and Music Ontology… the merging of two great schemas

Google and many other search engines use JSON market to learn what are the major keywords and other important information in your article.  It does not matter if you are talking about a music event being hosted on your online casino site or brick and mortar casino site in Las Vegas. It is still an event, and unless you tell Google that you writing about a music event, you are taking a gamble that Google will or will not figure it out.

So what are the major schemas related to music and which one should I use in the article?  Continue reading and learn more. But remember that you are not restricted to just one schema markup.  Multiple markups can be used in the same article if that is what is appropriate to tell Google what Google needs to know in order to send potential customers to your article, and of course, your event or whatever other music-related item you are informing the potential customer about.

Music Video

A music video file.  A music video is a taped performance of a recorded song, usually accompanied by dancing and visual images interpreting the lyrics.


A video is a recording, reproducing, or broadcasting of moving visual images.  Many videos have music that accompanies the videos, but those are usually referred to as soundtracks, and that is a different markup.

Music Composition

A musical composition means an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of making a new piece of music.  A composition is a piece of music. When a composer writes a piece of music he or she is making a musical composition. This can refer to a piece of music that is vocal or just instrumental.

Music Playlist

A collection of music tracks in a playlist form.   A playlist is a list of video or audio files that can be played back on a media player either sequentially or in a shuffled order. In its most general form, an audio playlist is simply a list of songs, but sometimes the songs can be played in a loop.  This term has specialized meaning in television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, and personal computers.

Since there is no schema for a video playlist, the MusicPlaylist can also be used for video files that are not music video files.

Music Album

A collection of musical tracks.  A playlist is something that anybody can put together.  An album is created by the musical group or the publisher themselves.

Music Release

The music release is a specific release of a music album that is available for sale and distribution.  A performer who releases their music without an established record label is called a “self-release”.

Music Recording

A music recording (track) is usually a single song.  The specification refers to this as a “Track”. A MusicRecording or a Track can be either by itself or it can be contained within a PlayList or an Album.

Sheet Music

Sheet Music is printed music.  It is not the performance or the recording of the music.  Sheet music can either stand by itself as its own item. Or it can be one of the items in a music course (music class) — class supply list.

Music Event

A Music event is an event where music is played.  This can either be an online event or it can be an event in a brick and mortar location.

Music Store

A music store sells musical instruments, music, books related to music, videos, and sometimes even sells music lessons.

If you look at the details of a music store, it is not just the physical location of the store.  The data record can also specify events (are you showing off instruments and lessons for the beginning of the school year), departments (who to contact if you are interested in music lessons for your child vs. wanting an awesome playlist for your office party), “knowsAbout” field (what is your store’s area of expertise), and a bunch of other information that can help a potential customer to decide to contact your business rather than the business on the other side of town.

Music Group

In music, a band is a group of people (usually musicians) that get together to sing songs, or perform music.  There are different kinds of bands that use different groups of instruments.

I am not an expert in music, but I am going to make a logical guess that the data field “genre” is where you would put if your music is one of the following:

  1. Rock Band – 4 to 6 people, usually playing guitars and drums with a lead singer

  2. Brass Band – 20 to 30 people with brass instruments

  3. Concert Band – 20 to 60 people with woodwind instruments

  4. Marching Band – march in parades or during sports games like football or basketball

  5. Folk Band – traditional styles of music from around the world

Music Venue

A music venue is any location of a music performance.  In the music industry, it is common to refer to concert sites as venues, especially among touring acts.

music By

The composer of a soundtrack.  MusicBy is a data field that is contained in other objects, but music is not the main item.  Examples of these are the following:

  1. Clip

  2. Episode

  3. Movie

  4. Movie Series

  5. Radio Series

  6. TV Series

  7. Video Game

  8. Video Game Series

  9. Video Object

Other music-related Schemas on

This rest of the music-related schemas on were taken over by the music industry itself, and are published on the Music Ontology website.

In order to take advantage of the Music Ontology schema, you will have to add a bit extra to your code in order to tell the search engine where to find the official specification:

“@id”: “”,
“@type”: “mo:Track”,
“dc:title”: “Turnover”,
“foaf:maker”: {
“@id”: “”,
“@type”: “mo:MusicGroup”,
“foaf:name”: “Fugazi”

The main thing to notice is the “mo:” before the type description.  This indicates that this specific data field is part of the “Music Ontology” specification, and it is not part of the general specification.  Any time that you use a specification that is not part of the main specification, the “namespace” (code before the : (colon) in the type) needs to be included.



An activity period, defining when an artist was musically active.



An analog signal.  An analog system stores the data in a continuous way.  Cassette tapes are one example of an analog recording system.



An arrangement event. Takes as agent the arranger, and produces a score (informational object, not the actually published score).



An audio file, which may be available on a local file system or through http, ftp, etc. (the internet)



Compact Disc is used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.



A composition event. Takes as agent the composer himself. It produces a MusicalWork, or a MusicalExpression (when the initial “product” is a score, for example), or both…



Organization or group of individuals and/or other organizations involved in the music market.



Digital Audio Tape used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  This type is used to distinguish between an analog tape vs a digital tape. The quality of a digital audio tape is similar to that of a compact disk.  It was developed in the 1980s to replace compact disks.



Digital Compact Cassette used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  This was a competitor of the DAT format, but neither format could replace the compact cassette.



DVD-Audio used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  The DVDA is an audio format similar to the CD. This format never became popular due to the cost and the rarity of players that could read this format.



A digital signal.  Many computer systems use digital signals to replace signals that were traditionally represented as analog signals.



Something available on the E-Donkey peer-2-peer filesharing network. This schema is used by eDonkey2000 file sharing program.  On September 28, 2005, eDonkey was discontinued.

Note: This schema is considered unstable, and I am not sure if it is actually used in the industry.  In 2005, the music industry was actively fighting against publishing music online. But now, 10 years later, the music industry (or the movie industry) seems to be adapting the philosophy of “if you can’t beat them, join them.”



A festival – musical/artistic event lasting several days, like Glastonbury, Rock Am Ring… A festival has space (physical location) and time (when the event took place).  A festival can have sub-events when there are several performers at a festival.



An expressive style of music. Any taxonomy can be plug-in here. You can either define a genre by yourself, like this: :mygenre a mo:Genre; dc:title “electro rock”. Or you can refer to a DBPedia genre (such as, allowing semantic web clients to access easily really detailed structured information about the genre you are referring to.



Any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sound. Any taxonomy can be used to subsume this concept. The default one is one extracted by Ivan Herman from the Musicbrainz instrument taxonomy, conforming to SKOS. This concept holds a seeAlso link field towards this taxonomy.



Instrumentation deals with the techniques of writing music for a specific instrument, including the limitations of the instrument, playing techniques and idiomatic handling of the instrument.



Trade name of a company that produces musical works or expressions of musical works.



Libretto.  The libretto is the text (the words) which are set to music.  An example of this is an opera, where an opera is a song, but it tells a story.  A musical is another example of a libretto.



Lyrics.  Lyrics are the words to a song.  Although both lyrics and libretto are the text (the words) to a song, a libretto tells a story, while the lyrics are just words that are sung (or raped).  It is more like poetry.



Mini Disc used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  A mini disk is a small magneto optial disk. It was developed to be a replacement to audio cassettes.  The compression of a mini-disk is similar to the compression used in an mp3 file. MiniDisks were in development between 1992 – 2013.



Magnetic analog tape used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  Magnetic tapes were used during the 1970s and 1980s. Their main flaw was that they suffered from deterioration over time.



A means or instrumentality for storing or communicating musical manifestation.



A membership event, where one or several people belongs to a group during a particular time period.



A movement is a self-contained part of a musical work. While individual or selected movements from a composition are sometimes performed separately, a performance of the complete work requires all the movements to be performed in succession. Often a composer attempts to interrelate the movements thematically, or sometimes in more subtle ways, in order that the individual movements exert a cumulative effect. In some forms, composers sometimes link the movements or ask for them to be played without a pause between them.



A person or a group of people (or a computer 🙂 ), whose musical creative work shows sensitivity and imagination



Group of musicians, or musical ensemble, usually popular or folk, playing parts of or improvising off of a musical arrangement.



A musical expression is the art of playing or singing with a personal response to the music.  You can have two different artists playing or singing the same piece of music, but each artist will produce a final result that is slightly different.  That is Musical Expression.

The Music Ontology defines the following sub-concepts of a MusicalExpression, which should be used instead of MusicalExpression itself: Score (the result of an arrangement), Sound (produced during a performance), Signal.



A single exemplar of musical expression. For example, it could be a single exemplar of a CD. This is normally a single object (a CD) possessed by somebody.

In terms of intellectual content and physical form, an item exemplifying a manifestation is normally the same as the manifestation itself. However, variations may occur from one item to another, even when the items exemplify the same manifestation, where those variations are the result of actions external to the intent of the producer of the manifestation (e.g., damage occurring after the item was produced, binding performed by a library, etc.).



This entity is related to the edition/production/publication of a musical expression (musical manifestation are closely related with the music industry (their terms, concepts, definitions, methods (production, publication, etc.), etc.)

The entity defined as manifestation encompasses a wide range of materials, including manuscripts, books, periodicals, maps, posters, sound recordings, films, video recordings, CD-ROMs, multimedia kits, etc. As an entity, manifestation represents all the physical objects that bear the same characteristics, with respect to both intellectual content and physical form.

Defining manifestation as an entity also enables us to draw relationships between specific manifestations of a work. We can use the relationships between manifestations to identify, for example, the specific publication that was used to create a microreproduction.



Distinct intellectual or artistic musical creation. A musical work is an abstract entity; there is no single material object one can point to as the work. We recognize the work through individual realizations or expressions of the work, but the work itself exists only in the commonality of content between and among the various expressions of the work.

When we speak of Homer’s Iliad as “a work”, our point of reference is not a particular recitation or text of the work, but the intellectual creation that lies behind all the various expressions of the work.



Orchestration includes, in addition to instrumentation, the handling of groups of instruments and their balance and interaction.



A performance event. It might include agents, performers, engineers, conductors, or even the listeners. It might include as factors a score, a musical work, or musical instruments. Or might even be “just a sound”, for example, “white noise”, the sound the vacuum cleaner.



A published libretto.  As we said about, libretto is the words of a song that tell a story.



Published lyrics, as a book or as a text file, for example.  As we said above, lyrics are the words of a song that do not tell a story.  The words can be more classified as poetry.



A published score (a subclass of MusicalManifestation)



A published record (manifestation in which the first aim is to render the product of a recording).  This is not referring to a vinyl record.



A recording event. Takes a sound as a factor to produce a signal (analog or digital). The location of such events (if any) is the actual location of the corresponding microphone or the “recording device”.



A set of performances/recordings/mastering events. This event can be decomposed in its constituent events using the event:sub_event



A specific release, with barcode, box, liner notes, cover art, and a number of records



A release event, in a particular place (e.g. a country) at a particular time. Other factors of this event might include cover art, liner notes, box, etc. or a release grouping all these.



Musical manifestation release status.



Release type of a particular manifestation, such as “album” or “interview”.



Super Audio Compact Disc used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  This a read only optical disk that was used for audio storage. The technology existed between 2002 – 2007.



Here, we are dealing with the informational object (the MusicalExpression), not the actual “published” score. This may be, for example, the product of an arrangement process.



A show – a musical event lasting several days, in a particular venue.



A subclass of MusicalExpression, representing a signal, for example, a master signal produced by a performance and a recording.



A musical expression representing a group of signals, for example, a set of masters resulting from a whole recording/mastering session.



Single person whose musical creative work shows sensitivity and imagination.



A subclass of MusicalExpression, representing a sound. The realization of a musical work during a musical performance.



Transmission over a network (internet) used as a medium to broadcast a musical manifestation.



Something available on the BitTorrent peer-2-peer filesharing network



A track on a particular record.  This could be a single song, or it could be a chapter in a book.



Transcription event.  This is different than the libretto or the lyrics of a song because it also includes talking that may have occurred during a live performance before and/or after the song was sung or the music was performed.



Vinyl used as a medium to record a musical manifestation.  Vinyl records are an analog storage medium. The advantage of vinyl records over other storage mediums is that if they are taken care of properly, vinyl records can last for centuries.  That is why you see every Christmas record players being sold.


The work that has done to create a standard that is detailed enough and simple enough to use that websites are actually using it is fantastic.  The fact that Google (and other search engines) are recognizing and processing the data is even better.

But as we can see with the Music Industry, that however great the people are who work at and Google, they are definitely NOT musicians.  Only an expert in music can truly understand what is the best way to describe music.

The fact that Music Ontology has taken over the development of the Schemas in this area to a level that both and the search engines recognize that Music Ontology is the standard to use is even better.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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