Universal Music: Classical Downloads Done Wrong

05/19/2012

I buy music from a lot of vendors: I buy lots of CDs, and I buy music by download from iTunes, Amazon, and individual record labels. I went to Deutsche Grammophon’s web site today to see if they sold Berg’s Wozzeck after a commenter to this post pointed out that Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was excellent in it. I’m not a fan of Berg in general, but I thought I’d give it a try. (I bought it from Universal Music because it was a bit cheaper than Amazon, and much cheaper than iTunes.)

Shame on Universal Music for selling downloads like this. There are no track numbers, no disc numbers in the files; the tags are truncated, and the only album art is a 100 x 100 pixel file. Here’s how the tracks look when I added some of them to iTunes:

That’s exactly what the files display; it’s not iTunes that is truncating the tags. Universal expects me to dig out the correct tag information, and, especially, to make sure the tracks are in the right order. There’s also no indication of which tracks are with which opera (this is a set of two; Lulu and Wozzeck), no information about the singers, other than what’s in the truncated Artist tags, nor is there any booklet or any other textual information.

No, never again. I won’t be buying downloads from Universal. I’ve written them asking for a refund, because it is unacceptable that the files they provide are this crappy.

Update: Universal Music is refunding me, but they didn’t say anything about the quality of the files. I’ll delete the ones I have and go buy them from iTunes, where at least I know that the tagging is correct.