Sony buys a UGC pioneer

I’ll never forget the first time I ripped a CD onto a Mac. It was in 1996. I encoded it with some shareware tool. And then I manually entered in all the meta data - artist, album, and tracks. I did it for all of the CDs I could fit on my Mac at the time.

Then one day, i put a CD in my Mac and all of the fields were prepopulated.

The data came from other users just like me. The software was called CDDB. It was  a free service and it became a project that we all helped create. Sure, there were typos and mistakes. But it was built from the community. It was UGC but something more.

Eventually it was sold and renamed to Gracenote. And the new owners took it away from the users and added a licesing model.

And today Sony bought the company. We’ll see what they do with it.

But I’ll never forget how cool that product was in those days. It was like magic.