I’m taking this evening to import the last of my CD collection into iTunes and am running into the strangest things. I have several two disc sets; mostly Star Wars soundtracks and various symphony recordings. In those, the first CD will automatically grab a set of titles, artists, composer, etc from the CD title central database on the web. When I stick in the second disc, it will pull the same information, but there are almost always variations which causes iTunes (and probably every other music playback program) to file the music in an entirely different folder and sort the songs differently. What is really one albums across two discs is now two albums.

As an example, one disc will have the composer as John Williams while the next has Williams, John. For the classical variety, those who created the data in the first place feel the need to include birth and death dates with the composer’s name. However, they don’t agree on how to do that. On top of the first and last name issue, some dates are (1750-1791) while others are [1750-1791] and that’s not starting on whether the inner dash is surrounded by spaces or not. Naturally, these are different values in the iTunes database and so are stored as separate entities when really they are the same. If I sync with my iPod and search for composers, there is a listing for both John Williams and Williams, John who are, in fact, the same person (unless there’s something I haven’t been told).

This is easily remedied, of course, by simply changing the titles to match. However, I’m disappointed to see a database that simply sucks as much as this does.

I don’t know who is in charge of the CDDB, if anyone. If they are listening, can we please get some naming conventions together? It doesn’t seem like it would be hard to implement moving forward and slowly rebuild the existing data. It would take time, it must be a huge database, but not impossible.

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