This is such a tragedy, because it makes much more difficult for Classical Music to get new listeners:
Say I want to hear Leonard Bernstein conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Well, Bernstein recorded this symphony three different times — with the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and also at a historic performance in 1989 in Berlin shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with members of four different orchestras (the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Kirov Orchestra from then-Leningrad and the Orchestre de Paris).
But let’s keep our hypothetical more simple, and assume that we’re looking for Bernstein’s recording of the Beethoven Ninth with the New York Philharmonic. There are also four vocal soloists on that recording — soprano Martina Arroyo, mezzo-soprano Regina Sarfaty, tenor Nicholas di Virgilio and bass Norman Scott. The performance also includes the Juilliard Chorus, directed by Abraham Kaplan.
In this example, who would be listed as the artist? (Bernstein? Beethoven? The 100-plus players in the New York Philharmonic? Arroyo et al? The Juilliard Chorus or its conductor?) And as soon as some individual plugs in one of those names in the “artist” field as the sole piece of metadata in that category, then the other pieces of information are all too often essentially lost — and won’t come up in searches.