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major dissapointment: Deutsche Grammophon classical flac downloads
dvdr
post Jan 14 2011, 00:01
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Today, for the first time, I downloaded an album from Deutsche Grammophon - actually, it was the "Complete Chopin Edition" (17 discs). Download was pretty fast (about 2 hours for 3.8 GB), but the disappointment came after looking at the files respectively, how the were tagged: the way they did it rendered the files absolutely useless for proper indexing.
Can you imagine, that they did not even provide a composer-tag for a classical download? Not to mention, that with their tagging, I had not clue, what the provided titles like "1.Allegro" were reffering to (the albumtitle for all 259 files was just "complete Chopin edition").
I'll just copy and paste the mail I wrote them, and I am sure, you'll understand, why I think, that this is an absolute slap in the face of a customer...
----------------------

Dear Madam or Sir,

I want to give you some customer feedback about the Deutsche Grammophon FLAC downloads - unfortunately, it will not be a very positive one. But please consider it an honest effort, to provide you a feedback that enables you to enhance your service.
I just spent 4 (four!) hours in properly tagging the 259 downloaded Flac-files of the "Complete Chopin Collection" - something I would expect already being done by a company, that is reknown for its classical catalogue and for the quality of its products.

All tags, that were present in the files were:
1. Artist
2. Albumtitle
3. Tracktitle
Nothing more! If you want to properly catalogue the files on your computer or streaming server, these tags are of absolute no use:
There were no tracknumbers, no discnumbers, no important tags such as composer, composersort, conductor, orchestra, soloist, period - not even an album cover was inside the tags.
Furthermore, tracktitles were absolutely useless, since they did not reflect anything of what the REAL tracktitle was: what would a tracktitle like "1. Allegro" tell me - especially, when the albumtitle for all 259 files was just "complete chopin edition"? Would you be able to tell, what "1. Allegro" is, when you put the file on your streaming server? It could be from a piano concerto, or just a "prélude".... (btw.: special characters like é were sometimes present, sometimes exchanged to a "T", I had to manually correct the faulty ones as well...).
Try to browse such a collection in the search of a concerto or a single movement, or a single piece - it's impossible!

I would at least expect an albumtitle like "Chopin Complete Edition: Piano Concertos 1&2", that reflects the disc and a tracktitle like "Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11: 1. Allegro maestoso" or "24 Préludes, Op.28: 8. in F sharp minor".
Additionaly, all you provided was ONE single "one for all"-cover. No individual covers for the 17 disks, no linernotes, no PDF of a booklet etc.

As I said, I spent 4 hours to properly do the work I would expect being done by the company, that is selling me these files.

Considering, that the download does have about the same price as the physical discs, I'd rather buy the discs, store them as a backup and rip them using dBpoweramp and the extensive auto-tagging capabilities included (AMG, GD3 etc.).

I hope, that you consider my customer feedback being, what it is: an honest opinion expressed with the hope, that this service might get the quality-standard, that it should have.
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googlebot
post Jan 14 2011, 00:58
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Sad thing when dinosaurs run a company. Good tags are such a fundamental thing, especially for classical music.

If a company finally decides to enter the download business, it shouldn't offer worse quality and comfort than what one usually gets from pirates.

This post has been edited by googlebot: Jan 14 2011, 01:40
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birdie
post Jan 14 2011, 01:01
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Take it easy, and use any tagging application which can tag local tracks using CDDB smile.gif I bet all the music you've downloaded already exists in CDDB databases.
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Billytheonion
post Jan 14 2011, 01:06
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If one is paying top dollar for music downloads one would expect the meta data to be pretty much in excellent shape.

This post has been edited by Billytheonion: Jan 14 2011, 01:07
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cyberdux
post Jan 14 2011, 01:43
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Agreed. The metadata is pathetic (miserably inadequate is the dictionary definition for pathetic) for FLAC purchases. The one album I bought in mp3 was good, included a pdf booklet and overall was professional.

Hope DG will improve.
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Nessuno
post Jan 14 2011, 08:43
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QUOTE (dvdr @ Jan 14 2011, 00:01) *
...
I hope, that you consider my customer feedback being, what it is: an honest opinion expressed with the hope, that this service might get the quality-standard, that it should have.


Please, let us know when (and if) you get a reply from them...


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Nessuno
post Jan 14 2011, 09:23
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QUOTE (birdie @ Jan 14 2011, 01:01) *
Take it easy, and use any tagging application which can tag local tracks using CDDB smile.gif I bet all the music you've downloaded already exists in CDDB databases.


it could be not so easy as it seems: normally CDDB database records for classical discs are so ill formed, unstandardized and lacking of fundamental informations that are only useful as a starting point for subsequent massive hand editing, with the help of the booklet. So this case, as the OP reported it, seems even worse than actually ripping from 17 physical CDs!


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dvdr
post Jan 14 2011, 11:00
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QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jan 14 2011, 09:23) *
QUOTE (birdie @ Jan 14 2011, 01:01) *
Take it easy, and use any tagging application which can tag local tracks using CDDB smile.gif I bet all the music you've downloaded already exists in CDDB databases.


it could be not so easy as it seems: normally CDDB database records for classical discs are so ill formed, unstandardized and lacking of fundamental informations that are only useful as a starting point for subsequent massive hand editing, with the help of the booklet. So this case, as the OP reported it, seems even worse than actually ripping from 17 physical CDs!


@Birdie: it's exactly, how Nessuno is writing: even using MP3tag, where I can not only lookup freedb, but also musicbrainz, discogs and Amazon, this "auto-tagging" is mostly of no big help. At least, you most of the times get decent track- and albumtitles, and tracknumbers (still can't get over it, that these also were missing!!!!). But vital tags like composer, genre and orchestra, plus a proper formatting of multiple artist with a ; separator still require hand editing.
In my early days of backing up my CD-collection, I used to work with EAC (and freedb) and had later on to re-tag about 200 CDs manually: especially when you love classical music, Jazz and musicals, you need a bunch of tags to properly index your music. That's why a am such a big fan of dBpoweramp and it's great tagging options including AMG, Sinfonie and GD3.
Deutsche Grammophon has all tags (even the more advanced ones) in their database (you'll be surprised when you physically rip the CDs, how many tags they must have provided to AMG and GD3, that dBpoweramp will lookup and apply), so I think one can expect that from them in their downloads as well. Including a well-made pdf of the booklet...

btw.: I would happily pay a small fee to lookup professional databases, since dBpoweramp is limited to rip&lookup and does not provide any way to later on apply tag-lookup of individual files. Does anyone know about any software, that can do that (besides MP3tag, that actually does not provide all the tags I am looking/wishing for)?

This post has been edited by dvdr: Jan 14 2011, 11:02
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Northpack
post Jan 14 2011, 11:39
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As long as illegal downloads have better metadata than legal ones, the companies who offer such useless downloads should immediately stop lamenting about dimishing sales and spend all of that energy on improving their service. Any company who offers downloads like this absolutely missed the point. They offer digital downloads for much the same price as the CDs, without any expenses for the physical medium and much less for the distribution, effectively doubling their margin and don't find it necessary to attach proper tags to their files at least. They wouldn't sell CDs without booklets or titles like that, would they? If they would, they could hardly complain about the sales... I wonder if they are really that barefaced at the DG or just plainly stupid.

This post has been edited by Northpack: Jan 14 2011, 11:42
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Polouess
post Jan 14 2011, 11:49
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QUOTE (Northpack @ Jan 14 2011, 12:39) *

Well said!

This post has been edited by Polouess: Jan 14 2011, 11:49
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cyberdux
post Jan 14 2011, 20:10
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Further, to fix the tags in my DG FLAC purchases (quite a number), I copy and paste (using dbpoweramp) the metadata from the DG page for the "Disc" advertised for purchase where the "metadata" is perfect. So why can this information not be embedded in the FLAC files by DG?

This is time consuming and annoying to say the least.

(DG has in recent months changed distribution companies for download purchases and I wonder whether it is Universal digital distribution that is at fault.)

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dvdr
post Jan 19 2011, 12:57
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QUOTE (Nessuno @ Jan 14 2011, 08:43) *
QUOTE (dvdr @ Jan 14 2011, 00:01) *
...
I hope, that you consider my customer feedback being, what it is: an honest opinion expressed with the hope, that this service might get the quality-standard, that it should have.


Please, let us know when (and if) you get a reply from them...


I got a reply today:

QUOTE
Many thanks for your feedback.

We appreciate you taking the time to give us this feedback so we can improve the products and services we offer. Most of what you have bought to our attention we are aware of and are currently looking at upgrading the way we include the meta data on our products.

Kind regards,
Brendan Bullard-West
Universal Music Direct Support Team


Another issue, that seems to be important: if you order right now, be very careful upon checking out your basket. DGG / Universal (who runs the shop) is now additionaly offering charging in Euro (before, you were charged in GBP). I checked out in EURO, and they displayed EURO in the checkout-form. But: they charched me the EURO-amount as GBP without me being able to see this in the checkout form: the item was GBP 35 or EURO 45. Only in my PayPal bill I noticed, that they did not charge me EURO 45, but GBP 45, which in the end is EURO 54 - 9 Euro more than it should have been.
They seem to mix up currency "extensions" during the charging process. Luckily I noticed that on the bill from PayPal, I will get a refund....

This post has been edited by dvdr: Jan 19 2011, 13:01
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exalaskan
post Jan 27 2011, 18:56
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QUOTE (cyberdux @ Jan 14 2011, 13:10) *
Further, to fix the tags in my DG FLAC purchases (quite a number), I copy and paste (using dbpoweramp) the metadata from the DG page for the "Disc" advertised for purchase where the "metadata" is perfect. So why can this information not be embedded in the FLAC files by DG?

Just a suggestion, but has anybody tried using MusicBrainz for fixing their classical metadata? At least for me, it seems that in general their tags are pretty good and also contain a lot of the "extra" information you might be interested in.
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iwok
post Feb 10 2013, 13:08
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I have just bought and downloaded the same set of Chopin`s flac files from DG web shop as dvdr over a year ago. I must saddly admit that DG had done nothing with the tags and files. It is a complete mess as it was.
Apart from the fact that tags are very uncomplete there are no boolets included (only one jpeg file with scan of the cover page).
I am very dissapoited.

This post has been edited by iwok: Feb 10 2013, 13:12
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spoon
post Feb 10 2013, 13:30
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QUOTE (dvdr @ Jan 14 2011, 11:00) *
Deutsche Grammophon has all tags (even the more advanced ones) in their database (you'll be surprised when you physically rip the CDs, how many tags they must have provided to AMG and GD3, that dBpoweramp will lookup and apply),


I would not be sure DG have the extra fields such as soloists, etc. For the next 4-6 months we have 15 musicologists adding these extra fields, so we will have around 85K classical CDs with extra fields in SonataDB.

Later this year we hope to release an auto-tagger for classical.


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DonP
post Feb 10 2013, 14:06
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I'd guess the online databases are based on the original CD releases. If you are getting the online equivalent of a giant box set, a gazillion tracks that don't have information to separate them into their source CD's, then the online bases will be of no use.
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pawelq
post Feb 10 2013, 17:44
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They just don't care. I use Spotify, and classical music tagging is a mess, searching for classical is a pain, and a considerable number of albums are not gapless (even though the player is, sounds as if someone added fades when ripping/converting to ogg). I have been reporting these non-gapless albums for months, and most have not been fixed. Spotify says it's the labels' fault, but I don't care, my money goes to Spotify, so they should take care of it. My money goes there for now, until someone creates a service using the same payment model, but one that cares about classical music listeners. Maybe Amazon. Maybe Apple.


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krabapple
post Feb 10 2013, 20:11
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They do seem to be running a haphazard online shop. A few years back on the DG website I bought mp3s of an old CD I used to have, featuring two bizarre and amusing works by German avant-gardist Mauricio Kagel. While reading this thread I looked today for it on their site, under its 'composers' drop down menu, and he's not listed. But there it is if you use 'Kagel' as a search term.


http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/sing...DUCT_NR=4777095

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pcmhfx
post Feb 20 2013, 03:10
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Two days ago, I made my first (last?) purchase of FLAC from the DG site. I purchased a complete Beethoven quartet cycle (7 CDs). Like the original poster, I've spent far too much time punching in metadata by hand. I tried to auto-tag via media monkey but...no luck.

I'm amazed that Universal has failed to do anything in over two years. I recently made a purchase from eClassical (multi-volume) and all the metadata was included.

At this point, I"m looking for other alternatives for FLAC downloads. I wonder if Decca has the same problem. Any recommendations most appreciated.
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mixminus1
post Feb 20 2013, 03:23
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Universal owns Decca... dry.gif


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cyberdux
post Feb 20 2013, 04:00
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QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Feb 20 2013, 12:23) *
Universal owns Decca... dry.gif


I recently bought more from the DG site; a Decca Beethoven Piano Concerto set that I already own but the CD's had rotted and were not able to be encoded.

Almost no metadata again.
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Porcus
post Feb 20 2013, 11:59
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QUOTE (cyberdux @ Feb 20 2013, 04:00) *
that I already own but the CD's had rotted and were not able to be encoded.

Almost no metadata again.


If the CD is at all readable: have you tried using a ripper with metadata capabilities (dBpoweramp/CUETools/EAC/WMP!) to see if the metadata show up any better? If it does, then there are better metadata providers externally. Then copy the printscreen and attach it to the angry e-mail you send Universal (and post it here for the laughing stock).


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mjb2006
post Feb 20 2013, 23:40
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QUOTE (pcmhfx @ Feb 19 2013, 19:10) *
I'm amazed that Universal has failed to do anything in over two years.

What incentive do they have? They are not music lovers, they are not information junkies, they are not tech-savvy. They are businesspeople whose only mission in life is to keep these sound recordings just scarce enough and perpetually in copyright so that they can squeeze as much money out of consumers as they can. Their attitude is that "it plays, doesn't it?" and "we're offering you your freakin' lossless; now hand over the money, asshole". And here you are, willing to risk (re-)buying it, even though it may well fail to live up to your tagging standards (or mastering, format, or pricing standards). They do not care about your angry emails or your complaints on forums. They just want your f'ing money.

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cyberdux
post Feb 21 2013, 09:45
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Porcus, I would love to do that but I think mjb2006 said it all.
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Porcus
post Feb 21 2013, 12:43
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Well you can still do it for the Hydrogenaudio laughing stock? tongue.gif


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