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View Full Version : Compilations and "album artist" tag



Kvaks
2008-12-03, 14:19
I've been thinking about getting a Squeezebox Duet, and so I've tried out the software, SqueezeCenter and the Softsqueeze.

On thing I was worried about beforehand, was how SC would deal with albums that feature different artists, such as compilations or jazz albums with guest musicians. What I want, basically, is for the software to use the "album artist" ID3 tag when browsing by artists.

I really, really hate it when compilations clutter up the Artists sections with lots of bands and artists with only a single track. I want all this to sort under "Various Artists" or whatever is in the "album artist" tag.

And it seems my worries were confirmed. SC does throw all these single tracks into the Artists section as separate entries. Is there any way to make SC use the "album artist" tag when browsing Artists?

(Yes, I know I can browse by album. But that's rarely what I want to do. I want to browse by artist (ie. album artist), but that is more or less useless for me the way is stands now.)

slimkid
2008-12-03, 15:41
yes. Simply check 'group compilation albums together' check box in Lib configuration section.

If you ask more about its specific behavior, I'll run for cover :)

K

Kvaks
2008-12-03, 15:53
Thank you! I can't believe I missed that option. Very good, looks like I'll be getting a Squeezebox then (this problem could have been a deal breaker for me).

DoomWolf
2008-12-03, 16:36
I recommend searching the forums on this issue, because there are well documented problems that people can run into, almost all of which have previously been covered.

I'll give you one to start with (because it covers making sure your tag versions are correct - the issue that I believe is behind the majority of issues when grouping compilations correctly): http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=55276

Philip Meyer
2008-12-03, 16:47
>On thing I was worried about beforehand, was how SC would deal with
>albums that feature different artists, such as compilations or jazz
>albums with guest musicians. What I want, basically, is for the
>software to use the "album artist" ID3 tag when browsing by artists.
>
SqueezeCenter is the best app that I have used for handling album artists and compilations, and it will do everything you need it to.

When browsing artists, albums will be listed under their album artist.
If there is no album artist, and there are many performing artists on the album, the album will considered a compilation.
Compilation albums will be listed by default under "Various Artists".
Artists performing only on albums that have a defined album artist or on compilation albums can be configured to not be listed when browsing artists.

However, be careful what you mean by the "album artist" id3 tag, because officially there isn't one. Many apps use an id3v2.3 tag (called TPE2) that is meant to be used for storing Band/Orchestra information, and call this "Album Artist".

SC by default, reads the tag for it's true meaning, and will not group songs by this Band tag, so by default albums with many performing artists will appear as compilation albums.

SC also supports another custom tag (called TXXX ALBUMARTIST), so you have support for declaring albums to be by a certain artist, rather than listed as compilations, whilst also retaining the ability to have band/orchestra information, eg. for classical music.

SC can be configured to fall back into a compatibility mode for mp3 files, where the id3v2.3 Band tag is interpretted as Album Artist.

MrSinatra
2008-12-04, 18:49
Kvaks,

how u do it depends on several things, like if you want to use your files with JUST SC, or if you want to use them with SC and other apps, or even other people.

as was previously mentioned, there is no official mp3 tag for album artist, but itunes, winamp, WMP, etc... all abscond TPE2 (the Band tag) for it.

so my question to you is do you have TPE2 info for all your files, and does it ever represent true "Band/Orchaestra" info, or is it all meant as "Album Artist" info?

the thing is that if SC sees something it interprets as album artist data, that will be denoted and sorted under that data, and it won't be called a comp. but if you want SC to know something is a comp, it can't have data SC will interpret as album artist, and it must have some kind of artist mismatch.

you can also set explicit comp tags, that over-ride anything else, (or are supposed to i assume, slim isn't very clear about expected behaviors).

and so all this relates to the option of how you want TPE2 to be treated by SC.

any questions, feel free to ask.

Daren
2008-12-04, 23:54
I think part of the problem is that I've got used to the way other apps work (e.g. Media Monkey, WinAmp) with regards the album artist tag, which for my entire collection ia set as 'various artists'. These bitters clutter up my artist view in SC. It will be too much hassle to change this notation.

If I understand it right, my various artists are contained in the TPE2 tag which is what it is not really meant for.However I am interested in Philip's comment about the custom tag (called TXXX ALBUMARTIST)and that SC can be configured to fall back into a compatibility mode for mp3 files, where the id3v2.3 Band tag is interpreted as Album Artist. How is this done?

MrSinatra
2008-12-05, 00:14
I think part of the problem is that I've got used to the way other apps work (e.g. Media Monkey, WinAmp) with regards the album artist tag, which for my entire collection ia set as 'various artists'. These bitters clutter up my artist view in SC. It will be too much hassle to change this notation.

yep, this is something i've been preaching... other apps like winamp not only use TPE2 [out of spec] to mean "album artist" but they also populate it with either the artist name or "Various Artists" or whatever.

Slim/SC would rather that wasn't true, but it is.

so the question in my mind has always been, how can i get a reasonable experience out of both SC and other apps? (i use SC and winamp mostly, but i also share my files with others besides)

the long and short of it is i have no intention whatsoever of giving up using TPE2 as album artist. if i want or need SC to know something is a comp, i should be able to set an explicit comp tag, and presumably that would over-ride anything else.


If I understand it right, my various artists are contained in the TPE2 tag which is what it is not really meant for.

if i understand you right, you have "Various Artists" in your TPE2 field for all your comps, yes?


However I am interested in Philip's comment about the custom tag (called TXXX ALBUMARTIST)and that SC can be configured to fall back into a compatibility mode for mp3 files, where the id3v2.3 Band tag is interpreted as Album Artist. How is this done?

these are two different options, or really, two different methods.

Phil is saying you could add a whole new tag, called TXXX ALBUMARTIST and give it a value and SC will support it. that way you could still use TPE2 as Band, and not Album Artist.

however, i would suggest you try this:

go to the SC settings, and enable the option "Treat TPE2 as Album Artist" and then do a full clear and rescan.

when u do this, SC will take all your TPE2 values to mean they are album artist values. its essentially a scanner option, it determines what field TPE2 populates in the SC DB.

the drawback is your comps won't be identified as comps to SC. but since they will have an ALBUMARTIST value in the SC DB, the individual track artists will be suppressed from the artist listing.

you could still set an explicit comp tag if you wanted to.

phils way is the best way if you only care about SC, and don't mind going to all that effort. in his way, you basically tag such that TPE2 would still mean "band" and you use a user defined tag to mean album artist, and you would only set that on albums you didn't want detected as VA albums.

the problem is his way isn't compatible with winamp, and lot of other apps.

so its a personal preference on your part.

Philip Meyer
2008-12-05, 02:47
>the problem is his way isn't compatible with winamp, and lot of other apps.
>
>so its a personal preference on your part.

That's right. It is personal preference, and there isn't a right way (but there are probably some wrong ways!) of organising music.

For me, SC is central to my music collection. I use it for playing music throughout the house, and for organising my music (eg. searching/finding items). I want the best experience I can get out of it.

A lot of my music in my library is FLAC, so I don't have problems with those.

I do use other apps, but they are inferior in functionality and serve less purpose for me, so I don't worry as much about how music is presented in their libraries. I don't have all that many albums with guest performers, so don't need too many occurrances of Album Artist tags. I only use album artist tags when they are needed.

eg. I use Foobar as a local player for the desktop PC (that also supports TXXX ALBUMARTIST), but I don't have a need to scan and organise music in a library within FooBar - it is purely my default player for files opened in Windows. I use iTunes, but only for syncing music to an iPod Nano for playing random songs in the car, so I am also generally unconcerned as to how the music library is presented in iTunes itself. iTunes music library is broken in other ways, anyway.

BTW, MusicIP, which many people like to integrate with SC, does not support album artist at all. i.e. TPE2 is read only as Band/Orchestra, and appears as a column of data; it has no other meaning.

Other people may like complete compatibility with other apps, or maybe do not wish to change tags, and thus a losing functionality to accomodate that way of working may be ideal for them.

Phil

Daren
2008-12-06, 02:22
It seems to me that SC should have an override option for those of us who are not interested in bands, etc.

Just thought - I use tag&rename and it has an option 'this is part of a compilation'. Presumably if I retag my 'various artists' albums with this option, this should do the trick?

Philip Meyer
2008-12-06, 03:04
>It seems to me that SC should have an override option for those of us
>who are not interested in bands, etc.
If you are not interested in band information, don't add the tags?

There are no override options in other apps to turn off things like this - if the tag data is there, the apps read it.

Daren
2008-12-06, 03:10
This will resolve the conflict with the apps that lazily use the album artist field (which most do).

Some of us prefer to use these apps when listening to music on the PC and for tagging purposes.

All I want is an option in SC to unclutter my artist view. Alternatively if the artist appears on a 'various artist' it would be OK by me if they were listed at the end so that at least an artists' albums can be viewed together.

I know you are being a purist but most of us do not organise your collections the way you do. An override in SC would keep you happy and also give the rest of us what we want.

It's all about providing a product what the customers want and Logitech need to listen to them.

Philip Meyer
2008-12-06, 07:54
>This will resolve the conflict with the apps that lazily use the album
>artist field (which most do).
>
>Some of us prefer to use these apps when listening to music on the PC
>and for tagging purposes.

I think I must be missing the point. If you use the mp3 id3v2.3 TPE2 frame for other applications, then why not use it for SC too (it can now represent Band or Album Artist)? If you don't want SC to read the tag, then you won't need it for other apps to?

Daren
2008-12-06, 10:14
Other apps use album artist = various artists to define compilations

This is no good in SC. Don't want artists cluttered with appearances on compilations.

Notwithstanding, can you advise how to add a compilation tax with MP3Tag, assuming that this will mean:

Specific Arists will exclude such albums and listed as an artist under various artists.

Philip Meyer
2008-12-06, 12:28
>Other apps use album artist = various artists to define compilations
>
>This is no good in SC.
SC can do that too, if you want it to. Why do you say it's no good?

>Don't want artists cluttered with appearances on compilations.
>
By "artists", do you mean the list of artists, or the list of albums by a certain artist?

If you use album artist tags, you won't have compilations.

You can control what appears in the Browse Artist list when you have compilation albums or albums with an album artist. But, no matter what settings you pick, you will always get all music displayed for an artist when you browse to that artist. Turning off album artist detection (or compilation detection) would not change that, but would prevent you from being able to control what appears in the Browse Artist list.

>Notwithstanding, can you advise how to add a compilation tax with
>MP3Tag, assuming that this will mean:
>
>Specific Arists will exclude such albums and listed as an artist under
>various artists.
I don't quite understand what you mean, but it's easy to add COMPILATION tags in Mp3Tag. Go to the Extended Tags... dialog, and press "Add Field". Enter a field called COMPILATION, and enter a value (0 or 1).

Moonbase
2008-12-06, 15:32
Depends on what it does … maybe only sets TCMP oder COMPILATION?

CatBus
2008-12-06, 15:54
The whole discussion boils down to the fact that the various tagging specifications are all somewhat inadequate by a number of measures, and that many applications implement those specifications in quirky, nonstandard ways.

As a result, many people have collections that, while technically mistagged, happen to work quite well in whatever music management software they've been using. When they start using SqueezeCenter, which in my opinion stays pretty close to the defined tagging specs, their tagging quirks are revealed, sometimes unpleasantly.

The rest is just an argument over whose fault this is and who should make the effort to fix it.

Moonbase
2008-12-06, 16:07
I couldn’t have put that any better way …

Philip Meyer
2008-12-07, 01:35
>The whole discussion boils down to the fact that the various tagging
>specifications are all somewhat inadequate by a number of measures, and
>that many applications implement those specifications in quirky,
>nonstandard ways.
>
>As a result, many people have collections that, while technically
>mistagged, happen to work quite well in whatever music management
>software they've been using. When they start using SqueezeCenter,
>which in my opinion stays pretty close to the defined tagging specs,
>their tagging quirks are revealed, sometimes unpleasantly.
>
This is quite true.

>The rest is just an argument over whose fault this is and who should
>make the effort to fix it.
>
I believe that SC currently copes with many different ways people could have tagged their music collection. It supports all required standard tags, supports non-standard tags, and allows standard tags to be used in out-of-standard ways.

The most crucial missing element is clear documentation. There's loads of forum threads, responding to peoples library/tagging problems, often ending in satisfactory results, and most of this could be alleviated if the settings were clearer, if there was more help (eg. in the tool-tips for the settings), if there were some form of user guide, and/or there were nice wiki pages that captured these common issues.

Only Logitech can change the code/labelling in the WebUI settings and produce official user guides.
But the community can help by making notes in wiki pages.

Another problem I see is that often "bugs" are raised that are not actually bugs, or are not clearly stated what is wrong. It must be hard for the developers to decipher all the requests to work out what should actually be changed.

I feel that in reality there is is very little wrong with the tagging support/options in place - perhaps there are a few enhancements to allow people to use the library in different ways, but generally there are not many actual bugs.

Phil

Daren
2008-12-07, 07:35
OK can someone tell me what the SC settings should be to get the following outcome:

1. I want the artist list to exclude compilation albums period. So no appearances on Now 71 etc.
2. Compilations are shown as 'various artists' under the artist list.

Note: my TPE2 tag is set to 'various artists' for compilation albums.

Philip Meyer
2008-12-07, 10:16
>OK can someone tell me what the SC settings should be to get the
>following outcome:
>
>1. I want the artist list to exclude compilation albums period. So no
>appearances on Now 71 etc.
>2. Compilations are shown as 'various artists' under the artist list.
>
>Note: my TPE2 tag is set to 'various artists' for compilation albums.

You do not have any compilation albums as such. You have albums where the name of the artist for the album is "Various Artists". That does not make it a compilation album. i.e. Specifying an album artist forces the album to not be a compilation. To confirm this, if you view the album in the WebUI, it will not say "Compilation: Yes".

If you want them to be indicated as compilations, you will either need to remove the album artist (TPE2 tag in your case), or add a custom tag indicating that the album is a compilation (either "COMPILATION=1" or "ITUNESCOMPILATION=1").

There are no settings that you can magically select to do this for you. You need to correct your tags.

Part (1) above, you say you want the artist list to exclude compilation albums. I really still do not clearly know what you mean. Are you seeing compilation album names appear in the Browse Artist list? Do you want "Various Artists" to not appear in the Artist List (although part (2) indicates that you do)? Do you want contributors that appear on compilation albums to be excluded from the Artists list?

If you mean the latter, you could choose the Music Library setting "Group compilation albums together", and the artist list you get when you navigate to Browse Artists will only include artists or album artists. The word "compilation" is a bit eroneous here I think, as it also works for albums that have album artists (that are therefore not compilations unless you tell it so).

You can untick the checkboxes "Composer", "Conductor", "Band/Orchestra" as well, if you don't want those in your artist list.

Phil

MrSinatra
2008-12-07, 20:49
Other apps use album artist = various artists to define compilations

you're being vague... it isn't clear if you mean the tag, or the DB.

i honestly don't know how other apps define comps, and other than itunes, i'm not sure any mainstream apps do? (i'm not even sure itunes does, meaning it might just use apples server DB and not an app logic, but it does set comp tags one way or another)

gracenote does set TPE2 = to "Various Artists" but thats just a tag value... it indicates to the user its a comp, but i don't think any app itself says 'i see that value so i know to classify it as a comp.'


This is no good in SC. Don't want artists cluttered with appearances on compilations.

if you set a TPE2 value in your tags, AND set SC to treat your mp3s TPE2 as album artist, (not band), then SC won't think you have ANY comps, but it will ALSO suppress a VA albums artists from cluttering your artist list.

the drawback is that SC won't know anything is a comp.

and due to a bug, anything with "Various Artists" in TPE2 won't show up in the Home > Artists list, UNLESS you set a value in the SC settings for somewhere else for comps to be listed.


Notwithstanding, can you advise how to add a compilation tax with MP3Tag, assuming that this will mean:

Specific Arists will exclude such albums and listed as an artist under various artists.

i'm not sure i follow you, but if you experiment with what i said above, and do full clears and rescans, i think you'll be close, if not at where you want to be.

MrSinatra
2008-12-07, 21:07
>OK can someone tell me what the SC settings should be to get the
>following outcome:
>
>1. I want the artist list to exclude compilation albums period. So no
>appearances on Now 71 etc.
>2. Compilations are shown as 'various artists' under the artist list.
>
>Note: my TPE2 tag is set to 'various artists' for compilation albums.

You do not have any compilation albums as such. You have albums where the name of the artist for the album is "Various Artists". That does not make it a compilation album. i.e. Specifying an album artist forces the album to not be a compilation. To confirm this, if you view the album in the WebUI, it will not say "Compilation: Yes".

i just want to point out that it depends.

it depends on the Treat TPE2 as album artist or band setting.

if its treated as band, his comps SHOULD show up in SC under Various Artists.

if its treated as album artists, they won't, b/c of the bug i posted:

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=9523

i'm not sure what would happen if second case above was true, AND he had comp=1 tags on those albums, it would be an interesting experiment.


If you want them to be indicated as compilations, you will either need to remove the album artist (TPE2 tag in your case), or add a custom tag indicating that the album is a compilation (either "COMPILATION=1" or "ITUNESCOMPILATION=1").

again, depending on the treat setting.


There are no settings that you can magically select to do this for you. You need to correct your tags.

Part (1) above, you say you want the artist list to exclude compilation albums. I really still do not clearly know what you mean. Are you seeing compilation album names appear in the Browse Artist list? Do you want "Various Artists" to not appear in the Artist List (although part (2) indicates that you do)? Do you want contributors that appear on compilation albums to be excluded from the Artists list?

If you mean the latter, you could choose the Music Library setting "Group compilation albums together", and the artist list you get when you navigate to Browse Artists will only include artists or album artists. The word "compilation" is a bit eroneous here I think, as it also works for albums that have album artists (that are therefore not compilations unless you tell it so).

i suspect he's in the same boat as me.

he should try treating TPE2 as Band. if things sort out of place, treat tpe2 as album artist and set a value for what comps should sort under to defeat the bug.


You can untick the checkboxes "Composer", "Conductor", "Band/Orchestra" as well, if you don't want those in your artist list.

Phil

i def think he should do that.