Inaccuracies in Gracenote's CDDB (the online CD database)

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Hi, good day.
Sorry to bother you Steven, but you appear to have knowledge of CD databases.
My company is in the process of opening an online retail store in South Africa.
One of our product lines is the sale of CDs over the internet.
We have now become a distributer of Sony and receive a catalogue every week.
Our problem is this, that although we receive an excel spreadsheet of over 9000 CDs none of them have any form of description(other than the Artist, title and barcode). We obviously need more information than the title, such as description, genre, date released etc. and also need a picture of the CD cover.

What I would like to know is whether you know of any database or software that can read a .txt/.xls file containing just barcodes(UPC), and perform auto cataloguing in batch mode? I have tried such programs as Readerware but it cannot find many of the barcodes. For example barcodes that start with 600(South african), 746(Dominican Republic), 428(Germany) etc. If we went with this product we would have to manually get the info for more than 6500 Cds.
Do you know of any database/software program that allows you to search on barcode, that would find all barcodes Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Because many CDs were made before this technology was in use and there was no need for a CD to have information on track names on it.

I know this is old now, but I have just been researching the problem of gracenote's inaccuracies. Is there a way that I can submit corrections to the database? It's very annoying knowing that people can't spell the name of the person whose album they have just bought, and that many other people are going to have to deal with this incompetence!

Thanks

Agreed.

Though isn't there a fascination with centralised services, like the Gracenote CD database? Ordinarily, a centralised service isn't itself the fault, but the human responsible for it's accuracy.

Firstly for those wishing for text on the CD - have you considered that if this were possible it would naturally have been done yonks ago? It's not rocket science. In breif: the audio CD format (CD-DA, described by Sony and Phillips in the "red book" if you want to look it up) has been around long before people were ripping them to computers and compiling databases of tracks. At that time, an audio CD was designed to be played in high quality, on an audio CD player. There was zero concern for bits and bytes (which make up text on a computer) only notes and sounds. Thus, while the audio CD format is digital, it is all sound - including text would only cause your CD player to make some odd noises.

Of course, since then the CD-ROM (and friends) format has been developed and we can store whatever we like on them. Incidentally, since the original format was never designed to be bit perfect (small read and write errors can be made and you wont really hear it) there's a fair bit of redundancy involved in getting reliable data on the CD platform.

Lately, some people have tried to squeeze things into audio CDs to do things other than make sound. Heard of DRM, KeyAudio, Cactus and Sony's "Rootkit"? These guys broke the audio CD format in an attempt to introduce copy-protection. In the process they managed to break CD drives, render CDs useless in some players, and piss a hell of a lot of people off. I like my audio CD format in original flavour, thank you.

Anyway, with that out of the road I wanted to comment on Jonathan's original post. I've just been reading up on Gracenote's peccant practices concerning their database. I was actually looking for the details on how submissions are received - I too inserted a CD the other day which was populated with erroneous names, so I made the changes and submitted back. In other globally accessible and user contributed communities, the review process is open and verifiable. Not so with Gracenotes it seems. Aside from the occasional crass vandalism, I'd expect music lovers to overwhelming tend towards an accurate database. It's a pity that the most popular database then, is so closed in its practices. Who reviews the submissions? What guidelines do they use? Why not all submissions to be verified. Admittably, this is no small task, but for such a service the community would surely support!

Here's my wish - iTunes allowed you to select your own database provider, so consumers could vote with their feet and leave Gracenote to wallow in their proprietrary, greedy mess.

That said, the service has on the whole, been immensely valuable and reliable. There's just a few cracks at the seams...

Heath, Gracenote does not allow application makers to let users choose which database to use. If you want to access Gracenote, then that's it! No competitors allowed.

Bizarre omission: Johnny Cash's American albums are hardly the most obscure platters around. Slammed one in a couple of days ago. No track composer information.

My biggest pet peave with Gracenotes is the inability to submit cd info with multiple artists, you know, a wacky thing called compilations! Huh?

But how can a person edit the information on Gracenote's files when it is incorrect?

Hello George,

Thanks for your comment but you've hit upon the problem that I, along with several other people have hit upon - you simply can't edit the Gracenote database.

You can however edit the track information on your own computer and make the corrections.

HI there! Im new to this gracenote and find it a pain, as when i use my sony disc to phone software it sometimes works and when it doesnt it says "unable to contact gracenote check ur internet connection" when my connection is absolutely fine!Any tips out there? many thnx Robin.

Whilst the inaccuracies in Gracenote are annoying/infuriating with the Creative Media Source Organizer that came with my sound card I find it Very easy to change and submit the correct info to the Gracenote database. I am also able to submit to the Database the Track/Artist info that does not appear when I play a CD that is not in the Database. Overall I find it very good it is just down to people (as usual) inputing the wrong info that throws up the inaccuracies, also its FREE.

Hi Jonathan, it's been interesting reading all the replies to your original question. In fact, I found this site with a google search for "gracenote cddb database", and this site was second on the list!

My experience with using a CDDB service started out with MusicMatch a few years ago, then Windows Media Player (I know, I know, a temporary lapse of sanity, I assure you), and now I have settled on WinAmp. The first 2 players also accessed public CDDB's, and I remember finding that there were many errors in the titles, as well as many inconsistencies, like some with all words using uppercase, some with normal sentence case, and worse still, some with all lower case.

Since moving to WinAmp, which is hardcoded to use Gracenote, I have found a few errors, but to be honest (and potentially controversial!), far less than the other CDDB's.

Having said that, I popped in a CD for which there were no CDDB entries, so WinAmp allows the upload of information that I type in to be written back to the Gracenote CDDB. Alas, I made some serious mistakes, which I only found out after I played the ripped files. However, like mentioned a few times above, once the information has been sent to the Gracenote's database, there was no way for me to go back and correct it.

In their defence however, if they did allow that, how would they control, or quality check this activity? There are real slimebuckets out there that would delight in wrecking something that works well (albeit most times). It is often the few that spoil it for the majority, that's just life.

Bottom line is that for me, the service is free, and it saves me a heap of keystrokes and time, so I can put up with a few errors here and there?

...would be nice to be able to right my wrong though. I feel a bit stink about it actually.

Cheers, Sean

I think a public database will always be inaccurate. Data checking is impossible. I wonder if the library of Congress has a database of published, or at least copyrighted material.

CD text is great, and will eventually become universally accepted, once old players die out. As for obscure and/or old titles, I don't think you can do much more than is being done now. There is certainly no budget for an army of data entry clerks to obtain and record everything ever made ever.

This is a problem for me specifically, since I am a musician releasing material independently. I want to make sure that my info is available accurately to all listeners. This is, surprisingly a huge pain in the ass, as nobody in the whole world seems to be an authority on the subject! There are many on-line databases, none of which make it easy to understand the process of making a responsible data entry. But if I don't do it, someday I will find my CD listed as "Forky Buttocks and Peanut Halogen" or John Cougar will come up instead.

Anyway: There's no substitute for solid research. Beleive it or not, you can find out a lot of interesting things trying to track down an artist or piece.

2 cents and more
JC

Hi Sean, just a thought: When you've uploaded track info with errors, what prevents you from correcting the error and uploading again with the correct info?

I recently decided to rip a whole pile of compilation albums mainly for use in my car (about 280) using a ripping program that has access to the database and the errors are horrendous! Some popular tracks appear more than once on different albums and, because of the inconsistency of presentation, the program thinks they are different and lists them accordingly, as separate tracks, even though they are identical. Yes, it does save an awful lot of typing but I have still had to go through the whole lot, doing corrections and deleting the duplicates. Errors are: blatant spelling mistakes, e.g. Gerry (Jerry) and (&) the Pacemakers (Peacemakers - and worse!), upper case, lower case, artist and title reversals, separated by a dash or slash, "creative spelling". i.e. words ending in "ing" spelt "in`" (Very American, that!), "&" or "and", odd gaps, first letters not capitalised, first name/last name reversals, odd apostrophes thrown in, or not where they should be - the list just goes on and on! It`s taken me months of scrutiny and, even now, sometimes an error just hits me between the eyes where I haven`t noticed it before. Probably works OK for single-artist albums, but compilations are not the strong point!

For those who find inaccuracies in Gracenote's database, it may be possible to provide the company with your corrections. All you need to do is install iTunes, insert the CD, and do File > Get Info on the tracks you want to correct. After making your corrections, do Advanced > Submit CD Track Names. This appears to send the information you entered to Gracenote, even if the CD was already in the company's database. Of course, whether Gracenote will actually put your corrections into the database or simply ignore them, I have no idea.

I have regularly found errors in the Gracenote song naming service. It names the tracks incorrectly very often and sometimes even has the completely wrong artist for the whole album. I am forced to manually rename these files. Out of a few hundred CDs that I just added to my computer I found dozens of errors which tok me hours to fix. Why is a service like this that should be error-free and provided by WinAmp, Windows Media Player and iTunes so full of errors?

"Unable to contact Gracenote - please check your network connection" - when I am on Internet! Any ideas? I am using Vista Premium with WMP11. I have reinstalled Vista a few times recently and EVERY time Gracenote worked, but after the last reinstall, it fails to get the song names due to not getting on Internet! I have checked my firewall and opened all ports, not that, i closed them after!!

Can you help?

Tony

Hi Tony I have the same problem. It is happening more and more with many different cds, occasionally it works. I also dont get my album art coming up on my ericsson anymore.
Sorry I couldn't help, but I am very frustrated also.

Try another disc - that one was faulty! It would not work on WMP either!! Other discs WORK!! Took a call to Dell to figure our - idiot!

They may have fixed a BSOD issue - see.....

it seems you can re-submit CD info, esp if it is different, and then people can choose which version of data they want. at least i think so...

If anyone is considering purchasing a digital jukebox-then think again. i purchased one only to find that Gracenote is rubbish. I have thousands of vinyl singles & albums that i have been transfering onto cd. After reading brilliant reviews about Gracenote recognising vinyl LPs, i thought great i'll buy a digital jukebox. To my horror Gracenote has not recognised one LP or track. So far i have loaded no less than 4000 tracks from vinyl. Every track has had to have the information submitted manually with the remote. A very tiresome task!
Even worse still, when i load CDs i find that the tracks come up in the wrong order or sometimes doesn't recognise the CD at all. So far Gracenote has failed to recognise 108 CDs. These are not old releases i'm talking about-but brand new.It would be far better if we could plug a keyboard into these digital jukeboxes. This would save struggling with the remote.
If you are like me and have thousands of vinyl & CDs & you are gonna buy a digital juke box, then be prepared to use your fingers & thumbs on the remote

It's been a long while since I first read this thread new questions have arisen. Sorry if this is a bit late in coming but to JC and others who are what the industry calls "content holders". Gracenote has a program to allow artists and record labels to submit track listing information directly. Go to http://www.gracenote.com/content_partner/

If more artists and labels did this, we'd have to rely less on 13-year-olds with no discipline, ability to spell or sense of history to provide our track listings.

One more thing... Gracenote now has an application called TuneUp. It "plugs into iTunes and automatically fixes your missing and mislabeled track information." Another way to says this is that it "seeks out and automatically removes all of your labored-over corrections to the myriad errors in our database. We were going to call it ErrorMatic but the PR guys wouldn't buy off on it."

I wouldn't think all the CD selling companies would want to support folks copying their CDs to computer and getting all the names right. I think they would prefer you buy more copies of the CD as years go by and read the liner notes.

Also, musicians, being artsy folks, don't spell stuff conventionally all the time on the actual song or album titles. They don't capitalize or capitalize letters in the middle of words. They run words together. Use "B" for "be" and all sorts of wierd stuff.

If they let us know the automatic rules, someone would figure out a way to have bots submit song names to get around the rules, too.

Different versions of CDs sometimes use different languages.

I like the song titles to have a lot of words beginning with an upper case letter but not tiny words like "A" or "Of" or "To" so how does my preference fit into what they do. Theoretically I should do it just as it appears on the CD cover listing. Who knows what rules they use.

So how does someone sitting at Gracenote figure out who among all the submitters is right in any given case. It isn't just good spelling. It works as well as using Google for your spelling checker.

It does seem they could compare all the submissions and, maybe, come up with some sort of algorithm for using the most common submissions but that might not work either. I suspect it's a harder problem than one would think given the volume of data and quirky habits of submitters (as opposed to normal people) and possible sabateurs or people gaming the system and such.

Gracenote is a horrible service. If you find an error, you should be able to go to their website and fix it, but that isn't possible. Clearly, they have no interest in any of this. It's my guess they're probably just datamining.

Interestingly, Lee, it seems that using DBPoweramp for ripping does, indeed, choose the consensus among its four data sources. It would be nice if it could also include Gracenote for the times they do have better information, but that seems to be impossible. Granted, it is not a free program, and even requires an annual subscription to cover some of the paid data sources, but it should really be a labor saver if you have a lot of ripping/tagging to do. I haven't chosen to spend the money yet, but that's because I've already done most of the hard work manually.

As a side note, "Album Art Downloader" queries a couple dozen sites that will return proposed cover art. The algorithm to choose the correct cover resides between your ears, but it's rare not to find the correct one in the vast array of choices. Another, "e-mix cover downloader" is a bit "lighter" but also potentially useful. Both are free.

For two days now I've been loading all the tracks from about 800 CD's from which I had originally only ripped the "best" tracks.
On about half of these, I insert a CD for which Gracenote previously immediately gave the (mostly correct, though frequently incorrect cover art) album data, and get a box from iTunes saying: "The song names for this CD could not be found on line. Do you still want to import the songs?"
This is for CD's that Gracenote found easily before! It is a BIG hassle to type them all in. What's going on? Has their database been corrupted?

Hi there - did you manage to find a solution?

So... To answer the question about submitting corrections to Gracenotes DB...

You can do this easily in iTunes. Simply do the following:

1) with the CD inserted in your drive, make sure the CD is selected in the iTunes source pane on the left hand side
2) right click (or Control click on a Mac)
3) make your corrections on the various tabs and click OK
4) pull down the Advanced menu and click Submit CD Track Names

Now... hopefully someone at Gracenotes will approve your edits...

Just tried to import an audio book and Gracenote gave me the exact same info for each CD of the book. What's worse-the name of the book and of the author are incorrect! What gives??

Music Piracy and especialy P2P softwares may have to do with the incorrect infos and grammers. Really how many people really buy and listen to genuine Audio CD and DVD stuff.

I think the audio files id tags' majority best matches picked by the server which itself is like a robot service will create a wrong fingerprint with the server database. Experts please correct me!

Well, oh my..... Gracenote named my file 'Fairground Attraction - Perfect' when it's actually 'Oleta Adams - Get Here'.... What the ?????

Found this thread whilst seeking a solution myself.

You might find this link useful... http://www.gracenote.com/about/FAQs/#typo

The FAQ following it (guidelines for submitting) was also informative I thought.

MP3 Download providers such as WE7 and play.com are a convenient way of adding to your music collection but all too frequently one or more tracks of an album are not available for download so gracenote cannot match up the abbreviated playlist with the album details, gracenote frequently resorts to providing alternate album details for complete albums so why ?? not include a best fit algorithm into the gracenote CDDB for abbreviated albums.

When I am lucky enough to get gracenote to send back the info so I dont have to type it all, its most often all screwed up.  One album of a pair will be entered totally different by two or three different people down there, without them even checking to see how it was done before.  

In a set of 15, I get info on 6 of them and the rest cannot be found.

On and on we go, what a train wreck!

We need to have some correction input and someone to measure up to the task they have failed at far too many times.  I would  be willing to pay for such a service and blow off gracenotes poor service.

By the way, GPS is not much better, and also without a face to deal with needed corrections.  My 100 plus homes where I live has never showed up on the map.  When I have to go somewhere, I am led to streets nearby that do not even connect.  With both gracenote and gps needing correcting input, they either need to allow it, or someone else needs to come up to bat.  

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