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Gracenote, CD Text, and cranky execs.
Old 13th November 2009
  #1
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loujudson's Avatar
Gracenote, CD Text, and cranky execs.

A few months ago I did a mastering job for a compilation CD. Now it is out and I am getting flack rom the producer for not uploading titles to Gracenote so it shows up in iTunes. I am pretty sure I did, but not positive. Sometimes I wait for the replicated CD to do that.

So yesterday morning I re-submitted the titles, and still it does not show up in iTunes this evening. I know it can take a while, but shouldn't 24 hours be enough?

Is it possible that Gracenote doesn't like the CD? Is there anything I can do to get it to work beside using iTunes to submit the titles? Could it NOT be my fault? The producer is saying the record exec is blaming me... but I did send up the titles!

A separate but related issue: The producer at first accused me of not putting CDTEXT on the disc, but they did not ask for that and I have never done it before - perhaps it would have made this a non-problem, but is CD text a normal thing to put on masters? Nobody has asked for it so far. Is CD text a normal thing to do, or only a value added feature to do on request?

All this is beside the fact that the copy I got as a sample will not play in three out of five Macs we have here, it spins and gets ejected - but the record company has not gotten any complaints from anyone beside me and the producer, so they don't care. With only one sample I have no way to tell why it won't work, but the edges of the CD are sharp and rough and it seems like cheap replication to me - could that make it not read? I tried my safety master and it doesn't show up either, but the ejecting CD is weird.

Any help on this?
Lou
Old 13th November 2009
  #2
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
No idea what to do in your specific case; sorry... seems to be a pretty odd project and an odd label if you ask me...

But personally I wouldn't offer submission to Gracenote as a paid or guaranteed service since you have no control over the process. If you want to offer it to a specific client, make sure the client knows that it's just a favour, not what you get paid for.

CD-text is put in reasonably often here, usually only on request, but in attended sessions I often ask / propose it. CD-text can be an additional source for error. I generally only input CD-text if I the client provides a printed list of track names in exact spelling and case.
Old 13th November 2009
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
I know it can take a while, but shouldn't 24 hours be enough?
I think it's up to 48 hours until it gets into the database, if I remember correctly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Is CD text a normal thing to do, or only a value added feature to do on request?
I'm somewhat new to the business, and I don't know if it's normal or not, but I always include it.
Old 13th November 2009
  #4
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loujudson's Avatar
Thanks Robin. Here's what the rpoducer wrote me "[the executive] is furious that you neglected to do that and he says it's standard procedure, not something he should have had to ask you to do. I defended you heavily but in all honesty, i'm not too thrilled that for the first whole month that the CD has been out, people haven't been able to access it on itunes. The music biz is in such bad shape that it's a big deal when something impacts sales as that would do.

Plz keep on top of this to be sure the data does show up within the normal time frame and if it doesn't, plz do whatever needs to be done to get it there."

I had never heard anything about submitting info until this - and usually do it just for my o=wn satisfaction - but nobody asked me to, just blaming for not having it done! I explained that if they have it in iTunes they already bought the friggin CD, but that does not mollify the bill payer.

I'm wondering if Gracenote might not do it on this particular CD for some reason. Never had a problem before...

L
Old 13th November 2009
  #5
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Thanks Robin. Here's what the rpoducer wrote me "[the executive] is furious that you neglected to do that and he says it's standard procedure, not something he should have had to ask you to do. I defended you heavily but in all honesty, i'm not too thrilled that for the first whole month that the CD has been out, people haven't been able to access it on itunes. The music biz is in such bad shape that it's a big deal when something impacts sales as that would do.
I think someone is looking for a scapegoat to cover up their own incompetence. Or are they by any chance trying to get out of paying a bill? Seriously, this sounds pretty ridiculous.

Submitting info to Gracenote is NOT standard procedure in mastering. I've done it only a handful of times, on request, and never for a label. If there was no request to do so, I would not consider doing that; it potentially publishes information about an unreleased product. That's label territory.

And the exec is seriously suggesting that the lack of a CDDB entry / itunes track name recognition would impact CD sales? How? You'd have to have already bought the CD in order to put it in your drive and expect names to show...

Was the album also sold via itunes btw?
Old 13th November 2009
  #6
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jayfrigo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Submission to gracenote, allmusic, Naras, or the New York Times is not the job of the mastering studio. Labels with any experience have people who handle this, along with generating ISRCs, UPCs, (both of which we all will happily encode when given) or other necessary paper trails for a project. It's great if you take a moment to educate the client about how CD-Text is different from CDDB, but that's about as far as your job need take you.
Old 13th November 2009
  #7
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
Submission to gracenote, allmusic, Naras, or the New York Times is not the job of the mastering studio. Labels with any experience have people who handle this, along with generating ISRCs, UPCs, (both of which we all will happily encode when given) or other necessary paper trails for a project. It's great if you take a moment to educate the client about how CD-Text is different from CDDB, but that's about as far as your job need take you.
Thanks! This is what I thought.

L
Old 13th November 2009
  #8
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
I think someone is looking for a scapegoat to cover up their own incompetence. Or are they by any chance trying to get out of paying a bill? Seriously, this sounds pretty ridiculous.

Submitting info to Gracenote is NOT standard procedure in mastering. I've done it only a handful of times, on request. If there was no request to do so, I would not consider doing that; it potentially publishes information about an unreleased product. That's label territory.

And the exec is seriously suggesting that the lack of a CDDB entry / itunes track name recognition would impact CD sales? How? You'd have to have already bought the CD in order to put it in your drive and expect names to show...

Was the album also sold via itunes btw?
Not on iTunes; not even advertised yet as far as I can see. Niche market item. I submit to database routinely just because I like to see it there. You may be right!
L
Old 13th November 2009
  #9
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24-96 Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
Not on iTunes; not even advertised yet as far as I can see. Niche market item. I submit to database routinely just because I like to see it there. You may be right!
L
Maybe they thought that submitting the disc info to CDDB would somehow publish the album on itunes? That would be seriously misguided / clueless, but it could explain why they're talking of lost sales...
Old 13th November 2009
  #10
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Verified Member
You should not be using i-tunes for that!

Gracenote: Content Partner Program
Old 13th November 2009
  #11
Yea, I used to work for Gracenote, labels 'round the world send a copy of each release to them for cataloging/entry. Some entries are made by users, but they're not flagged as reliable by gracenote, and tend to be overwritten by professionally-inputted info. Why would a mastering engineer be submitting composer/arranger information to Gracenote? Makes no sense, since the mastering house typically doesn't have the liner notes to the CD.
Old 13th November 2009
  #12
pmx
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sounds like a mixup to me. your client thinks that by adding trackdata to gracenote their album will be published in the itunes catalog too. maybe you can point them to cdbaby or some equivalent?
Old 13th November 2009
  #13
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lowland's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 24-96 Mastering View Post
CD-text can be an additional source for error. I generally only input CD-text if I the client provides a printed list of track names in exact spelling and case.
Same here. I never add CD-text by default, only if specifically requested.

Lou, your treatment sounds both out of order and unnecessary. As Robin said, this smacks of scapegoating combined with procedural ignorance - hope the situation resolves itself via re-education of producer and label.
Old 13th November 2009
  #14
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Table Of Tone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
8 Reviews written
I always ask the client for ISRC's and also inform them that they won't be getting airplay without them!
I normally explain to them that CD text can sometimes cause issues with certain plants and that it may be best to leave it off!
I'll also tell them that either they, or their label have to register with gracenotes.

I will supply a set of wave's with all titles, copyright info and ISRC's (in comments section) in the attributes.
I'll double check and verify all info attached!
I make these so that when the iTunes admin puts them together in the correct running order, with zero seconds in between, they play exactly like the CD.

It is definitely not the mastering engineer's job to register an artists material with gracenotes!
Old 13th November 2009
  #15
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just.sounds's Avatar
Next thing they ask you why you did not press the cd's print the booklets and advertized nationwide tutt
Old 13th November 2009
  #16
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carlsaff's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I feel for you. This story makes me feel good about my long-standing company policy of *never* submitting info to the CDDB. The less my work has anything to do with proofreading the better.
Old 13th November 2009
  #17
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
A few months ago I did a mastering job for a compilation CD. Now it is out and I am getting flack rom the producer for not uploading titles to Gracenote so it shows up in iTunes. I am pretty sure I did, but not positive. Sometimes I wait for the replicated CD to do that.
Did you have a verbal or written agreement with the producer that you would be responsible for a Gracenote upload?

Are you using the Gracenote official content provider application or are you attempting to upload information via Itunes? Itunes submissions can take weeks to be resolved and are often rejected because Gracenote has to be especially careful that someone doesn't try to respell "Elton" into "Shmelton" in a fake submission.

Regardless, I can help you get out of this mess if you do not have the Gracenote application. We have the Gracenote Content Provider application and can submit the information for you (for a small fee, we only charge $25 for the service!). The Gracenote application is the only official way to get past the red tape and waiting list that comes from the zillions of unaffiliated people who attempt to upload information via Itunes. Sorry about your troubles. Contact me privately if you need this help.
Old 13th November 2009
  #18
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
You should not be using i-tunes for that!

Gracenote: Content Partner Program
Bob, what would you suggest to do it with?
No, never mind. Wait a minute. Seeing Bob Katz's reply too, I see it should not be my responsibility. I'll refer it back to the client!


Lou
Old 13th November 2009
  #19
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loujudson's Avatar
thanks to everyione for all the info. This thread plus some comment from DAW-MAC let me write this to the client, and she quoted me directly to the executive. We'll just see what response comes up! I also applied for the partner program just to see if that helps...

I wrote:

"1. It is not standard practice for the mastering person to enter the info to the database. If others do, it is either as a specific, contractual (and paid) agreement, or a courtesy done by the engineer (which I have always done, to the best of my ability, and did on this production). If [others] have done so, it is because they have record label accounts (see #2) and not just iTunes.

2. The proper way to assure the titles being correct and guaranteed is to be signed in as a partner with Gracenote:
http://www.gracenote.com/content_partner/
which says: "For the first time, Gracenote is allowing the **record labels** to directly edit and manage the music information about their artists. The result is a richer, more interesting and complete music experience for millions of music fans around the world.
If you are interested in obtaining additional information about the Content Partner Program or joining the Program, please complete the form below and click "request info"."

This is record label responsibility, not mastering, unless specifically requested.

3. iTunes is not the best way to do this - as a public free program, Gracenote does not always let the information submitted with iTunes to go online, to prevent erroneous info and pranks from wise guys.

I DID submit the information same as I have in the past, and do not have control over whether or not it shows up.

And, given the low quality of the only copy I have seen, it is possible that variations in individual CD copies may prevent it from working too. Commercial CDs should not be rejected by ordinary computers!

I am requesting information from Gracenote to see if I qualify for the partners program for the future.

Hope this helps

<L>"
Old 13th November 2009
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Sensater's Avatar
 

I had the same problem this summer...I mastered a cd for a woman and got an angry call that I had entered the wrong cd text info. In fact, I hadn't entered any, but itunes matched it up to another cd from their database that was incorrect (btw, do they do this by song length?) In researching the issue I discovered that itunes does NOT use cd text to get info about the disc....that info of course comes from Gracenote. I submitted the info via itunes and emailed Gracenote about the issue. They told me to send them a copy of the cd which I did. Months have gone by and the wrong info still pops up when the cd is inserted, very disappointing. Bob, I will take you up on that offer!

On another forum a while ago I read a story about a mastering engineer who explained to the band he was working with that cd text is not very useful, that online databases are the way computers get their cd info these days, and that in his opinion it was only useful in car cd players. So, the band decided to put some hokey cd text on their cd to play with people a bit....song one was called 'Check oil' song 2 was called 'slow down', or something to that effect. Etc.

Best,
Steve
Old 13th November 2009
  #21
jdg
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24 Reviews written
had a band have me enter all the CD text for every track/artist/etc as:
READ ERROR 32 EJECT DISC
Old 14th November 2009
  #22
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Tarekith's Avatar
 

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1 Review written
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought GraceNote and iTunes didn't use CD Text for it's info?
Old 14th November 2009
  #23
jdg
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you are not wrong.

there is an itunes script that gets cd-text and applies to track names, but thats as close as it gets
Old 14th November 2009
  #24
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Table Of Tone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
8 Reviews written
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sensater View Post
I had the same problem this summer...I mastered a cd for a woman and got an angry call that I had entered the wrong cd text info. In fact, I hadn't entered any, but itunes matched it up to another cd from their database that was incorrect
That happens all the time with iTunes!
Especially when you put a single track on a CD!
Old 14th November 2009
  #25
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I lost a client because they refused to believe that I had nothing to do with the way their CD showed up in iTunes.

Problem was it was a basic demo CD that they were using to get church jobs and the titles coming up were just plain foul. If you could imagine the most offensive titles for songs you can, this might come close to what came up. I burned a new CD for them with different track lengths, but they refused to believe that I couldn't control it.

On my invoices, I now have a disclaimer that basically explains that I'll give them an error-checked CD, but I'm not responsible for the way it shows up in the online CD databases and iTunes.

--Ben
Old 14th November 2009
  #26
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Table Of Tone's Avatar
 

Verified Member
8 Reviews written
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
I lost a client because they refused to believe that I had nothing to do with the way their CD showed up in iTunes.

Problem was it was a basic demo CD that they were using to get church jobs and the titles coming up were just plain foul. If you could imagine the most offensive titles for songs you can, this might come close to what came up. I burned a new CD for them with different track lengths, but they refused to believe that I couldn't control it.

On my invoices, I now have a disclaimer that basically explains that I'll give them an error-checked CD, but I'm not responsible for the way it shows up in the online CD databases and iTunes.

--Ben
I know!
It's a total nightmare when you get a client that's just not buying your best efforts to explain the fact that you are not responsible for iTunes!
Old 14th November 2009
  #27
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loujudson's Avatar
While iTunes mixups can happen to anyone, I wrote the partner program on Bob's recommendation and once in, you can use a spcific app they send you and they guarantee it will be right (though you may have to choose amongvarious others that match your criteria).

I once named an hour long radio download and now every hour-long CD has that name - this is in my Mac, not even in itunes.

Live and learn! I'm not losing this client, though, and the exec has apologized after I informed him with "just the facts, ma'am" - all's well that ends well.

L

PS - oh, and I wrote to Gracenote support and a nice woman there is looking for my title, even without yet being a partner! We'll see how that shakes down.
L
Old 14th November 2009
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Table Of Tone View Post
I know!
It's a total nightmare when you get a client that's just not buying your best efforts to explain the fact that you are not responsible for iTunes!
Yeah- horrible client. She "talked to other engineers" that convinced her that it was indeed my fault. (of course, she couldn't tell me who she talked to) This was even after I presented her with the facts. In the end, I had to threaten to take her to court to get paid as she didn't think this made the job worthy of payment. When word got back that she was slandering me because of this, I had to get a note written to her to stop or risk a lawsuit for professional defamation.

Glad to have her out of my life. Ugh...

--Ben
Old 15th November 2009
  #29
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philip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdg View Post
had a band have me enter all the CD text for every track/artist/etc as:
READ ERROR 32 EJECT DISC
Old 15th November 2009
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
1 Review written
Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
I lost a client because they refused to believe that I had nothing to do with the way their CD showed up in iTunes.

Problem was it was a basic demo CD that they were using to get church jobs and the titles coming up were just plain foul. If you could imagine the most offensive titles for songs you can, this might come close to what came up. I burned a new CD for them with different track lengths, but they refused to believe that I couldn't control it.

On my invoices, I now have a disclaimer that basically explains that I'll give them an error-checked CD, but I'm not responsible for the way it shows up in the online CD databases and iTunes.

--Ben
I had the same problem with a client. Their songs were coming up on ITUNES with different names. They accused me of not getting the CD text right on their CD but I told to tell them that I had never put any text in their CD and then they got really upset. We normally DO NOT put in CD text and ONLY do it when a client specifically asks us to (after I explain to them what problems can come up with duplication when they include CD text.) they said their "engineer" told them that this was a normal part of mastering and they refused to pay. After many hours of negotiation and after showing them links to this web board and others I was able to convince them that a it was not my mistake that their tunes were showing up wrong on ITunes and that it was not a "normal " procedure to put in CD text when I was not asked to do it. I finally got paid

I feel for ya!
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