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  1. #1
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Mastering my tags - Album Artist question

    I've never really had a very clear idea about the subtleties of tagging - compilations, multi-disc sets etc - so I thought I'd have a go at figuring out one or two things with some simple tests. I set up a small test rig, using a pCP set up to run LMS, and with a 'third partition' to hold a small amount of music. And already I've found some behaviour which I don't understand.

    The majority of my collection is in the form of whole album FLACs with separate CUE sheets. In theory this allows me to make a simple text edit to the cue sheet to change any tags, without needing a dedicated tagging program. As an aside, I've just noticed that my ripping program, XLD on my Macbook, is also putting a few basic tags into the FLAC file, so that's one thing I want to put right - my feeling is that the FLAC files should be tag-less so that everything comes from the CUE sheet. But that issue is not related to the behaviour I'm seeing.

    Specifically, I'm wondering about the 'Album Artist' information.

    I started with a double CD of Phil Spector tracks - "The Essential Phil Spector". I thought this would be a good choice for my tests because it's a multi-disc set, and there are numerous artists across the 34 tracks. None of the individual tracks has 'Phil Spector' as the artist, but nevertheless I'd like the whole album of 2 CDs to show up when I search on 'Phil Spector'. The CUE sheet produced by XLD for the first CD looks like this:

    Code:
    TITLE "The Essential Phil Spector"
    PERFORMER "Phil Spector"
    REM DISCNUMBER 1
    REM TOTALDISCS 2
    REM DISCID F00A7111
    FILE "The Essential Phil Spector Disc 1.flac" WAVE
      TRACK 01 AUDIO
        TITLE "To Know Him Is To Love Him"
        PERFORMER "The Teddy Bears"
        ISRC USQX91101151
        INDEX 01 00:00:00
      TRACK 02 AUDIO
        TITLE "Corrine, Corrina"
        PERFORMER "Ray Peterson"
        ISRC USMC10112302
        INDEX 00 02:23:13
        INDEX 01 02:24:63
      TRACK 03 AUDIO
        TITLE "Spanish Harlem"
        PERFORMER "Ben E. King"
        ISRC USAT20202648
        INDEX 00 05:04:45
        INDEX 01 05:06:33
      TRACK 04 AUDIO
        TITLE "Pretty Little Angel Eyes"
        PERFORMER "Curtis Lee"
        ISRC USCA20802803
        INDEX 00 07:59:62
        INDEX 01 08:01:47
      TRACK 05 AUDIO
        TITLE "Every Breath I Take"
        PERFORMER "Gene Pitney"
        ISRC USACU0500064
        INDEX 00 10:47:07
        INDEX 01 10:49:48
      TRACK 06 AUDIO
        TITLE "I Love How You Love Me"
        PERFORMER "The Paris Sisters"
        ISRC USQX91101152
        INDEX 00 13:32:64
        INDEX 01 13:34:62
      TRACK 07 AUDIO
        TITLE "There's No Other Like My Baby"
        PERFORMER "The Crystals"
        ISRC USQX91100105
        INDEX 00 15:40:18
        INDEX 01 15:41:65
      TRACK 08 AUDIO
        TITLE "Uptown"
        PERFORMER "The Crystals"
        ISRC USQX91100107
        INDEX 00 18:11:46
        INDEX 01 18:13:25
      TRACK 09 AUDIO
        TITLE "He's A Rebel"
        PERFORMER "The Crystals"
        ISRC USQX91100111
        INDEX 00 20:34:42
        INDEX 01 20:36:00
      TRACK 10 AUDIO
        TITLE "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"
        PERFORMER "Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans"
        ISRC USQX91000370
        INDEX 00 23:06:67
        INDEX 01 23:08:69
      TRACK 11 AUDIO
        TITLE "Puddin' N' Tain"
        PERFORMER "The Alley Cats"
        ISRC USQX91000372
        INDEX 00 25:59:61
        INDEX 01 26:00:65
      TRACK 12 AUDIO
        TITLE "He's Sure The Boy I Love"
        PERFORMER "The Crystals"
        ISRC USQX91100115
        INDEX 00 28:49:02
        INDEX 01 28:50:58
      TRACK 13 AUDIO
        TITLE "Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts?"
        PERFORMER "Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans"
        ISRC USSM10906870
        INDEX 00 31:34:19
        INDEX 01 31:36:67
      TRACK 14 AUDIO
        TITLE "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry"
        PERFORMER "Darlene Love"
        ISRC USSM10906444
        INDEX 00 34:25:42
        INDEX 01 34:27:67
      TRACK 15 AUDIO
        TITLE "Da Doo Ron Ron"
        PERFORMER "The Crystals"
        ISRC USQX91100116
        INDEX 00 37:13:71
        INDEX 01 37:16:36
      TRACK 16 AUDIO
        TITLE "Not Too Young To Get Married"
        PERFORMER "Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans"
        ISRC USSM10906871
        INDEX 00 39:36:45
        INDEX 01 39:37:56
      TRACK 17 AUDIO
        TITLE "Wait Til' My Bobby Gets Home"
        PERFORMER "Darlene Love"
        ISRC USSM10906445
        INDEX 00 42:07:37
        INDEX 01 42:08:49
    Quite naturally, each track has its own 'PERFORMER' tag, and the overall album also has a 'PERFORMER' tag which is there because I manually filled in the 'Album Artist' in the metadata editor before the disc was ripped. The cue sheet seems to be handled without error by LMS, and all the tracks look correct when viewed in LMS. I have LMS configured to 'Use two separate lists for Album Artists and All Artists', and when I click on 'All Artists' all the individual performers are listed, including Phil Spector.

    If I drill down into a single track, the info looks correct. The track is listed with its own details, but also with an Album Artist of Phil Spector.

    Name:  Track Info.jpg
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    But if look under the top level 'Album Artists' in LMS, it says it's empty.

    Name:  Album Artists.jpg
Views: 357
Size:  18.7 KB

    So why does LMS recognise that each track has an Album Artist, but then tell me I don't have any Album Artists?
    Last edited by chill; 2021-02-02 at 02:50.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Hmm - I'm getting more confused. The top level 'Album Artists' seems to behave exactly opposite to the way I was expecting.

    Not only does it NOT show any Album Artists when each individual track has an associated Album Artist (as above), but when I add a single track (a stand-alone FLAC track with embedded tags, no cue sheet), I now have one Album Artist at the top level, despite that single track NOT having an Album Artist embedded tag.

    What's the logic behind the top level Album Artists menu?

    Name:  Album Artists 2.jpg
Views: 264
Size:  19.8 KB

    Name:  Track Info 2.jpg
Views: 267
Size:  37.6 KB

    Name:  tags.jpg
Views: 266
Size:  21.8 KB

  3. #3
    Senior Member kidstypike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill View Post
    Hmm - I'm getting more confused. The top level 'Album Artists' seems to behave exactly opposite to the way I was expecting.

    Not only does it NOT show any Album Artists when each individual track has an associated Album Artist (as above), but when I add a single track (a stand-alone FLAC track with embedded tags, no cue sheet), I now have one Album Artist at the top level, despite that single track NOT having an Album Artist embedded tag.

    What's the logic behind the top level Album Artists menu?
    Library ~20,000 tracks, all separate flac or mp3, not a single one of those tracks has an Album Artist tag defined, but all album artists appear under Album Artist in LMS.

    Name:  AA2.jpg
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Size:  92.2 KB

    Name:  AA33.jpg
Views: 263
Size:  25.1 KB
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  4. #4
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    OK, so it's some internal LMS logic that's independent of any Album Artist tags. So what is that internal logic I wonder.

    I did another quick test. I thought maybe an Album Artist is any artist where the performer or artist is common to every track. And that does seem to be the case EXCEPT when there is a top level 'Performer' tag in the cue file that differs from the individual track Performers. So if I make a dummy cue file where every track has its own Performer tag of 'Test Artist', and there is no top level Performer tag, then Test Artist shows up in the Album Artists menu. But if I add a top level Performer tag that is not 'Test Artist', then 'Test Artist' disappears from the Album Artists menu. If there's a top level Performer tag that IS equal to Test Artist then Test Artist returns to the Album Artists menu.

    EDIT: So this explains Johnny Cash showing up as the Album Artist for that single track. But for me what's missing is the inclusion of the top level Performer as an Album Artist. I believe that's what that top level tag is supposed to represent, so regardless of any other logic to generate the Album Artists list, I feel anything in that tag should be included in the list.

    From Hydrogenaudio
    PERFORMER
    At top-level this will specify the CD artist, while at track-level it specifies the track artist.
    Last edited by chill; 2021-02-02 at 04:21.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    I've also just noticed that if I click on 'View Tags' for any track that's defined by a cue sheet, I only see what's actually embedded in the flac file. And since I've now used metaflac to strip all the tags, I'm only seeing the 'vendor' tag (which metaflac intentionally leaves intact). My feeling is that 'View Tags' should show everything that's picked up either in the audio file itself or in the cue sheet.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill View Post
    I've also just noticed that if I click on 'View Tags' for any track that's defined by a cue sheet, I only see what's actually embedded in the flac file. And since I've now used metaflac to strip all the tags, I'm only seeing the 'vendor' tag (which metaflac intentionally leaves intact). My feeling is that 'View Tags' should show everything that's picked up either in the audio file itself or in the cue sheet.
    When you "View Tags" you are interrogating the file itself not the database.

    Have you looked at library.db in a SQL Workbench application? If you do you will find that the database consists of a number of tables that link together to give the information - there is no "album artists" table only contributors and contributor_album where a role is assigned and its this role that determines whether the contributor is album artist, composer, etc

    Take a copy of library.db (with LMS off) and have a look with something that will read SQLite - in Windows there is DB Browser for SQLite but there must be a similar package for Mac.
    Jim
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  7. #7
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    Jim
    https://jukeradio.double6.net


    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room Joggler & Pi4/Khadas -> Onkyo TXNR686 -> Celestion F20s
    Office Joggler & Pi3 -> Denon RCD N8 -> Celestion F10s
    Dining Room SB Radio
    Bedroom (Bedside) Pi Zero+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) & Bathroom SB Touch ->Denon AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s + Kef ceiling speakers
    Guest Room Joggler > Topping Amp -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes

  8. #8
    Senior Member chill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d6jg View Post
    Thank you - that's very interesting. I'll do the same with my tiny test rig database (it takes 4 seconds to complete a full scan It was 2 seconds, but then I added the Johnny Cash track and the dummy cue sheet).

    If I'm following correctly, some LMS logic is putting a value in the AlbumArtist field (field 5 or 6). So I wonder if it would be possible to add logic to put the top level 'Performer' tag in that field, perhaps falling back to the existing logic that says if all the track Performer tags are identical then use that.

    Quote Originally Posted by d6jg View Post
    When you "View Tags" you are interrogating the file itself not the database.
    Got it, ok. Is that because there isn't a full verbatim record in the database of all the tags that were found during the scan? That makes sense. Maybe that real-time file interrogation could also interrogate the cue sheet at the same time?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill View Post
    Got it, ok. Is that because there isn't a full verbatim record in the database of all the tags that were found during the scan? That makes sense. Maybe that real-time file interrogation could also interrogate the cue sheet at the same time?
    I think so. The scanner looks for tags in the files and/or information in your cue sheet and writes information to the database based on what it finds. In database terms artists, composers and conductors etc are all "contributors" with an assigned "role" for the album or track in question. LMS then displays the information based on that role number.

    I suspect there are limitations when you only use cue sheets but for those of use who don't there is far more flexibility in that certain tags can contain multiple values or there can be multiple tags of the same type which the scanner can read and write to the database so you can have more than one role 5/6 entry per track/album.

    You can multi tag the following for sure
    Artist
    AlbumArtist
    Genre

    In mp3tag you can do it two ways

    Artist as example
    Either "B.B. King & Eric Clapton; Eric Clapton; B.B. King" - one tag with multiple values. LMS scanner splits by ;
    Or "B.B. King & Eric Clapton\\Eric Clapton\\B.B. King" - mp3tag writes three tags each called artist. LMS scanner will read all three

    The result is the same you get three lines added to the database
    Jim
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    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
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    Office Joggler & Pi3 -> Denon RCD N8 -> Celestion F10s
    Dining Room SB Radio
    Bedroom (Bedside) Pi Zero+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) & Bathroom SB Touch ->Denon AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s + Kef ceiling speakers
    Guest Room Joggler > Topping Amp -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes

  10. #10
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    Slightly off topic but I have yet to fathom a good reason why people actually use cue sheets with LMS - as far as I can make out it gains nothing and actually makes things more difficult.

    EDIT. I accept that there are some that use the same files with other software but with LMS alone .....?
    Jim
    https://jukeradio.double6.net


    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room Joggler & Pi4/Khadas -> Onkyo TXNR686 -> Celestion F20s
    Office Joggler & Pi3 -> Denon RCD N8 -> Celestion F10s
    Dining Room SB Radio
    Bedroom (Bedside) Pi Zero+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) & Bathroom SB Touch ->Denon AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s + Kef ceiling speakers
    Guest Room Joggler > Topping Amp -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes

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