Dewey Music: making public domain music friendlier

Dean Putney is Boing Boing's developer and a student at Carnegie Mellon University. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a large server of ancient and evil vintage.

Two years ago during a summer internship at a business with filtered Internet access, I turned to to have some music to listen to at work. Finally having some tunes was great, but it was hard to find good music in the huge Live Music Archive collection. After considerable thought, I began a project much bigger than I could handle: making's public domain music easy to listen to.

Last year I announced the launch of my pet project. Today, I'm proud to share with you the next stage of the site's development.

I was very fortunate to be in a supportive department at my university that helped me significantly throughout this project. I became a teaching assistant for a course on web application development and was able to use Dewey Music as a case study. Three teams developed projects based off of an API I wrote to access's database and I chose one of their final products to replace my original code.

Some of the added features in the new version are improved playlist functionality, artist recommendations, and ratings for albums. The database of music is bigger than ever, expanding into the non-live music sections of We've also added a daily featured album and RSS feed to help you find even more specific suggestions.

The six students who worked with me on this project really reached beyond the requirements of the assignment. I hope that their work will encourage you to listen to and share more public domain music, and maybe to upload music you create for others to do the same.

Please enjoy Dewey Music.

Thanks very much to Joe Burgess, Pat Conaboy, Vivek Pai, Molly Samuels, Hayden Tang and Kenny Yeh for their work on Dewey's redesign. Learning with you has been a pleasure.