Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Publicity, Photos, Websites, Social Media, Fundraising, etc!

Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby michaelmarcus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:38 am

In this era of digital music downloads, more and more collegiate (and even high school) a cappella groups are selling their music on iTunes, Amazon and the like. I think this is great. However, I've noticed a lot of inconsistencies in the way that these groups identify themselves in their artist tags.

Let's use On The Rocks as an arbitrary example. As you probably know, this is an all-male ensemble from the University of Oregon. In any given music collection, you could imagine seeing this artist listed in one of several ways:

On The Rocks - this is what Amazon and iTunes have as the artist name
UO On The Rocks
University of Oregon On The Rocks
On The Rocks (University of Oregon) - this is how it appears on Sing 7

What are your thoughts on including/omitting the name of the school? Sure, it's fine for a group with a distinctive name like On The Rocks, but what about names like Noteworthy or The Overtones or The Treble Makers? And if the school is included, do you prefer it before or after the group name, and why? Do you abbreviate the name of the school?

I hardly expect this bunch to come to a consensus about any of this, but hopefully we can start a discussion. I'm also interested in hearing from the groups themselves to get a sense of why they might choose to go one way or another.

Michael Marcus [@michaelmarcus]

    Founder & Creative Director, Uncommon Technical Director, RARB

michaelmarcus
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:01 am

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby jmille22 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:57 am

I think the institution should always be included for scholastic groups because it's part of their branding and unique identity (even if there are no other "famous" groups with the same name). What's more, a school's a cappella groups are often unofficially part of the marketing and recruiting arms and exploiting this can lead to sponsorships, dozens of gigs, and a few hundred frosh who love you before they even get to campus. Omitting the institution sort of precludes this.

For ID3 tags, I like the second or fourth options: UO On the Rocks or On the Rocks (University of Oregon). The latter is best for compilation albums, but for a group's own albums, I feel that the institution's abbreviation is preferable. When setting up the tags for my group's last album, we were listed as "UR After Hours" and I found that ideal.

Jay Miller
University of Rochester Alum
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
B.S. '08/M.S. '09
www.shminaminoo.com
After Hours Co-Ed A Cappella
Business Manager '05-'08
Member '05-'09
www.URAfterHours.net
www.youtube.com/URAfterHours

jmille22
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby colton » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:52 pm

Personally, of those choices I prefer the Sing 7 notation.

In my own music collection I have all college & high school groups labeled with the name of the school in parentheses. I don't usually include the word "university", though, so On The Rocks is labeled as "On The Rocks (Oregon)"
colton
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:45 pm
Location: Orem, UT

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby rishel » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:56 am

Fair warning that this post is extremely nerdy and anal retentive.

I am very picky about the organization and consistency of my music library, and have recently changed my naming convention from one extreme to the another, so I'll try to offer some insight into why I originally chose one approach and later abandoned it for another. In my first system, I always included the school name as a prefix to the group name (and included a preceding "The" if the group name required it to parse correctly). I also always included the word "University" or "College" to eliminate ambiguity with some schools (e.g. Boston). In general, this led to relatively reasonable names (e.g. "University of Michigan Amazin' Blue", "The University of Michigan Dicks and Janes"). I also always used the full name of the school since I couldn't draw a clear line between widely known abbreviations (e.g. MIT) and more obscure or ambiguous abbreviations (e.g. NU). Additionally, for groups from the non-primary campus in a state university system, the specific campus name was included.

While this convention was relatively easy to keep consistent and preserved more information about the group in the artist name, it had a number of issues. First, some group names ended up being very cumbersome ("University of California-Los Angeles Awaken A Cappella") to the point that, in many music applications, the actual group name wasn't even visible. This was especially problematic on small screen devices like phones and mp3 players (have fun trying to guess which artist labeled "The University of North Carol..." is the one you want). Additionally, this also caused searching for an artist in an alphabetical list to be much less efficient, since over half my collegiate a cappella was listed under 'U'. Finally, in a fair number of cases the school and group name were redundant (e.g. Ithaca College Ithacappella, University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Six-5000).

About a year ago my media drive tower crashed and I had to start my library from scratch. Because of the increasing number of complications I encountered by following the above approach as my library grew, I decided to change to a naming convention where the school name is never included in the artist name, unless the artist name is ambiguous. In that case, the school name is appended after the group name, using non-ambiguous, intuitive abbreviations whenever possible (e.g. The Pitchforks (Duke) and The Pitchforks (Arizona State), Noteworthy (BYU) and Noteworthy (UGA)). I find this more accurately represents what groups actually call themselves, is more consistent with how non-scholastic groups are named, and overall makes my music library much more usable. Additionally, since a group's school of origin is only a quick google search away in the relatively rare event that it becomes important to know and can't be recalled from memory, I think the benefits of simplicity significantly outweigh the information sacrificed by using this approach. That said, I do also see the value of the school branding on a group name, and think in some contexts it makes a lot of sense (e.g. the back cover of BOCA, a press kit, my RARB signature), but I don't think it's particularly important for a personal music library.

On a related point, since I use a specific naming convention for artist names (regardless of what the liner notes contain), I also have a set of rules for album and track titles. First, I apply the MusicBrainz Capitalization Standard for the appropriate language to all artist names, track titles, and album titles, except in cases where the artist deviates from this intentionally and obviously for artistic reasons. So, for example, I change "On The Rocks" to "On the Rocks", but preserve the unique capitalization of "The SoCal VoCals". Additionally, since a large portion of our genre involves covering existing songs (some of which are done by many groups), I will always use the "correct" song title for a given song (e.g. I will change "Oh What A Night" or "December 1963" to "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"), which makes finding all the different versions that I have of a specific song very easy. Wikipedia is quite a good and accessible source that tends to have accurate titles while also following the aforementioned capitalization standard for most songs.

Chris Rishel http://chrisrishel.com/ University of Chicago Voices in Your Head [url=http://pritzker.uchicago.edu/jointdegrees/mstp/index.shtml]The University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program[

rishel
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:51 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby michaelmarcus » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:13 am

rishel wrote:Fair warning that this post is extremely nerdy and anal retentive.

A man after my own heart. :) Thanks for the insights, Chris. I'm inclined to agree with you, but in my own collection I would probably always include the school. That way, it would be easy to use school name in searches or create dynamic playlists.

Michael Marcus [@michaelmarcus]

    Founder & Creative Director, Uncommon Technical Director, RARB

michaelmarcus
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:01 am

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby mcbc » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:59 am

I too am nerdy and anal-retentive. What I do is refer to how the group brands itself. Something like ... the Bubs (singular) goes by many names but they refer to themselves as the Tufts Beelzebubs, Transit is transit, Stanford University Harmonics used to be The Stanford Harmonics but now it's just The Harmonics.

For the groups that are lazy with their own name (ugh) I go with university + group. But I try to stick to the above.
mcbc
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:27 pm

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby billhare » Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:53 am

colton wrote:I don't usually include the word "university", though, so On The Rocks is labeled as "On The Rocks (Oregon)"


I think Chris touched on this, but there is a big difference in "University of Oregon" and "Oregon State University". Both have great A Cappella groups that would probably make it into most acafans' collections, but just notating "Oregon" for all of them puts them all in the same location. Maybe just use a "U" for "University" (U. of Oregon, Oregon State U.)?

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

billhare
 
Posts: 2002
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby acappellafan » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:40 am

billhare wrote:I think Chris touched on this, but there is a big difference in "University of Oregon" and "Oregon State University". Both have great A Cappella groups that would probably make it into most acafans' collections, but just notating "Oregon" for all of them puts them all in the same location. Maybe just use a "U" for "University" (U. of Oregon, Oregon State U.)?

I'm just as anal as some from above, and was running into some of the same issues, but I still like having the college's name in the title. My collection uses "U" for "University" and omits the "of". Also, if I haven't heard of another school using the same abbreviation and I'm likely to remember it, I use that. So I've got groups like:
U Oregon On the Rocks
OSU Outspoken
USC Reverse Osmosis

Not necessarily the best or most consistent notation, but it works for me. And obviously I change whatever notation the GraceNote Database gives me to my notation so I can find a single artist all together in one place.


Side note: Could we make a standard of putting a song's arranger(s) into the "Composer" field in an ID3 tag? Or at least SOMEWHERE in there? Arrangers don't get enough credit, and I also find it interesting sometimes to run a search to see what else a particular person has arranged. =)

Joel Levitz, SoCal CASA Ambassador SoCal CASA Embassy

acappellafan
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:14 pm

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby colton » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:45 pm

billhare wrote:
colton wrote:I don't usually include the word "university", though, so On The Rocks is labeled as "On The Rocks (Oregon)"


I think Chris touched on this, but there is a big difference in "University of Oregon" and "Oregon State University". Both have great A Cappella groups that would probably make it into most acafans' collections, but just notating "Oregon" for all of them puts them all in the same location. Maybe just use a "U" for "University" (U. of Oregon, Oregon State U.)?


I use "Oregon State" for Oregon State, and "Oregon" for "University of Oregon". Seems like the simplest way to identify the university while still keeping the name as short as possible. I follow a similar naming convention with other universities: "Michigan", "Michigan State", "Tufts", "Emory", "Brown", etc. If the school is typically acronym-ed, like "BYU", "MIT", "UCLA", and so forth, then I'll leave it in acronym form.

And yes, there was actually a day a year or two ago where I sat down with my computer and decided I needed all of my albums to follow a consistent convention. I'm obsessive that way sometimes. Glad to see I'm not the only one! :-)


P.S. Looking over my collection just now, there are a few where I do use the "U" to represent University like you suggest, but with no period: "U Mass", "Boston U", "Catholic U", and "U Chicago". Perhaps others I missed.
colton
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:45 pm
Location: Orem, UT

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby michaelmarcus » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:44 am

acappellafan wrote:Side note: Could we make a standard of putting a song's arranger(s) into the "Composer" field in an ID3 tag? Or at least SOMEWHERE in there? Arrangers don't get enough credit, and I also find it interesting sometimes to run a search to see what else a particular person has arranged. =)

IMO, it's the composers that don't get enough credit. :) Maybe the Comment field is better for this?

On a side note, ID3v2 actually has lots more fields than show up in iTunes, including user-defined fields. However, this is perhaps less useful to the average music listener.

Michael Marcus [@michaelmarcus]

    Founder & Creative Director, Uncommon Technical Director, RARB

michaelmarcus
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:01 am

Re: Scholastic Group Names in Artist Tags

Postby seth » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:18 pm

id3v2.3.0 wrote:TPE4
The 'Interpreted, remixed, or otherwise modified by' frame contains more information about the people behind a remix and similar interpretations of another existing piece.

But more important than where it gets stored in your own collection is how it gets shared. Convincing people to put this stuff in their files is difficult since there's little benefit, and pointless if they don't share their tagging with anyone.

MusicBrainz appears to have a notion of arranger and a pretty good head start in connecting to local music collections. If you care about this stuff, it might be worth looking into how to easily enter the data and how to make it useful to you and others. The easier and more useful it is, the less excited someone needs to be before it's worth participating.
seth
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 1:56 am
Location: San Francisco, CA


Return to Business Center

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: vandre and 1 guest

cron