music/web: need a precise neutral way to refer to songs

Introducing NPR Music Playlists:

From the songs played between news stories on-air to the most essential releases out every Friday, we’re committing a series of playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, updated every weekday.”

This is no use if you use a music service other than Spotify or Apple Music! There should be a gatekeeper-independent way to link to a song that my digital device figures out how to play, similar to ISBNs for books. Bonus points if you can link to e.g. the 1992 Japanese remaster of the a capella remix and if it’s not available on my music service(s) then my device approximates with the a capella radio edit from the Greatest Hits release.

Wikipedia does something close to what I want, for coordinates and ISBNs. Click one in an article and the site asks what service you want to use to view the map or show the book information. Good, but these data items should be standardized in all web pages. And there’s nothing close for sound recordings.

There was a startup trying to solve this, Tomahawk… not sure what happened. There are other companies that will host your playlist and then reformat it for each music streaming service, but why involve a middleman? You know the song to which you want to refer, I have a smart device that can access that song in various ways; we just need to communicate intent.

Instead people (including me!) link to random YouTube videos of the song as the lowest common denominator, hoping they won’t get taken down. Even though my preferred music player usually does have access to the song, it doesn’t start and the musicians get even less money. <sigh>

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