May 4, 2003

Music metadata

Everyone, obviously, is buzzing Apple's new music store. It's an aggressive and gutsy business move. And rolling it out Mac-only (with Windows to follow) is perfect marketing, further establishing the elite image of the Macintosh.

For years, it's been a truism that professionals buy Macs if they're spending their own money and Windows if they're spending someone else's.

Even more interesting, I think, is the metadata mess that's evident in the music store. Just try looking in the Classical section; Mozart is (mostly) filed under Wolfgang, Bach is scattered between "Bach", "J. S. Bach", "Johann Sebastian Bach", and various other places. It's a mess. Same thing with Jazz. And, if there's a predicate that distinguished "folk" from other stuff, it escapes me. It's obvious that Apple's done a job of mining some very dirty databases.

This strongly suggests that the music industry is even more badly confused than we thought. We knew they were dangerously clueless about personal computers and intellectual property, but this suggests that they don't even have a good grasp of their intellectual inventory. If their data is this dirty, do the major labels actually know what they have?