iTunes: Pre-selling songs from the past, in the not-too-distant-future, NOW! - Macenstein

iTunes: Pre-selling songs from the past, in the not-too-distant-future, NOW!

Due to some poor musical choices I have been asked to buy for my family, my weekly iTunes “My Alerts” newsletter has been poisoned, and is full of all sorts of lame upcoming releases. Apparently, Mandy Moore, Natasha Bedignfield, AND The Backyardigans all have albums dropping next week, and iTunes thinks I want to know about it.

Above: The Hives’ Barely Legal album, as displayed in “My Alerts”

However, one group I was happy to see mentioned in my alerts this week is The Hives. I had been aware of them for years, but only recently bought one of their albums (The Black and White Album, which I highly recommend) and now consider myself a fan. So I was quite happy to see iTunes “alert” me that The Hives’ Barely Legal Album would be debuting in the iTunes store next week, on January 29th, 2008.

Above: The Hives’ Barely Legal album, as displayed on their “artist” page.

Interestingly enough, though, when I clicked on the link, I found that not only was it already available (on the 22nd) but it was listed with a 1997 release date, and a 2004 © Copyright date. Furthermore, clicking “The Hives” artist link brings up their catalog, where Barely Legal is given a 1996 Release date.

Above: The Hives’ Barely Legal album, as displayed on the actual album page.

Now, the great thing about “discovering” a band with an established catalog is you suddenly have access to a ton of albums worth of music to catch up on, kind of like when I “discovered” Led Zeppelin in high school. But I just found it a little odd that one album would have so many different release dates in an online store where presumably the information is tagged digitally once in a central database, and then automatically displayed throughout the store. Discovering a music group isn’t quite the same as discovering the works of a great author where sometimes reading their books in order is necessary, but it would be nice if it was easier to know the order in which these albums were released, as it is nice to follow a band’s evolution. I can’t figure out why one album would show up with up to 3 or more release dates in the same online store. The only date that really matters to consumers is the date the physical album hit the shelves of brick and mortar stores.

Above: The Hives’ Veni Vidi Vicious album is listed twice on their “artist” page.

Adding to the confusion (again with The Hives) is their Veni Vidi Vicious album is listed twice in the store. On their discology page, both listings are listed with 2000 release years. Yet clicking on them reveals identical albums, one with a 2000 date, and one with a 2000 date, and a 2002 © Copyright date. The only difference I can see is that for some reason one of these albums (the 2000-only one) allows for the making of iTunes ringtones from the songs as well.

Obviously this is not the end of the world, but again, just something I think adds unnecessary confusion to the online purchasing experience, especially when you are trying to listen to an artist’s catalog in order of release.

One Response to “iTunes: Pre-selling songs from the past, in the not-too-distant-future, NOW!”
  1. imajoebob says:

    Sometimes I wonder if they just chuck the algorithms for these lists and just throw crap out there to see what happens. Make sure you don’t buy any Hives clicking on that, or you’ll get Mandy Moore the rest of your life.

    For a listen of some really good contemporary music try “Morning Becomes Eclectic” from KCRW, or any of their music shows/podcasts. How else can you explain someone barely under 50 with an iTunes library that includes Nelly McKay, Nouvelle Vague (and can pronounce both of those correctly), The Thrills, and Rufus Wainright – I even went to see him perform live outside a record shop on Oxford Street in 2004. I really impressed the girls at my niece’s wedding when I knew that Tom Jones did “Burning Down The House” with The Cardigans Well, as much as a middle aged guy can impress 20-somethings…

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