From our humble, be-tilde’d beginnings at www.passport.ca/~sinatra we embraced the world wide webs whilst they gently, lovingly ensnared us like baffled houseflies savoring their first tantalizing whiff of vapona.
We partied with a sliver of that first big Mercury Records cheque and invested the rest in gear and rent, so grateful we could do this full time! No more day job for us.
We gasped as the best-intentions-cum-best-laid plans of Starjob Records collapsed into a PolyVersal morass of UniGram.
We paid some attorneys fees.
We adored those Laura Nyro bootlegs and obscure Dodgers sides and Coke Commercials and all the other amazing stuff that showed up unexpectedly on Napster and Soulseek and Gnutella et al. Everything is free now! We did not know we were sealing our own fate.
We grimaced as the economics of music-for-a-living quickly crashed and burned around us like the twin towers of arrogance and naivete they probably were.
We giggled as indie music became the domain of the family-free, mom-and-dad’s-COBRA-insured undergrad living above the garage. Look at us, we formed a band! Any teenager with a Macbook can make music, really there’s nothing to it! We can do this part-time!
Then, we cried
Like a wind that’s always blowing Life is flowing Move on
First, the search engine is awful. For example, I woke up singing Eddy Grant’s “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and thought “Gee, I’d like to hear that. And I wouldn’t mind playing Henry Electric Avenue or Give Me Hope Johanna either.”
So I searched for “Eddy Grant” and started off with this page of gobbledygook:
5% of which appear to be “original artist” albums (none of which resemble the original album covers), followed by 45% cheap-looking soundalike records (sure, the Caribbean and especially Jamaica are famous for their scale of bootlegging, but doesn’t famously fastidious and litigious Apple have ANY quality control over their content? If not, at least over ranking?) The remainder appear to be single tracks on multiple-artist compilations, yet interspersed between those are Eddy Grant or Equals (his original group) releases of potential interest. Trust me, it goes on for another page.
The best part, though, is noting Anal C*nt‘s “Everyone Should Be Killed” smack dab in the middle of the ranking. Turns out AC has a song called “Eddy Grant” (which loosely resembles “Electric Avenue” yet is nowhere near as funny as “I’m Not Allowed to Like AC anymore since they signed to Earache” or “Song Titles Are F**king Stupid.”) Apple’s search engine isn’t even sophisticated enough to exclude it from my ALBUM search.
So while I am sure ICE (Grant’s original label) and Sony (North American licensee) are probably more to blame for Apple Music’s lack of decent releases than Apple is, it does lead one to question — couldn’t Apple have at least one person on staff to browse through the notable artists and make sure they have at least one legitimate, half-decent catalogue best-of? And if not, present the label(s) with a laundry list. If Apple Music is being sold as a best-of-class product, it needs quality catalogue.
I already feel guilty enough for likely reducing the short-term income streams of the artists I like (though I still reflexively buy/download records by the ones I LOVE — it certainly helps when I know they are their own label or work with fair, equitable partners) so why add all this UX friction to the mix?
And could Apple PLEASE poach a few people from Google Search to improve their search engine? (There’s no excuse for how weak iOS App search is, either.)