[vorbis-dev] Re: [vorbis] Request for Standardization: classical music TAGS

Craig Dickson crdic at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 3 13:34:48 PDT 2001

Jonathan Walther wrote:

> Your comment misses the point; the pop music crowd can continue to use
> their tags; the existing tags are appropriate for pop music.

I think you missed my half-facetious point. You had previously claimed
that hardly anyone listens to classical ogg files on Windows, and
therefore it wasn't important to consider the limitations of the
dominant Windows ogg/mp3 player, WinAmp. My reductio-ad-absurdum
response was that hardly anyone listens to classical oggs or mp3s at
all, on any platform, and so if your demographic argument had any
validity at all, it further followed that the whole issue of how to tag
classical music was not worth bothering about. My real point, just to
make it quite clear, was that demographic arguments based on imaginary
statistics are inane, especially when they lead to ignoring the lion's
share of the market.

I further dislike the notion of not using the same tags for both
classical and pop music for essentially the same information. It's
completely unnecessary. "ARTIST: Itzak Perlman with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa" is adequate for the same reason that
one doesn't tag "Born to Run" as "ARTIST: Bruce Springsteen" and
"ENSEMBLE: E-Street Band". It would be silly. I simply don't agree that
there is any essential difference between pop and classical music that
requires a different tag structure for such basic information.

> What I proposed is that players support display of additional tags,
> specific to classical music.

To the extent that such additional tags convey information that has no
relevance to pop music, an argument might be made for such tags, sure.
I'm having some trouble thinking of such a thing, though. Pop music has
soloists, featured players, ensembles, arrangers, composers, conductors,
record producers, dates of composition, performance, and disc release,
etc., just like classical music. It may well be that most pop listeners
don't care about those things and wouldn't bother using the tags, but as
you say, they're optional. What matters to me is defining a single set
of standard tags that can be used with all forms of music, and staying
close to existing common practice (i.e. the basic mp3 ID3v2 fields) in
the absence of a really compelling reason to do otherwise, which I don't
yet see.

> As for xmms compatibility, that is a straw man.  I will have no problem
> patching xmms to display the new tags appropriately, where it runs
> across them.

You mean because it's open-source? Well, the WinAmp ogg plugin author is
a subscriber to this list, so I daresay he can do the same.

> What I think I'm hearing from people here is "lets limit ourselves to
> the tags that are available under mp3, so we can be backward
> compatible".  Whew.

Well, my view is more like, "Let's stay close to existing practices
unless and until we see a strong argument in favor of changing, because
existing tools will have to change and it's convenient to be able to
easily map mp3 tags to ogg tags." I don't yet see that argument. I don't
mind standardizing new tags that aren't in mp3, such as composer,
arranger, producer, and so on. But I'm not happy with this notion of
splitting up "artist" into three or more distinct fields.

> If I wanted backward compatible, I'd just stick
> with mp3 and ignore ogg.

Really? My main reason for using ogg is superior audio quality, not the
superior tagging. I would have thought a classical music aficionado
would feel similarly.


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