One of my favorite ways to discover music is through those weird split EPs and collaborations that on the surface make no sense. Artists on the same album from different genres or splits that have one artist I am familiar with and one I’m not. Projects like this split between New York based synth-pop project Porches and Tuareg guitar virtuoso Mdou Moctar. Beautiful crooning and abstract electronic layers on one side, and joyous clapping and intricate, moving guitar melodies on the other. It’s a glimpse into the collaborative network of artists and labels that create my favorite music.

With that in mind, I made a Shiny app that lets you find musical collaborations (and some of those hidden gem splits) through the great MusicBrainz database. MusicBrainz is an online and free encyclopedia of music data, maintained entirely by its open community. It also has a web service, so you can access data from it programmatically. To create the app, I primarily used the httr package for connecting to the web service, the ratelimitr package for maintaining rate-limited requests for data, and some of the usual tidyverse packages for cleaning and organizing data. In the app, you can also open a search for the project you want to listen to, or click on a collaborator in your current search and jump down a new rabbit hole.

Using the MusicBrainz Collaborationz app

I primarily based my code off of another repository for connecting to the MusicBrainz web service. In the future, this tidy API wrapper looks really promising.

All code for this project can be found here.