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how to choose a good track title, and what to avoid...

posted on #1
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Dear friends of the loops,

If you have been sent here for a read, please do not feel offended, there was certainly nothing "wrong" about any title you chose, I just feel that its necessary to point your attention at something - i beg your apologies for doing it with a little humor:

Titles like "track 54321 + Bass", or "UserA+UserB+UserC+Me" really pull my leg, let me tell you why.

I have spent MONTHS on coding a system that will:
+ keep track of the connection between templates and remixes, so naming any track ID-referrences in a tracks title is absolutely not necessary
+ even worse: "track 54321 + Bass" will let people think, "54321" was the ID of the track they are listening to - but thats a remix of 54321 that has an ID of its own! So the user will see two IDs displayed and get confused how this works!
+ well, the "+ Bass" information is also part of wikiloops ordering system - wikiloops knows and displays that you added bass, there really is no need to have that in the title. It feels like a Movie called "Motion picture with actors"... I hope you know what I am trying to say here.
+ same goes for lists of participants - just have a look at the front page or the search results, how tracks are offered there:
TRACK TITLE XYZ
and below:
"Dick on Bass jamming with Oli, Frank and Adam"
there really is no need to have a title like "Adam+Frank+Roy+Bass added" above that, is there?

OK, now some may say: Choosing a great title for any remix is hard to do, and its good to have titles that also show a session is part of a certain jam - maybe the first template supplier chose a great title ("Dr.Benways night out", or something), and you feel it would be cool to have that title mentioned in remixes of the template. I understand that, and I wouldn't object to a remix named "Dr.Benways night out Part II" if you really cannot come up with anything else.

+ last, let me tell you why this matters:
I am regularyly scanning the internet for recommendations and reviews on wikiloops on other sites, just to get some feedback on how we are doing. There I found some people saying: "It seems to be a cool place, but half of the tracks are named: "I tried to add..." or "bad mix needing..." or "54321 + bass", and that does not leave one with the impression the stuff is any good!"
We do have a free-text-search tool on wikiloops, think about people using that to find a track. I can remember "DrBenway" easyly and find that right away. But "54321 + bass" will give me
a) the wrong session as a result and
b) around 5.000 tracks containing a bass... if you want to be found and listened to, a good title is something of value to you!

BTW, most of the above is true for the "Sounds like"-Tags as well. It does not really add value to label a track you upload as Bass into the Blues segment with the tag "Blues Bass", people looking in the blues category and filter for tracks with bass will propably not be surprised the tracks they find there are Blues and contain Bass - to inform them the track also "sounds like" Blues and Bass is a bit like offering the movie "Action Movie with Sly Stallone" with the sub-title:"a movie full of action featuring sly stallone" - well, yes...

So, whats a good title, then, MrDick ?

"yellow unicorn"
"Dr.Dingis dance"
"9am in norfolk"
"Mamas Marmelade" - these are some examples of titles people will remember... come on, you are a creative person, arent ya?

Sorry for ranting on a little... I hope you understand the point of this :)
Edited by Dick on May 13 2014 14:31
"Sorry - had to do it!" - Les Claypool

yes, you are looking at the administrators signature.
posted on #2
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Dick,

Thanks, makes complete sense. And by the way Wikiloops is fantastic.

keep up the great work,

rp3
posted on #3
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Hi Dick,

the old DB problem ;-)

I will try to come up with cool names for new templates, so others can easily follow the scheme you proposed above.

For added remixes things are difficult. If I add some bass to a fictive reggae template title "Smoke your bowl", the intuitive approach would be "Smoke your bowl - reggae bass". Of course we hit the problem mentioned above: We know it's reggae and we also know it's a bass remix.

So "Smoke your bowl, v2" or "Smoke your bowl II" etc.ppp might be a solution, but in this case I would propose the following:

Add a feature to WikiLoops to keep the original template name. In this case the remix title would be autogenerated like this:

Smoke your bowl
- Smoke your bowl (1)
-- Smoke your bowl (1,1)
--- ...
- Smoke your bowl (2)
-- Smoke your bowl (2,1)
--- Smack your bowl (e.g. sequencer remix) (was: Smoke your bowl (2,1))
---- Smack your bowl (1)
----- Smack your bowl (1,1)
------ Smack your bowl (1,1,1)
----- Smack your bowl (1,2)
---- Smack your bowl (2)

This would give us
- a unique name based on some base template name
- a lot of useless thoughts about remix names can be avoided
- a user can still specify a new name, if suitable due to style change
- fully automatic
- much better than names like 'Added funk bass' ;-)

Might help with the problem. At least, that would be a way, I could imagine.

Carsten
Edited by Dick on May 14 2014 16:48
posted on #4
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haha ... "Dr Benway" IS actually a great title :) ... and i actually had lots of fun trying to find an adjective for each remix hehe ... so yes this is a nice topic of a touchy subject : titles !

i often see pop in the popular remixes this one someone called "hardest thing is the title" ... clever ;)

i dunno if you guys are like me but this is one of the very FIRST issue i run into on a new track ... and i usually take care of that right away ... maybe with just a working title but that feels so much better than AG14052014 ... ok i'm talking template here :)

i can only agree with Dick : be creative !!

as for remixes i like when the subsequent remixes respect the first title idea ... maybe add a word to describe the addition mood ? i like the idea that the title is thought of and picked personally by the member uploading the remix

a fully automated titling algo would lead to impersonal first contact with the remix imho ;)
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #5
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I would personally feel bad to change the title especially if I'm adding something that only compliments somebody else's idea. I also understand your concerns about people getting wrong tracks as a result of searching. If the engine is "instruments sensitive" maybe you could add the first letter of the instrument name to the title in the bracket like MrDick (d,g,b). I personally love to know what instruments are on the track by looking at the title when it appears in newsfeed
Regards ;)
posted on #6
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hey mbiegun,
I might as well see if I can display the instruments on the feeds tracks as well, good point there :)
"Sorry - had to do it!" - Les Claypool

yes, you are looking at the administrators signature.
posted on #7
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It would be great Dick! Regards
posted on #8
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Just do the this dont over imagine a title looking to put your travk at the end of a favorite frase on a movie ,book cartoon etc will transmit more of what your feeling that people will relate the moment they listen to the first notes of your creation and say o i get the groove the war the cry my this my that voyage ,sunny do you.... Etc and people will say cool name for that track even if the name is simple or just plain it will be come the cherry of the pay on the correct music creation almost every time
posted on #9
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Shall I add that I am sometimes surprised by some song titles with lyrics strangely changed.

Well, as I'm a songwriter, I try to bounce on a track title to write, but sometimes the story is different so I name the song considering the lyrics. And then someone adds a drum or a bass and completely changes the title. I guess if there is already a text it should keep its name... is it a problem if different versions have the same title ?
The more you learn, the less you know !
posted on #10
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Hi all, an interesting post...

I'm guilty of putting "track title + drums/percussion", but the reason why I started to do so was for two reasons :-

1 - there seems to be a issue that occasionally says ive played a sequencer when in actual fact i've added 2 or more instruments, being drums and percussion :)

2 - when you search on here and put exclude instruments = drums nearly all the tracks contain drums! Is that because people are just plain lazy? or because the stated instrument of sequencer occasionally includes a basic drum pattern? even so I wasted a lot of time trawling around here to find that most tracks don't exclude drums! ha ha ha :D I've just tried it right now..so I add the "drums+ percussion" as an extra way of being very clear of that I've done and also as a way of avoiding point number 1 :)

Cheers and peace :)
posted on #11
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Fwiw I find myself in closest alignment with Dick. I like to think that I am adding a bit of something personal (sometimes good, sometimes bad!) to a track rather than just playing an accompanying instrument. So I'll think hard about a title that encapsulates what the music means to me. Sometimes it's a play on the previous title, sometimes something more like a feeling that's evoked. I appreciate that 99% of the time no-one else will understand the allusion but for me the title is an important aspect :)
posted on #12
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Maybe that will help. If you want to change the title of a song or maybe you have to, you can quote words from the lyrics and make it a title. This is a common way to find titles. If you check a text for that, you can often see what fits very quickly.
And then why not ask the singer directly? The title can also be changed later.
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