iTunes Store Downloads No Longer Contain Composer Names?

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I posted an article today saying that Tags on Music Files Downloaded from the iTunes Store Don’t Match Tags in the Store. I had noticed that, in an album I bought, Hilary Hahn’s In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, there were no Composer tags. This is a bit irksome, because there are 28 different composers on the album, and manually tagging takes some time.

But then I looked a bit further, checking some other recent classical downloads from the iTunes Store. I recently bought Waves, set of music by Ludovic Einaudi, and saw that, when I re-downloaded it on my laptop, there was no composer listed. (I had downloaded it on my Mac mini, in my main iTunes library, and had changed the tags, so I probably fixed the missing tag the first time around, but didn’t really notice.)

I then went back to my iTunes Purchased list and started re-downloading other music on my laptop. Since I have iTunes Match on that Mac, some of the music, which I had tagged manually, didn’t contain the original tags. But there were enough albums to see that there’s a trend: Apple seems to no longer provide composers’ names in downloads.

Here’s a screenshot of one track each from seven albums; as you can see, none of them contain Composer tags:

Screenshot 2013-11-12 11.22.47.png

What about others? Are you seeing this issue? Have recent classical downloads included names in the Composer tag?

Why would Apple be removing the composers’ names from the tags? This is essential information for classical music.

Update: Several people have already confirmed that they’re seeing this. One person on Twitter told me that anything purchased after 10/1/13 has no composer name, and re-downloads of older purchases do not either.

Update 2: I understand that Apple is looking into this.

6 replies
  1. Mark Percival says:

    Yep. It’s been that way for a while. You got me into tagging some time ago so whenever and from wherever I download I do the command> I trick and enter the data that I want as so much is missing. Become a habit now. I don’t think I/we should have to, but that’s the way it is. iTunes doesn’t like classical music, you wrote some time ago! Well, I’m thinking over these past couple of months that iTunes doesn’t really like music. Period. Or maybe, the whole operation has just got to be too big, unwieldy and commercially fragmented. Maybe that’s why I go back to the labels to download wherever possible. I’ve also gone into high quality, 320kbs streaming recently. I try and then, if I really like the performance, buy, approach.

    As an add on, I think that Hilary Hahn’s “In 27 pieces” is good, too.

  2. Joe Nash says:

    Little bit worrying that some of the music you already owned had Composer tags missing. Are you saying that you never noticed before, or has iTunes removed tags you once had in your metadata?

    • Kirk McElhearn says:

      Nothing in my iTunes library has changed. But re-downloading previous purchases shows that the files that I had not updated in my iTunes Match library (on my second Mac) don’t have composers.

  3. Sam Foster says:

    I see “Show Composers” as an option in Preferences-General-Views. Is that enabled and the composers aren’t showing? I don’t have much classical music to test with.


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