Aggravating Mistagging ctnd

edited September 2010 in General
I know that as a topic the incorrect tagging on eMusic regarding genres is pretty played out but good gravy I just spent an hour changing genre in iTunes for everything that popped up under "reggae" and "hip-hop."

I had 1000 items listen under reggae but when I was done I have 36 tracks that can reasonably be called reggae

-- Darker than Jamestown: Soul From Jamdown (on eMusic but I got it back when I had a sneaky US based account and I can't see it to link to it anymore)
-- Run Rudolph Run/Pressure Drop -- Toots and the Maytals with Keith Richard
-- Grooving Out of Life -- Hopetoun Lewis
-- Some Matisyahu EP I got for free somewhere

Here's a sampling of what was NOT, in fact, Reggae

Huun Huur Tu which is Tuvan throat singing
Nani Bregvadze who was a 50s Russian diva
Everything I have ever bought on Soundway, Nacional and Afrodisiac labels
Terrance Simien which is Cajun
Mahmoud Fadl who does Egyptian/Nubian music
Ray Barretto who is Latin/Jazz
Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy who are FREAKING TOMMY MAKEM AND LIAM CLANCY
Golem! which is Eastern European klezmer
Explore the Music of China which is a sampling of all the non-reggae music of China

and on and on and on.

I know that a lot of these things can be attributable to labels and not eMusic but it seems so widespread that I feel suspicious about that. I mean Si Para Usted Vol 2 was under Reggae and it was put out by Waxing Deep, totally geeky lifelong crate diggers who aren't going to sloppily press "label all" and only have 2 albums to worry about anyway. Or is it the aggregators? Is IODA etc the bad guys here?

Anyhoo -- aggravating. Just wanted a vent.


  • I'm with you on your rant, I nearly always retag when importing into iTunes. I'd blame the aggregators though. I could be wrong but I _think_ that mostly they are using ID3v1 or at the very least the list from it.
  • The Reggae thing is amusing. Also interested to learn that this awesome EWF collection was Hip-Hop, did not know that.
  • I'd be interested to know the specific explanation for the 'reggae' mistag. elwood may be right that it's some id3v1 confusion, but I don't know exactly how it would happen. I don't think that it's limited to just one aggregator, but I'm not sure. Anyone know offhand of 'reggae' mistags from two aggregators? I also suspect a bad emusic ingest process. Not really excusable either way.
  • I'd put money on it being an eMusic thing. It doesn't seem to matter who the label is. See also the labeling of almost any black artist as hip-hop, like Doofy's example.
  • This is the nearest I could find to a thread where this fits. I am curious: has anyone perfected any methods for tagging jazz tracks? As a new jazz collector, it seems to me that the artist/album/album artist fields are inadequate when it comes to all the various combinations of musicians. So for instance, let's say I have two John Abercrombie albums and one of them has Peter Erskine on it and one has Marc Johnson on it. And suppose I am also then interested in Marc Johnson. It follows that maybe one day I will want to play things with Abercrombie on them and another day some with Johnson on them (not necessariyl all with Abercrombie) and maybe yet another day some with Erskine on them (etc). My initial workaround is to put the other musicians in the comment field, but I'm not entirely satisfied with that.

    There's a bunch of other extra information compared to other genres - is it the Rudy Van Gelder Edition? Is it John Abercrombie or the John Abercrombie Trio or the John Abercrombie Quartet? (it kind of annoys me on the ipod touch when I end up with lots of different artist entries for, say, Miles Davis or Oscar Peterson with each of their combinations of other musicians; but for library information purposes it's good to have the information).

    And then there's label information - one of the things I have most often wished for is a label tag that's sortable on the ipod... but that's just crazy dreaming.

    Anyway, anyone got any better systems that dumping everything in the comment field and searching on that field later? (I ask because I already do some cannibalizing of redundant tag fields for other sorting purposes, but that took some thinking through, so wondering if anyone has worked out something elegant).
  • I usually drop the trio/quartet/quintet/etc. because most of the groups aren't permanent associations, and if they are, they may still have shifting lineups. For example, Monk's Music was recorded by the Thelonious Monk Septet, a group that had no existence outside the album. The leader is in album artist and artist. If I have time, other musicians go into artist, separated by semi-colons.

    If a label is important enough to me (like Topic or Alia Vox), I usually make a playlist.
  • Oddly enough, I was planning on starting a thread about tagging as I was curious about how other people handled certain things.

    For jazz (and really for any genre) I stick with whatever the standard/accepted/listed artist is for the artist field. The album artist field is usually the same, unless it's a split or compilation. And yes, this means that I have entries for Dave Holland, Dave Holland Quartet, Dave Holland Quintet, Dave Holland Octet and even David Holland Quartet (dammit, why did they use David on that one!). Now I have started using the Performer field to list all of the major players involved in jazz pieces (separated by semi-colons). That way when I search for someone, unless I explicitly limit it to the artist field, all albums he or she played on will come up. ECM in particular makes this info easy to get via their website.

    As for labels, there is a Publisher field and I use it as well as I can. Somethings get really confusing, but with most of the jazz it's usually pretty straightforward (and I typically just list the original label).

    None of this is 100% complete, but I'm working on it. I really like being able to create playlists based on just about any criteria I can think of (what albums involving Abercrombie did I download from Guvera in the last 2 months...)
  • edited February 2013
    My initial workaround is to put the other musicians in the comment field, but I'm not entirely satisfied with that.
    This is what I do. I have a lot of playlists following individual players through their careers. I particularly like my Ron Carter playlist - ~300 songs from 1960 to now!

    I generally follow BT's approach in disregarding trio, quartet, etc, but with exceptions. (Eg, recent Dave Holland lineups, in which he seems to take the trouble to distinguish.) Sometimes I just follow lastfm, which most reliably follows Amazon/iTunes. Lately I've also been adding jazz labels in the Grouping field, which is also fun for playlists.

    ETA - Was writing this even as Thom was posting about the "Dave Holland Problem"!
  • iTunes (at least) does offer a solution of sorts to the Trio/Quartet/Octet/etc issue, and that's the "Album Artist" field. iTunes will group by album artist, so you can have Artist='Dave Holland Quintet' but Album Artist='Dave Holland'.

    Gp, for personnel issues, for now you're stuck with the comment field if you want to go that way. (Too much trouble for me do do that.)

    Much of these kinds of things would go away if iTunes (or whatever library software you use) would adopt free tagging (via database). Then just throw on whatever tags are convenient, and look up the same free way. I'm perpetually disappointed that iTunes hasn't added tagging, but maybe someday. But if implemented, most of these issues could be accommodated.
  • @Doofy - What is Dave's obsession with group names?

    @karg - It doesn't even have to be through a database. The ID3 v2.x specification allows for custom fields. That's one of the main reasons I use foobar2000, because it doesn't limit the tagging in any way.

    I have been debating about switching album artist fields for some people - mostly jazz musicians. I think I already did it for Louis Armstrong.
  • Thom, yeah, but custom fields suck. A true tagging interface would rock, but less is not much different than overloading the comment field, which is awful.
  • GP: Out of curiosity, hos do you catalog Classical albums? Is there some reason that method won't work for Jazz?
  • Thanks all for the thoughts, will muse more later. @BT, I am such a fringe classical listener that a simple system of orchestra/choir in artist and album artist fields and composer in composer field has pretty much worked for me. When I go looking for something classical to listen to I basically want to know whether 't's, say, Mahler or the Estonian Philharmonic Choir. The latter is actually one of the few examples where I care a lot which choir it is - for most older classical music I'm fine with one recording, and do not have multiple versions by different orchestras. I don't bother to track directors, lead violinists, etc. Maybe I'll have a classical phase in the future and need to rethink this, but that's the status quo: I'm a philistine.

    The jazz seems different, partly because I'm getting more into it, partly because the combination of musicians who also record under their own names seems more important. Your comment did make me ponder whetehr I should use the "composer" filed with jazz recordings for the leader, and put all the musicians in the artist field; right now I am much less interested in who wrote a given jazz piece. But I'm reluctant to foreclose on the possibility that that might start to interest me more. That's what tends to slow me down setting up systems - if all I need right now is to be able to find Oscar Peterson albums on my ipod, then I'd collapse and simplify all the data; it's the thought that I'm throwing away information that I might want later that keeps me from doing that.
  • Since I have avoided iTunes like the plague for years I was wondering what fields it actually exposes. Does it not let you use Performer, or is it that the iPod won't let you? I have that issue with Google Music as they barely show anything.

    And now I have to figure out what to do with Thao. It was easy enough to re-tag when everybody realized that it had been an incorrect assumption that her first album was just under her name but should actually be Thao with The Get Down Stay Down (one of my favorite band names), but after 2 albums suddenly it's being listed as Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. I haven't been this confused since Santogold came back as Santigold...
  • Gp:
    Your comment did make me ponder whether I should use the "composer" filed with jazz recordings for the leader
    As I mentioned earlier, "Album Artist" is exactly what this is for.
  • I haven't been this confused since Santogold came back as Santigold...
    OK, I wondered about that - thought I had just gotten it wrong!

    While I realize using "Comments" for album personnel isn't a perfect solution, for older jazz albums the personnel listings on Wikipedia have become quite well-standardized. Of course very easy to cut & paste the info.
  • She got sued by some guy from Baltimore that fancies himself famous and has gone by Santogold for a long time. Rather than spend ridiculous amounts of money fighting it she just switched to Santigold.

  • @Craig - I never heard about the lawsuit. I just figured it was because it was closer to her real name (Santi).
  • edited February 2013
    @kargatron, for some reason that I now can't remember at some time in the past I stopped putting different things in "album artist" and "artist" because of something it was doing to the way things showed up somewhere. Clearly I need to revisit that and experiment again.

    @thom, Re composer/performer, on the ipod touch, the composer field is part of the interface in the music app, the performer field is not, and a lot of my listening is on the ipod. That's part of the hassle. I do have other more advanced apps on the touch that can e.g. generate playlists that search the comment field, though it's more work and so I don't use it all that often. That's why for a long time my basic tagging question has been "what will I look for on the touch when I want to listen to this?" rather than "what is the most accurate information?" But now that I am getting stuff in more genres where there is more potentially interesting information that's generating tension with that approach. (I am feeling similar tension with genres - on the touch having fewer genres makes it easier for me to get to things faster; in the library having more genres would give me a more accurate picture of what I have. I wish there were a secondary genre tag. I've been debating whether to separate out my huge dollop of "ambient" into "ambient", "drone", "electro-acoustic" etc. Maybe I just need to get into semi-colons more - but they don't work in iTunes, do they? Genres still frustrate me because the categories are incommensurable.)

    If a label is important enough to me (like Topic or Alia Vox), I usually make a playlist.
    - so do you add new things manually? I would want such a list to auto-update, which implies having a tag for the label.
  • If I'm off my main computer with the external hard drive, I usually drop the label name into the custom field. It's just so that I can search them out at a later date and update playlists. Nothing fancy, I'm sorry to say.
  • edited February 2013
    I've been creating entries in the comment field in the form "label:12k" with no spaces. In favor of this, the syntax without spaces means that if the name of the label is a normal word that could appear in the comment field for another reason (can't think of an example now, but I remember coming across one) I don't get false positives if I use a search on comment to generate a playlist. The disadvantage is that it's simply the case that I am less likely to be consistent entering extra data in the comment field than I am filling in standard tag fields in the tagging dialog. At current rate of ingestion I am not sure I can overcome this.
    ETA: I do know that at some point I am going to want to sit down and isolate the big heap of ECM albums I've downloaded in the last 2 months and do some sorting. But on maybe 15% of them I've remembered to add "label:ECM" to the comment field. Whereas all the standard fields are faithfully filled.
  • At current rate of ingestion I am not sure I can overcome this.
    LOL, literally. Sounds much worse than it is, in context!
  • :-). Glutvera.
  • @GP - Understood. It's funny, I've really focused on getting things right on my home computers even though I mostly listen via Google Music these days (I use multiple genres which creates a mess there). This is probably because I've switched players so many times it's more important to me that I've got accurate information at the source. For some reason I keep thinking that eventually the rest of the world will catch up with my needs. That's really worked out so far...
  • Unless you're using it for something else (I do), the "Grouping" tag seems to me a good choice for label. Sigh, all this talk just reminds me how much better all this would be with simple free tagging. Grr.
  • I listen purely to albums, so I'm a happy camper as long as the album, artist, track number, and genre are right.

    Reading this makes me very happy to be easygoing about tagging.

  • @Craig, I listen purely to albums too; if I make a playlist it's typically a playlist of albums for the purposes of ipod rotation. But that still leaves decisions about e.g. whether I want a bunhc of albums that say they are by "Oscar Peterson" versus ten permutations with Peterson's name in them, or whether I will ever want to be able to think "hmm, I'd like to listen to an album that Eberhard Weber plays on" without only having a choice of the ones where he is the album artist, or whether I might get up one morning and thing "I wonder what 12k albums I haven't listened to lately". It's not that I can't get to those things eventually now, but a better tagging system would streamline things.
  • I listen purely to albums, so I'm a happy camper as long as the album, artist, track number, and genre are right.

    Reading this makes me very happy to be easygoing about tagging.

    Craig [

    Me too. I use the Grouping field to identify where I get things, so I can easily create a playlist for Guvera, Bandcamp, eMusic, Amie Street, etc. I've occasionally been tempted to be more specific in the genre field, but then I get confused about how best to classify certain artists or albums. I've added a few genres that are meaningful to me (like power pop or garage rock, both of which fall into the know-em-when-I-hear-em category) but much of my music is generically and unhelpfully categorized as rock.

    The tagging of performers other than the primary artist is a pain in the ass. I only deal with this problem on tracks like duets, where the primary artist is listed in the artist and/or album artist fields (I do sometimes distinguish and use artist for the group name). I put the secondary artist in the song title, like Title (w/Guest Artist). That makes it easier to keep albums together when I sort by artist, which is my default primary sort.
  • Gotcha GP. I guess then it's good I don't listen to all that much jazz. I do have a lot of hip hop tracks though where the track name is followed by "feat. John Doe", like Muggsy.

    I am a bit crazy about genre's though. I believe I currently have 103 different genres.

  • I'm with GP. I'm also quite the completist. So eventually I'd like all of the correct info (including composers, labels, etc.) in all of the files.

    But my bigger question these days is how do people handle box sets? I've just re-tagged the Witch boxset from Now and Again twice because I can't decide if all albums should be under the box set title or under the album titles with a reference to the box set (which is what I've done with the Robyn Hitchcock albums)
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