Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter track smackdown: Round six - The Charlottes

Huntingdon's finest and, like many English indie bands of a certain vintage, more appreciated in Japan than back at home. Their drummer went on to drum for Slowdive but, the question is, did Could There Ever Be make it from the Cherry Red back catalogue onto the computers?

To the search engines, then:

The green circle once again struggles with the request, suggesting we perhaps meant Charlotte, and then offering a list of every Charlotte ever to make a record (that it knows of). And Good Charlotte. Zero again.

Similar artists to The Charlottes include the Drop Nineteens, points out Last FM, helpfully. It knows what it's talking about, but can it play us what we want to hear?

Oh, yes. Oh, sweet joy. And pretty much everything else the band formally recorded. Victory for Last FM, and ten shoegazing points.

Not only does iTunes have the band's sole full-length album, Things Come Apart, but also a best of that I've not come across before called Liar. Could There Ever Be is on Liar, so that's another ten points to the boys from Cupertino.

This is more familiar. We7 fail to break into double figures by hoping that a bunch of karaoke tunes drawn from Charlotte Church's back catalogue might hit the spot. Zero.

Close, but not quite. Caught between girls called Charlottes and what looks like it might be a different band with the same name, there's the video for Liar:

"What is the name of the singer" asks a commenter "She is pretty." She is, and she's Petra Roddis. YouTube gets one point for at least having a little something, even if it wasn't quite what we were after.

Another search engine having trouble with a group of people operating under a girl's name. It does find the sexy and disturbing Mad Girl's Love Song on a Cherry Red album Sex And Violence, and that allows a click through to The Charlottes entire back catalogue in mp3. One point off for usability weakness, so nine marks.

Even putting quote marks round "the Charlottes" doesn't actually stop Imeem offering any file with the word Charlotte in, so if it has got Could There Ever Be in there, it's impossible to find. Zero.

After having so many gripes about eMusic, it does manage to sort The Charlottes from the various other Charlottes, and offer the whole of Liar, so ten points for the track and a point bonus for search that works on this occasion.

So, eMusic finally having a bit of a rallym, leaping over Spotify and we7 to move up the order:

Amazon - 44
iTunes - 34
LastFM - 22
eMusic - 19
YouTube - 19
iMeem - 12
Spotify - 09
We7 - 09
Sweeping The Nation - 0.5
Internet As A Whole - -10

That concludes the three rounds for today; we'll be back with the Easter bunny tomorrow morning when we switch our focus from the leafy suburbs of Cambridgeshire to the harsh streets of the Chicago Projects.


Anonymous said...

May I suggest that you add a few things to the mix that aren't officially available - to really test how much these services reflect the 'celestial jukebox'

e.g. I'm pretty sure that Prince's cover version of 'Creep' has never officially been released, but millions of people have listened to it on youtube.

Another test would be to figure out how many versions of a song exist on each site - again Creep has been covered by different bands, and there's several alternate versions, radio sessions and remixes from Radiohead themselves.

Finally, you have to take a look at sound quality, because the last I looked Youtube was delivering everything in 64kbit mp3 and sounded terrible compared to everyone else.

simon h b said...

Mmm. I did toy with the idea of throwing in a couple of session tracks and some live stuff, but I thought this time I'd stick to tracks that had, at some point, got an official release.

I like the idea of quality (and price) being factored in, though... maybe next Bank Holiday?

Anonymous said...

Yeah the thing with the vast catalog of grey material is that it'll only ever turn up on sites where users are the primary source of the content. Which means youtube, spotify and imeem are the only places on the list that you'll ever find these things.

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