Apple’s iTunes helps uncover musical hoax

“Joyce Hatto was described as one of the best classical pianists in the world shortly before she died last year. She put out over a hundred recordings, but had stopped performing live decades ago. So maybe it shouldn’t be that big a surprise that some listeners questioned whether she was actually recording the songs herself,” Brad Linder writes for Download Squad.

“And then something funny happened. A music critic for Gramophone Magazine went and popped one of her CDs in his computer for a listen recently. And wouldn’t you know it, his music player found what appeared to be the correct information for the CD: only instead of Joyce Hatto, it listed Lászlo Simon as the performer,” Linder writes.

Linder writes, “You see, many music management programs, including iTunes figure out what CD you’re listening to by examining the length, order, and number of tracks on a disc and then comparing that data with an online database. Sure, it’s theoretically possible that the music critic found a rare instance where two artists recorded two CDs where tracks had exactly the same lengths. But the thing is, several of Hatto’s CDs seem to have been copied. Audio company Pristine Audio is conducting an analysis of the original recordings versus the ‘fake’ recordings, and you can listen to the results.”

Full article with all of the links here.


  1. “CDDB. Been around for years. *Yawn!* Non-news story”

    Really? The fact that some recordings by a famous pianist now turn out to be repackaged recordings by others is a non-news story for you? I found it one extraordinarily interesting.

    It’s not a particularly Mac-related piece of news, but it’s very involving news to be sure.

  2. This discovery may indeed be true, but I still find that CDDB results for a number of my CDs (and all of my own GarageBand CD recordings) come out wrong.

    The question I have is, how can one “edit” the CDDB database? Anyone can submit via iTunes, it seems, but when multiple (sometimes incorrect) versions of track info get put up there, it creates confusion.

  3. bah…

    Multiple results appear for the same classical recordings, because some people haven’t a clue how to enter artist, composer and/or track information correctly. So, some of us correct the info and upload it.

    For instance: the artist is the performing musician, NOT the composer.

    Some people haven’t a clue what a compilation really is. That is, works from separately released recordings compiled onto one disk.

    iTunes really needs to some way to include separate work and movement fields: A symphony with 4 movements, a concerto with 3, etc. I’d like to see separate fields for orchestra, conductor, soloist, all of which now go in the artist field.

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