When buying mp3s online goes wrong

I recently came across Kataklysm, a metal band from canada, while watching something on youtube and this live video popped up in the related links. I took a look and liked it a lot. So I started reading about the band, about that particular concert and ended up in the google play store buying that 20 year anniversary album “iron will”. This started quite a journey until I could finally listen to the music…

First thing I do when I purchase new mp3s online is download the files to my computer. In this case, I also burned an audio cd in order to listen to the music in the car (which unfortunately can only play audio cds and no mp3s). When listening to it the next day while driving to a friend I was supposed to help move to his new house, I wondered why the transition from song to song did not fit and why songs announced at the end of one song did not come up as next song. Title 9 was not even a live song. Well, being in the car, I couldn’t to anything about this and I figured I must have messed up when burning the audio cd.

The next day however, I wanted to listen to the live show on my smartphone and it turns out that song order, song titles and even live vs. studio recordings were totally wrong on most of the mp3s. Did google mess up my download? So I cross-checked the songs in the cloud player, but the same issues happened there. Song 6 was actually song 14, but song 14 was actually song 21, just to give you an example.

I contacted google about this and already after a few minutes only, they got back to me. But only with a standard answer that if I made changes to the music in the music player, then these changes would be persistent and that it is essentially my fault.

<snip>
The album and songs you are talking about are showing the correct names in the Music Manager Online. The names of the files will differ based on any changes made in the Music Manager and are based off of the User you are signed into or sync’d with. So either the songs have been updated or changed online. Here is the information to switch them back.
<snip>

I described my issue more clearly

<snip>
The first 16 songs are supposed to be a live recording. But only songs 1-8, 12 and 14 are live recordings and the order is not the order of the concert or as shown in the titles. The rest of the live show is missing.
<snip>

Another couple minutes later, they got back at me again and refunded the order without any further explanation or offer on how to really fix the issue.

Well, I thought, since the price is identical, if this album is messed up in google play, I’ll just buy it on amazon mp3. About 5 minutes later, it turns out, the same errors happened on amazon. Unless they use the same mp3 storage, which I highly doubt, maybe the error neither happened at google nor at amazon but maybe at the label, nuclearblast.

Amazon was about as kind as google and refunded the price within a day and also took the mp3s off the website, so noone can buy those messed up files right now. Google did not do this by the way.

So I didn’t lose any money but still didn’t have the music I wanted to listen to. So I bit the bullet and bought the cd (which also includes 2 dvds) for twice the price on ebay, ripped the cd to mp3s and uploaded the mp3s to my google play account. And now guess what happened … their “scan and match” feature messed up the album again, just like it was when I bought it in their store. Apparently, what the music manager does when “uploading” music, is to upload id3 tags and if google already has files matching those tags they will just give you access to it.

In order to fix this and to get the correct songs to upload, I had to strip the files off any id3 tags and then it really actually uploads files instead of just tags. Afterwards, the files show up as “unknown artist” in my music collection, so I had to fix the artist and song titles manually, but at least google allows for that and now I can finally listen to this new found band in my collection :)

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