Improve Credits

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  • Idea
  • Updated 6 years ago
  • Under Consideration
I haven't spent a lot of time on your new website yet, but what I see so far is fantastic.

Here's one thing that's still problematic for me. I don't know how hard it would be to fix because it involves content as well as presentation, but it's the album credits page. For jazz at least, the most important credits by far are the musicians on the album. Not the composers, not the graphic designers, not the caterer. I always have to dig through a huge list of irrelevant credits to find what I'm looking for. To use a random example, the album "Hear No Evil" by the Jon Jarvis Trio has the following credits. It's a trio, for crying out loud.

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Sidney Arodin Composer
Johnny Burke Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Newell Chase Composer
Chick Corea Composer
Walter Donaldson Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Frank Foster Composer
George "Pops" Foster Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Joel Gordon Engineer, Producer
Steve Gottlieb Executive Producer
Lorenz Hart Composer
John Jarvis Composer
Jon Jarvis Composer, Primary Artist
Arthur Johnston Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Cole Porter Composer
Leo Robin Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Anthony Weller Composer, Producer
Benjamin Wheelock Design
Richard A. Whiting Composer
Jean Witter Portraits
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Not only are the composers a near meaningless credit to give (since you can't tell from the list which songs they composed), but in this case, it doesn't even give the credits for the musicians. It does mention Jarvis, but not his instrument, and it doesn't mention the other two musicians (Anthony Weller and Bob Nieske) at all.

If nothing else, you could sort the list by role first, then by name within each role. Better yet would be to also identify and relegate the less important roles to the end. For another random example, the Gerry Mulligan Quartet "Dream a Little Dream" credits could look like this instead of the jumbled mess that they are online:

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Gerry Mulligan Sax (Baritone), Composer, Liner Notes
Bill Mays Piano
Ted Rosenthal Piano
Dean Johnson Bass
Ron Vincent Drums
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Anilda Carrasquillo Art Direction, Cover Design
Fabian André Composer
Harold Arlen Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Johnny Burke Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Harry Clarkson Composer
Stuart Gorrell Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Sigmund Romberg Composer
Wilbur Schwandt Composer
Mel Tormé Composer
James Van Heusen Composer
Peter Van Steeden Composer
Alec Wilder Composer
Michael Bishop Editing, Mixing
Jack Renner Engineer
Robert Woods Executive Producer
Eric Fowler Illustrations
John Snyder Producer
Elaine Martone Production Supervisor
Robert Friedrich Technical Assistance
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or still better, like this, since the composer credits can be obtained from the review page:

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Gerry Mulligan Sax (Baritone), Composer, Liner Notes
Bill Mays Piano
Ted Rosenthal Piano
Dean Johnson Bass
Ron Vincent Drums
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Anilda Carrasquillo Art Direction, Cover Design
Michael Bishop Editing, Mixing
Jack Renner Engineer
Robert Woods Executive Producer
Eric Fowler Illustrations
John Snyder Producer
Elaine Martone Production Supervisor
Robert Friedrich Technical Assistance
-------------------------------------------------------------------


Thanks for working on the site!
Photo of Patriot Act

Patriot Act

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Posted 8 years ago

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Photo of Zac Johnson

Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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I agree that we could do more to present our credits in a clearer fashion. I very much like your solution of splitting "Performers" from "Technical/Composer" credits. We'll see what data is available to us to be able to sort and display credits better.
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rootsmusic

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Zac, you can merge this idea with https://getsatisfaction.com/allmusic/...
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rootsmusic

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Zac, you can merge this with the problem at https://getsatisfaction.com/allmusic/...
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rootsmusic

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Zac, I'm commenting on your question at https://getsatisfaction.com/allmusic/... . I love the tool to filter by credit in the artist's credits section, which should also be available in the album's credits section. Sorting credits isn't very helpful when a person is credited with many roles on an album. If we can click to select multiple credits within the drop-down list, then we can select which "performing credits" to display!
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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When we looked at practical applications for this, the majority of albums have *relatively* few credits so we thought the filter (and especially selecting multiple album credits from a drop down) might be more effort than would be useful I. Most cases. I do like the concept of displaying performing credits apart from production credits but we don't seem to capture that data for that distinction at this time.

We'll keep thinking on it, but it may not be at the top of our list for now.
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Tom McEvoy

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Strongly agree w/the need for clearer credits and easier to find performers, esp for jazz albums. Hope this one is implemented!
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George Vagenas

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Hard to implement or not its a really good idea. But at a minimum please list the instruments a performer plays.

Thanks

George
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Peter Durso

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Having the credits is critical data.

To be crass about it - if the desire is to have me stick around long enough and poke around the site far and wide so that I may stream from one of your partners or purchase from iTunes I have to have a compelling reason to be here in the first place. I have found the Wikipedia, which also has it's issues, is more likely to give me musician data more usefully.
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Chrysta Cherrie

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Thanks for the feedback, Peter.

Unfortunately, we don't have any mechanisms to better display/differentiate/split out credits based on what we get from our data provider, and the demand for such a feature hasn't been strong enough for us to devote development resources to devising a process on our end.

Other things to keep in mind: 1. I don't know Wikipedia's policy, but our data provider's policy is to enter data as it is presented in the album packaging plus anything that may come in through digital feeds; they do not add further credits unless there's some way to validate them (or else hundreds of people would erroneously be credited as, say, performing on Bob Dylan albums).

2. Despite #1, due to resource constraints on our data provider's end some albums go through "light entry" and only have basic credits added to the system. If you spot an album that you think went through "light entry" and think it deserves the full treatment, you may email our data provider (content dot music at rovicorp dot com) and suggest that they consider pulling the album from their archive and doing full entry on it. If you can provide a scan/link from an official source (artist, distributor, label, licensing/performing rights organization, manager, publicist, publisher, etc.) that validates the fact that the album went through "light entry" along with your message, even better.

Thanks.
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Charlie Martien

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From a jazz fan's perspective, the credits are extremely lame.  Jazz albums ALWAYS include detailed credits of who plays what on which tracks, Allmusic fails to do so.  Here is an obvious example:  the liner notes for Kind of Blue, almost universally regarded as the greatest jazz album of all time, lists Wynton Kelly as playing piano on track 2, Bill Evans on all other tracks.  Allmusic just lists them both as playing piano.  Even Wikipedia lists the detailed information. 
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Chrysta Cherrie

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Hi Charlie,If you haven't already, I recommend reading some of the recent replies from Zac and me in this-here thread. It will give you a better understanding of the process and its limitations.
Thanks.
Photo of Peter Durso

Peter Durso

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From a customer service viewpoint it surprises me that a site that not only is currently trying to attract music consumers but also has a lineage traced back to the "all About" book series (which had exhaustive - I mean really anal - data about the albums and artists that were listed) has such a tin ear (pun intended) with regard to how important this data is to us.

The explanations of the challenges befuddle me. This data is available. To say "it's hard to do" just pushes me to use other sources more and more.

The only explanation that would make sense to me is that just like over the years the exact origin of master tapes has become very sketchy at times it only makes sense that the textual data is becoming suspect as well.

Very sad.
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Zac Johnson, Official Rep

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There are many factors at work behind how we display credits on AllMusic.

Some have to do with the way the data is offered on the album packaging. You are correct that many/most Jazz albums offer this level of track-by-track granularity but the majority of albums do not.  This makes it difficult for us to display data one way for some albums and display it another way for other albums.

Another issue has to do with how we receive the data from our data provider.  The album-level information we receive looks like this:



As you can see, we do not receive information on a track-by-track basis.

Finally, when we look at how AllMusic users are using the site, only 0.23% of our page views are from Credits pages (this includes Artist level credits and Album level credits combined). This number is up from 0.21% in 2012 and 0.13% in 2011.

Believe me we'd love to offer this information to users if there was a straightforward method of gathering it and implementing that info on the site, but these reasons I illustrate stand in our way. I apologize if this means that you are seeking other sources for track-level information, but it is not on our near-term roadmap to make these kinds of updates for the reasons I've listed above.

Thanks.
Zac