Posts Tagged tags


A few years back I created a data set of social tags from RJ at graciously gave permission for me to distribute the dataset for research use.  I hosted the dataset on the media server at Sun Labs. However, with the Oracle acquisition, the media server is no longer serving up the data, so I thought I would post the data elsewhere.

The dataset is now available for download here: Lastfm-ArtistTags2007

Here are the details as told in the README file:

The LastFM-ArtistTags2007 Data set
Version 1.0
June 2008

What is this?

    This is a set of artist tag data collected from using
    the Audioscrobbler webservice during the spring of 2007.

    The data consists of the raw tag counts for the 100 most
    frequently occuring tags that listeners have applied
    to over 20,000 artists.

    An undocumented (and deprecated) option of the audioscrobbler
    web service was used to bypass the normalization of tag
    counts.  This data set provides raw tag counts.

Data Format:

  The data is formatted one entry per line as follows:



    11eabe0c-2638-4808-92f9-1dbd9c453429<sep>Deerhoof<sep>art punk<sep>21
    11eabe0c-2638-4808-92f9-1dbd9c453429<sep>Deerhoof<sep>art rock<sep>18

Data Statistics:

    Total Lines:      952810
    Unique Artists:    20907
    Unique Tags:      100784
    Total Tags:      7178442


    Some minor filtering has been applied to the tag data. will
    report tag with counts of zero or less on occasion. These tags have
    been removed.

    Artists with no tags have not been included in this data set.
    Of the nearly quarter million artists that were inspected, 20,907
    artists had 1 or more tags.


    ArtistTags.dat  - the tag data
    README.txt      - this file
    artists.txt     - artists ordered by tag count
    tags.txt        - tags ordered by tag count


    The data in LastFM-ArtistTags2007 is distributed with permission of  The data is made available for non-commercial use only under
    the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike UK License.
    Those interested in using the data or web services in a commercial
    context should contact partners at last dot fm. For more information


    Thanks to for providing the access to this tag data via their
    web services


    This data was collected, filtered and by Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest. Send
    questions or comments to



1 Comment

Roundtrip tagging

Over the last 5 years, has built an incredible database of social tags around music.  They have collected millions of short text descriptions of artists, albums and tracks.  These tags are a great way to explore for new music, and exploits these tags on their site to great effect.  But what if you want to use the tags to help you play music from your own collection?  Until now you were out of luck – you had to resort to the iTunes style of exploring your personal music collection – resulting in lots of playlists from artists in proper alphabetical order but with no musical cohesiveness.  Now, has just released a prototype, called Boffin  that allows you to use the great body of social tags to play music in your own collection.  The program is called Boffin – I took it for  a quick spin and I really like it.

When you run Boffin for the first time, it enrolls your music collection.  For me, with  about 10K tracks, this took less than 5 minutes. During this time, Boffin is ‘phoning home’ to to get the tags that have been applied to your artists and tracks.  I call this Round Trip Tagging – we give some tags to when we tag music, and they give lots of tags back to us to let us label our own collection.  Once enrolled, Boffin gives you a tag cloud interface to your music collection. Select a few tags, hit the play button and you are listening to your own music.  Here’s what my Boffin tag cloud looks like:


Of course, the listening experience is going to be good, because I’m listening to my own music and, presumably, I like that music already.

For a prototype application, Boffin is really well polished (at least the mac version is).  While enrolling my music collection, Boffin shows images of all the artists in my collection that it is finding.  I was rather amazed at how fast they were able to enroll my collection (I guess Boffin isn’t subject to the rate limits that users of the developer API are subjected to).  I did find a few times that I thought Boffin had hung up, because I couldn’t select tags anymore, but it turns out that Boffin disables tag selection when it is actually playing music. Once I hit the stop button, I could select tags with no worries.  Boffin will even make it easy to generate the popular wordle tag cloud of my personal collection:


Good job to the folks at, Boffin is pretty neat!

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