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iTunes tweaks style guide to make ‘tribute’ covers more obvious

By | Published on Monday 9 February 2015

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Apple has seemingly changed its iTunes style guide rules in a bid to make it easier for users to pick out original tracks from sneaky sound-a-like covers, or more to the point, to make it harder for the sellers of sound-a-like covers to trick people into buying their recordings thinking they are getting the real deal.

According to Digital Music News, the new iTunes rules stop sound-a-like makers from putting the name of the artist best known for performing a track into the meta-data of their covers. So, as DMN explains, “‘Problem (Originally performed by Ariana Grande)’ or ‘Artist: The Billy Joel Tribute Band'” would not be allowed.

It’s a move that will please those artists and labels behind hit records – both new and catalogue – who have a sneaky feeling that they are losing out on sales when customers accidently buy covers of their tracks which are confusingly labelled and made to sound very like the original. It’s a problem Apple has long avoided addressing (when I asked the firm’s spokesman about it about eight years ago he gave a long waffley reply that basically said “who the fuck cares?”), so it’s interesting that they’ve made this move at this time.

Elsewhere in Apple news, there were rumours late last week that the IT giant was close to buying US country label Big Machine, best known these days as home to Spotify-Disser-In-Chief Taylor Swift. Though the tech giant has resolutely denied said rumours.