Incorrectly Tagged Music


23. Sep. 2005, 13:39

Though none of us practice it, free peer-to-peer dowloading is quite convenient. One big drawback of these free downloads, however, is that many of the files are tagged incorrectly (with a wrong file name as well).

One thing I like about my own music library, is that there aren't any mistakes in tagged files - at least, that's what I hope. I checked each and every one of the over 600 hits in artist discographies (Wikipedia makes it less time-consuming than one would think) and I got tens of songs which just had the wrong artist in the ID3 tag. Some of them were rather obvious: I heard on the instant that Bad To The Bone wasn't a song by ZZ Top. So who sang it then?! It took me a while to find out it's actually a song by George Thorogood.

Sometimes, these incorrectly tagged files end up really high on some artist's pages in, which is a shame. A good example of such an artist is Creedence Clearwater Revival. At #11, one can find the song 'Jeremiah was a Bullfrog', which is actually Joy to the World (thanks to eddyd84 on the group Creedence Clearwater Revival forum on that one). Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally is the #32 most frequently listened CCR song by users; Sweet Home Alabama is on #43 and Rolling on the River (=Proud Mary) is #49.

Other expamples that I encountered at or in a p2p programme (which I use for reference purposes only, obviously):

Wrong: UB40 - Looking in your Big Brown Eyes
Right: Sweat (A La La La La Long)

Wrong: Steely Dan - Still the One
Right: Still the One

Wrong: Talking Heads - Same as it Ever Was; Letting the Days Go By
Right: Once in a Lifetime

Wrong: The Kinks - What I Like About You
Right: What I Like About You

Wrong: The Who - Teenage Wasteland
Right: Baba O'Riley

Wrong: Van Morrison - Baby Please Don't Go
Right: Baby Please Don't Go
(Though one could argue about this one, since Van Morrison was Them's singer)

Wrong: The Rolling Stones - House Of The Rising Sun
Right: House of the Rising Sun

Wrong: Supertramp - Take A Look At My Girlfriend
Right: Breakfast In America

And countless others...

Please don't refer to Musicbrains, as that programme actually messes your tags up even worse than they already are.


  • Tr1xx

    I concur 100%. While potentially a great service, the problem with Musicbrainz is that some people use it without checking the output accuracy, (I always do). Basically, I reckon that it's far too easy to upload incorrect data to MB. I've been slowly ploughing through it and correcting stuff for many of my favourite artists and songs. MB would work better if it was only possible to upload data once an apprenticeship period had been served, although I dunno how that could be implemented. incidentally, I've even found that some unscrupulous moderators(?) have deliberately entered mischievous data. That's unforgiveable. I believe that anyone found with a particularly low accuracy feedback element should be excluded from future moderation. The same principle could even be employed for Audioscrobbler - if technically possible, a high incidence of incorrect tags could invalidate the user from submitting data to the AS database. To be fair, I think that both AS and MB are rather weak when it comes to assistance, help, constructive criticism, general background information, etc. It's too easy to sign-up, then merrily carry on screwing up a valuable resource - the database.

    24. Sep. 2005, 18:00
  • idontmind

    I hate the whole teenage wasteland/Baba O'Riley thing, as a Who fan, it makes me mad. Also, a lot of random BTO, Mountain, and other stuff are labelled as Grand Funk Railroad songs, also as a CCR fan, I just laugh at some of the songs people think they actually did.

    7. Okt. 2005, 4:03
  • lancashire

    Think care needs to be taken here as these tracks are sometimes done as cover songs. Rolling Stones have covered House of the Rising Sun and Van still does Baby Please Dont Go That stated I am not trying to pull your idea apart as I agree with your general statement

    13. Okt. 2005, 15:55
  • Tyrant00

    Another example is Dire Straits - I want my own TV. But you're right, there are some incorrectly tagged mp3 files here.

    19. Okt. 2005, 11:18
  • Tr1xx

    Incidentally, regarding Bad To the Bone, OK I know it's not by ZZ Top, but, (not meaning to be unduly pedantic - honest), one could argue that the track should actually be credited to George Thorogood & The Destroyers rather than simply George Thorogood: It's just me being a smart-ass, and showing that even the most obvious things can be more complicated than it appears.

    24. Okt. 2005, 9:41
  • Pattrick

    Same goes for Bob Seger & (or: 'and'?) The Silver Bullet Band. I tagged all mine Bob Seger, so one could argue those are wrong as well.

    24. Okt. 2005, 11:17
  • Charron

    And you'd be amazed how often Madness's Our House gets credited to Talking Heads. It's annoying, and insulting when I don't know better. >_>

    24. Okt. 2005, 23:18
  • cpt_blasphemy

    I'd have to say, that as frustrating as this is, it is not half as bad as people who tag music according to miss-heard lryrics. examples W: Twisted in The Sun - Violent Femmes R: Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes Speaking of the Femmes, I would lay good money that Add it Up must have some kind of record for the song with the most titles. ahem: Just one kiss, Do it all the time, Why Can't I, Day after day........

    16. Nov. 2005, 2:45
  • ecgwald

    The most annoying misnaming in my opinion is Jimmy Buffet - The Pina Colada Song (real artist was Rupert Holmes). C'mon guys, Jimmy's got enough hits as it is. Let Rupert get credit for something.

    22. Nov. 2005, 4:51
  • stilicho

    Great journal. I've previously seen a claim that Stealers Wheel's Stuck in the Middle with You is the most mistagged song on p2p, with attributions to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stone. I also spent a couple of days downloading numerous covers of Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, only to find they were all Lightfoot, just mistagged. I'm also annoyed by songs that get attributed to the main singer who later goes solo -- even if s/he sang it later, the big hit version that everybody's likely to have on MP3 is the one by the band. It's especially sad when a niche, forgotten artist like Three Dog Night or Stealers Wheel gets forgotten in the shuffle, because on Last.FM it steals plays from those artists and doesn't help someone create an accurate profile. I'm sure ZZ Top fans are different from George Thorogood fans (maybe not *that* different, but still). Obviously the person playing it loves the song, so it's surprising they wouldn't go to the trouble to find out who's really responsible. As for MusicBrainz, any system like that is going to have errors, but I'm over 90% satisfied with the system -- and I am careful when I'm tagging and uploading TRMs, although it's sometimes impossible to be sure without having the original release in hand (now when would that ever happen?).

    26. Nov. 2005, 23:39
  • d_girlfriend

    lancashire said: Think care needs to be taken here as these tracks are sometimes done as cover songs. Dude- One quick listen should tell anyone with a little life experience that Janis Joplin IS NOT covering the copy of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit in your Winamp queue. Indeed, a little google research will likely reveal that Joplin infact NEVER COVERED White Rabbit, before OR after she died...

    19. Dez. 2005, 2:22
  • sarahquinn

    i cant believe someone would mistake the animals for the rolling stones! but i like this post. i check every file after i download to make sure the title is correct. wait, no because of course i dont steal music.

    7. Jan. 2006, 4:24
  • Tricoteur

    Another to be careful of is Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Gafunkel. I've seen it attributed to the Beatles far too often.

    3. Feb. 2006, 3:45
  • Pattrick

    It gets worse, though. I just saw Norman Greenbaum's [i]Spirit in the Sky[/i] being credited to CCR and The Guess Who's [i]American Woman[/i] to The Who.

    7. Feb. 2006, 20:24
  • ecgwald

    The Velvet Underground - Crimson & Clover Fleetwood Mac - Crimson & Clover nice try guys. It's Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson & Clover

    17. Feb. 2006, 20:23
  • stilicho

    Cranberries - Because the Night Unh-unh. It's 10,000 Maniacs ...

    22. Feb. 2006, 22:17
  • roundthewheel

    Even worse is finding out that a track you've already listened to 10 or 20 times is mistagged. It doesn't happen often for me, because I like to keep them properly tagged, but when it does, it makes my stomach fall to my feet.

    2. Mär. 2006, 3:02
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