Paul's point about ISRC codes is spot-on. Plus, I'm not sure what Wired is advocating. Hopefully not another group cluster-f like Gracenote or cddb. These databases were cheap to create but are full of errors and are generally of low use to anyone wanting uniform naming, punctuation, etc in his music library. Observations based on my experiences bringing a large CD collection into Catraxx software, which uses Gracenote: 1. the whole format of the Gracenote and Catraxx database was not a great fit for classical music. So how data was entered by the army of volunteers (who obviously have few or no paid editors) was almost at random. Similar works on the same label by the same orchestra and conductor would have very different field structures. All of this, of course, needed to be cleaned up by hand (line edited), which very much defeats the purpose of an "automated" database. 2. for jazz and rock, the database format is more comfortable, since these are the genres around which it was created. But, the data entry in Gracenote is so poor and non-uniform that almost every CD inserted required some level of line-editing. Only the most mainstream/popular/heavy-selling titles had database entries of good quality, I'm guessing because many people copy-edited and re-submitted the entry until it was correct. 3. such conventions as capitalization and punctuation are out the Wild West of anything goes with Gracenote. You insert a CD and you takes your chances. It's telling that the first thing that Catraxx does after a CD is inserted is go to the line-editing interface. Ironically, CD Text was available from the beginning, I think. If not, soon after CD's hit the mass market. Yet, almost no record companies made use of the technology. These traditionally control-obsessed organizations missed an opportunity to have absolute control of their metadata. They should have standardized on conventions like capitalization and punctuation and standardized how they were going to fit classical works into a data-field system optimized for rock and pop works (ie disc artist, disc title, song title, song composer, etc). Instead, almost no major labels or artists utilized CD Text and thus the need for online databases that match CD technical parameters to volunteer-entered data. The other chance the record companies had to make this right would have been funding the database creation so they could control the quality of the data-entry, but in those days, to them anything online was enemy and potential loss of revenue. As in all things involving data and facts, the quality of gracenote and cddb is exactly akin to the cost of collecting the data (ie low in both cases). -- Tom Fine ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul Turney, Sirensound Digital UK" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:10 PM Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Wired on the need for a single comprehensive music database ISRC CODES ARE FOR THE FORMAL IDENTIFICATION OF THE ARTIST, THE NAME OF THE WORK ETC. NOT MEANT TO EXIXT IN A CATALOGUING TERM. USED FOR ARTIST ROYALTY PAYMENTS AND FOR COLLABORATORS ON THE MUSIC. HOPE THIS CLEARS THIS POINT UP FOR THE LIST. THE NUMBERS ARE OBTAINED FROM PPL AND ARE SEQUENTIAL BASED ON YOUR ACCOUNT. PAUL Paul Turney CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This email message (including any attachments) is for the sole use of the intended recipient and may contain confidential and privileged information Sirensound Digital UK Somerford House 22 Somerford Road Cirencester ++44 (0) 1285 642289 Sirensound Digital UK -----Original Message----- From: Michael Biel [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 07:28 PM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Wired on the need for a single comprehensive music database By reinventing the wheel I mean that the geeks at Wired seem to thinkthat there have never been any listings of recordings before on-linemusic services, and that they probably have never heard the worddiscography or have ever seen one. The line about making a list ofsongs and using a "unique identifier" is what really set me off. "Musicservices already apply their own unique identifiers to songs in theircatalogs" and that these geeks think that unifying these numbers is THEway to go, is frightening. The records already have their own uniqueidentifiers -- they are the matrix numbers and the company catalognumbers, not numbers made up by the music services. I also doubt thatthey realize that there were recordings before CDs. I also wonder ifthey know that before computers there were things known as books. Andwhile most of the great discographies of the world are not on databasesthat can be seen on computer screens, I sometimes find it much easier todo research with eight or ten discographies spread out open on a tablethen having to click from window to window to window on a computerscreen. I agree that Rigler-Deutsch is a rats nets, because although mysignature is on the title page of the final report (I just happened tobe ARSC president when it was completed -- I didn't have anythingsubstantial to do with compiling it) I couldn't convince the librariansof the AAA who controlled the RDRI, that record collectors withoutlibrary science degrees might be capable of cleaning up the filescreated by the minimally trained data entry personnel. I had proposeddistributing the label films to expert collectors who could clean up thecomputer entries, but they didn't think that people who have spent theirentire lives with records could do things like "attempt a controlledvocabulary of songs, artists" etc. Yet that is what collectors havedone for more years than there have been library catalogs of records. Ihad a group of experienced collectors just salivating at the thought ofgetting a couple of films for a year or so and correcting the database-- for free, I might add -- but there was an aversion among theprofessionals to let the amateurs correct their work. The wheel was already invented by Brian Rust, Tom Lord, John Bruninx,Charles Delauney, Michel Ruppli, Frank Andrews, Pekka Gronow, TimBrooks, Ross Laird, Julian Morton Moses, Carl Kendzioria, Walt Allen,George Blacker, Malcolm Rockwell, Allen Koenigsburg, Steve Barr, RobertDixon, John Godrich, Tony Russel, Bill Moran, Ted Fagen, John Bolig,Reiner Lotz, and yes, Dick Spotswood among many, many others. And Imight add that most of these names are people who were from thecollectors community. Tom Lord's Jazz Discography is available on lineor CD-Rom, and Rockwell's and some of Ruppli's are on CD-Rom. There areall sorts of on-line discography projects including the Victor Project,Brian, JazzDiscography.com, national discography projects in Sweden andseveral other countries, and many others that slip my mind right now. (Steve Barr can probably name them all.) There had been an ARSC computerized project about 10 years ago that fellthrough, utilizing a program which made data entry unified and was goingto be based on existing discographies like those mentioned above. It iswhen "outsiders" like the Wired geeks recommend starting over with thesources being the on-line music service lists without knowing what hasalready been compiled by experts, that is most problematic. Mike Biel [log in to unmask] -------- Original Message --------From: Joel Bresler Hi, Mike, could you please amplify a bit on your answer? I thought theWired article was thought provoking. WorldCat, perhaps the largest repository of discographic information, isnot a database. It grows willy nilly, and there is no attempt at acontrolled vocabulary of songs, artists, and so forth. No tying togetherof 78s with their re-release on LP, CD, etc. The Rigler-Deutsch databaseis a worthy try, but the contents are a rats nest. Dick Spottswood'swonderful EMOR is in print form only, and is not a database per se. If they are talking about reinventing the wheel, please point us to thewheel!!Thanks,JoelJoel Bresler, Publisherwww.sephardicmusic.org-----Original Message-----From: Michael BielReinventing the wheel. What is needed is a knowledge of DISCOGRAPHYamong these computer geeks who think that nothing has happened outsidetheir little world.Mike Biel [log in to unmask] Original Message --------From: "Schooley, John" http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/12/4-ways-one-big-database-would-help-music-fans-industry/4 Ways One Big Database Would Help Music Fans, Industry"The solution to this and other problems dogging the music industrycould be forehead-slappingly simple: one big, free, public databasewith, at the very least, song titles in one column and uniqueidentifiers in another. When online and mobile music services buildtheir own content databases out of the labels' catalogs, they would haveincentives to use the same numbers to identify each song, for thereasons laid out below. Music services already apply their own uniqueidentifiers to songs in their catalogs, so the use of numbers is not theissue - they just need to be the same numbers.This database would have to be free, readily available and totallytransparent, visible to music fans and industry people alike, becausethe barrier to entry for startups to use the system would have to bezero. Open source software making use of the data set, available on thesame website, might encourage services to use the numbers."