Author Topic: Need Help with Artist vs. Album Artist Tags  (Read 11516 times)

Shepherd Jim

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HI all - Sorry, I realize this is a very newbie topic. I am a newbie, just having started working with MB after years of letting iTunes have its way with my library.

What is the intended distinction between the Artist and Album Artist tags? In my current library, if I sort/display by Album, many tracks that have a second, accompanying artist show as being a separate album.

I'm an old guy and my brain still sees my music as a collection of albums. If the vinyl album (or CD!) "Best of Neil Diamond" had 12 tracks, I want those 12 tracks to be shown IN the album in my library. 

Okay, one of those 12 tracks also has Barbra Streisand in duet with Neil, how should I best include her name in the metadata without causing that track to be stripped from the album. Yes of course, if I search for Barbra Streisand I would like to find tracks on other people's albums in which she sang. 

Not really very important, but what if four other artists joined Neil on a track? I'm guessing a Various Artists tag would best be used ...but again, in the Artist or Album Artist field?

BTW - I am totally enjoying MB! So glad to have crawled out from under iTunes!

Thank you for all assistance/discussion. Please remember I am OLD and you should be very "step by step" in your explanations.

Jim in Maine, USA
— old dog learning new tricks ....having a blast !!

psychoadept

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Really great question!

Album Artist should be the same for all tracks on an album.  In your example, Neil Diamond would be the Album Artist.  If you have an album where each track or many tracks have a completely different artist, that's when you should set the Album Artist to something like Various Artists. (There are other ways to handle this in MusicBee, but let's keep it simple for now.)  In order for this to help with albums, you have to be grouping or sorting by Album Artist and not Artist. (Also check that Album Artist is included in the album definition in Sorting/Grouping preferences).

The Artist is who is credited for that particular track, such as Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand.  One thing you can do with MusicBee that I don't think iTunes has ever implemented is you can take an artist credit like Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand and use the Multiple Artist Splitter (click the ... on the artist field) to tag those artists individually, while keeping "Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand" as the Display Artist.  Then, if you're looking through Artists in your library, that track would show up under both Neil Diamond AND Barbra Streisand.
Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 03:28:35 PM by psychoadept
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boroda

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'artist' is the artist or even several artists of given track. 'album artist' is the pseudo-artist of whole album. i wrote 'pseudo' because it usually is something like 'various artists'. 'album artist' tag is intended mostly for compilations. if stored 'album artist' tag is empty then its *displayed* value (everywhere except for tag editor) will be gotten from 'artist' tag.

to summarize:

set any *stored* value to 'album artist' tag only for compilations.

always use 'album artist' tag for displaying purposes. you can use 'artist' tag for displaying purposes, but only as additional info (eg. as column in main view, but not as column in column browser).

edit: psychoadept, i'm too late :)
Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 03:33:13 PM by boroda74

Shepherd Jim

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Okay! I see that iTunes (with or without my knowing complicity) has been doing it wrong!

On the question of “multiple track artists”: using my Neil Diamond example, if type In the Artist for the problem track as “Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand” MB finds that track if I search for “Streisand” ...along with all the tracks /albums where she is the single artist

Would it be recommended that I extend this to, for example, Artist: Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand/Lou Costello/Bud Abbott. ?

Note: posted from my iPhone 8 as an experiment

Thank you! You guys are great and so fast with the comebacks!
— old dog learning new tricks ....having a blast !!

psychoadept

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Would it be recommended that I extend this to, for example, Artist: Neil Diamond/Barbra Streisand/Lou Costello/Bud Abbott. ?

You bet!  There are some practical limits, but there are no programmatic limits that I'm aware of to how many artists you can have on a single track.  I strongly suggest you play around with the Multiple Artist Splitter, as well as ways of browsing your library by artist, such as Thumbnail and Column Browser, Library Explorer, and the Artists view in the main panel.

Regarding iTunes doing it wrong, there is a flag that you can find in the Settings tab of the Tag Editor that you can set called "iTunes Compilation".  Then, if the Album Artist for a track is blank AND the iTunes Compilation flag is set, MusicBee will treat the Album Artist of that album as whatever value you've entered for it in Sorting/Grouping Preferences. (That's what I was referring to when I said there was another way of dealing with it.)  Basically, that's what iTunes does automatically.  In MusicBee, you can choose which method you prefer.

@boroda74, better too much than not enough!
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Shepherd Jim

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Thank you! It's safe to say that my original question has been more than answered. 

My head's still a little fuzzy but that's only because MB is a very deep program, providing much choice and multiple ways to skin those audio cats. 

I'm moving along in the process of settling into MB -- organizing MB's display as well as the actual underlying organization of files and folders.

Thanks again!  Jim
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psychoadept

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I'm moving along in the process of settling into MB -- organizing MB's display as well as the actual underlying organization of files and folders.

Expect a constant evolution for a while.  :)  I've been using MB for 6 years and it still sometimes catches me by surprise.
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Viper73

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'artist' is the artist or even several artists of given track. 'album artist' is the pseudo-artist of whole album. i wrote 'pseudo' because it usually is something like 'various artists'. 'album artist' tag is intended mostly for compilations. if stored 'album artist' tag is empty then its *displayed* value (everywhere except for tag editor) will be gotten from 'artist' tag.

One question about this album-artist:
I use this album-artist for sorting my music into "happy", "normal", "hard" and "silent". So i wrote this words into the album-artist to get fast to my "happy" songs for example. And many songs do not have an album-artist entry. So i want it to be empty (and not to be filled with the artist name).

Sadly MusicBee uses the "artist" value for "album artist" when it is empty. Can i disable this? I do not want to have any artists in the album-artist tag displayed, because this will destroy my sorting method i have.

captain_paranoia

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> I use this album-artist for sorting my music into "happy", "normal", "hard" and "silent".

I would advise using a custom tag for that, rather than abusing an existing, well-established tag.

But it's your library...

frankz

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You don't even need a custom tag.  There are plenty of tags (Mood, Occasion, Genre) built right in, and readily able to be browsed and sorted in MB that are more appropriate.  Or, more accurately, are actually appropriate.

You can use the "Additional Tagging and Reporting Tools" plugin to move those tags to an appropriate tag and then use Album Artist for album artists.

But, like he said, it's your library.  Just don't expect tools like MB to change in order to account for this quirk in your library.
A smile is happiness you'll find right under your nose.

hiccup

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Sadly MusicBee uses the "artist" value for "album artist" when it is empty. Can i disable this? I do not want to have any artists in the album-artist tag displayed, because this will destroy my sorting method i have.

I agree with the principle that  it should be possible to have 'album artist' showing only the actual content, and not auto-filling it so that you don't know if the value is actually there or it was 'invented' by MusicBee.

To slightly circumvent that problem, I made it a habit to fill in a '-' (dash) for 'album artist' for all the tracks that I don't want an 'album artist' to show, but it's a bit of a poor solution.
Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 05:01:03 PM by hiccup

Steven

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there is a trick you can use - define a virtual tag with exactly the following:
Code
$IsNull(<Album Artist >,,<Album Artist >)

hiccup

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there is a trick you can use - define a virtual tag with exactly the following:
Code
$IsNull(<Album Artist >,,<Album Artist >)

That didn't use to work:
https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=23358.msg136405#msg136405

But I see that something seems to have changed so it does now. That's good.