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Messages - Phaedrus

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I now have my next two challenges, because Picard is working the way I want it. (With minor exceptions.) I'm ready to start processing my real library.

1. How do I transfer ratings to my new, and improved library?
2. I really need to figure out how to handle my album subfolders.

My ratings don't seem to be stored in the tags in my files. I really need this to happen. This is literally the only bit of information in my library I really care about.

Many of my albums have subfolders which contain files associated with the album. Mostly these are cover art scans, but there is some other useless information I want to maintain. I want to move my files in Picard to a new location so that I can keep track of what albums I have processed. I also want to use the folder structure I've created with my Picard naming script. I have reasons, and they are all perfectly logical.

The first one is probably pretty easy, but I haven't started it yet. The second one is going to be harder because there is no naming consistency. I really don't want to cycle through all 7k subfolders manually. That sounds like no fun at all. Not the end of the world, but not preferred.

I'm open to ideas. the Picard forum did not have any assistance to offer on the second one.

You can curb your jealousy. I don't have this scheme applied to a large part of my library. It's mainly so that at least I am able to turn on a playlist that will play a reasonable amount of diverse artists/music that fall under the confines of these tags. Most of the time my brain is master of what gets played. But when e.g. I grab a book, it's nice not to need to put too much effort in considering what to play, and also get to hear stuff I wasn't specifically thinking of at that moment. So my objective is certainly not to taxonimize my whole library. Just having it possible to have some useful playlists, which are allowed to grow very slowly over time. And for most of the music I owned a long time, my brain will be helpful enough for choosing what I want to hear, but especially for music and artists that are completely new to me, I put a little bit more effort in populating these tags, so also to help me 'learning' the music/artists/genres faster and better. So all in all it's partly useful, and partly just a fun waste of time.

Cool. We're still on the same page. I've made the mistake of just putting my entire library on shuffle, and that can be pretty jarring. Nothing draws attention to the music like going from "Brian Eno" to "Slayer."

For now, I'm sticking with my current philosophy of "going with it." I'l let Wikidata populate my genres, and Last.FM populate Mood and Occasion. With all the tags I've done so far, my results are vastly better than what I've got. I'll reserve final judgement for when I've got everything transferred over to MusicBee.

I want you all to know that I spent way too much time on this post. I chewed on this all day, wrote twenty different posts, re-visited the "Music Genre rabbit hole," -shudder- and edited to not sound like an a$$. (might have failed here) This is where I end up, for better or worse;

Over the years my focus on genres and sub-genres have shifted a bit more towards other classifiers.

While 'genre' is certainly important, it is much too rough and subjective to be the ring that rules them all.
You could even engage in battle with somebody about some song being pop or rock.

And personally I have never found good usage for 'mood' and 'occasion' tags.
They are also quite subjective and personal in my opinion.

Nowadays, as main entities besides 'genre' and 'sub-genre', I use tags such as: energy, valence, danceabilty, style, voicing. (voicing can be things such as male, female, choir, instrumental, etc)
Those are very useful for creating all sorts of playlists for different moods and occasions.

e.g. for when reading, 'instrumental', 'low energy' is nice.
Or, depending on your mood, certain combinations of 'energy' and 'valence' will give specific results.

I wish metadata providers would provide such info. That would be more useful than trying to classify a song or an album by only determinating some (invented) genre name.

I'm with you. Mostly?

You've invented your own set of names to classify your music; a personal taxonomy for your music. That's pretty cool, and I'm actually a bit jealous that you've been able to develop your library to that level of precision. That is waaaaaaayy too much effort for my musical use cases.

If I'm using music for background, I don't care about the details of the song, only the overall feel. I figure there's a fairly short list of moods I'd care about in this case. Should be fairly easy to get this close. The Last.FM tags I've seen with this are pretty much close enough for government work, and for me.

Sometimes I'm paying attention to the music. I'm either listening critically, or I'm doing something that doesn't require my full attention, and I want to listen to some music to help pass the time. Here, I either know what specific type of music I want to listen to, or I find it by flipping through my list. Once I find one, I want more of the same genre. I'm finding that if I don't agree with the Picard wikidata genre, I'm refining my understanding of the genre more easily than adjusting the tag.

My third method for using music is setting it up as a jukebox. Let people pick the tracks. I have now clue what criteria they use to pick. In this case, I can see your taxonomy being confusing. (Most of my friends have put zero thought into music genre. They just know what they like.)

I guess I have to include "Special use cases." The lists I've curated. Neither of our methods of classifying music would ever put these lists together. These are things like "my frisson list," "tracks that I think a specific person might like," "Tracks that remind me of particular things," or the one that just grows and never seems to shrink; "songs that I want to take a more detailed listen to." Almost forgot the all-important "Road Trip," and the "Kid-safe" list I refer to below.

I'm curious about how you use your secondary tags with new music. It seems like you have to listen and analyze every new track you introduce to your library. Maybe if I stopped getting bulk disc dumps I could do this too.
I actually have one for "Occasion" after a couple decades staring at the field! - That's where I put my "Explicit" tag so I can filter stuff out when my kid is around.

I've been using a "Whitelist" concept for playing music around the little one. I only listen to music that has been manually added to a playlist, or is from before the '80s. I haven't heard enough "coarse" language or overt enough themes in music from the seventies and before to be concerned. (Yes, I know it's there, but I feel like it's buried far enough under double-entendre to be acceptable.)

Anything from the '80s on needs a quick listen for swearing, and possibly content. Just because it doesn't have swear words, doesn't mean I want my little girl hearing it. I certainly don't want to have to answer her questions about what a particular lyric means, or have her repeat it at school. "Adam Ant" is a perfect example. While I love the "Strip" album, I really don't want to deal with the fallout if she starts singing the title track on the playground.

Then there's the whole "Clean" vs. "Explicit." I can't stand some of the "Clean" versions of explicit songs. P!nk did it right with "F***** Perfect." The worst is the obvious "Bleep" over the word, always jarring. Ideally I'd use lyrics, but I'm not going through all my tracks, getting lyrics and verifying "Clean" vs. "Explicit" in case I mis-tagged the track.

Besides, she'll be old enough, soon enough.

About the challenge of 'genres' you mentioned earlier, and how yours got f'ed up somehow: I let no software auto-fill the genre tags. Not MusicBee, nor Picard, nor Tag&Rename etc.

Yeah, that was a mistake. I have been paying for it ever since.

I started maintaining my digital music library back in the late '90s If I had been able to keep up with it from the beginning, people would envy my library. As it is, I've gone through ripping my core library several times. First to 128k, because that's all the space I could afford, and it took so long to rip and compress a CD. Then 320k when I could afford it. Now, I'm on FLAC. I can theoretically recreate the CD if I want to. Add in the losses along the way because I didn't back up properly, and here I am.

I tried tagging by Main genre first, and figured I'd refine as I went along. The problem was that I couldn't use multiple levels of genre, like I can now. (This was in the early '00s.) So I just lived with it. Once I could use multiple levels, I tried to go crazy with mood, and occasion. This is where I went wrong and tried to cheat with Last.FM.

The reason I went with the Last.FM tags is that they were the first place that offered this option. It was reasonably accurate at first too. My other problem is that I can't really decide for myself what genre something should be. My perfectionist tendencies get the better of me. I end up with almost a separate genre per track. Maybe I focus too much on the differences rather than the similarities.

Now, if I can just get a skeleton to start from so that I can use my library while I work on it, I'm good. Nothing will touch my genres after this. I have learned my lesson. I'd like to do it all manually. With hundreds of Album artists, multiple thousands of albums, thousands of individual tracks, and hundreds of "Various Artist" albums to sort through, it just ain't gonna happen.

So, just as I thought everything was unicorns and rainbows, I've run into my first problem.

In Discogs, I found a few releases that I couldn't tag because there was a problem with the "release code." A couple of releases would let me use the code, but there were some characters that the plugin couldn't deal with (I didn't really pursue the matter. They were oddball albums I don't really listen to very often.) I also found some that weren't associated with the release on the page. I found work-arounds for both of these situations; I ignored them.

Now, I've found several releases in MusicBrainz Picard that will crash the application. Lovely. I just spent several hours tracking this down, because I've found several, and I'm still just getting started. I've only processed a hundred and some-odd albums! So I posted a pretty detailed post about my issue, and I'll see what the community comes up with.

In the meantime, I guess I just move past the problems, and keep on truckin'.

Maybe it's time to start trying to figure out my MusicBee process. I'll just push the clutch in, and see what gear I can find.

Just kidding.  ;D  ;D

It didn't do anything to A-Ha. "The The" comes out as "The."

Phew, crisis averted.

OH MY GOD! My computer disappeared into a puff of logic! I'm typing this on my phone as I'm floating in a sub-space bubble surrounded by nothingness. I seem to have fallen into a wormhole.

Send help!

Ouch. You don't do that with book titles do you? ;-)

My dead tree carcass books are on a shelf by order they were put on the shelf. My book library is limited to the books that I really love. All the "Fluffy stuff" books are on my Kindle, and stored however Amazon does that.

Just curious, what will happen with the band 'The The' if you also set MusicBee to ignore 'the' and 'a'. Will that band get sucked into some vortex and disappear into an unknown universe?

It's funny that you say that, because my last batch of albums would have included "The The" as the last artist. I was letting the files save from Picard, and figured I'd check my mail. I'll let you know. I'm also curious about "A-Ha." I haven't processed an album by them yet.

I went through everything, and I think I'm done pondering now. I have transcended and I am just going to let MusicBrainz run pretty much have it's way with my library.

I added this section in because I really don't like trying to think of artists by their last name. I also really really don't like having to think about groups that may or may not have "A" or "The" as the beginning of their name. I always mentally drop those. I look for the boys from Liverpool under "B" not "T." I had a heck of a time until I realized that for some reason I have to $unset albumsort first. all the others seem to play nicely.
$noop(Set Sort orders to something useful)

The final piece is going to be how I import to Musicbee. Now, I send to a single folder from MediaMonkey using the "<Root>\<Album Artist>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title> format. When I import to Musicbee, I go through each album, tag it as "Studio" "Compilation," etc. I rate songs I already like, and I import to the library by renaming files to my library structure which includes the "Album Type" directory. I think I'm going to get rid of the step where I tag it with an "Album Type" and just use the MusicBrainz "Release Type" instead of my "Album Type" assessment. My only concern is that I may end up at odd with what MusicBrainz calls a "compilation." I used the Wikipedia Discography to determine the album type, and I've seen a few albums go through that did not match that assignment. I'll just see where that takes me. It should also let me keep track of where I am in the re-tagging process.

I'm still giddy, I feel like a great weight is being taken off me with my library. All my experiments so far have had positive results. My tags have way more information for way less work. Artists and albums are way more consistent. I haven't actually gotten to my existing library, so I'm going to have a challenge there, but the only tags I'm really concerned about are my Musicbee ratings, and possibly my static playlists. All the Auto-Playlists should be no problem to tweak, and may end up better than they are now. A lot of them can probably be removed because most of them were about fixing inconsistencies instead of playing music. I had a huge stack of albums that were waiting for import because it was such a pain to import properly. I would just import the tracks I wanted into a separate folder so I could listen to the track I wanted. That changes, now.

Of course this will not be quick. Musicbee shows 6,753 albums. My "Separates" section which contains all the single tracks not associated with an album in my library will be a challenge, but I have them dealt with for now. I also have some "albums" I've created which, while they are realistically just playlists, I like having the files physically separated the way they are. Once I get my backlog cleared up, I can get to listening instead of tagging.

Now, maybe I can start getting a bit more serious about my DAC, headphone amp, and cans. Maybe I can even start realistically dreaming about being able to setup a usable system with Musicbee as the base. I have been kind of putting that off because I wanted my library solid before I released to the rest of the house.

That's where the concept of the 'canonical' title ('work' title) that MusicBrainz has available comes in handy. If you have that written to the title tag, you can more easily achieve some uniformity in that.

That is wonderfully helpful bit of information right there. I will be sure to keep that in mind when I start navigating that minefield.

I have disabled Picard writing 'album artist' Especially for classical music they often result in a very long-winded summary of composers, directors, performers.

The bulk of my music is non-classical. I'm a fan of the genre, but I don't get all the way to aficionado. I live and die by Album Artist. Once I start working over the classical, I plan to create a separate database. Hopefully that makes it easier to maintain

I prefer them brief, and usually have them something like this: Fauré (Herreweghe) Satie (Thibaudet) Shostakovich (Previn, Mullova) etc. I haven't tried to automate that through scripting, because A. it's not a lot of work to do it by hand. B. In case there is no conductor, or his value for that album is not paramount (in my opinion), I will choose or add the 'main performer'. That is subjective, and difficult to automate. (until machine-learning has reached the point it can do that for me) Similar for album titles. Beethoven, Bach et al. never came up with album titles, so I feel free to construct my own, short versions. So for classical music I don't care much for accuracy or 'correctness' of tags such as Artist, Album, Album Artist. Those are concepts that don't really resonate with classical music and it's compositions. I try to keep them all short and simple, and only may have some purpose for them for occasional grouping or sorting.

Pretty much where my head is for classical music. I actually have very few performances of each piece. Mostly, I find a favorite I rate, and the other one just sits in the library. (Losing, or destroying data goes against everything I stand for as an IT professional. I cringe when people say they delete tracks they haven't listened to.) I can tell you about the major differences between performances, but I'm not at a level where I could discuss the finer points of one conductor's interpretation over another anyway. All I care about for my tags is that I can differentiate between versions in my library. I also want to be able to scroll through, and see the same artist, album, track, etc. spelled the same way with the same capitalization.

Just a random brain pop-up, and maybe not applicable to your projected workflow/interests, but before running the Bulk through the Brainz, you might want to take a look at MusicBrainz concepts of 'aliases'.

Hadn't really put much thought into this right now. Hmmm, If I could get my "ABBA" albums tagged properly as; "ᗅᗺᗷᗅ," that would be pretty cool... I do have a few artists that would be affected by aliases. I have a pretty good idea who they are and what I want them to be. I was going to handle that in MusicBee, but it might be better, as you say, to tackle it sooner rather than later. I shall meditate on this. Although I am leaning towards starting the journey, and blowing up those bridges as I get to them.

So, you have reminded me that I have totally forgotten about the cluster-puck that is the Classical portion of my library. I'll be using the tagging of my regular library as a training-montage to prepare for the opening of that particular can of Whoop-A**. My Classical tags there are FUBAR. Combinations of Composer as Artist, performer as composer, and all manner of things that make it impossible to search for multiple versions of the same piece. I do have one complete multi-disc compilation of Beethoven that I spent a lot of time getting straight. And now, I realize I set "Beethoven" as the Artist. Great.

As a "Brain-dump" of my thought process; I save my tracks to the path; <AlbumType>\<AlbumArtist>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title>. That should make it easy to recognize strange, unexpected Album Artist names. It has in the past. Maybe switching that around would be good. <Album Artist>\<AlbumType>\<Album>\<Track#> - <Artist> - <Title>. Again, I shall have a good think about that.

When a "classic" album is reissued, MusicBrainz uses the reissue date as the year.
@Phaedrus: You really stopped worrying? So you have now mastered Zen and the Art of Metadata Maintenance. I'm jealous.
I was Clean and sober until I saw the preceding quote.  :-X Seriously, though, I think I am.

I am going to go through all the tags on the "Tags Documentation" page. I'll figure out how I really want to use each one, and make a decision. But it's full-steam ahead on the rest of library after that.

I am relying heavily on the fact that once my album is tagged with the "MusicBrainz" information, going back through is a snap. Based on experience going through the same couple hundred albums several times, I trust this to be the case.

(Barring losing MusicBrainz information, of course.) The worst thing that can happen is that I may miss a few tracks here and there when I create my auto-playlists. I figure I have a pretty good idea what should be where, so if it doesn't show up, I can search for it, figure out why, and fix the individual album. I oughta be able to figure out how to fix it with my MusicBrainz script, and re-process albums. Then, when I find the next one, I'll already have a solution. Easy-Peasy.

Now, I do have some "albums" which I won't run through MusicBrainz. I have a bunch of compilations which I won't run through because I don't care so much, and it would be too hard to re-create what I want in them. These are all pretty much taken care of already. I have a system to fix the tags on these, and I don't get new ones very often.

I have come to the realization that my library will always be a journey. Now that I have found a solid, easy to use "home base," if you will, I can spend my time exploring what I have instead of spending my time preparing for the trip.

And, now that I have realized the sound of one hand clapping, I must return to my perch on the mountaintop. Feel free to visit anytime. ;)

Welcome back from the edge. :)

I spent too much time in Perdition, but I'm OK, now. I see your "$setmulti," and "$copymerge," and I realize I should run through the tags again to see if there are any others I need to check. In the excitement of my paradigm shifting without a clutch, I forgot I wasn't done looking through all the tags I wanted to work with.

Could you elaborate a bit what your 'date' part does exactly?

I had something very similar in my script. In fact, I had to check what I posted, because I thought I had pasted an older script. He's stripping out the Month and Day; if it's present in the %originaldate%, making that the "date" tag, and then getting rid of the "originaldate" tag in the file.

So, I have spent the last week fighting the tagging script to bend the tags to my will, and I find myself re-evaluating why I'm using MusicBrainz. (Great, more self-examination.) On an unrelated note, my S.O. asked me what I was doing as I sat at my computer staring into space, and I got to throw her one of my movie quotes; "Self realization. I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said; "I Drank What?" She rolled her eyes and walked out. Love her to pieces.

I had a really long script that did all kinds of cool things; only Year for release, strip prefixes from sort order (not move to the end, strip) strip out total tracks/discs, etc. Then, I got to the part where I tried to set Album Artist for soundtracks to be "1Soundtrack" and standard compilations to "1Various." "Various" gets buried in the Album Artist list if I don't add the "1." I can't for the life of me figure out how to do this in a script without resorting to some strange gymnastics. I got this sorted, and realized that I still had some other things like that I wanted to do, and started thinking that this was way too complicated.

Finally, the white-hot blast of realization came to me; "I'm doing it wrong." I was trying to use MusicBrainz to make my tags work the way I wanted them to work. I should be thinking of MusicBrainz as a way to tag my files consistently so that I can use my media manager to make my library work the way I want it to.

Suddenly it all makes sense. Now I understand why there was so little talk about tagging scripts; they shouldn't do much. File naming is more important, because the tags are canon, but the operating system is capricious. There is so much talk about custom tags here in MusicBee, because the tag is immutable, and the view is changed to suit desires.

So, I had a huge script that took into account potential tag variance, and changed all kinds of information. I was up to 100 lines of text in Notepad++ at one point. And now I have this;
$noop((Number Padding Track to nnn, Disc to NN)
$noop(strip out embedded lyrics)
$noop(Going off the rails)

I did not realize how prescient my title would be.

And now, because it fits with everything I've done with MusicBrainz so far;

I have totally forgotten that Windows directories are not case sensitive. I could have accomplished the exact same thing by renaming the folders I'm saving to.

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