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Messages - Phaedrus

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So, after writing that last post, and poking around the albums I've already tagged; I'm just gonna go with it.

1. Once the track has the MusicBrainz information in it, I can run through them again without breaking anything. The best part is that I can do the second run-through largely unattended.

2. My Genre tags are already so useless that anything different would be an improvement.

3. Once I start re-tagging my existing library, I can have specific tags kept. I don't have to lose anything.

Then again, what do I know? I'm the idiot that imported the Last.FM genre information into my library.

I would love to get my genres sorted out, made the same mistake with Last FM. I just need to separate dance, rock, pop, ballads with reasonable accuracy and I'd be happy. You doing it with MusicBrainz?

There was so much promise with genres in Last.FM. I'm giving it a go with MusicBrainz; see below.

Warning when it comes to Genre and MusicBrainz. There's a plugin called Wikidata-Genre. It may just be me and YMMV and all that, but it completely locked up MusicBrainz every time I tried to tag an album. It would start downloading album data and then freeze. Took a lot of time to figure out which plugin was doing it, that was the one. I honestly haven't found a good solution for Genre data anywhere besides the two things at the sides of my head. There's too much variation in peoples' perceptions and descriptions.

I don't think there is a "Good" solution for genres. I can't even say that the stuff between my ears is any good. I found that order and frame of mind affected how I perceived tracks. I couldn't even be consistent within my own head. I spent hours researching genres, and trying to come up with a system, and ultimately failed. This was one of the things which led me to Discogs. Their Genres for the album are usually a really good starting point. I may well end up sticking with a combination of Picard, and my old MM/Discogs Plugin. (Great, instead of simplifying, I've made my process longer, and more complicated; unless I can figure out how to script scraping Discogs from within Picard.)

MusicBrainz does have a newer plugin for using Last.FM that works, and I've been using the Wikidata with no problem. I'm working out how to let it use Last.FM for Decade, Mood, and Ocassion; while I use Wikidata for the Genre. Somehow, I have an "Album Genre" which should be nice. I'm experimenting with a batch of albums and trying different combinations before I start importing into MusicBee, and I now have a few tracks by Toby Keith listed as "Emo."

I found the Picard forum to be right next to useless, unless you already have the answer you want. I hate the interface, and I can never find anything useful using the search. I've just been reading random posts, and hoping it points me to an answer.

So far the only real positive is that I've learned that I'm better at scripting than I give myself credit for.

General Discussions / Re: Which file format do you prefer?
« on: December 19, 2017, 05:55:09 PM »
FLAC is first choice, anything MP3 in descending order of quality, then, anything else.

No, I can't tell the difference between FLAC and MP3, 320. But, I have a bit-perfect and playable backup of my CD, and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that my source isn't my limitation.

Maybe in the next 10 years they figure out how to augment human hearing. I can check out my old FLAC files and hear what I've been missing. MP3 People get to buy "The White Album" again. Besides, drive space is cheap.

Tagging in general is tedious, which is how I wound up with thousands of files with genres representing types of music I couldn't explain in a million years. :)

I made the mistake of adding all the genre tags from to my library. Now I have 518 different genres many of which are just variable spellings. And that was using a pretty extensive blacklist, and ignoring Mood, Occasion and Category. After that, it was game over. I remember throwing my hands up when a Barry Manilow track showed up under "Hard Rock."

I have a foolish hope that MusicBrainz will save me.

I haven't even started on figuring out the art. This will be very helpful. I'm not married to having all the available art for each album, but I have to have a cover. I suspect that this will be the biggest time sink when I start going through my full library.

I'm working on the script to format tags "Properly." It's only a few lines, but then, I haven't even gotten to any of the specific exception cases yet.

I can add to my list that tagging a library with both MP3 and FLAC files is a major pain.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 17, 2017, 10:43:16 AM »
I believe that this thread is no longer about the original question, so I am abandoning it.

I started a new thread in General to continue the conversation.

The Road to Perdition, or how I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love MusicBrainz

Based on a post in Questions, about Advanced Auto Playlist options, I am switching to MusicBrainz Picard for Tagging.
Thought I'd share thoughts as I go. Feel free to chime in with resources, or pointers.

1. If your files are already sorted into directories, don't drag the root folder to MusicBrainz, and let it sort them out. You will be disappointed. Drag the Root of the folders to the left side and then "Cluster." It will be much better.
2. Picard is incredibly powerful, and can be customized with scripts. You can get pretty good information without resorting to them.
3. Work with a copied subset of your library until you are comfortable with the results. (Should be common sense, but I'm not taking anything for granted.)
4. The Album Art is fairly disappointing compared to Discogs.
5. Maybe it's just me, but the documentation is only adequate at best.
6. It is not "Set it and forget it" for updating an existing library. There will be some manual checking. Plan accordingly.
7. Once the IDs are all set from the first cycle, subsequent cycles will be faster.
8. I am not a coder, and trying to create scripts is really driving that point home.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 17, 2017, 12:23:52 AM »
And so begins another Love / Hate relationship with software.

Thanks all. I guess I won't need that playlist after all.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 10:07:16 PM »
I'm just giddy. It found information on albums that Discogs never did.

So, if I understand this correctly; I can create scripts and logic in Picard to auto process track information so that all of my artists will be Identical? I can create logic to have secondary artists moved to separate tags? ("<artist 1> Presenting <artist 2> vs. <artist 3> Feat. <artist 4>" to: <Artist>, <Guest Artist>, <Guest Artist>, <Guest Artist>) It will give me all the information about the tracks, no matter what version I have? I don't have to sort through multiple releases to find more information?

If the answer to the first two is yes, I'm ecstatic. If the answer to all four is yes, I'm gonna need a cigarette and a nap.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:32:19 PM »
But I was wondering, if you are meticulous in your tagging: If you would create a virtual tag which has album artist and album title concatenated, would't that be a step forward in achieving what you want? Then you would only need MusicBee showing duplicates for that tag.

I am only meticulous to a point. I am confident that as I type this, I have mis-tagged tracks in my database. My meticulousity(?) only goes to rudimentary checking that I have the correct album, and the track names and numbers are "close enough." The rest is up to Discogs. (I'm sure this is the reason I need these checks.) If I didn't do it this way, I'd spend too much time tagging and not enough listening and exploring.

So, I purposely copied an album into MusicBee using Windows to copy the folder to my MusicBee input folder. I then imported it. If I concatenate Album Artist, and Album Title, all 30 tracks have the same value. (15 tracks on the album, times 2) Nothing differentiates it from a 30 track album.

I ran a similar scenario through the duplicate manager, and it came up with some random tracks. So I now have another handful of tracks to verify. (I don't like using the duplicate manager. I can see myself forgetting to click "Send to playlist" and having it delete tracks.) In this duplicate scenario, The duplicate manager will find my test album as a duplicate if I include the ISRC in the list of fields. But that doesn't help if I rip a different version, with a different ISRC.

As I consider this, I think the concatenation would be helpful if I was checking a specific album. I want to either check my whole library, or only albums I've recently imported. I don't know how to create a playlist that will show me all Albums from an Album Artist, where the Album Artist exists in another playlist at least once. (Recently added.) If I could create this playlist, I could run the Duplicate Manager against it, and find my duplicates. But, if I could create this playlist, I believe I could use the same playlist logic to create a playlist that shows me albums that have more than one Disc 1, Track 1.

With all that, I'm confident that MusicBrainz is my answer. So far I have some test files I processed, and I got good results. I just need to figure out how to get more information down to my tags. I fear this will only encourage me to get more music, because it will reduce my processing time to a minute or two an album from raw files to library integration. (I guess right now I'm at about 10 minutes all told right now.) Oh, and once I get it all working well, I will run the rest of my library through it. It's everything I wanted in a tagging program. Once I figure it out.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 07:51:19 PM »
You mean like the people/roles such as mentioned here? :

I went to the Guidelines and only found "Special Purpose Artist." Maybe I should have looked up an album. This looks like it will work a treat.

I would urge you to download and install Picard and try it on a few albums rather than picking through the MusicBrainz website for data. Like I said, you don't ultimately have to tag the files with the data it retrieves, but you can see your old data side by side with its proposed changes and compare the two for anything missing.

Point taken, and I will be doing this.

If your stuff is already tagged I wouldn't recommend retagging it with MBrainz. The data isn't that radically different or earth-shatteringly better. But going forward, especially in the interest of abandoning MediaMonkey and its plug-in if that's your intent, it's something to look at.

Quite the contrary. I looked at "The Girl is Mine" to compare to my tags. All I have is "Co-Producer," "Mixed By," and "Vocals" for Involved people. My tagging completeness fetish keeps getting me into so much trouble.

To complement frankz good info and tips: Just for the purpose of your original issue, you could setup Picard to only write the releasegroup tags. Just be warned that Picards learning curve is a bit steep (or long, or erratic, what should you call it) to accomplish such refinement, and you will need some scripting for it.

This is definitely a solution to my original query. It works, and I can shoe-horn it into my workflow.
I fear no learning curve. (Except the ones that can result in death or dismemberment if you fail.)

I would still rather find a way to use my Auto-Playlist for this. My desire is to have a folder of Auto-Playlists that I can cycle through to check for issues that have happened when I import files (If everything is good, they should be empty.)

To get a bit "meta," and explain my thought process; I am a Database / Network Administrator. I have a couple of databases that pull from an external flat file. Since I have no control over the input, I have no way of knowing if there was a dropped comma, or if the source has changed their field order, or name. To combat this, I have fields that will only accept the type of data I expect. If something like the above happens, the import will fail, and I will know to look at the incoming file. My data integrity is preserved.

I don't see any way to maintain my data integrity using MusicBee/MediaMonkey, or MusicBee/MusicBrainz. Since I can't check the input, I need to check the output. Auto-Playlists give me the ability to target the issues I've had in the past, so that I can at least check for those in the future. If I can get a couple more concepts down with the Auto-Playlist, I can find other things to look for as well.

As long as I'm on this, I also want to avoid application lock-in. My end goal is to be able to drop my file structure into any media manager, and have all of the information available. It looks like MusicBrainz is going to help me to this end.

TL;DR; I'm concerned about data integrity, and want a way to verify that the incoming tags are at least reasonable. Auto-playlists are my perfect solution. Ya'll suck, because now you've convinced me to dive down the MusicBrainz/Picard rabbit hole. :)

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 05:10:57 PM »
Suddenly my beard is itchy; I'm scratching my chin pondering these things.

It was several years ago that I settled on Discogs for my tags. I knew at the time that it was imperfect, but it was light-years ahead of MusicBrainz for tagging information. I honestly think it was the plugin available for Media Monkey that made the difference. Once I made the decision, inertia took over, and I stopped looking at any other tagging solution. Now, I have two people with carefully thought out and presented arguments for the same thing. This definitely makes me think twice about my current process.

After re-visiting the MusicBrainz site, I'm reminded of one of the items which kept me out. I don't see where MusicBrainz includes "Involved People," which is one of the fields I really wanted. As I said before, It's neat, and ultimately useless, but here we are. I'd like to say that it would be a no-brainer to just stop getting the information, but it just doesn't feel right to leave data behind. Maybe I need a paradigm shift.

*Edit to add; I'll have to play with the MusicBrainz plugins to get everything together.

In the end, it seems like it's worth it to run one of my old backups from my recent upgrade to 4TB drives through MusicBrainz to see what I get.

@Phaedrus: Drifting a bit off-topic here. Just say stop if it starts bothering you.

Please, carry on. I always enjoy a good discussion. I really would like some help with the playlist at some point, though. I suspect that if I can get this bit sorted out, it would answer many of my other auto-playlist wants. I simply refuse to sort through my entire library Album by Album ever again. I know the relationships I want to make between tracks / Albums; I just don't know how (if?) I can make them happen with an Auto-Playlist.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 03:26:57 PM »
I like the idea of combining both of these tag ideas to form a "super album ID." If I combine track, total time and ISRC into one Meta-meta-tag, I can come close enough to a guarantee that I should only have one result.

This would find the double-imported albums. Now, I just need to find the ones that are just slightly different.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 03:19:56 PM »
Another approach might be to batch run all your albums through MusicBrainz's Picard. All your albums (if present in musicBrainz's database of course) will get elaborately tagged, including a release-id.

This is a good idea, and has given me a couple of new directions to think about.

Sadly, part of my problem is my fetish for tags. I run all my albums through Media Monkey, and the Discogs plugin. I confess I haven't looked at MusicBrainz in the past couple of years, but I recall having many albums not found, and less information when it was in the database. With Discogs, I end up with all kinds of neat, (although admittedly ultimately useless) information. I do get an ISRC number though.

From the fuzzy corners of my memory, I had a couple of albums which were distinct releases, with the same MusicBrainz ID.

Questions / Re: Advanced Auto Playlist assistance
« on: December 16, 2017, 01:49:58 PM »
Thanks, I really appreciate the suggestion. I spent some time with this because I was so intrigued. In the end, I don't see how this helps. It seems like it only catches identical imports, and misses a lot of potential scenarios;
1. Same album with an extra second on one of the tracks wouldn't register in any of the other columns
2. Same album with "part one/part two" of a track split differently wouldn't register as the same in the other columns.

My brute force method was to use the standard three columns, and sort the tracklist by "Disc-Track#." This let me scroll through the albums quickly, and watch for a second "1-01." The display takes less than a second to update, and all I had to do was stop hitting the down arrow when I found one, and analyze the entries.

This method seems to take a bit longer to update the columns and on the multiple albums with identical times and total tracks, (I was surprised at how many there are.) I need to spend extra seconds to determine if I need to go further. With 6,752 albums, every second counts.

Assuming 1 second per entry.... either of these methods would take hours to complete.

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