Thursday, November 21, 2013

What did the new #iOS and/or #iTunes do to my album art work?

I love iOS7. I love its flat UI and attendant absence of gradients, especially noticeable in the much-improved appearance of the core app icons (haters gonna hate) and those of third-party apps that were updated by developers keen on keeping with the new aesthetic. I love the fastidious little gesture now required to close an app, the indulgent thumb flick that makes me feel like an Ottoman sultan dismissing some minor nobel to deal with his own affairs. I love the little navigation back button, the bold title bars now featured in most apps, and the endlessly useful Command Center. Above all, I love that iOS7 persuasively evinces the commitment of Apple to creating and curating a mobile operating system experience that is as elegant as it is functional.

But there is one thing I hate: I *hate* what is has done to album art in the Music App. What has it done, you ask, that it is deserving of my ire? Here, here is what it has done:

This ain't no art rock
That man is the one, the only Peter Gabriel (you can tell because his name is printed in the photo, because I'm telling you it's Peter Gabriel, and because it's *Peter Gabriel*). As great as he is, though, he did not compose or perform the song "I Zimbra," the Talking Heads' brilliant incorporation of Afrobeat that prefigured their masterpiece, "Remain in Light." So, why, when the cover art from both albums (Peter Gabriel's "So" and The Talking Heads' "Fear of Music") was pulled from iTunes' own CDDB database and displays on the correct album in that program, does iOS Music have an issue?

When I pull up Peter Gabriel's "So," I find Underworld's "Second Toughest in the Infants" cover art. Strange bedfellows.

Peter Gabriel would never write such a nonsensical album title
At first, I thought this was limited to one or two albums, but it turns out it's endemic across my music library, regardless of whether the album was purchased from iTunes or Amazon or was imported from CD and whether the artwork was in the CDDB or I had to pull it from Google Image Search. The album art for most of my albums displays incorrectly.

Here, the artwork for Matthew Dear's "Black City" fronts for The Orb's "U.F.Orb."

It's not like they wouldn't consider collaborating
Fortunately, I found the "U.F.Orb" album artwork moonlighting as the cover for TV On The Radio's first album.

Your love is a satellite...

I don't ask for much, but I do have certain basic expectations of our elite technology companies. Apple, I know that you're not the "data" guys, but this is pretty basic. You've collected the metadata once, just replicate the same association in both programs. *Fix this*!