Digital Culture

Have I mentioned that I love iTunes?

So here’s my latest revelation about iTunes: it isn’t the Store, or the media playing capabilities. No, no, no. It’s all about the metadata. The usefulness of it comes almost entirely from the complete and utter ease of applying data about the songs to themselves, and then being able to use said data to organize and search your media.

MP3’s have supported metadata (id3 tags) since the standard’s inception, but most media players only use this metadata for informing the user: what song is playing, what song is coming up. They didn’t let you interact with the data, apply your own info to it, and search and sort based on it. This is really the strength of iTunes…from being able to set the “style” (rock, pop, rap) to being able to “rate” the songs with a star count, to being able to attach cover art to a song (as easy as dragging and dropping from a browser…I just search Amazon for the album cover, then yank it).

So that you, Apple, for finally allowing my metadata and media to mix. I love it.

2 replies on “Have I mentioned that I love iTunes?”

Unfortunately, many programs and organization rely on a CDDB database to determine the metadata to put in the ID3 tags. There are no restrictions or standards on the data in the global CDDBs, and the data is typically entered by the first person to get a chance to enter it. Potentially, this means you could potentially buy Rob Zombie’s “Past, Present, and Future” and have it come up ‘Easy Listening’.

This has happened to me a few times: I have some rather esoteric electronica that comes up either (a) in the wrong genre (i.e. a Cex CD I have that come up in genre ‘gay’) or (b) as a completely wrong album.

Need some metadata to describe the metadata…

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