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mikerob
2005-08-25, 17:39
I'm somewhat confused by the new functionality for compilation albums that has appeared in recent 6.2 nightlies.

I first noticed this when "Various Artists" appeared when browsing by artists.

In my collection I don't actually have any albums with multiple artists or artists called "Various Artists". I do have a large number of dance/DJ mix compilations but have tagged the artist as something descriptive like the DJ/label and tagged the tracks as "track name - artist" to avoid having thousands of different artists.

I generally use iTunes for ripping CDs and a number of albums have been tagged as "compilations". It appears that Slimserver is now listing these albums under "Various Artists".

This includes single artist albums such as "Best of..." type collections which are, well, compilations, of tracks by the same artist so quite logically they have been tagged as compilations.

I therefore can't see the justification for assuming that the compilation tag means Various Artists.

I'm also a bit confused about the "Compilation" settings under Server Settings / Behavior.

The default settings are "List compilation albums under each artist" and "Don't include compilation artists in artist list" However with these settings, compilation albums aren't listed under the artist. Some artists which only have "compilation" albums have disappeared from the Browse Artist listings. So if you had a Sinéad O'Connor album, "So Far... The Best of Sinéad O'Connor" which iTunes tags as a compilation because it is, well, a compilation, then the album doesn't appear under Sinéad O'Connor but is listed under Various Artists.

I would imagine this change to previous behaviour will be confusing to many users when they find artists and albums disappearing from where they expected.

Would it not be better for the default behaviour to be the same as previously - ignore the compilation tag and Browsing by Artist or Album is purely based on the Artist or Album tags.

Doing clever things based on the compilation tag would then be purely optional.

iTunes doesn't show anything in my collection called Various Artists.

My iPod doesn't show anything in my collection called Various Artists.

Music Magic Mixer doesn't show anything in my collection called Various Artists.

Slimserver didn't used to show anything in my collection called Various Artists.

How do I get rid of the Various Artists?

Yes, I could remove the compilation tag but I don't think this is the right thing to do. Firstly, because I think it is a mistake to assume compilation = Various Artists and secondly because I believe the default Slimserver behaviour should be "what you see is what you've tagged" so if you browse by artist, you see what you have put in the artist tags - nothing more, nothing less, and this isn't what is happening at the moment.

dean
2005-08-25, 19:27
Hi Mike,

Yep, this new feature is still confusing. And it's not done. This
is useful feedback.

The basic goal here was to do what iTunes does pretty well, which is
when you have a "compilation" album from a bunch of artists, not
pollute your artists listing with all those singular songs.

Problem is that there are different definitions of "compilation". I
think a "compilation" is an album with a bunch of songs from a
variety of artists. iTunes' "Group compilations when browsing"
option is described like this in the help file:

"To see all the songs on a compilation CD grouped together in your
library, make sure "Group compilations when browsing" is selected in
iTunes preferences. If this checkbox is deselected, artists from
compilation CDs appear individually in the Artist list (in browse
view)."

That's what our first setting under "Compilations" is supposed to do
too.

Some folks think that a "compilation" can be a bunch of songs from a
single artist that are compiled into an album. I'm not sure that
this is right, since every album could be considered a compilation of
songs. One question for you: What do you expect the "Compilation"
checkbox to do? How should the presentation of albums be different
if it's a compilation?

This is all complicated by other ID3 and Vorbis tags that identify
ARTIST, ALBUMARTIST and TRACKARTIST.

I think we're still a little confused about what the right way to
handle all this is, but we're working on it.




On Aug 25, 2005, at 5:39 PM, mikerob wrote:

>
> I'm somewhat confused by the new functionality for compilation albums
> that has appeared in recent 6.2 nightlies.
>
> I first noticed this when "Various Artists" appeared when browsing by
> artists.
>
> In my collection I don't actually have any albums with multiple
> artists
> or artists called "Various Artists". I do have a large number of
> dance/DJ mix compilations but have tagged the artist as something
> descriptive like the DJ/label and tagged the tracks as "track name -
> artist" to avoid having thousands of different artists.
>
> I generally use iTunes for ripping CDs and a number of albums have
> been
> tagged as "compilations". It appears that Slimserver is now listing
> these albums under "Various Artists".
>
> This includes single artist albums such as "Best of..." type
> collections which are, well, compilations, of tracks by the same
> artist
> so quite logically they have been tagged as compilations.
>
> I therefore can't see the justification for assuming that the
> compilation tag means Various Artists.
>
> I'm also a bit confused about the "Compilation" settings under Server
> Settings / Behavior.
>
> The default settings are "List compilation albums under each artist"
> and "Don't include compilation artists in artist list" However with
> these settings, compilation albums aren't listed under the artist.
> Some
> artists which only have "compilation" albums have disappeared from the
> Browse Artist listings. So if you had a Sinéad O'Connor album, "So
> Far... The Best of Sinéad O'Connor" which iTunes tags as a compilation
> because it is, well, a compilation, then the album doesn't appear
> under
> Sinéad O'Connor but is listed under Various Artists.
>
> I would imagine this change to previous behaviour will be confusing to
> many users when they find artists and albums disappearing from where
> they expected.
>
> Would it not be better for the default behaviour to be the same as
> previously - ignore the compilation tag and Browsing by Artist or
> Album
> is purely based on the Artist or Album tags.
>
> Doing clever things based on the compilation tag would then be purely
> optional.
>
> iTunes doesn't show anything in my collection called Various Artists.
>
> My iPod doesn't show anything in my collection called Various Artists.
>
> Music Magic Mixer doesn't show anything in my collection called
> Various
> Artists.
>
> Slimserver didn't used to show anything in my collection called
> Various
> Artists.
>
> How do I get rid of the Various Artists?
>
> Yes, I could remove the compilation tag but I don't think this is the
> right thing to do. Firstly, because I think it is a mistake to assume
> compilation = Various Artists and secondly because I believe the
> default Slimserver behaviour should be "what you see is what you've
> tagged" so if you browse by artist, you see what you have put in the
> artist tags - nothing more, nothing less, and this isn't what is
> happening at the moment.
>
>
> --
> mikerob
>

mikerob
2005-08-26, 05:35
Thanks for the detailed reply Dean.

I'm not sure I'm the best person to advise on how a Compilation/Various Artists scheme should work as I just want the ability not to use these options. My tagging scheme just relies on track, artist, album and genre and I don't want browsing information for these basic fields to be affected by information that happens to be in other fields - such as compilation or composer.

There is also the lowest common denominator consideration. The tags in my music collection are also being used by iTunes, iPod and Music Magic Mixer so I need something pretty simple to work across multiple platforms.

This works for me but certainly won't work for everyone hence the pressure to have more sophisticated ways of presenting information.

I don't think it is that useful to debate the definition of "compilation". The reality is that iTunes (and probably other ripping programs as well) do tag some - but not all - single artist "Best of..." albums as compilations. We all know that tagging data pulled down from the internet is consistently inconsistent.

However this hasn't mattered up to now as Slimserver has ignored the compilation field.

In my opinion, the default should still be to ignore the compilation field so the user doesn't see any change to information when browsing and isn't forced to re-tag tracks to keep the same behaviour.

If it is optional to do things based on the compilation field then someone who wants to use functionality this will need to tidy up these tags to fix tagging inconsistencies one way or the other.

To provide some use cases from my perspective - the majority of my collection would actually be classified as "Various Artists" as it consists of DJ/dance mixes.

However having 80% of your albums listed under "Various Artists" isn't a very useful way of finding things. Similarly, having thousands of individual artist names with arcane variations of "x feat. y", "x feat. y (z nighttime remix)", "x feat. y (z daytime remix) isn't very useful either.

So what I've done for these albums is to set the track title as "track name - artist" and set the artist title for all tracks as something more descriptive than "Various Artists" such as a combination of the DJ and label.

In most cases, iTunes does tag these albums as compilations and when this is set, all tracks are ripped into the same folder rather than lots of individual folders based on the artist name.

To be honest, I can't get my head around a Various Artists/Compilation scheme that would work given the various permutations of tags and applications so personally would prefer to always have the option of "what you see is what you've tagged" based upon track/artist/album/genre without being second guessed what this means based upon information in other fields.

I just know that there aren't any artists in my collection called "Various Artists" or any albums with different artist titles on different tracks so it bugs me when "Various Artists" appears :)

On a minor point, I use the artist, album and track counts as a quick and easy way of checking if iTunes, Slimserver and MMM are tracking the same music. "Various Artists" is included in the artist count on Slimserver therefore throwing the count out of sync with the other applications

gharris999
2005-08-26, 07:11
Here here. (Hear hear?) I'm all for making "various artist" checking a turn-off-able option. I'm sure lots of people will appreciate the compilation checking feature. But for those folks who are hyper-anal about their tagging (and I count myself as one,) we’ll initially experience anything other than a strictly literal interpretation of our tags as a loss of control…i.e. not an enhancement. As things stand in the 6.2 beta as of this morning, I'm a little unclear as to how to turn this feature off, or even if that's possible. I, for one, would appreciate a straight-forward "Don’t check for compilation albums" checkbox on the Server Settings->Behavior page.

I'm sure that the developers are exhibiting some extreme cleverness in how they go about implementing this feature, and I hope I'm not sounding unappreciative here. However, please realize that this particular segment of your intended audience (the hyper-anal taggers) will be the last group to get on board with this feature. While we "HATs" are some of your biggest fans, as a group, we are all about control. The developers should be careful to not create the impression (in the minds of the hyper-anal taggers) that control is being taken away from them.

MrC
2005-08-26, 09:01
I too agree that the pseudonym "Various Artists" isn't terribly useful as it is. Its really just an somewhat arbitrary collection of artists one level removed from a sorting by artists. It seems to me the utility of such is the ability to reduce the clutter, but at the same time allow presentation if desired.

My comments below are primarily for the web app, not SB2 itself.

I've been using an application for webpage bookmarks for a long time, that solved for me what was a real problem. The program doesn't try to organize the bookmarks into pre-defined categories or folders, in that such categorization and taxonomy, like with music tags, into a folder like hierarchy is not really possible due to the enormous variation, multiple locations, etc.. Rather, it does not not present any hierarchy per se. It solves the search and presentation problem using user-defined keywords entered and auto-extracted at bookmark creation time, and lightning fast incremental (partial or full) search, immediately reducing the possible items based upon what you've entered into the search box. Many database applications reflect essentially the way data is stored - enormous lists, grouped and/or sorted by one or more key fields. And they tend to force users to act the same way the calls work in the program (eg. present field for user's sort criteria, wait for user to Enter, call lookup op, obtain sorted data, render data, repeat). I think this is fine for an inventory printout, but for day to day operations, at any given time you are searching for something, and the ability to instantly reduce your choices is to me nirvana. Reduction and presentation is no longer a matter of click here, click there, go up a folder, scroll-scroll-scroll, sort this way, etc. That's too much hunting and work.

I think it would be peachy to see one or more checkboxes on the artists page that dynamically show/hide, in sorted order, such things as composer, track artists, etc. With a dynamic, incremental search at the top of each page, a check or two, and an few chars typed in the incremental search box would yield very rapid access for those HATs (who likely memorize their entire collection and know what they are looking for, and want it quickly). It would also be very useful for those just looking for an artist or two.

I realize this is not the end all solution, and also requires a competely differnt way of looking/coding the web app. However I do feel that 95% of what what we do with the web app is search and browse, the ability to immediately reduce and expand choices (and this means without pressing a DoIt or Go button) goes a long way towards helping to find items rather than spending time worrying about how and where to place those items.

Just my 2 cents.