic way to share links to music that’s almost as convenient as a direct spotify/youtube/… link for the users of those services. I.e., when I’m on reddit and want to share a link to a particular song, or I want to send an album I just discovered on apple music to a friend via whatsapp, but they might use spotify. is almost that link I’d like to share, except I don’t want to send them to this whole big other platform (ListenBrainz), I’d prefer this to be something that gets out of the way. I.e., a simple UI that shows artist and title and provides prominent links to play on spotify, youtube. It could be expanded to a fuller listenbrainz like UI, allow logging in and configuring the behaviour (e.g. “always just redirect to spotify”). It’s fine to get a better integration by the user linking a spotify account to this service, but it shouldn’t be a requirement to play the song there.

Ideally these links would provide a social preview thingy that’s as direct as what you currently get out of a youtube or spotify link.

Besides sharing links to individual recordings, it’d be neat to also be able to share releases and playlists this way, though I imagine mapping playlists between services might be a bit more involved.

For the sharer, what I’d like is a simple form that takes a service-specific sharing URL and “universalizes” it. I.e., I find a track in the spotify app and want to share it with a friend. Now instead of sending my friend the direct spotify link, I go to, paste that link, and it gives me the universalized link I was talking about above. (Could even set things up so that is enough.)

My somewhat vague impression is that this is all almost there, it’s just not the focus of listenbrainz-the-product, because that’s more viewed as a replacement.

What do you think?


I have thought about something like this a lot recently, you have motivated me to make a ticket and some mockups!

What I’ve mocked up is basically a clone of sites like link.tree, and maybe not exactly what you want, but this is something I think would do very well.

I have just mocked it up for artists, but pages for playlists, releases etc could be added later.


Mockup (also in ticket)

This is much less complicated (knock on wood) than updating existing LB and MB pages, and could be something that a community member or a dev looking for a project could do from scratch, or even independently.



I like this idea! It is an extension of our overall roadmap for the ListenBrainz project. LB already has the means to make playlists that are, at least what I call them, “global”, meaning that they contain MusicBrainz IDs and not actual references to files or URLs. The JSPF playlist file format is excellent for this purpose, which is why we adopted this format for playlist exchange.

If you consider sharing a single track simply as a one-track playlist then your use case is covered in what I am about to describe… The global playlists need to be “resolved” to local content (such as a file on a user’s machine) or to another music service (e.g spotify, apple music, etc). This resolution process is where this whole concept gets very very tricky.

In order to resolve a playlist you need to know about the whole catalog that you are resolving into. And if you consider that music services have music that is being added and removed from the service each day and that we’re talking about millions upon millions of tracks, this becomes a tough target to hit.

We’ve been collecting metadata for Spotify and for Apple Music so far. We can move playlists between Spotify and LB, and will soon be able to do the same for Apple Music. Adding more services is a large project that can take months to accomplish, so full coverage of all services is a lofty goal.

I’ve been doing a lot of work on resolving playlists to local content, which is also hard, but more doable. So, in theory is someone from Spotify wanted to share a playlist with someone who has a personal music collection (or vice versa), we’re nearly there. For other services, we’ll have a lot more work to do, especially given that these services dislike that someone draws attention away from their platform.

Tl;dr: We are working on building the data to support what you wish to do, but we’re not there yet.


I really love the idea and I’m incredibly excited by what @rob is talking about.

It’s something I tried to explore a bit last spring/summer and I found it profoundly difficult from a user/client side. I figured it could be as simple as composing a JSPF that references MBIDs and then you could listen in a browser through a mix of Bandcamp, YouTube, SoundCloud, and whatever streaming service you’re signed into, but I was pretty shocked to find out that streaming services don’t want to stream in browser, SoundCloud has basically shut off API access, YouTube doesn’t offer any kind of music identifier, and Bandcamp’s API has only ever been for orders and financial data…

Basically, what I’m trying to say here, is it’s really awesome that the LB team is making strides on getting a better idea of what metadata is behind these things. It honestly is pretty weird to me that an interoperable, web-enabled playlist standard, much les software, does not exist. It’s a nice does of optimism to hear that could change.

One funny thing here: I was spurred to explore this by some conversations with undergrad DJs at the radio station at the university where I work. One of them mentioned that since it’s so hard to make playlists out of tracks on all the different platforms, a bunch of them have just turned to burning CDs.