Author Topic: Using Musicbee to its full potential  (Read 13289 times)

mozartjune

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As the title says, there are lots of aspects of Musicbee whether its from plugins or original functions that I never even ventured. I recently started utilizing the Inbox and MusicBee's automatic "Organise Files" function and I started loving it. And since there are lots of advanced users on this site, what and how do you use MusicBee and all of its tools?

phred

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Initially (and I go back with MB to v 0.3.3379 in 2009) I used it to play my very poorly organized music tracks.  After about a year I decided to start tagging and organizing. As MB matured, so did it's potential.  I now use it primarily to organize my music.  With the added pleasure of being able to listen to my music while I work on the collection.

When I first found MB, I had about 50 music tracks.  I'm now closing in on 17,000.  Everything is organized the way I want and the only thing that bugs me is that I have not quite 1,000 tracks for which I can not find lyrics.
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psychoadept

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Where to start?  Custom tags, virtual tags, highlighting, sending to external programs, custom toolbar... Those are some of the ones I use the most.  MusicBee completely changed the way I interact with my library.

I suggest looking through here, especially the "hidden" features thread: getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?board=7.0

Oh, and the usefulness of the additional tagging tools plug in cannot be overstated.
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phred

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Oh, and the usefulness of the additional tagging tools plug in cannot be overstated.
Yes, indeed!!
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mozartjune

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Where to start?  Custom tags, virtual tags, highlighting, sending to external programs, custom toolbar... Those are some of the ones I use the most.  MusicBee completely changed the way I interact with my library.

I suggest looking through here, especially the "hidden" features thread: getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?board=7.0

Oh, and the usefulness of the additional tagging tools plug in cannot be overstated.
What do you use custom tags, virtual tags, highlighting, and sending to external programs for? I'm just curious.

And yeah I've had that plug-in but don't know what to do with it just yet.

psychoadept

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What do you use custom tags, virtual tags, highlighting, and sending to external programs for? I'm just curious.


WELL...



Here's an example that shows all of the above (it doesn't show the external programs, but they were involved).


Custom Tags:

I use the Sort Tags for translation (as shown here) and grouping (for example, to collect Alison Krauss and Alison Krauss & Union Station under the same heading, and also the same folder on my drive).

Original Year is either the year the track was at its chart peak or (for classical) the year of composition.

Billboard Singles records the chart peak and number of weeks in the chart.  The score is a number generated based on its week-by-week chart performance, weighted heavily towards the higher chart numbers (I have a spreadsheet for this, mostly not made by me, thank goodness!).  If you're wondering why I bother with all this information... curiosity, the challenge of it, and it gives me an easy way to generate a quick playlist for a general audience.  I have auto-playlists for each decade.

Track/Album awards are meant for Grammy's and Oscars, but I'll deal with them once I'm done with the Billboard stuff.  Could be a while.

Location, hopefully self-explanatory: I wanted to see the origin of each artist or band (shown at right in the artist header).  Also still in progress, especially since the Picard plugin that was tagging location broke thanks to last.fm.

Musicians/Personnel: this is data imported from Musicbrainz, mostly to be accessed when searching.  The data on their end is far from complete, but it's better than nothing.

iTunes Media Type: used to mark audiobooks as audiobooks.

Compilation: same as the "iTunes Compilation" on the Settings tab (1 for yes, 0 or blank for no).  I can't remember now how I was using it.  Might get rid of it.

Owned: I'm currently in the process of acquiring physical copies of albums that I have a lot of tracks from.  This tells me which CDs I already have (or in some cases LPs).  It's also helpful because I own some compilation CDs, but have the tracks tagged with their original source, so I can see which compilation I got them from.  I just got started with this project, so it's far from complete.


Virtual Tags:

That subheader in blue above the track name is a virtual tag called (wait for it) Subheader.  This is what it looks like raw:

$If($And($IsMatch(<Billboard Singles>,.+)="F",$IsMatch(<Track Awards>,.+)="F"),$IsNull(<Grouping>,,$If($Contains(<Genre>,Christmas)="T",,<Grouping>)),$IsNull(<Billboard Singles>,,"[Billboard Hit "<Original Year>"] "<Billboard Singles>))$If($And($IsMatch(<Billboard Singles>,.+)="T",$IsMatch(<Track Awards>,.+)="T")," + ",)$IsNull(<Track Awards>,,[$First(<Track Awards>)" Grammy Awards] "$Replace(<Track Awards>,$Left(<Track Awards>,6),))

In plain English, it checks to see if either Billboard Singles or Track Awards has a value. If it finds either, it displays that (formatted variously depending on the circumstances).  If not, it looks at Grouping (where I keep info like subtitles for multi-disc sets) and displays that, unless Christmas is in the genre tag (because I use Grouping differently for Christmas carols).

I currently have 11 virtual tags, although some of them aren't being used.  I'll get rid of them if I need the space.

"Artist Group" is the one that processes the Sort Artist/Sort Album Artist values to create a consistent folder and heading structure.  I made it a separate tag partly to simplify my already-complicated Auto-Organize formula.

"Date" looks at Original Year and fills in Year where it's blank, and is used for display in the playing track panel and also for my decade auto-playlists.

"Album Count" is that [#/##] figure you see to the right of the artwork, and shows how many tracks from an album are in my library.

"First Letter" is used in my auto-organize template and also sometimes the column browser.

"Artwork 2nd Line" is for Artwork view, to control what other tags are displayed with tracks based on their genre or genre category.  For Musicals, it displays the performers for the track, for Classical it displays the composer but only if different from the artist/album artist, etc.

"Chart Score" takes that custom Billboard score and turns it into a raw number that I can sort by (also for the decade playlists).


Highlighting:

I use highlighting in a couple of ways.  First, tracks which appear to be duplicates (based on file names that end in _1 or _2) are turned orange, and tracks which are not in MP3 format are turned red.  Those most often turn up in the Inbox.

What you see at the right here are my "processing" icons.  No icon means it's new and needs attention.  The little tag means that I've processed that file with MusicBrainz Picard (where have a custom script to fill in the Publisher tag with "Tagged").  More than 90% are tagged right now.

Once I've confirmed that the track has acceptable artwork (at least 1000x1000 or best available - if MB can't find anything, I'll send it to Album Art Downloader), I change "Tagged" to "Clean Up", and the icon is a broom (this track is actually ready for that, I just haven't gotten around to changing it yet).  The order is important, because Picard's biggest flaw IMO is that it will clear existing artwork, so there's no point until the initial tagging is done.

Once I go over the tags manually and am happy with everything, I'll change it to "Done" and it gets a big green check mark.  (I only have about a dozen "Done" tracks so far, lol.  That's long-term planning).  There's also a big red alert icon that shows up if I put any other notes in the Publisher field, such as if I need to replace a bad track.


Custom Toolbar and External Programs:

See that line of icons at the top?  From left to right those are:

*Send to Picard
*Rescan Files (used a lot less since Steven made rescanning instantaneous)
*Tag Editor
*Tag Inspector
*Send to Album Art Downloader
*Preferences
*Restart MB

I also have "Send to External Program" configured for:

*Google Images (Album)
*Discogs (Artist)
*Wikipedia (Artist)
*All Music (Composer)


...are you sorry you asked? :)
Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 06:22:40 PM by psychoadept
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Pingaware

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My setup is quite similar to what psychoadept uses, but I thought I'd give you another set of examples.

I have a large number of custom tags. They are used to denote:
- Release type (album/E.P./compilation/etc)
- Live version (yes/blank)
- Cover version (yes/blank)
- Original artist if it is a cover version
- Original release year (used if something is on a compilation to denote when it was originally released)
- Recording year (useful for things like bonus tracks released on compilations to tie them to the relevant album recording, or live tracks of course)
- Complete album (mostly unused tag these days that covers one or two cases where Album Complete? isn't sufficient)
- Media source (CD/Google Play/iTunes/etc to allow keeping track of the quality things will have been acquired at)
- Soundcheck (filled with the relevant value for iPods to do ReplayGain - see later on about the Advanced Tagging Tools plugin)
- Album play count (sum of all of the play counts over an entire album)
- Radio play count (how many times I've played a track on my radio show)
- Incomplete tags (tags that need a little more data to be up to the standard I desire)

I also use virtual tags. The most relevant and interesting ones are:
- Album complete (V) (this verifies if a release contains all of its tracks and is also not a compilation or single)
- Decade (V) (this uses the custom tag years to create an accurate set of tracks released and recorded in each decade - I use it instead of MB's built-in Decade tag)
- Played Yet? (tells me if I've heard an album in it's entirety, based on the album play count. Not yet foolproof and waiting on me to write a plugin to make it work better)
- Three or four display tags to more easily show the information in my custom tags in frequently used panels

Highlighting I use only to tell me if a file is not an MP3 currently. At some point, it's going to get an upgrade to telling me if the file is not 320kbps, and if Steven ever implements it, it will also tell me whether or not a file has 1000*1000 artwork.

I send files to Audacity and VLC. Audacity because it's sometimes necessary to update the actual audio in files (click removal, stuff like that), and VLC because I like to have the easy ability to listen to something I've found in MB without increasing its play count.

I have a single toolbar button which opens up the advanced search and replace from the Advanced Tagging Tools plugin, which allows me to easily apply Soundcheck values to tracks. My other use for the plugin is described in this lengthy how-to here.

Hope this all helps!
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Moshi_

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Some really useful information in here.

I love MusicBee but sometimes the amount of stuff it's capable to do is just too much for me. :P

If there were some great tutorials on Youtube, I'd would be so awesome. Like OP, I just think I'm not using MusicBee to even half of it's potential.
Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 01:35:01 AM by Moshi_

Zak

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I have a large number of custom tags. They are used to denote:
- Cover version (yes/blank)
- Original artist if it is a cover version
Just wanted to point out that in that set up Cover version is a bit redundant.
Any track where Original artist has a value is implicitly a cover version.

(you may have covers where the original artist is unknown, but that seems unlikely)
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mozartjune

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This is all fantastic. I'll have to really sit down and learn most of the stuff.

hiccup

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Looking at your nick, do you have a library containing also a lot of classical music?
(it then could be worthwhile to tune your settings and tagging strategics to that too)

onkelbo

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@ psychoadept and Pingaware:
How do you tag the originialyear?

I have a lot of compilations and best of albums.
I didn´t find a tagging tool, that writes the original year for every track.

Can you help me?

Pingaware

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@ psychoadept and Pingaware:
How do you tag the originialyear?

I have a lot of compilations and best of albums.
I didn´t find a tagging tool, that writes the original year for every track.

Can you help me?

Manually I'm afraid. I tend not to use tagging tools, and for this tag, it's only got a value on tracks where it has a use.

Just wanted to point out that in that set up Cover version is a bit redundant.
Any track where Original artist has a value is implicitly a cover version.

(You may have covers where the original artist is unknown, but that seems unlikely)

Dammit Zak! :P You're right, that's a relic of old standards. I introduced Original Artist much later than Cover Version and evidently didn't think about it very carefully. Radio Play Count will be deprecated after this academic year, and MB 3 may well deprecate some of my very basic display virtual tags, so I may as well do a custom and virtual tag restructure then. Putting it off as I'm sure you know how many things you end up having to change!
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psychoadept

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@ psychoadept and Pingaware:
How do you tag the originialyear?

I have a lot of compilations and best of albums.
I didn´t find a tagging tool, that writes the original year for every track.

Can you help me?

Picard is helpful for this.  I think it would take a lot of configuring to tag just original year and nothing else. Message me if you want to try it.

I pretty much do it manually, since the dates I want aren't based on the album.


Edit: another option would be to tag the track with its original release info, but keep the compilation info in another tag.
Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 07:06:37 PM by psychoadept
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psychoadept

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I have a single toolbar button which opens up the advanced search and replace from the Advanced Tagging Tools plugin, which allows me to easily apply Soundcheck values to tracks. My other use for the plugin is described in this lengthy how-to here.

Great examples of the many uses of the plugin!  There are several other tutorials using the Additional Tagging & Reporting Tools plugin, too.  I use it most often either to clean up tags on something I've downloaded, or if I need to reformat a single tag over a lot of files, in a way that's more complicated than search and replace can handle.  (For instance, Picard always tagged USA as Usa, and always put it in the wrong order (Usa; State, when I want it to be formatted as State; USA).  So I use the plugin to flip those around.

I can't speak for those who use the reporting functions, but I hear it's powerful.

p.s. If you need to add or delete a single value from a multi-value tag when not all tracks have the same values, the Tag Inspector is super helpful.
Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 07:23:12 PM by psychoadept
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