Artist Equivalence Issues
We’ve heard a lot of feedback since launch about what we consider to be “artist equivalence” issues. Broadly speaking, these issues fall into two classes:
Two different performers with the same name are combined into a single performer, such as this case
A single performer is split into two entries, like some of the entries in this thread
Why Does This Happen
We’ve been working on some long-term strategies to improve our handling of these cases, but I wanted to provide a little background on why this happens, and let everyone know we’ve decided to also implement a short-term fix, since we know how frustrating this can be.
Our metadata service uses a variety of clues to determine a performer’s identity, so we can be sure we know when a performer is Miles Davis (the legendary, prolific and influential Jazz trumpet player) versus Miles Davis (a guy who played bass on one Kanye West track).
Usually we get good data and can keep track of who’s who, but when someone somewhere at one of our metadata providers was entering data for a release, if they credited the wrong guy, it can have disproportionate effect. The two performers in the example above are clearly not the same Steve Wilson to our system, that is until Steve Wilson the sax player appears on a Porcupine Tree album.
In that case, the system does something “smart” and merges these two people into one. This works great when a single performer has appeared on a wide variety of releases (think about a prolific session player), or when someone’s performed under a couple of different spellings or aliases over the course of the career (Steve vs Steven), but bad data can muck things up when everything aligns just so.
##What’s Being Done?
We’re working on a couple of new strategies for improving our accuracy with regards to equivalence issues, but we’ve also started to fix some of the more egregious ones by hand. It’s time consuming for our team, and it also takes time for the changes to propagate first into the cloud database and then into your collection, so be aware that I can’t promise to always turn around fixes immediately.
That said, I am pinning this thread to the top of the metadata corrections section, and I invite everyone to let us know any examples that specifically fall into one of the two cases listed above. If you’ve already reported them on the community site, please confirm the issue is not already resolved, and then link to your original report below.