Field length and precision

Many companies in the music industry use relational databases that have limitations on the length of strings that can be stored efficiently. In addition, applications – whether b2b applications such as a record company’s label copy system or a DSP’s content management system as well as m2c applications where a consumer can select music he or she wants to listen to – will also have limited space. Yet, there is no specific length that would cover all applications and all databases – and allow artists the freedom to give their creations titles of their choosing. The same applies to artist names.

Clearly, because of the aforementioned limitations an artist would be ill-advised to give his or her album a title of, say, 500 characters – as it is likely to reduce the numbers of plays/purchases. But artists must have the freedom to do that and a standard such as DDEX must have the ability to allow implementers to support such long titles or artist names.

As a consequence, DDEX does not define a maximum length of free-form string fields. For similar reasons, DDEX also does not define the maximum precision of floating-point data fields (with the exception of the RDR-R standard that defines a precision for the reporting message).

A by-product of this approach is that companies that have size-limited (or precision-limited) applications will need to have policies in place about what to do when data is received that exceeds that company’s limit.

See also this article with specific advice for MWN.