Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Friday, February 03, 2006

Dissatisfied with iTunes & MP3 Tagging

I am dissatisfied with my current scheme and taxonomy for cataloging MP3s (vis-a-vis iTunes). I am probably just doing it wrong, or unaware of folksonomic applications to iTunes and MP3 ID tags.

First, the quirks:

* iTunes's default category for Alternative is "Alternative & Punk." Not sure why "& Punk" is part of that equation. It annoys me. I am forced to delete it.

* Same thing with Electronic and "Electronica/Dance." (More on the Alternative and Electronic genres later.)

* When listening to a shared iTunes Library, there needs to be a checkbox to label or otherwise skip purchased music that requires authorization. It's very jarring otherwise.

* Speaking of jarring, can someone please write a program (or tell me about one) that shuffles music with an eye towards matching beats (with an acceptable plus/minus factor)? It's irritating to be listening to KMFDM or something of that ilk, then having it switch to something really downtempo.

There's no reason why this couldn't work across genres; a hard-rock piece might be followed by an uptempo classical piece.

Next, the more fundamental questions:

* Both my Alternative and Electronic categories are so big and inclusive as to be practically useless. So to with Rock; less so with Pop.

With Electronic, it's easier to subdivide, but honestly, I've read Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music -- which I find simultaneously fascinating and tedious -- and while the distinctions between the subgenres are probably useful to some, I am simply not that interested, possibly because I don't have Asperger's Syndrome.

Also, when you're using subgenres, it introduces another problem in that you can get so granular, that it becomes similarly useless.

* Mixed genre albums are similarly troublesome. For example, I will typically label Fountains of Wayne as "Pop," which is usually fine, until you get to "Hung Up on You," which is done country style. Yet genre tagging at the song-level is 8-12 times more annoying than tagging at the album-level.

* Classical music: I have no illusions -- I don't know that much about classical music. I get a lot more value from knowing the composer than I do from the performer or conductor. But in seems that most playlists and MP3 player displays are optimized for artist, album, and track name -- composer and performer don't really fit neatly into that. So what's the best naming convention to accomodate that?


  • For classical music, I advise this:
    1) Put the composer's name under Artist
    2) Put the name of the Orchestra/conductor under "Album Artist" (new to iTunes 7).
    3) Keep genre as classical
    4) put the sub-genre (symphonic, concerto, opera) under the "Grouping" field.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10/13/2006 5:19 PM  

  • I put country of origin as the genre, and let people with Asperger's Syndrome worry about genre pendanticism, letting them validate their personalities that way. For subgenre I'd put the city if I know it.

    For traditional european music I put performer and orchestra/ensemble as part of the album title, as it would be in the Schwann catalog. My naming convention is [Overall title], ["nickname"], [Catalog]: [Movement]. [Tempo]. e.g. Piano Concerto No XXX, "Majestic" K. 503: I. Allegro. (Just made that one up.)

    I have never found a piece I couldn't fit in this manner.

    By Blogger Keef, At 2/25/2009 5:53 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home