Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Google Play Music UK launch

Huzzah the Music section has finally arrived to these shores; not only do we now have the ability to purchase music from Google directly, but we now have access to Google's Music cloud. Upload your music and be able to download and play from any device you can log in to.

Given this has been around in the States for quite some time I was surprised to discover a couple of oddities though.

Firstly it doesn't seem to be able to handle .m4a music files despite these being natively recognised in Google's own Android operating system. Annoying, but work-aroundable. However the biggest oddity was sorting by Artist.

I have quite a few compilation albums and the Album Artist is set to either "Various Artists" or "Soundtrack"; a method that follows Google's own policy. If I were to examine the very first album of such a type in my collection it would be "Anthems Electronic 80s 2" the first track would be "Don't You Want Me?" by "The Human League" all present and correct.

If I were then to examine my list by Artist and scrolled to the H section I would expect to find "Human League, The" and I don't. Oh no they're not using the "The" are they? Well yes they are - crap; "The Beatles", "The Kingsmen", "The Rolling Stones" all under T. Wait though no "The Human League"; oh of course silly me it's filed under V for "Various Artists"

So not only do they not ignore the "The" prefix but they're using the Album Artist field to sort rather than the, actual, Artist field.

Ah but that's the web interface, the actual Android App might be better. And it is in that it ignores the "The"'s, but still uses the Album Artist field to sort by. Oh and introduces a new error in that it can't recognise accented characters in the Artist field, but oddly enough can in song titles. So "Motörhead" which displays correctly under M in the browser interface is now an "Unknown Artist" in the Android App, but "The Dark of the Matinée" by "Franz Ferdinand" displays correctly.

[Update - It appears the artist character error was from the tracks already on my phone; those from Play displayed and sorted correctly]

Given how long this has been active for... those are kind of stupid mistakes not to have been picked up.