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The injustice of improperly-dated albums

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Streaming music services help users discover new music, but there's a major issue: incorrect album dates. Services like Spotify, Rdio, and others often use the remaster or reissue date — not the original recording date — making it difficult to understand an artist's catalog.

Spotify UI album year
Spotify UI album year

One of the most appealing uses of all-you-can-eat streaming music services is to explore unfamiliar artists' catalogs and find more albums and songs to add to your seemingly ever-stale collection. As The Rumpus' Dave Mandl points out in a bit of a rant, there's one major snag, however: inaccurate and misleading album dates. Often the year next to an album's title is the date of the most recent reissue or remaster — not when the album was first recorded. Making matters worse, some albums are labeled with the correct year, even if it was before CDs ever existed. Nothing's worse than inconsistency, and the whole issue makes it difficult to explore unfamiliar artists' catalogs without just guessing and hoping you'll find stuff you'll like. Also, who cares more about when an album was converted than when it was made? Mandl likens the injustice to the Metropolitan Museum of Art labeling pieces of art with the last time they were retouched instead of when they were created, and we think that's an accurate analogy.