Discussion:
Various Artists in Now Playing screen ?
erland
2012-03-29 20:24:08 UTC
Permalink
This has been like this for a while, so it's not a new issue, not sure
if it's even a bug. The issue is that my Now Playing screen on my Touch
for my compilation albums display artist as:
"Various Artists, Ulf Lundell"

The result is that without scrolling I really just see the first half
because that's all that fits the screen and this is really useless.

Is it my tagging that's wrong or is this something everyone else sees
too ?

My tagging is:
ARTIST=Ulf Lundell
COMPILATION=1
MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTIST=Various Artists
MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTISTSORTNAME=Various Artists

I suspect the result is that SBS interpret the MUSICBRAINZ tags the
same as ALBUMARTIST="Various Artists" which I think is pretty typical
tagging scheme unless you manually adjust it after ripping.

If it really need to display "Various Artists" it would be a lot better
if it showed it last, as this:
"Ulf Lundell, Various Artists"

Because then I would at least see the primary artist without having to
wait for the text to scroll so it's visible.
--
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JJZolx
2012-03-29 22:27:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by erland
This has been like this for a while, so it's not a new issue, not sure
if it's even a bug. The issue is that my Now Playing screen on my Touch
"Various Artists, Ulf Lundell"
I only see the track artist for my compilations.
Post by erland
ARTIST=Ulf Lundell
COMPILATION=1
MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTIST=Various Artists
MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTISTSORTNAME=Various Artists
I suspect the result is that SBS interpret the MUSICBRAINZ tags the
same as ALBUMARTIST="Various Artists" which I think is pretty typical
tagging scheme unless you manually adjust it after ripping.
Yes, no doubt that's what is happening. It's well known by now that
Squeezebox Server doesn't play well with ALBUMARTIST=Various Artists.

I've found that with the software and methods that I use, the "manually
adjust it after ripping" is required of all albums if I want them to
work well in Squeezebox Server. Adding ARTISTSORT, COMPILATION,
ALBUMARTIST, ALBUMARTISTSORT fields all require post-ripping tag
adjustmnents. If I used MUSICBRAINZ metadata, removing unwanted
MUSICBRAINZ fields would just be another thing that I'd automate as
part of the process.
Post by erland
If it really need to display "Various Artists" it would be a lot better
"Ulf Lundell, Various Artists"
Because then I would at least see the primary artist without having to
wait for the text to scroll so it's visible.
But on an album with guest artists, the "primary" artist is most likely
the album artist, so the order makes sense for that case. Of course
there are other cases, such as when you have only a guest artist doing
a track by himself without the album artist, where it's completely
wrong.
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-29 23:49:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by erland
I suspect the result is that SBS interpret the MUSICBRAINZ tags the
same as ALBUMARTIST="Various Artists" which I think is pretty typical
tagging scheme unless you manually adjust it after ripping.
For albums where I have an implied album artist (e.g. compilations where I haven't added ALBUM ARTIST=Various Artists, where the scanner has auto detected the album as a compilation and assigned album artist=Various Artists), Touch Now Playing screen only reports the actual artist(s) performing on the song.

This is because the scanner has stored Artist tags against the album, not Track Artists.

So the vast majority of my library (including compilations) looks okay on the Touch Now Playing screen.

However, where I have the occasional guest artist and have explicitly tagged the album with an Album Artist, I see the Album Artist first followed by any Track Artists.

Where a guest that performs with the main artist on a song, this is okay (I would tag the song with both artists, duplicating the album artist as a track artist anyway). However, where there is a song on an album that is ONLY performed by a different artist, it also reports the Album Artist, which is incorrect.

e.g. an album where artist AAA appears on most songs of an album and want the album to appear under that artist, I'd tag all songs of the album with Album Artist=AAA. If artist BBB also appears on track 10, I'd tag that track 10 with artists=AAA and BBB. If there were an 11th song only performed by artist CCC, I'd tag that only with artist=CCC, and Album Artist=AAA.

Track 10 should be reported as being by AAA and BBB (and it is).
Track 11 should be reported as being by CCC, but is reported as AAA and CCC (even though AAA is not an actual performer on the track).

Another example could be a tribute album. Some people tag tribute albums with the songs being performed by that tribute band, but add the original artist as the Album Artist (such that the album appears grouped under the original artist. e.g. A tribute band called "After Genesis" with the album artist being "Genesis". They wouldn't want the song reported as by "Genesis and After Genesis".

Another example could be soundtrack albums. Some people add Album Artist=Soundtrack, so they can find them all listed in one place. But I wouldn't expect to see artist=Soundtrack on the now playing screen when I play a single song (eg. random songs from my music library), only the artists that perform on the song.

I class that as a bug.

It's not correct to report the album artist when the reporting context is for song artists. I'm playing a song, so I should only see the artists performing on the track, NOT the album artist. And if I'm browsing the album, I should only see the album artist(s), not all track artists.
JJZolx
2012-03-30 01:09:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil Meyer
Another example could be soundtrack albums. Some people add Album
Artist=Soundtrack, so they can find them all listed in one place.
Instead of tagging them with GENRE=Soundtrack so that they can be found
all listed in one place? Genres > Soundtrack > All Albums. Wouldn't you
also see something like 'The Color Purple by Soundtrack' instead of
'The Color Purple by Quincy Jones'?

If you use tagging to manipulate the system into one behavior don't be
surprised when there are unexpected side effects that you have no way
of controlling.
Post by Phil Meyer
It's not correct to report the album artist when the reporting context
is for song artists. I'm playing a song, so I should only see the
artists performing on the track, NOT the album artist. And if I'm
browsing the album, I should only see the album artist(s), not all
track artists.
Agreed.

It would, however, force users to tag tracks with the album artist in
an artist field.

ALBUM=Duets
ALBUMARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Aretha Franklin
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erland
2012-03-30 03:27:52 UTC
Permalink
It would, however, force users to tag tracks with the album artist in an
artist field.
ALBUM=Duets
ALBUMARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Aretha Franklin
Doesn't this kind of make sense ?
ALBUMARTIST = The artist that is credited for the album release
ARTIST = The artists that performs on the actual track

Isn't it also pretty typical that standard ripping software put the
album artist also in the ARTIST tag unless the user manually removes
them ?

My own non compilation albums, doesn't have an ALBUMARTIST tags but
they do have a MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTIST tag which SBS/LMS treats as a
ALBUMARTIST

To me it feels like the ALBUMARTIST should be used when listing albums
while the ARTIST should be used when showing information about a
specific track. This would also solve my issue, since Now Playing
screen always shows information about current track and due to this
shouldn't display the ALBUMARTIST unless possibly if the the ARTIST tag
is completely missing on the file.

Of course, there is probably not much sense in discuss this any further
because it has been discussed over and over again so nobody is going to
dare changing anything at this time related to compilations or Various
Artists. I guess my option is to basically start removing musicbrainz
related tags which have been added automatically to my files when
running the musicbrainz Picard tagger.

I think the reason it hasn't annoyed me before might be that my smart
playlists haven't included compilation albums before so I've rarely
played anything on compilation albums and due to this I haven't really
noticed the issue until the last year since my smart playlists were
adjusted a bit when switching to SQLite.
--
erland

Erland Isaksson ('My homepage' (http://erland.isaksson.info))
(Developer of 'many plugins/applets (both free and commercial)'
(http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/User:Erland).
If you like to encourage future presence on this forum and/or third
party plugin/applet development, 'consider purchasing some plugins'
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and 'RSS Photo Show'
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.isaksson.rssphotoshow)
Interested in music discovery ? See 'Social Music Discovery (SMD)'
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JJZolx
2012-03-30 05:44:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by erland
To me it feels like the ALBUMARTIST should be used when listing albums
while the ARTIST should be used when showing information about a
specific track.
Then you agree with Phil and I.

...

Not really having to do with the Now Playing screen, but one problem
I've always felt with the scanner/database is that no album artist is
assigned to albums that have none in the metadata. This makes the
server do a lot of work to come up with one to show for the album, as
the artists for all tracks have to be examined. It would simplify the
queries a lot if, when there's no explicit ALBUMARTIST for an album,
the scanner would set it the same as the ARTIST, or to the VA
pseudo-artist for compilations with no ALBUMARTIST. The server is going
to do this anyway, but it wouldn't have to do so every time that the
album information is shown. It would also enable a simple 'Browse Album
Artists' that is sorely missing.
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-30 09:44:58 UTC
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Post by JJZolx
Not really having to do with the Now Playing screen, but one problem
I've always felt with the scanner/database is that no album artist is
assigned to albums that have none in the metadata. This makes the
server do a lot of work to come up with one to show for the album, as
the artists for all tracks have to be examined. It would simplify the
queries a lot if, when there's no explicit ALBUMARTIST for an album,
the scanner would set it the same as the ARTIST, or to the VA
pseudo-artist for compilations with no ALBUMARTIST. The server is going
to do this anyway, but it wouldn't have to do so every time that the
album information is shown. It would also enable a simple 'Browse Album
Artists' that is sorely missing.
Doesn't the scanner do this, always storing an album artist in the album record (albums.contributor), but doesn't always store as a contributor role in the link table?
So every album has a single album artist id, whereas some albums could have multiple album artists if it were in the link table.
JJZolx
2012-03-30 10:04:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil Meyer
Post by JJZolx
I've always felt with the scanner/database is that no album artist is
assigned to albums that have none in the metadata.
Doesn't the scanner do this, always storing an album artist in the
album record (albums.contributor), but doesn't always store as a
contributor role in the link table?
So every album has a single album artist id, whereas some albums could
have multiple album artists if it were in the link table.
No, it does not. It stores a contributor that is used only for album
sorting (by artist) purposes. It does not store an album artist role in
the contributor_album table for the album. If there is no ALBUMARTIST
tag, then every time it puts together an 'album_name by artist' string
it has to retrieve the artists for every track on the album and then
parse them to construct the string. This is why, if you have no
ALBUMARTIST tags for non-compilations, generating a single page full of
albums requires hundreds of queries. As an example, if you had a page of
100 albums with an average of 12 tracks per album, it will take a
minimum of 1200 queries just to generate that one web page. It's little
wonder that it takes a couple of seconds to spit out a page on even the
fastest servers. Doing it the other way would take _one_ query.
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garym
2012-03-30 11:27:24 UTC
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This is why, if you have no ALBUMARTIST tags for non-compilations,
generating a single page full of albums requires hundreds of queries.
As an example, if you had a page of 100 albums with an average of 12
tracks per album, it will take a minimum of 1200 queries just to
generate that one web page. It's little wonder that it takes a couple
of seconds to spit out a page on even the fastest servers. Doing it the
other way would take _one_ query.
Hmmmm, so this speaks to having an Album Artist for every album,
compilation or not.... (I knew this was some folk's preference, but
didn't realize the mechanics of LMS noted above).
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-30 13:22:18 UTC
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Post by JJZolx
No, it does not. It stores a contributor that is used only for album
sorting (by artist) purposes. It does not store an album artist role in
the contributor_album table for the album. If there is no ALBUMARTIST
tag, then every time it puts together an 'album_name by artist' string
it has to retrieve the artists for every track on the album and then
parse them to construct the string. This is why, if you have no
ALBUMARTIST tags for non-compilations, generating a single page full of
albums requires hundreds of queries. As an example, if you had a page of
100 albums with an average of 12 tracks per album, it will take a
minimum of 1200 queries just to generate that one web page. It's little
wonder that it takes a couple of seconds to spit out a page on even the
fastest servers. Doing it the other way would take _one_ query.
The thing is, you can have more than one album artist per album.

It is possible to retrieve the correct info in less queries. eg. one query to return a list of unique artists for all songs on an album, so would require 1 query for the list of 100 albums, and 100 queries (1 per album) to get a list of the artists on each album.

If there were a rule that there should only be one album artist per album, then it may as well use album.contributor for quickly returning this. That wouldn't work well for me, because I like having albums appearing under each primary album artist. eg. "No Pussyfooting" appearing under "Robert Fripp" and also under "Brian Eno", rather than nominally choosing only one of those artists to list under. I'd also not like to create an aggregated name, eg "Fripp & Eno" as the album artist for it to only appear under, as I could not then see all Brian Eno work in one list.
JJZolx
2012-03-30 17:23:39 UTC
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Post by Phil Meyer
The thing is, you can have more than one album artist per album.
Makes no difference. The database is set up for M:M relationships as it
is (albums : contributor_album : contributor). If every album had an
album artist or -artists- in the database, it would still take just one
query to generate a list of albums with album artists.
Post by Phil Meyer
It is possible to retrieve the correct info in less queries. eg. one
query to return a list of unique artists for all songs on an album, so
would require 1 query for the list of 100 albums, and 100 queries (1
per album) to get a list of the artists on each album.
I haven't looked at it in a while. At one time it appeared to be doing
a query for every track on every album being listed. It may be smarter
now. Still, there's no reason to be doing dozens of queries to generate
a simple album list that also shows the album artists.
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-30 23:48:15 UTC
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Post by JJZolx
Makes no difference. The database is set up for M:M relationships as it
is (albums : contributor_album : contributor). If every album had an
album artist or -artists- in the database, it would still take just one
query to generate a list of albums with album artists.
I thought you were suggesting that if it always had album artist(s) stored, rather than sometimes needing to fetch artist(s) for tracks, that it would simplift and aid performance. I agree, it would simplify, but performance isn't really impacted (and could be worse, because it would need to store more contributors in the link table?).

There's no real difference if the query has to fetch album artist contributor roles, and/or artist contributor roles.

A query to fetch details that would be required to calculate the display of the albums list (sorted by album), would be something like this:

SELECT a.id, a.titlesort, c.id, c.namesearch, ca.role, a.compilation
FROM contributor_album ca
JOIN albums a ON a.id = ca.album
JOIN contributors c ON c.id = ca.contributor AND ca.role in (1,5)
WHERE c.id=1137
ORDER BY titlesort

Of course, the query would be tweaked a bit depending on settings (eg. add role 4 to pull back Band role instead of reporting artist roles).

For me, using MySQL DB, this returns the artists to report against all albums in my 4000+ album library in less than 50ms. If fetching for a single artist, it's ~ 1ms.

The application can then decide what data to use to render (if compilation, ignore artist roles), rather than overcomplicate the query (or make lots of smaller queries) to do this at SQL level.
Post by JJZolx
I haven't looked at it in a while. At one time it appeared to be doing
a query for every track on every album being listed. It may be smarter
now.
There is a contributor_album table, that holds artist roles required for album queries, so it shouldn't need to search through all possible contributor roles mapped to tracks.
Post by JJZolx
Still, there's no reason to be doing dozens of queries to generate
a simple album list that also shows the album artists.
I agree.

I guess this is the way that the DB access layer code works; if specialised SQL were written, it would undoubtedly be more efficient. But it goes through layers that map tables to objects, abstracting the DB engine.
JJZolx
2012-03-31 02:33:40 UTC
Permalink
With every album having an album artist(s), it also makes it very simple
to implement 'Browse Album Artists'.


Code:
--------------------

-- Generate list of album artists
SELECT DISTINCT ca.contributor,
CAST(c.name AS CHAR) AS album_artist
FROM contributor_album ca
INNER JOIN contributors c ON c.id = ca.contributor
WHERE ca.role = 5
ORDER BY c.namesort;

--------------------


If you want to have the VA artist bubble to the top, as it's done now
in Browse Artists, all you need to do is manipulate its namesort column
in the contributors table.
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-31 08:24:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by JJZolx
With every album having an album artist(s), it also makes it very simple
to implement 'Browse Album Artists'.
I agree, it's a teeny bit easier to have ca.role = 5, instead of ca.role IN (1,5) and ignoring artists that are on compilations. It's cleaner, easier to understand.

The equivalent query for the current release isn't too bad though:

SELECT DISTINCT ca.contributor, CAST(c.name AS CHAR) AS album_artist
FROM contributor_album ca
JOIN albums a ON a.id = ca.album AND a.compilation IS NULL
JOIN contributors c ON c.id = ca.contributor
WHERE ca.role IN (1, 5)
ORDER BY c.namesort

with roles 2,3,4 to be added if you want band, composer and conductors in the list too.

Query execution time is practically the same for me (both less than 10ms).

For consideration:
1) there would be more rows to write in the DB at scan time (at least another contributor_album row per album).
2) in SBS, adding an album artist per album would break artist navigation for me, as navigating artist links also included the role. This is okay now in LMS, that doesn't include the role in the artist navigation links. But some people don't like that.
Post by JJZolx
If you want to have the VA artist bubble to the top, as it's done now
in Browse Artists, all you need to do is manipulate its namesort column
in the contributors table.
It's not Album Artist=Various Artists that gets put on the top, it's a fixed entry called "Various Artists", that has all Compilations. i.e. not a query to return album artist contributors, but a query to return albums where compilation=1.

So, a browse mode for album artists should just return a straight list of album artists, ordered in artist name order, just as your query has it. "Various Artitsts" would just be a normal artist, sorted under V.
MrSinatra
2012-03-31 17:35:07 UTC
Permalink
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=16362

i thought i remembered another bug for this as well, but i can't seem
to find it...
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JJZolx
2012-03-30 20:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil Meyer
The thing is, you can have more than one album artist per album.
Just for testing, I have one album like this. There are two 'Ella &
Louis' albums in the library. For one of them I have the ALBUMARTIST
combined

ALBUMARTIST=Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
ARTIST=Ella Fitzgerald
ARTIST=Louis Armstrong

and on the other I have two album artists

ALBUMARTIST=Ella Fitzgerald
ALBUMARTIST=Louis Armstrong
ARTIST=Ella Fitzgerald
ARTIST=Louis Armstrong

Here's what the query looks like for SQLite, sorted by
artist/year/album:


Code:
--------------------

-- Generate an album/artist list
SELECT ca.album AS album_id,
CAST(a.title AS CHAR) AS album,
a.year,
GROUP_CONCAT(ca.contributor, ", ") AS album_artist_id,
GROUP_CONCAT(CAST(c.name AS CHAR), ", ") AS album_artist,
GROUP_CONCAT(c.namesort, " ") AS album_artist_sort
FROM contributor_album ca
INNER JOIN albums a ON a.id = ca.album
INNER JOIN contributors c ON c.id = ca.contributor
WHERE ca.role = 5
GROUP BY ca.album
ORDER BY album_artist_sort, a.year, a.titlesort;

--------------------


Generating the following:


+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Filename: 2012-03-30_142026b.jpg |
|Download: http://forums.slimdevices.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13205|
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Phil Meyer
2012-03-30 09:36:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by erland
Isn't it also pretty typical that standard ripping software put the
album artist also in the ARTIST tag unless the user manually removes
them ?
Some software does, but none of the software for ripping or correcting tags that I use does. 50-50.
Post by erland
My own non compilation albums, doesn't have an ALBUMARTIST tags but
they do have a MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTIST tag which SBS/LMS treats as a
ALBUMARTIST
I recommend removing ALBUMARTIST=Various Artists, and ensuring COMPILATION=1. That way you don't get Various Artists appearing against a now playing song, and music library browsing in general works better (certainly in SBS, if you click on a track artist link it would only show albums where that artist was a track artist, and not all music by that artist. LMS is better).
Post by erland
To me it feels like the ALBUMARTIST should be used when listing albums
while the ARTIST should be used when showing information about a
specific track.
Exactly.
But also, there is an music library option for a BAND tag to be used for denoting instead of ARTIST(s). [BAND meaning really band, and not ALBUM ARTIST].

So you can have:
Album=No Pussyfooting
Track Number=1
Song Title=The Heavenly Music Corporation Part 1
Artist=Robert Fripp
Artist=Brian Eno
Band=Fripp & Eno

If you have selected "List albums by all artists for that album" you would see:
"The Heavenly Music Corporation Part 1" by Robert Fripp, Brian Eno

If you have selected "List albums by band" you would see:
"The Heavenly Music Corporation Part 1" by Fripp & Eno

Band could be used for better presentation of other cases, eg. Artist=Buddy Holly, Band=Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

This worked on classic players and Web UI, but I don't think Touch UI supports it :-(
Post by erland
This would also solve my issue, since Now Playing
screen always shows information about current track and due to this
shouldn't display the ALBUMARTIST unless possibly if the the ARTIST tag
is completely missing on the file.
I think it shouldn't guess/assume/display an artist (or band) if there isn't one tagged on the song. There could be tracks on an album where there isn't an artist, eg. intermission/crowd cheering between songs on a live album.
Post by erland
Of course, there is probably not much sense in discuss this any further
because it has been discussed over and over again so nobody is going to
dare changing anything at this time related to compilations or Various
Artists.
It's not really a discussion about compilations and Various Artists. This is only about how Album Artists are used when reporting details about a song.
Post by erland
I guess my option is to basically start removing musicbrainz
related tags which have been added automatically to my files when
running the musicbrainz Picard tagger.
Yes, unless a software patch was provided to fix SBS/LMS.
Phil Meyer
2012-03-30 09:14:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by JJZolx
Post by Phil Meyer
Another example could be soundtrack albums. Some people add Album
Artist=Soundtrack, so they can find them all listed in one place.
Instead of tagging them with GENRE=Soundtrack so that they can be found
all listed in one place? Genres > Soundtrack > All Albums. Wouldn't you
also see something like 'The Color Purple by Soundtrack' instead of
'The Color Purple by Quincy Jones'?
Exactly, I would never use Album Artist in this way, but I know there are people who do.
Post by JJZolx
It would, however, force users to tag tracks with the album artist in
an artist field.
ALBUM=Duets
ALBUMARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Frank Sinatra
ARTIST=Aretha Franklin
Yes, but that seems the right thing to do. If the song is a duet, I'd expect two artists to be labelled on the song ;-) To get the album to appear as an album by Frank Sinatra, and not under Aretha Franklin, requires an additional ALBUM ARTIST tag to be added. i.e. the artists should be mandatory. The software shouldn't assume that an album artist is a performer on a song.
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