Author Topic: Handling of Ratings When Exchanging Music  (Read 6446 times)

Theodor

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Hi there,

there is a workflow problem that has bothered me for quite some time -- perhaps somebody can help me with this. Any suggestions are welcome!

It concerns handling of embedded track ratings when sharing or exchanging music with other musicbee users. Consider the following example: I'll give my brother a tagged album with embedded ratings. (Note that I want my brother to see my ratings, because he wants to know which songs may be particularly interesting.) Then, my brother modifies these ratings to his liking in his MusicBee library. In the meantime, I modify the tags of said album on my computer -- for example, I correct a typo or embed higher resolution artwork.
At some point, I want to impart these updated files to my brother. I take it that if he just overwrites the files that I gave him the first time (via Windows explorer), all his rating modifications will be lost. So the only chance for his ratings to survive the file update would be to have MusicBee store the ratings only in his datebase. I imagine that if MusicBee identifies the updated files with the old files, then the ratings would subsist.
So perhaps somebody can tell me: How does MusicBee save the ratings when "Store ratings in the music file" is ticked? I guess in both the database and the music file. What happens after the file is updated and MusicBee is restarted? Does it synchronize the varying rating tags? If so: in what direction?

Or doesn't MusicBee recognize old and updated files as one and the same, treating the old files as deleted and the updated files as new, thereby deleting all the rating adjustments that my brother made since he imported the files the first time?

So has anybody a suggestion to update the files in my brother's library without overwriting his tags? All the ways that I can think would require MusicBee to identify the updated with the old files. Or is my reasoning completely off? In any case, is there a way to handle this (semi-)automatically without my brother having to re-rate the songs?

Theodor

redwing

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Rating is just a field like any other fields. Like others, it could be saved in files (POPM frame) or just in the database. So what you're trying to do is like somehow updating artist field with a new value while preserving title field with an old value, which can't be done wherever those values are saved. If I were a person getting those tracks from you, I would save current rating vales in a text file or database file and then, after importing, update new files' rating field with those saved values. You could use mp3tag or MB's additional tagging tools plugin for that purpose, but it seems the latter doesn't work properly with rating for now.

psychoadept

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Would the "copy tags" (without ratings) command be of use here?  As in, import the updated files to inbox, copy tags and paste onto the old files, thereby updating the other tags while leaving ratings intact.  Or would that cause the ratings to be cleared?
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redwing

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Would the "copy tags" (without ratings) command be of use here?  As in, import the updated files to inbox, copy tags and paste onto the old files, thereby updating the other tags while leaving ratings intact.  Or would that cause the ratings to be cleared?

Great point! Simply "copy and paste(without rating and play count)" tags will do the job.

Theodor

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Thank you very much for your suggestions!

Unfortunately, my example scenario was oversimplified and therefore misleading -- I was focusing too much on stating the basic premise as clear as possible. I already knew that copying tags will leave the rating tag untouched. Sorry for being not clear enough on this!

Consider this updated scenario: It is not only one album with updated tags that my brother wants to reimport while keeping his modified ratings intact. Rather, I want to impart a substantial subset of my collection to my brother. This includes
- tracks that he didn't have before,
- tracks that he did have before but that he changed ratings-wise,
- tracks that he did have before but that I changed tag-wise (amended album art or tags etc.),
- tracks that he did have before but that he changed ratings-wise and that I changed tag-wise (amended album art or tags etc.)

If I use a file synchronisation tool for such an incremental update, it will overwritte not only files that should be overwritten (because my tag updates should be copied over to his collection) but also files that should not be overwritten because the only difference is that my brother modified the rating tag.
Note that it is not sufficient to synchronize only files that have more recently changed on my side and not tracks that have more recently changed on his side. A setting like this would wrongly predict for files that I changed and that he modified ratings-wise at some point thereafter that they should not be copied over.
If it were for just a few files this could easily be solved by rolling back the overwritten ratings manually. But with a large subset of affected files, my desire for a (semi-)automated solution grew.

I realize that this sounds like an extremely complicated and rare scenario but I don't think it actually is -- I believe that there probably are many situations where different users are working with the same file set. For example, imagine people accessing a server-stored set of music files from their own computers with their own MusicBee instances. Even if everbody had MusicBee configured not to store their ratings in the files, an update of the files along the above-mentioned lines would require MusicBee to identify updated files on the server with the older ones in order to map the rating of the old file with the new one.

I don't know whether this reasoning is based on a inadaquate understanding of MusicBee. In any case, I would love to hear any suggestions regarding cases like this.

Theodor 
 

Zak

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Tell your brother to buy and tag his own damn music!

Otherwise, it seems like keeping separate ratings is the biggest issue, so if you both set MusicBee to store ratings in the database only it will make things a lot easier.

Bee excellent to each other...

redwing

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People tend to believe that somehow MB could keep identify each file whatever changes are made onto them. No, that's not the case. There's no such a thing that keeps a file being unique and identifiable from the others. It's always the user that defines each file's identity. For instance, I can make all kinds of changes onto a file but still make MB believe it's the same file. On the other hand, I can make MB see a virtually identical file as a completely different one (e.g. a pair of the same files, one in the library the other in inbox).

Returning to your revised case, I don't see any differences from the original case. However many those files may be, you need to sort the originals and the new ones in the same order to copy and paste tags (or copy only ratings from text file, etc.) between them. So this would be my workflow:

- Make sure there's no duplicates in my library.
- Import new tracks. Open duplicates manager and create a playlist with duplicates.
- Open that playlist and sort tracks by date added. Then they can be split into two groups.
- Open each group in a tab and sort them in the same order.
- Copy rating from originals to the new ones. Delete originals.
Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 05:17:33 AM by redwing

Zak

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There's no such a thing that keeps a file being unique and identifiable from the others.
Except it's path...
Bee excellent to each other...

redwing

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There's no such a thing that keeps a file being unique and identifiable from the others.
Except it's path...

Yes, but that's not the point here, as you know. I was just saying there's no magical way MB could somehow read the user's mind regarding what files to keep and what to discard.

Theodor

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Thank you very much for your clarifications and the detailed workflow suggestion. This is very helpful! Both MusicBee and this forum are simply amazing!
[As for your first comment, Zak: I know what you mean. But believe me, very little of the shared music is commercially relevant (most of it is either music I created myself or very old video game tunes that haven't been released so far and I seriously doubt they ever will be) and to my understanding, even this subset may be shared (within certain limits) with family members.]

Theodor

Zak

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There's no such a thing that keeps a file being unique and identifiable from the others.
Except it's path...

Yes, but that's not the point here, as you know. I was just saying there's no magical way MB could somehow read the user's mind regarding what files to keep and what to discard.
It won't help MusicBee, but if the music on each PC is stored with the same root path (on partitions with the same drive letter or mapped drives with the same letter etc.) a program like FreeFileSync can do an incremental back up from one to the other. Won't help with different ratings though, so we're still back at square one. :(
Bee excellent to each other...