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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Meyer View Post
    >Do any of the applications referred to above ever apply a string other
    >than 'Various Artists' to the ALBUMARTIST field of compilations? If
    >not, there's no reason to recognize anything other than 'Various
    >Artists'. The option in SBS should be used only for display (and
    >sorting).
    >

    There is no consistency - some compilations have "V/A", some "VA", some "Various". Not really an app thing, as the data tag can come from metadata providers, which themselves are not consistent (some are based on user submitted values). iTunes allows the compilation tag to be set, and doesn't need/put anything in Album Artist.

    I think it's a bad idea to put more guessing logic in the scanner - there should be a drive to remove hard-coded guesswork, not add to it. It would only perhaps "solve" the issue for some people, or perhaps only partially "solve", where users have various album artist strings denoting a compilation album, which would be even worse, as it would look like it's working, and perhaps mask that some albums are not displayed.
    I agree with all of the above, especially the guesswork. Most of the people who care enough about these things probably put the effort into tagging their music such that guessing isn't needed. It's the fact that guessing is being used when not needed that seems to be screwing up for those having issues in this thread.

  2. #22
    MrSinatra
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    Quote Originally Posted by emalvick View Post
    I was referring to your mark as compilation while still filling a TPE2 type tag so that tracks might show up under a specific Album Artist (and perhaps not needing Custom Browse).
    you would still need custom browse to switch on the fly between browsing "artists" or "albumartists."

    what my suggestion does, is allow things "hidden" by bug 9523, to show up.

    if the default string for the SBS comps category of "Various Artists" is not changed by the SBS option allowing you to rename it, then any tag with "Various Artists" in the AA field (or in the artist field with no AA tag, tho less common) will be hidden from view.

    so, one workaround is to add comp=1 tags to those things with that string in that tag, and that makes the string conflict moot, b/c now SBS will classify the tracks as a comp.

    relatedly, if you have something with an AA string that doesn't conflict, and you add a comp=1 tag, then you should see it file under both the SBS VA category name, AND the AA tag string.

    (i assume you knew all this but i just wanted to be clear)

    Quote Originally Posted by emalvick View Post
    I can see your point of view; but I also take the attitude that each person has their way of doing things, and the big advantage with SBS is that it provides the flexibility of plugins... While it may not have a feature I like, at least I am not bound to the feature I don't like.

    I've essentially given myself the ability to browse by artists or albumartists.

    One thing I have liked about SBS is that I can separate myself from the misuse of TPE2 and have a separate ALBUMARTIST tag with my ultimate intention to actually fill in that BAND field with band members (i.e. each band member in a jazz band, etc).
    the problem is that its too basic and fundamental a feature to require, and depend on, a 3rd party plugin, one that erland has said in the past he is getting tired of supporting.

    its a music server. its so basic as to be, in my mind, insane that they would not allow someone to choose. i don't want unofficial plugins at all generally, and def not a big one like that for something so fundamental.

    i certainly have no beef with using TPE2 as per spec, but that really has nothing to do with the issue. whether one uses TPE2 or TXXX we are still talking about switching between artists/albumartists.

    also, the VA conflict (9523) occurs either way.

    btw, since TPE2 is now universally de facto AA, i have filed a bug saying SBS should support TXXX BAND frames, as that would satisfy your desires while at the same time keeping you "in sync" with the vast majority of the world, (which i understand is not important to some people).

    Quote Originally Posted by emalvick View Post
    Thinking back to the topic of compilations tag, a thing I always hated in my brief stint of testing ITunes (and IPODS)out for library management was how it automatically made albums compilations just because one track had a slightly different artist (a guest artist). That just soured my one the whole compilation tag item. While I left ITunes very quickly, I also felt the Compilation Tag was a bit redundant. Using ALBUMARTIST = Various worked for me in that role.
    indeed. compilation tags are in some ways totally without prupose. no one really needs them, b/c thats what the AA tag is for.

    also, SBS does the same silly thing. if one track's artist tag is SLIGHTLY different from another on an album, (and no AA is present), it calls it a comp. nevermind it may not be a comp in reality.

    my feeling has been to simply put AA tags on EVERYTHING. this works with EVERYTHING. its a very universal system.

    now, i can and do add comp=1 tags to things, although i am sloppy about it i have to say. but why? why do i bother? b/c i want apple users to have a good exp from my files for one, and b/c i don't mind if SBS "knows" or properly classifies something as a comp. (that can be, for example, useful for things like Album Catalog Creator, which work off of sbs mysql queries). but i don't NEED to do this, nor does anyone really.
    Last edited by MrSinatra; 2011-06-28 at 14:03.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Philip Meyer's Avatar
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    "Various Artists" in Artists

    >indeed. compilation tags are in some ways totally without prupose. no
    >one really needs them, b/c thats what the AA tag is for.


    No, that's not what AA tag is for. AA is about identifying songs as belonging to the same grouping (album).
    Compilation also relates to grouping songs together on an album.

    But there is a distinction between the two tags and their purpose. I'm not saying that everyone needs to make that distinction, just that comp tags are not without purpose.

    If you want to browse compilation albums, they could have different album artist names. eg. "Various Artists", or "Soundtrack" or "Musical", even a specific artist such as "BT" who compile remixes of songs performed by other artists.

    If a compilation tag is set, all compilation albums, no matter what album artist name has been set, can be displayed in one list.

    Without a compilation indication, it is not possible. Now, perhaps some people don't need to list all compilation albums together, but I think this alone gives compilation tag a purpose.

    It also means that when browsing to albums by an artist, the list of albums could be grouped into sub-sets, eg. show the artists' normal albums, then compilation albums and other albums that the artist has contributed to. SBS doesn't do that yet (all albums listed together), but it another reason by compilation status may be a useful indicator, rather than depending on album artist names to make a distiction.

    Phil

  4. #24
    Senior Member Phil Leigh's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Meyer View Post
    >indeed. compilation tags are in some ways totally without prupose. no
    >one really needs them, b/c thats what the AA tag is for.


    No, that's not what AA tag is for. AA is about identifying songs as belonging to the same grouping (album).
    Compilation also relates to grouping songs together on an album.

    But there is a distinction between the two tags and their purpose. I'm not saying that everyone needs to make that distinction, just that comp tags are not without purpose.

    If you want to browse compilation albums, they could have different album artist names. eg. "Various Artists", or "Soundtrack" or "Musical", even a specific artist such as "BT" who compile remixes of songs performed by other artists.

    If a compilation tag is set, all compilation albums, no matter what album artist name has been set, can be displayed in one list.

    Without a compilation indication, it is not possible. Now, perhaps some people don't need to list all compilation albums together, but I think this alone gives compilation tag a purpose.

    It also means that when browsing to albums by an artist, the list of albums could be grouped into sub-sets, eg. show the artists' normal albums, then compilation albums and other albums that the artist has contributed to. SBS doesn't do that yet (all albums listed together), but it another reason by compilation status may be a useful indicator, rather than depending on album artist names to make a distiction.

    Phil
    +1 from the other Phil :-)

    I don't want/need to rely on AA being present when 95% of the time it is redundant (with Artist). I'll decide what is/isn't a "comp", I'll set AA ONLY when I need/want something special ( e.g "Artist A & Artist B") displayed in the artist browse lists and I'll ONLY use the comp tags to override default sbs behaviour when I decide such action is occasionally needed.
    You want to see the signal path BEFORE it gets onto a CD/vinyl...it ain't what you'd call minimal...
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  5. #25
    Senior Member erland's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if I'm missing something but isn't the purpose of the compilation logic in SBS only to automatically set ALBUMARTIST to "Various Artists" under some circumstances ?

    Basically:
    - When COMPILATION=1 is set
    or
    - When no ALBUMARTIST tag exists and there are more than one ARTIST tag value on the album.

    If this is the case, it feels like setting ALBUMARTIST="Various Artists" should just work, independent of SBS settings.

    All the discussions regarding various artists and compilations makes me feel that something is wrong ? Or is it just that MrSinatra has opposite ideas compared to everyone else ?

    I'm pretty interested in this as a new third party solution a few of us are working on might result in that you get a lot of extra information about contributors on a track. For example information about musicians, producers, opera actors and similar things and I feel we really need a better solution than we have today because else the artist list are going to get very long.

    I also think the problem is related to if you typically listen to individual tracks or complete albums. If you are typically listening to complete albums, you probably have pretty few compilation albums, and it's very logical to hide all compilations under "Various Artists". If you are typically listening to individual tracks, you really want to complete list of artists and in this case the "Various Artists" grouping gets pretty uninteresting.

    I think the main issue at the moment is to make system work good for people with a lot of compilation albums that mainly listens to albums. For these people, the "Various Artists" album list gets too long and it's hard to find things and they probably don't want all artists in the main artists list because that will make that too long. The optimal solution would be to separate "All Artists" and "Album Artists" into two separate menus but as mentioned elsewhere this could get complex as the artist list also exists in other places, for example under the "Genres" menu.

    To me personally, it feels bad to be forced to set things like "Various Jazz Artists" and "Various Pop Artists" in the ALBUMARTIST tag to make the system work for people with a lot of compilation albums, especially as it's hard to know the values in advance. Most people probably realize they will need a separation into multiple "Various Artists" segments after a while and are then forced to re-tag their music files.

    Maybe we need a "Artists/Various Artists" menu where you have to select a individual artist first and then are able to select album ?

    Basically having a structure like:
    Artists/Various Artists/<artist>/<album>
    Instead of the current model:
    Artists/Various Artists/<album>

    However, with only about 30 compilation albums in my complete collection I'm afraid I don't experience all the issues myself. Would be interesting to hear from someone who have a lot of compilation albums and how he/she typically browse to find a specific compilation album to listen to.
    Erland Isaksson (My homepage)
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  6. #26
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    This has really been done to death and must bite a lot of people who come to SB with a lot of tags populated. If you buy SB and then start to do your tags, you probably (lucky you) don't realise what a nightmare it can be.

    I had a Netgear MP101 and used JRiver Media Center to do my tags and everything was well sorted. Worked with WMP too. Everything appeared where I expected.

    When I bought SB I had to look again at my tags as SB did some things that I didn't expect. Basically logic that I didn't need.

    Now I've redone my tags for SB but if you read the forums it was a bit of a battle sorting out what I needed to do. AND STILL IS!

    It was one of my reasons for moving from lossless WMA - they were treated differently to mp3.

    Recently I got a Massive Attack album on mp4 (my only album in that format) and it appeared in Various Artists. AA was set to Massive Attack, but one of the tracks had artist=EBTG. I wanted it under Massive Attack, Logitech had other ideas. Sorted now, but it was hassle again...

    On the whole I'm very happy with the SB solution and have a few of them. But I think this is an area of the whole scanner logic that I'd love to be able to turn off. Let me sort it by tagging - seems to be what other programs do.

    M.

  7. #27
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    I think InTheBath hit the issue on the nose. It isn't really whether my method, Mr. Sinatra's method, the Phil's method, etc. is right or wrong. You should have some flexibility.

    I actually came from a similar spot as InTheBath in having the Netgear player, using my computer directly with variations of WMP, Winamp, ITunes, MediaMonkey, etc, my Portable MP3 Player, etc. I spent a long time during my initial days getting the tags to work with my combination of software. That included using the TPE2 (Band) tag to essentially organize albums with multiple artists (across tracks or in specific tracks) amongst other things.

    Moving to SBS actually didn't hurt things much besides the inability to separate ARTIST from AA/BAND when browsing. Admittedly, this problem occurred on much of the other mentioned software and the ability to add a plugin similar to CustomBrowse in MediaMonkey is why I've ended up there for my on-computer listening and management.

    As a previous message pointed out, the importance of compilations depends on the user, and I tend to be one that is indifferent to them. I have about 50 albums I would truly call compilations (soundtracks, tributes, etc), but I have about 200 that SBS, ITunes, etc. want to add Compilation tags to, but they are not really compilations. I also have about 2000 tracks through my wife that are random tracks by random artists (Napster, Itunes, etc) that I've grouped into one large Compilation Album for organization purposes.

    As I mentioned, the solution that worked for me was just to use those that are really compilation albums with AA = Various Artists (be it TPE2 or TXXX). Now I ended up going with Custom Browse because I didn't like that SBS tries to include a lot of these other "compilations" those that don't have the AA = Various Artists into a Various Artists listing anyway confusing the issue, which I think some here are alluding to. I know there are ways to tag around it, be it periods, renaming the compilation category, specific compilation tags, etc, but I'd rather not deal with retagging my music, just to make SBS work marginally better in its native configuration. A lot of these problems would probably go away if you could change from Album Artist and Artist browsing on the fly.

    Interestingly, despite the flaws that have been brought about, I see SBS as an improvement over most previous software that I have used. Using CustomScan and CustomBrowse has giving me most of the functions I like and I can virtually change how I browse pretty much on the fly. Out of principle, I can see Mr. Sinatra's reluctance in using such a solution, but at least it is a solution.

    As it is, CustomBrowse provided further features beyond what we are talking about here (organized browsing of my Jazz and Classical, browsing by letter, etc), so as an aside, I hope that doesn't quit being supported.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Philip Meyer's Avatar
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    "Various Artists" in Artists

    >I'm not sure if I'm missing something but isn't the purpose of the
    >compilation logic in SBS only to automatically set ALBUMARTIST to
    >"Various Artists" under some circumstances ?
    >
    >Basically:
    >- When COMPILATION=1 is set
    >or
    >- When no ALBUMARTIST tag exists and there are more than one ARTIST tag
    >value on the album.
    >

    You are very almost correct; the only slight correction I have there is that even if COMPILATION=1, an ALBUM ARTIST tag if present will still be honoured by SBS.

    SBS scanner NEVER interferes with a user-defined ALBUM ARTIST tag.
    i.e. if COMPILATION=1 and ALBUM ARTIST exists, the ALBUM ARTIST will still be used.

    If there is a mis-match of artists on an album, the album still has to have some album artist assigned, irrespective of whether it is declared or automatically determined as a compilation or not. If there's an ALBUM ARTIST tag, that value will be used, otherwise it will default to a single artist representing "Various Artists". I can't see why there should ever be any argument over this logic - what else would it assign to the single-value that is assigned to the album?

    It's really all quite simple, and I find it frustrating that it causes so much confusion.

    {Internal DB represention content follows, for the likes of Erland to aid understanding}
    Be aware that there are two "album artist" representations - what value has been assigned to the album, and what content is assigned to each song.

    Albums must always have a album.contributor single value, which is used when reporting artist name in an album context.
    Songs have contributor role values, one role of which can be album artist (and a song could have more than one), which is only ever set according to values that come from song tags.

    Every album in the SBS DB has an album.contributor value, and this will be the album artist (as defined by an album artist tag if present, or an artist tag if every song is by the same artist, otherwise the system-created "Various Artist" id). It's this album artist that will be labelled when displaying artist names against albums in a list of album titles.

    Songs only get an album artist contributor role if the song has an album artist tag.

    i.e. view an album, such as Artists > Various Artists > Acoustic Love, and the album.contributor used for browsing album content was "Various Artists".
    If you drill into song info, you will see that it only reports an album artist for the song context if one was tagged on the song.

    {End of Internal DB representation description}

  9. #29
    Senior Member JJZolx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Meyer View Post
    Albums must always have a album.contributor single value, which is used when reporting artist name in an album context.
    Songs have contributor role values, one role of which can be album artist (and a song could have more than one), which is only ever set according to values that come from song tags.

    Every album in the SBS DB has an album.contributor value, and this will be the album artist (as defined by an album artist tag if present, or an artist tag if every song is by the same artist, otherwise the system-created "Various Artist" id). It's this album artist that will be labelled when displaying artist names against albums in a list of album titles.
    I believe this is incorrect. The album.contributor column is used only for sorting albums by artist and for generating the alphapagebar.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Philip Meyer's Avatar
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    "Various Artists" in Artists

    >If this is the case, it feels like setting ALBUMARTIST="Various
    >Artists" should just work, independent of SBS settings.
    >

    That's right. If people use Album Artist tags, they will always be used. If there's no compilation tags, they will not appear as compilation albums.

    I think there's three types of users:

    1. Those that do not have compilation tags or album artist tags at all.
    2. Those that use compilation tags and/or album artist tags just when necessary to group songs onto albums.
    3. Those that have used album artist tags for everything.

    For (1), SBS makes albums appear as compilations such that an album with varying artists remains as a single album containing all songs, rathert than splitting into several albums, one per artist, and thus also avoiding problems with multiple albums of the same name all being grouped into a single uber album (aka the "Greatest Hits" issue that plagued old SBS releases).

    For (2) and (3), SBS doesn't do anything special.

    iTunes uses the same logic, supporting the same types of user tagging regimes.

    >All the discussions regarding various artists and compilations makes me
    >feel that something is wrong ?
    >

    No, I think all types of users are catered for.

    The only sticking point appears to be (correct me if I am wrong) when type (3) have used Album Artist = Various Artists. As they do not have a compilation tag, the albums are not displayed in the Artists > Various Artists list because the fudged-in mechanism of browsing compilations is overriding that normal artist with a special artist record. As explained, a workaround is easy, but really it would be good to remove the special brower handling of "Various Artists" that represents all compilation albums (i.e. 0 records for this user type) entry at the top of artists lists, and create a dedicated Browse Compilations mode.

    Another potential fix for this issue is perhaps in the display logic - don't display a special "Various Artists" entry at the top fo Artists list, if there are 0 albums. (I initially thought this was the case, but as type 3 users seem to indicate a problem, I guess the entry is permanently displayed?)

    >Or is it just that MrSinatra has opposite ideas compared to everyone else ?
    >

    Not opposite ideas as such - just a different type of user (type 3 above).

    >I'm pretty interested in this as a new third party solution a few of us
    >are working on might result in that you get a lot of extra information
    >about contributors on a track.
    >

    Extra information stored per track is fine; should not affect album contextual information at all.

    >I think the main issue at the moment is to make system work good for
    >people with a lot of compilation albums that mainly listens to albums.
    >For these people, the "Various Artists" album list gets too long and
    >it's hard to find things and they probably don't want all artists in
    >the main artists list because that will make that too long.
    >

    I have quite a lot of compilations (~150, about 4 pages in WebUI).

    Browsing by Artist > Various Artists (which I think is fairly naff), gets me to a list of compilation albums, from which I can order in various ways (album artist, year, album name, genre).

    Of course, you can get to partial list content from browsing in a different way, eg. Genres > Folk Rock > Various Artists would give a much smaller list of compilations.

    I've never had problems browsing for a compilation, there's different ways to go about doing it. More could definitely be done to improve it, esp. from player UI's.

    I think that if a user has a large collection of compilations, and wants to browse the set of compilations, it's a good idea to use the compilation tagging facility, rather than depend on just album artist names. i.e. there is an added benefit. e.g. if some have album artist "Soundtrack", some "Various Artists", and some remix artists, such as "BT", "UNKLE", etc, it's hard to get a list of compilation albums without a compilation tag indicator. One can find all soundtracks, or all various artists, but not all compilations. Maybe people don't want to, but it's an added benefit that some might like to use.

    >Maybe we need a "Artists/Various Artists" menu where you have to select
    >a individual artist first and then are able to select album ?
    >
    >Basically having a structure like:
    >Artists/Various Artists/<artist>/<album>
    >Instead of the current model:
    >Artists/Various Artists/<album>
    >

    Perhaps, but can't you just browse e.g. "Artists > UNKLE" to see albums by that "artist", some of which may be compilations?

    i.e. if you want to see all compilations browse to a list of all compilations. If you want to see work by an artist browse to that artist.

    e.g I have declared a compilation with Album Artist=UNKLE. I can browse all compilations, and see that album. I can sort the list of compilations in different way, or find sub-sets, via other hierarchies, such as only Rock compilations. OR I can browse artist UNKLE, and see all of their albums, including involvement on this compilation album.

    Phil

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