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    ARIA Popular Classical Music


More Progress than Meets the Eye

todayNovember 2, 2023 13

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A month ago we were proudly telling you we had 49,739 tracks in our database.  It seemed that our first stage goal of 50,000 tracks was (literally) 99.5% achieved.  But it has taken the entirety of the last month to, kinda sorta, break through the 50,000 objective, due to an unexpected refinement.

We used a program to detect duplicate tracks, and it came up with a dismaying long list of thousands of duplicates.  With hindsight, this is not altogether astonishing.  An original recording might be reissued many times – sometimes even under different labels as part of one of a conglomerate’s family of labels, and also as companies rename themselves and evolve and disappear and so on.  Plus the track might appear on several different compilations, and, hardest of all to detect, sometimes even not be identified (or not correctly) on some of these different re-issues.

So we’ve been busy working through the list of duplicates, while struggling to feel good at watching the track total count dropping – “progress” can for sure sometimes be a funny old thing!  We’ve greatly reduced the duplicates, and while there are probably potential duplicates still uncovered (the scanning program doesn’t pick up every duplicate, and also sometimes goes wild and crazy and suggests two totally different songs are exact copies of each other too!), our library is much “cleaner” than it was before, and we’ve managed to regrow the total track count not just back up to 49,739 tracks, but on up to a delightful 50,025.  Yes, we’ll add a few more tracks to be on the safe side and don’t risk falling back below 50,000 again.

We’re now in discussions with the suppliers of the various computer programs we’re using, getting them to start configuring and deploying their management and automation functions and very soon we’ll be test broadcasting some programming.  This will be in rudimentary form to start, because while we’ve made great strides in de-duping, there’s still a terrifying amount of categorization and classification that needs to be done to help us pick great sequences of tracks to play for you.

When you have 50,000 tracks, even a slight tweak to every track, requiring say a minute per track, represents 21 man weeks of labor.  We’re living out the truth of this, all day every day!

Another update, next month.


Written by: David Rowell

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