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Blurred boundaries

I never had a reason to rip my CDs onto my computer before acquiring an iPod. If I put the CD into the machine while I'm online, iTunes automatically queries the GraceNotes database to find out what the track names, album names, and genre of the album are. The genre has proved to be the most interesting and unexpected aspect of this whole process.

I'm not necessarily very good at identifying genres. When I went to buy a Deep Forest album, I looked under New Age, Pop, Folk, and then gave up and asked. It was under Dance music (although iTunes has it labelled as World). Finding out what GraceNotes thinks is the correct genre can be equally disorienting, and shows just how malleable genre boundaries are.

* The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney) isn't a soundtrack apparently - it's pop music.
* I would probably have filed the arabianpop album under Dance, or even Pop, as the name implies, but apparently it's World music.
* I always thought of Dar Williams' work as classified under Folk or Pop, but at least one of her albums is now my only Alternative/Punk entry.
* ToyBox was a shoo-in for Dance, Pop at the outside, but no, it's a Top 40 album. I had no idea that "Top 40" was a genre of music.
* Fiorello is an obvious candidate for the Dance category, or maybe even Pop (or Top 40, whatever that is). I sure wouldn't have classified that particular album under Rock.

In any event, it's entertaining. I wonder how much behind-the-scenes politicking goes into labelling these albums?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2004 11:09 pm (UTC)
It used to be that individuals on the net submitted the entries for the database and some cd programs would have the option to let you enter the cd details if it wasn't in the database and submit them to update it. I assume they had some sort of peer review at some point but I don't know how it works now that Gracenote has gone more commercial with the database.

Myself I prefer it when programs use one of the more open ones that sprung up when Gracenote went commercial but I think one of their more restrictive new terms and conditions is that your program can not connect to other cd databases so its either Gracenote cddb or use the free'er ones (like www.freedb.org) but not both.

Commercial programs get a licence to use the Gracenote database as they don't care too much about the extra licencing requirements.

Are they producing copy protected CD's over in Canada yet that won't play in a PC let alone let you do anything else with it? We've got some over here that don't work in our DVD player due to the copy protection though the standard stereo can play them fine.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )