It's such a thrill to have one-click access to practically any song ever released that it seems churlish to ask for more. But I will anyway. Why are the current generation of music services so dumb?
Recommendations, playlists and even detailed genre-level organization (which Rhapsody does best) are great, but they're not enough. I want to reorder the world of music my own way, and my way is different from the next guy's way. In the movie world this is easy, because we've got IMDB, which demonstrates what extensive cross-linking of every pertinent fact, from each cast and crew member to all the companies involved, can offer. So why don't we have the same for music?
There's a world of cross-indexed value to be had in the connections between bands, performers and album. Think: "other bands of this genre that were playing in Washington DC from 1980-1985". But the iTunes, Napsters, Yahoo Musics and even Rhapsodys of the world offer almost none of it. Even in those rare instances when an album entry has more than the usual bare-bones metadata, it's not hyperlinked and thus you can't reorder the organization on the fly to find other relevant music. It is, for instance, a total mystery why you can't sort by record label on any of the main commercial services. Want to hear more from the Wax Trax stable? Good luck.
Here are a few data fields (above and beyond artists and title) that I'd love to see clickable and attached to any track, allowing me to filter the rest of the collection by any combination of them to create different lenses on the music world that might make for a more satisfying music discovery process: All that information is out there somewhere; if the record labels can't supply the necessary data, then some smart music service should create a Wikipedia-like system of user-generated content to gather it themselves.
- Home town (especially for local scenes)
- Active years
- Spin-off bands (other bands with some of the same members).
- "Movement" (similar bands from the same time and place)
For classical, it would be a different list, including these:
Several commenters on my last post on this subject suggests some
sites that are doing a better job at this than the big commercial
for instance, is trying something in this direction with a user-created
discography, but it's still pretty ragged so far and doesn't offer a
way to buy or listen to the music directly. Upto11
integrates some Wikipedia info, but likewise only offers buying links
to Amazon or iTunes. I admire what these efforts are trying to do, but
ultimately they've got to be integrated into a full-feature music
service. It's 2005--why hasn't this been done already?