Jump to content

Discographies online


Recommended Posts

A fellow discographer expressed his doubts to me about the value of online discographies: Since Tom Lord's or Walter Bruyninckx' CDROMs include (well, almost) everything, is there any need for specialized name discos on the web?

What's your opinion, and do you look up things there, and how often?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is part of my response to the topic when I communicated with the party in question a few weeks ago:


What we as specialists need to do is ADD to the information, not merely reproduce it. We need to investigate private recordings, broadcasts, etc. We need to listen to the known records and note who lays out on what track, or when the tenor player switches to flute. We need to correct (and annotate) the longstanding errors that have been copied over and over by people who aren't interested in holding the artifacts or listening to the music. We need to identify track timings, composers, arrangers. Of course we also need to do all the "regular" things - fill in master numbers, get correct personnel, tune titles, issues, etc.

The power of the internet is that the world has access to our work. What we do will set the new standard. Lord and Bruyninckx are just the tip of the iceberg.

High quality specialized artist discographies are needed even more than ever now *because* of the wider dissemination of Lord and Bruyninckx CD-ROMs and the dreaded allmusic site (and similar pseudo-discographical efforts). When all was print, only the absolute fanatics bothered to acquire the resources. Now, for a few hundred dollars (or even for free with allmusic), the general fans may think they've got the full story. By remaining vigilant, we can remind them that this is not the case.

I am reminded of what was mentioned in a recent article on the public domain issue - if almost anyone can issue certain recordings (applying the European 50-year law), just the *fact* of the recordings won't be enough of a selling point. Packaging, sound quality (source materials, transfers, and remastering), liner notes, discographical data, etc. will be the aspects that will give one CD issue an advantage over the others.

The distribution of discographical tools to a wider audience encourages specialists to do better.


General (and sometimes even artist or label) discographies are really only starting points. There's always more work to be done.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use online discographies pretty frequently, and I cross reference any information I find with other sources, if possible. You can also sometimes find what you're looking for online outside of formal online discographies. I think the more detail-oriented a person is, the less likely they are to be satisfied with getting all (or even most) of their information from one source (such as a Lord set, for example). Dare to question what is written in any source. Human beings have a way of making errors, and also perpetuating them, as Mike mentioned.

As has been stated many times at the BNBB, the AMG is sometimes the most convenient way to get general information (the type that is difficult for even them to screw up), but I suspect that many folks have too much faith in their data.

One thing about online artist discographies is that they aren't as permanent as a printed discography. In other words, when a person decides to shut down their website, the data disappears rather quickly. I've saved quite a few URL's over the last few years, and every once in awhile I will discover that a site I had saved has disappeared. I'm beginning to think I ought to be copying (and possibly printing out) the really good ones...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...