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The problem(s) with MOG's catalog

  09/26/12 00:10, by , Categories: Music

If you’ll recall, back in April I decided to sign up with MOG as my music subscription service. It’s turned out to be a love/hate relationship (but mostly love).

Today, one aspect of their service finally bugged me enough that I decided I had to document how ridiculous it is: MOG cannot seem to get it’s catalog data straight.

Why Metadata Matters

Let me start by telling you a little about my music habits. I might seem a little OCD when it comes to music. My cd collection is in alphabetical order. Before I was a music service subscriber, I had about 50 GB of mp3s on my hard drive organized in almost 1,000 folders. The top level folders were named by artist and each subfolder was named according to date and album title. Whenever I acquired some new music, I would edit the metadata to be as correct as I could. I only listened to my music through programs that would log each listen to last.fm. I often check my last.fm page to examine the trends in my music. One of the features of MOG that drew me to it was it’s integrated logging to last.fm.

That’s an overview of what correct music metadata means to me.

What other purposes does MOG’s catalog accuracy serve? First, it allows listeners to find music. MOG may have a specific artist a user is looking for, but if the artist doesn’t turn up in the search results, it provides a negative experience for the user. Secondly, I assume it allows MOG to know who to pay for a user listening to the song. I think both of these should probably be high on their list of priorities.

Now that I’ve laid out both the personal and corporate importance of having an organized and correctly tagged catalog, let me present my experience with the catalog since signing up with MOG.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

MOG has an Editor’s Picks section on their app where I saw an old favorite of mine that I hadn’t listened to in a long while. I clicked on it and was not impressed to see this:

Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

The exclamation mark in the band’s name is supposed to follow the word “you", not the word “emperor.” This is easily verifiable. EDIT: Turns out the exclamation mark was originally at the end of the band name. It was moved to the middle for the release of their last album, which MOG does not have in their catalog.

The album and tracks are named incorrectly. This is easily verifiable by going to the band’s own website.

Track listing for the album

When I listen to the track which should be labelled “Storm” by the band called “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, MOG is telling last.fm that I listened to a track called “Gathering Storm” by “Godspeed You Black Emperor!” This messes with my listening history and last.fm’s metrics.

I had an email exchange with MOG’s catalog team back in May where I asked them to fix the tags and about two weeks later they let me know that they would take care of it. This mislabeling still exists.

Shovels & Rope

This one is a bit of a success story.

On July 31, Shovels & Rope released a new album, but MOG had it listed under a band called The Shovels. When I added the tracks to my queue, some of the songs were attributed to The Shovels and others were attributed to Rope.

I emailed the catalog team about the issue and received a prompt response that they would work on getting that music. It would take about two weeks and depending on the circumstances they might not be able to get the music. I replied that they already had the music, they just needed to fix the data. I quickly received an response that included an apology about skimming over my initial email and a notice that the issue had been re-categorized for resolution.

Two weeks later, the data was corrected.

Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics

On September 5, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics released a new album called “It’s About Time.” MOG had this listed under just Ruby Velle. It was still easy to find because the full artist name started with her name. But when I added the tracks to my queue, some of the tracks where attributed to Ruby Velle and others were attributed to The Soulphonics.

I shot off an email notifying MOG of the issue and they replied that they would investigate and update.

Now, when you search for Ruby Velle, you only see “Soulphonics & Ruby Velle” which is the name under which the group released some material in 2010. But the new album is nowhere to be found.

If you search for The Soulphonics, you get two albums by an unrelated band called simply The Soulphonics. But wait! What’s this? There are tracks listed at the bottom from “It’s About Time"!

Could it be?

When you click on one of those tracks, it takes you to the album you were looking for. And the artist shows as Ruby Velle, the name that produced zero results in an earlier search. Now get this: when you queue the songs up, they are attributed to The Soulphonics.

Ellie Goulding

This is the straw that broke the camel’s back and led me to write this post.

When you go to Ellie Goulding’s artist page in MOG, it has “Anything Could Happen", her new single listed. When you add it to your queue, it attributes the song to The London Community Gospel Choir. There is no discernible relation between this song and this artist!

MOG isn’t the only one with this particular problem, though. A Google search for the London Choir and Ellie Goulding provides many websites that attribute “Anything Could Happen” to the wrong artist.

Spotify

I tried creating a playlist on Spotify out of all of these same tracks to see what their data looked like.

No godspeed, ruby velle has screwed up tags

Spotify doesn’t even have the Godspeed You! Black Emperor album that I wanted, so MOG definitely has that going for it. Ellie Goulding and Shovels & Rope are both correct. “It’s About Time” was easy to find, but the artist data is duplicated for some reason.

Conclusion

I love MOG, but sometimes the ones we love drive us bonkers. If this post accomplishes nothing else, I hope it spurns the MOG catalog team to be more pro-active about correcting bad data.

This entry was posted by and is filed under Music.

1 comment

Comment from: Daniel
Daniel

Totally agree with you. Labeling in MOG is terrible. More than 50% of the songs with a featured artist are mislabeled. For example, Reboot The Mission by Wallflowers is scrobbled to Mick Jones. I sent an email to catalog and no response at all. I’m considering dropping the service because of this.

09/27/12 @ 08:28


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