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7 years - and still no way to have multiple artist with the same name

 
  • 7 years - and still no way to have multiple artist with the same name

    Dear Last.fm,

    I've used Audioscrobbler/Last.FM since it started .... and for the sake of god I cannot understand why the developers SIMPLY DON'T CARE about fixing this absolutely basic problem of having unique performer IDs and to allow for differentiation between multiple performers with the same name.

    What is so difficult about it????
    Discogs handles it.
    Apple's iTunes Store handles it (sort of).
    mp3.com (which is your freaking sister company!!!) handles it.
    rhapsody.com (RealNetworks) handles it.
    yahoo music handles it.
    musicbrainz handles it.

    And what ever happened with the musicbrainz integration in audioscrobbler?!?!

    So, who's to blame?
    Is it the big three record companies who put all their effort into slowing down the MP3 revolution and therefore marginalized the importance of services like last.fm - ultimately containing last.fm to an advertising platform where there is no need to implement usability features. (Ok, it's a very obscure theory)

    Is it the last.fm directors who abandoned the original idea of audioscrobbler (being "your personal music advisor") and actively turned last.fm into an advertising platform instead. Thereby leading to the same result -> Indifference to what we music enthusiast really want from last.fm - a music advisor that actually does what we want with all the features we want!

    Or is it the growing base of last.fm users, who are totally content and satisfied with the way last.fm works and don't even care about fixing this problem that has now been dragged along over the years and probably will never ever get fixed? And the multiple entries / same name problem is actually so marginal that it simply doesn't affect last.fm revenue ....

    Either way, I think in the end we're just screwed and our voice is just not loud enough to make the message heard:
    FIX THE DAMN SYSTEM, SO THAT I DON'T HAVE TO GET STUPID MUSIC RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT TO MY LISTENING HABITS OR I WILL NEVER PAY A DIME FOR A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE THAT KEEPS PLAYING THE WRONG MUSIC TO ME!

    • Sekir sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 12:01
    There is no profit from solving of this problem.

    Админы ластфм - казлы.
    • DFA1979 sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 29 dec 2009, 12:12
    You've confused not caring about fixing it with not having a way to fix it.

    None of those other sites are remotely comparable to last.fm on this issue, because of the way scrobbling data is created: in the background on users' computers, from metadata tags in the files they're playing.

    Having 'unique performer IDs' isn't a solution in the slightest. Anybody can do that, but you're still no closer to knowing which of the 15 artists called IRIS somebody was listening to when they scrobble a track by "Iris". Not to forget the possibility it's a different Iris all together who isn't known on the site yet. The problem isn't in creating multiple pages for the same artist name, but knowing how to correctly assign scrobble data:

    Two artists, A and B, are both called <some non-unique name>.
    User scrobbles a track by <some non-unique name>.
    Were they listening to artist A or artist B? Or C, who the site didn't know about before?

    • maz35 sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 13:06
    Unique IDs are the eventual goal, not the solution.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 14:39
    Since they need to disambiguate the artist using only standard MP3 tags, the most viable way of doing this seems to be using the album-name as correlation.

    Since album-name seems to be a meta-data afterthought in their current system (which seems to be based on artist--song, which makes sense for a lot of other things, such as saving them from trying to disambiguate between the exact same recording of the exact same song appearing on an LP, a single, an EP, and three different compilations-- but causes problems distinguishing between studio/live/various lineups), this means fundamentally re-vamping how the system stores music data.

    Also, it means including a way to deal with albums it doesn't recognize, which can happen not only due to new albums that aren't in the system yet, but also due to typos and other variations in how people have their album names tagged.

    Also EVERY artist would need to be treated as a multiple artist, because you never know when a second artist with that name will appear. And any artist could would have mis-tagged albums that end up in the "undisambiguatable" category.

    I hope they get something like this working, but from a technical perspective, it's non-trivial and involves (based on what I can see) some massive re-structuring. Which is always "fun" to do on a moving vehicle.

    (Tighter integration with MusicBrainz would likely be a crucial component-- but probably one of the easier pieces, if I'm guessing correctly)


    ETA: Also, it's theoretically possible that two artists with the same name could happen to have the same album-name. Actually, given that a large percentage of artists have a self-titled album, it's a near certainty that this would occur occasionally. So, how does the system handle THAT situation? These are the technical problems that need to be figured out.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 14:52

    Re: 7 years - and still no way to have multiple artist with the same name

    take_a_stand said:
    So, who's to blame?
    ...ultimately containing last.fm to an advertising platform where there is no need to implement usability features. (Ok, it's a very obscure theory)

    Is it the last.fm directors who abandoned the original idea of audioscrobbler (being "your personal music advisor") and actively turned last.fm into an advertising platform instead. Thereby leading to the same result -> Indifference to what we music enthusiast really want from last.fm - a music advisor that actually does what we want with all the features we want!


    This doesn't make any sense.

    An advertising platform needs eyeballs. To get eyeballs, you need to make people happy enough to keep coming back. The way they keep people coming back is with the audiocrobbler and the streaming music. Thus, usability features are hardly irrelevant on an "advertising platform".

    Last.fm knows this. Otherwise, they'd scrap all the music stuff and have nothing but ads on every page and every station.

  • lijemo said:
    Since they need to disambiguate the artist using only standard MP3 tags, the most viable way of doing this seems to be using the album-name as correlation.
    Interesting thoughts, but that strategy isn't foolproof either...
    what if several artists of the same name release self-titled albums?
    and what if the same artist releases several self-titled albums (like Weezer or Peter Gabriel did?)

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 15:57
    bengt_bangt said:
    Interesting thoughts, but that strategy isn't foolproof either...
    what if several artists of the same name release self-titled albums?

    See the last paragraph of my post =^)

    and what if the same artist releases several self-titled albums (like Weezer or Peter Gabriel did?)
    That too; I hadn't thought of that.

    Any way you look at it, non-trivial problem. Though I hope they do work something out eventually.

  • lijemo said:
    bengt_bangt said:
    Interesting thoughts, but that strategy isn't foolproof either...
    what if several artists of the same name release self-titled albums?

    See the last paragraph of my post =^)

    oops, I should learn how to read :D

    lijemo said:
    and what if the same artist releases several self-titled albums (like Weezer or Peter Gabriel did?)
    That too; I hadn't thought of that.

    Any way you look at it, non-trivial problem. Though I hope they do work something out eventually.
    absolutely, I agree 100%

  • Here is an idea. Last.fm already has has the auto track correction feature. But what about the same artist that gets written to the 'wrong' artist. I have noticed many artists on here 'there are 3 artists with the same name' & they just go with the most popular one. There has been many mixups & i think there is a solution.

    If last.fm teamed up with Myspace.com &/or Amazon.com (or however they get thier information on artists from) & for first time plays, example... 'Not Living' by Coal Chamber & want to specify what album or compilation they got it from. The autoscrobbler can ask the user what album/artist best choose from a list. (with the number 1 choice). I noticed that albums that are not completely named correctly won't get fixed either.

    • DFA1979 sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 29 dec 2009, 18:12
    lijemo said:
    Since they need to disambiguate the artist using only standard MP3 tags, the most viable way of doing this seems to be using the album-name as correlation.
    I saw a staff member post in another thread (this is a long time ago, I can't find the post now) about another way they were looking at dealing with it:

    Where there are two (or more) artists with the same name, it's extremely unlikely that the number of users listening to both (/more than one of) artists is very high (compared to the number of users listening to all of those artists put together). Using that fact, you should be able to analyse the listeners of each track, and create groups of tracks which have highly overlapping listeners - which (in theory) correspond to the tracks of one individual artist under that name.

    Taking Heavenly as an example: the tracks from Le Jardin de Heavenly and Heavenly Vs. Satan (by a tweepop band called 'Heavenly') will all share a significant number of listeners with each other. The tracks from Dust To Dust and Sign of the Winter (by a power-metal band also called 'Heavenly') will also share lots of listeners with each other. But C Is the Heavenly Option (by the tweepop Heavenly) won't share many listeners with Keepers of the Earth (by the power-metal Heavenly). By grouping tracks into groups based on listener-overlap, the artists could be separated. And it would work fine for users who listen to both, provided they're in a minority compared to users listening to either, as it's based on the track titles.

    There's still an issue if both artists have songs with the same title, but that could probably be solved by looking at album data - apply the same methods as used for tracks, and you can assign albums (without any label input) to the artists, leaving issues only where artists with the same name have songs of the same name on albums of the same name (a situation which is practically impossible to resolve, although as the majority of users listen to only one, you could probably assume safely that it's the same artist they're listening to the rest of the time, leaving it a problem only for people who listen to both). It's not perfect, and I can't begin to imagine how awkward it would be to implement, but in theory it's a very good way of creating as much information as possible without any user-input at all (other than the raw data that is the scrobbles).

    • rwitte sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 29 dec 2009, 19:27
    This is an interesting thread
    • I agree that integrating album information into the primary key would help many issues, including this one. However I recognise that this is a seriously non-trivial task. It would be very expensive to implement and there are unresolved issues like tracks which occur on multiple albums to deal with.
    • Fingerprinting technology to recognise the mp3 based on the sound data rather than the tag data would help this issue. In the short term it is even more expensive than restructuring the database. However it doesn't solve the problem of what to do when the scrobbler encounters a track for the first time (could be a demo by an unknown band). Furthermore, depending on the amount of data in the fingerprint, their may be rights issues with storing fingerprints for mp3s encountered on user's remote PCs when Last.fm doesn't have rights to the mp3 itself. Note that there are many usability issues associated with dealing with albums properly that are not addressed by fingerprinting

    Even though I cannot find the post, I am sure that Jester-NL recently stated that he had given up hope of a fix for the poor handling of albums on this site.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 29 dec 2009, 19:55
    DFA1979 said:
    Where there are two (or more) artists with the same name, it's extremely unlikely that the number of users listening to both (/more than one of) artists is very high (compared to the number of users listening to all of those artists put together). Using that fact, you should be able to analyse the listeners of each track, and create groups of tracks which have highly overlapping listeners - which (in theory) correspond to the tracks of one individual artist under that name.
    ...

    This makes sense.

    Also, the more listeners two bands with the same name have in common, the more likely it is that one of them will change their name-- (because it is more likely that they are in the same or similar scenes/genres, more likely they are aware of each other, and more likely that they encounter problems & mixups themselves due to the name similarity)

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 30 dec 2009, 11:09
    I know that it wouldn't fix the whole problem with the recommendations and all that stuff but for some who don't use those things that much or are pleased with their recommendations (including me), the biggest problem is that the artist picture is not of the band that you listen to (see IRIS). So if you could choose what YOU personally want to use as the artist picture without having an effect on what other people see in their profiles, it would help some people. Of course there should be all the default pics like there are now so that you don't need to choose a picture for every single artist in your library but only the ones that have the "wrong" picture. I guess this wouldn't be that hard to do and it would solve the problem for some people.

  • @Vikkked: We already do choose by voting. Same goes for auto-corrections. The problem is that both systems don't really work as expected from the user's point of view. It often seems as if our votes are left disregarded. Auto-correction doesn't correct the stuff that i want to be corrected and half of the pictures in my library aren't even the default pictures chosen by the majority.

    I really hope that last.fm will return to its former bottom top approach, with artist profiles and user profiles at the base and statistics on top. At the moment its some kind of mishmash without any clear distinction of who can decide what.

    The wisdom of the crowd is great and global statistics are very interesting to look at - even useful from a global point of view. But as a user i actually want to manage and edit my own library when it comes to different versions or remixes with the same name, different artists with the same name, same artists with different names, different releases of the same album, artist pictures and cover art, fragmented tracklists of VA compliations, etc. etc... I don't get the idea that last.fm must work with minimal user input as DFA1979 implies.

  • Re: 7 years - and still no way to have multiple artist with the same name

    take_a_stand said:
    (...)
    Discogs handles it.
    Apple's iTunes Store handles it (sort of).
    mp3.com (which is your freaking sister company!!!) handles it.
    rhapsody.com (RealNetworks) handles it.
    yahoo music handles it.
    musicbrainz handles it.
    (...)
    Ain't it funny... none of these sites have their information from something dodgy like the ID3-tags of the played tracks. Tags that can be edited by every idiot that plays them. I dare to say that if you look at any of the tracks you purchase through each of the above mentioned resellers (that is excluding musicbrainz and discogs) will sell their tracks as IRIS (it seems this is the most popular artist in this thread).
    If you use musicbrainz picard to tag your tracks, the artist will be filled as "Iris", it is the invisible MBID that is different for all the different artists. If you use Discogs for your tagging (which a nifty foobar-plug in will allow you to do), the artist field will differ nothing. no matter who of the several artists is the one you listen to.

    The main problem is (and that is the problem in EVERY thread about "easy solutions") is that you all conveniently ignore the difference in source for the problem.
    Manually added artists (like on the all the mentioned sites) or automatically added... like here on Last.fm

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 30 dec 2009, 12:58
    HodgeStar said:
    @Vikkked: We already do choose by voting.


    I know that but the problem is when you get the artist picture you don't want because the majority votes for the 'wrong' one and that gets used for everyone. When I tried to vote thumbs up for pictures I wanted to see, it changed the default picture used for EVERYONE that has the artist of the same name in their library. That leads to somebody noticing it and changing the picture back to what it was before my vote. That's exactly the case in IRIS, they actually had a bit of a 'war' about which band's picture should be used and you can notice the outcome in the artist picture. I haven't found a way to choose the artist picture myself without affecting what other people see in their own library, feel free to tell me if there's a way to do this...

  • there is no way to do this. that's the point i was trying to make.
    http://www.last.fm/forum/21717/_/486625/_/8554169

    • DFA1979 sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 30 dec 2009, 13:13
    HodgeStar said:
    I don't get the idea that last.fm must work with minimal user input as DFA1979 implies.
    You should read that as the minimal required input. Being able to go back and alter things later (because you want to) would be great. But normally one of the first suggestions in these threads is that when you listen to a track by "Mono", the client should pop up a window asking which of the 12 you mean. When I'm listening to music, I'm usually doing something else (be it games/work/anything else), so anything coming to grab my attention like that would be somewhat unwelcome, and any way that sorts stuff without it much preferable.

    I'd be very much in favour of being able to manually fix up things after-the-fact, but not of user-input (other than the scrobbles) being necesary.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
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    • 30 dec 2009, 13:34
    HodgeStar said:
    there is no way to do this. that's the point i was trying to make.
    http://www.last.fm/forum/21717/_/486625/_/8554169


    Ok. I really hope the last.fm staff will have the time to fix the multiple artist problem some day...

  • @DFA1979: so we can agree that user input is required to solve the multiple artist problem and that user input should override the default (at least on the user's own profile) not the other way around. i also agree that popups aren't a good solution. users tend to not read popup messages anyway.

    • DFA1979 sa...
    • Abonnent
    • 30 dec 2009, 14:24
    Well, I'd say that (at least in an overwhelming majority of cases), user input isn't necessarily required for the multiple artist problem - dependant upon how clever they can get with data analysis tricks. But if it were made available then it should certainly take precedence over what the last.fm computers think so far as the individual user's library is concerned, yes.

  • Yes, additional user input isn't and shouldn't be required if i just want to scrobble and don't care whether i listen to the '68 studio recording, the '71 live version or the '93 re-recording of my favourite song. But there are many users who do care and want to use their last.fm library as such - a library. what is a library without tools to maintain and retrieve essential metadata?

    As for the how, i once set high hopes in the RDF standard (e.g see this case study). If one abstracts the logic from the concrete xml representation it's exactly what we need here. The difference between id3-tags, last.fm-tags and wiki-tags could vanish completely - dependent upon how clever they can get with data mapping tricks. It's not that developers at last.fm are the first who have had to tax their brains about namespace completion. It was sad to see musicbrainz then mozilla deprecating it - well, 7 years is a long time after all.

  • Re: Re: 7 years - and still no way to have multiple artist with the same name

    FranzJKafka said:
    The main problem is (and that is the problem in EVERY thread about "easy solutions") is that you all conveniently ignore the difference in source for the problem.
    Manually added artists (like on the all the mentioned sites) or automatically added... like here on Last.fm


    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you FranzJKafka!
    Among all the pseudo solutions (aka "workarounds") from the other posters, you name the problem!

    So, please dear LAST.FM community instead of continuously running in circles, acknowledge the cause of the problem!

    AND CREATE A DAMN FAQ ENTRY EXPLAINING THAT THERE IS NO WAY OF HAVING MULTIPLE ARTIST WITH THE SAME NAME BECAUSE ARTIST PAGES ARE AUTOMATICALLY CREATED.


    Of course the question is still unanswered, why the problem hasn't been fixed.

    I see two options:

    - Option A: Worldwide adoption of Musicbrainz tagging
    - Option B: Don't automatically create artist pages.


    Option A is hard to implement, because resources and time are always limited.
    Option B is easier to implement. Discuss!



    Did I get it wrong?

    • Duplode sa...
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    • 31 dec 2009, 03:57
    A is unreasonable, B is horrendously counter-productive, therefore the best choice is Option C: keep things as they are the lesser of two evils.

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