Thursday, January 22, 2009

iTunes is bad at eclectic collections

My music collection is kind of eclectic (genre-wise). You never really know what you'll find in there... it might be Bach performed by Emile Autumn (Electronic?) or Angry Skies (Dance Pop?!)... ok so I noticed that the genres on a lot of the music are completely out of sync with reality. They seem to assign the genre label based on the artist rather than the individual song.

So I tried "TuneUp Companion," but this just made it worse. Now I have 57 very specific subgenres ("Electronica Mainstream", "Post-Modern Electronic Pop").. yikes! It made everything more specific, but now my music collection is fragmented along 57 branches in a completely alien non-intuitive way. The "Genius" feature isn't much of a help because it unfortunately ties into the same organization system to help construct it's playlists - "garbage in, garbage out" as they say.

So what's wrong with this? I know iTunes is just trying to leverage existing ways of cataloging music, but the traditional ways of cataloging were born of record companies and promoters, not listeners. Other contemporary software allows multiple tags so that you can capture all the different terms that apply to an item (such as a blog post).

iTunes needs to realize that there's more than one way to organize things in the world.

4 comments:

Bill said...

Unfortunately, apple has the same 'our way or the highway' mentality that MS does.

It's gonna take a third party to create something, in the way Mozilla created firefox, that allows for user created content management tools, before you get what you're looking for.

Tiffany said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tiffany said...

Hey there.
Sorry to hear that TuneUp didn't do what you needed genre-wise. Totally understand - We are working on some new updates to allow users to disable genre-tagging so that they can do it themselves. Music collections are all about personalization and genre subjectivity is one of those strange beasts: what we call 'classic rock', you might label 'psychedelic rock'.
Hopefully TuneUp helped you out with other tagging issues. Let me know if you have any other troubles or improvement ideas. We love to know what you think. Thanks again for using TuneUp - keep an eye out for future features ;)

~ Tiffany from TuneUp

Larry Kyrala said...

Hi Tiffany, thanks for your comment. It's not even a matter of you say "tomato", I say "tomato"... what I'm looking for is multiple tagging.

For example, Sting "Desert Rose" could be #sting #fusion #jazz #arab #vocal, Brian Eno/David B. "Regiment" could be #ambient #experimental #arab #vocal. Rimsky-Korakov's "Scheherazade" might be #classical #russian #arab.

Now let's say I'm trying to come up with a simple slice of my music collection that plays all the songs with #arab influences in them? See what I'm getting at?

I don't want to simply organize all my music into an "arab" folder or playlist because tomorrow I might want to hear all the jazz music, or maybe chinese music, or maybe string music... etc. It really just needs a tag cloud to do right.