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Little suggestion #428.1

While I’m at it, I might as well say that I’m dying for faceted Artist and Album fields. These are, of course, a little more difficult to implement because captial–A Artists have an annoying habit of using obscure characters in both their names and their albums, so something as elegant as comma delimitation wouldn’t float.

How many songs of yours “feat” another artist? Right now my count is zero because I make a point of removing the contributory artist and the word “feat”, because I find it distasteful. Plus, I don’t give a damn if Lil John “feats” a song by shouting “WHAT?… OKAY!” from time to time. It’s not my scene, I don’t care. It’s a common phenomenon in Hip Hop music, but there are examples to be found elsewhere for those who don’t partake; the Moulin Rouge soundtrack for example.

David Bowie and Massive Attack, amongst others, collaborate for a few very random tracks in a very random movie soundtrack. Interesting combination, but there’s no way in hell I want to consider “David Bowie and Massive Attack” a unique and independent artist to both David Bowie and Massive Attack respectively. I could be browsing my iPod’s non–existent Bowie collection and then, suddenly, be reminded of his work on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack if faceted artists were allowed. You could say the same of the entire Linkin Park/Jay Z Collision Course thing. Why is “Jay Z and Linkin Park” an artist of its own when the album could be credited to both?

While faceted Artist fields contribute to the musical experience in the same way that faceted genres do (enabling more intuitive browsing), faceted Album fields are less a problem of style and more a concern of storage. In this day of cheap and expansive hard drives, it seems particularly lame to say “I don’t want multiple copies of all those songs that appear on compilations and Best–ofs… use the same file for all of them”, but it’s a legitimate concern. I have tracks whose metadata is different or incomplete on compilation albums, but beautiful and bounteous on the album proper. Tracks that are spelled differently (or hyphenated differently, or missing part of the name though the CD cover would tell you quite explicitly that’s how it’s supposed to be) are still the same track… they should share the same data, and when I update one the other should follow. Nobody likes to be browsing by artist and hear the same song three times because iTunes treats them like they’re unique. Same song, jackass. Buck up.