Author Topic: Artist vs. Sort Artist on multiple artists tracks with semi-colon separator  (Read 6261 times)

stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
I have all my music files tagged with Album Artist, Artist, Sort Album Artist and Sort Artist tags.

Basically, I use the Album Artist and Artist tags if I want to sort by first name of the artists.
I use the Album Artist tag as a singular artist but I list all artists on a track separated by a semi-colon in the Artist tag.
This works great for me on MusicBee as this creates an individual entry for each Artist in my library view if I group to look for that.

Then if I want to sort by last name as I would find in a music store, then I use the Sort Album Artist tag.
And then use the Sort Artist Tag with multiple artists separated by a semi-colon but of course listed as last name, first name format (just like I do with the Artist tag).

The problem I am encountering is that MusicBee handles the ";" semi-colon separated artists in Artist tag differently than it handles the Sort Artist tag for the same files.

In other words,
Artist: Jimmy Buffett; Toby Keith gets displayed as Jimmy Buffett; Toby Keith with separate entries. (preferable)
Sort Artist: Buffett; Keith, Toby get displayed and sorted as one combo artist Buffett, Jimmy/Keith, Toby (";" is changed to a "/" and the separate artists are recognized as ONE artist).

This is not desirable for me because albums released by an artist with several duets on the album get all splintered up in the Sort Artist library view.

I assume MusicBee is working as it should and I must have out of normal expectations for my Sort Artist tag handling?
That said, is there something I can do to make MusicBee handle the ";" the exact same way in all tags?

I basically want my tags to be handled consistently...I just want to use the "sort" tags when I want to sort by last name....but I want MB to read the artist separators the same way for all.

Here is an example of an album released by one singular artist but it has many duets and guest appearances.
This is a nightmare when it creates a new artist entry for each unique combination of duet artists.

If anything I have said here is not clear or anyone needs more info, please let me know.
To be clear, I am not talking about compilation albums that I have tagged as Album Artist "Various Artists".
I'm strictly talking about the behavior regarding Sort Artist tag.










psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10692
Do you have the custom sort tags enabled on the sorting tab of the tag editor?
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest patches (3.5/3.6)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
I've never used the tag editor or that screen in MusicBee, so seems the answer is no, it is not checked.
When I do look at that now, the presets for custom sorting do not refer to the Sort Artist tag.

Just to confirm, the Album Artist, Artist, and Sort Album Artist tags are all doing just fine in my application of them.
(I guess I would have problems with Sort Album Artist too if I was inputting multiple values there but I'm not doing that).

I don't want to do anything that will change the current MusicBee behavior with the Album Artist or Artist tags.


psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10692
I'm not 100% sure if this is what you want. It might be the opposite. But if you enable the custom sort tags, then each separate artist value can have its own sort value, even when there are multiple artists in a track.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest patches (3.5/3.6)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
If I am understanding correctly, I think that would head me in the opposite direction of what I'm trying to accomplish.

When I group by ARTIST, MB shows an entry for both multiple artists.
In the example above, that track is listed under ARTIST: Jimmy Buffett and also under ARTIST: TOBY KEITH.
This is great.

I want that same behavior with SORT ARTIST except of course the tags are formatted "last name, first name" and so the sort would be by last name vs. first name that ALBUM ARTIST or ARTIST tags provides.

So I would like to see that track have an entry under Sort Artist: Buffett, Jimmy and also under Sort Artist: Keith, Toby.
What I don't want is to see a Sort Artist: Buffett, Jimmy/Keith, Toby which in reality is creating a third artist entry (plus others for every duet on that Buffett album) which is the current behavior.

Make sense?

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10692
I think I'm with you.  I don't think what you're asking for is currently possible. With Custom Sorting (which only works in MusicBee), if you display artists and want to see the track under both Toby Keith and Jimmy Buffett, but sort them as Keith, Toby and Buffett, Jimmy, you can do that. MusicBee won't directly split Sort Artist the same way.

The custom sorting feature was introduced to make it possible to correctly sort the individual values when a track has multiple artists, but it directly affects the artist field only. The whole idea of sort tags is that they exist so that you can sort by something different than you have displayed.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest patches (3.5/3.6)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

hiccup

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7937
My 'Additional Tagging Tools' plugin skills are rusty to say the least, but shouldn't it be not too hard to achieve it with that?

edit:
I see you are using wav files.
Unless that is a very deliberate decision, I would strongly advice you to use flac.
Tagging can be very problematic for wav files.
Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 08:24:55 AM by hiccup

hiccup

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7937
B.t.w., either I am missing something, or something else is causing this?
Doing a quick test on this, and for me it works as expected:



How do you get the sort artist tag populated?

Have you tried it with mp3 or flac files?
Perhaps this is indeed caused by wav tagging?

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10692
Huh, looks like I'm wrong about this. Nice catch, hiccup
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest patches (3.5/3.6)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
Thanks for everyone's input so far.
I'll try to answer Hiccup's questions and do some additional testing on my end.

-Yes, I am consciously using wav files. Even though flac is lossless, it is still compression/processor power being used and with storage so cheap these days, I ripped everything as wav. I understand that in theory there should be no sound quality difference although I have certainly seen it debated. I have 50,000 wav files at this point. I have had good luck using dBpoweramp and it's ability to save the wag tags in a chunk that were being read well by MusicBee. It's only lately that I started dabbling in the Sort Artist domain in order to sort by last name that I have started running into behavior that was not what I expected. So I am just trying to figure out what is happening here so I can adjust my tags as needed, if there is something I can do to affect the desired behavior.

-All my files were created using dBpoweramp ripper. All metadata from the automatic providers was reviewed prior to rip and edited to conform to a consistent tagging strategy for all files. Any after rip edits were made using the dBpoweramp ID Tag Update plugin and built in dbpa converter.

-All my wav files were ripped from my own physical CD collection. There are no downloads and I have not used any 3rd party software to systematically search/update my tags. All my tags are what was input at time of rip or edited afterward with dbpa tag editor. I used a semi-colon in any Artist or Sort Artist tags where the track had multiple artists. All my Album Artist and Sort Album Artist tags are a single performer.

Hiccup...your screenshot does indeed to show that you are not getting the same behavior. It seems all your artist related fields are reading the ";". I wonder why the difference?

Since I didn't have any MP3 or flac files, I haven't really done any testing with those, so I will convert some files to flac and see what happens on a testing basis. Maybe there is something that dbpa is doing/not doing with the ";" tags that gives me this behavior. I won't give up on it and will report back on my progress.

stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
I'm just not sure. All my multiple artists tags are using the ";" semi-colon space as the separator but MB reads the Artist tags as "Artist 1; Artist 2" while it reads the Sort Artist tag as "Artist 1/Artist 2".

It seemed like Hiccup showed in his screenshot that this was not happening in his use.

Can anyone give me a clue where to look next. I'm reaching wit's end.




stopbrickwalling

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 109
The more I test things, the more confused I think I am getting.
I converted the Buffett album from wav to both flac and mp3 for testing purposes.
I created a new library for each to switch back and forth in MB.

Same tags on all of the tracks...multiple artists separated by "; " and here's what I get in MB.

wav view:



flac view:



mp3 view:



For some, MB is reading the "; " to split the artists and for some formats it is combining the artists together.
Any ideas?

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10692
I think the discrepancy would have to do with translating between tagging formats.  WAV files generally have some version of ID3 tags, which is the same format mp3s use.  FLACS have a different format. Usually MusicBee can translate between then pretty easily, though.

What do you see in the tag inspector for these three different formats? That will show you exactly what's in the file.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest patches (3.5/3.6)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

hiccup

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7937
Before you start pulling out (more) hairs because of this:

Besides the chance that your other tools are perhaps writing / instead of ; or perhaps do other things a bit differently than MusicBee; I just took a better look at a wav file I used for testing, and that shows that MusicBee seems to have some internal handling of wav tags that is different from mp3 or flac files:
 


As you can see, the main panel displays both 'sort artists' just as I had manually entered them in the tag editor, but the tag inspector displays something else entirely.

(It could be that MusicBee stores manually entered 'artist sort' info in it's library file instead of in the music file itself? I have no idea.)

From my screenshot it looks like those are (at least similar to) id3 tags, but maybe your tools write vorbis or ape tags for your wav files, and your wav files will look different in tag inspector?
Again, I have no idea; wav tagging is very badly documented, and there are no clear proposals or guidelines for it.
(except for the professional audio and broadcast world; they often use wav metadata to a mind-boggling extent, but for whole different purposes)

You could raise further questions or possibly post bug reports or wishes about this, but considering that the sole developer of MB is currently not able to do as much work on MB as usual (for at least a couple of months), allow me to repeat my advice:

Switch from wav to flac.

Contrary to what you seem to have read somewhere, there is NO difference in sound quality.
Bit-perfect is bit-perfect.
The earth is not flat. Epstein didn't 'you know what'. Flac is not in any way different in sound quality than wav.

It will very likely save you from much more tagging troubles in the future in case you are going to make use of even more advanced tagging features.
And it will free up up to some 50% of your storage space.

And (this might be the seller), you have a much better chance on getting support on this forum.
I for one will usually not jump in when a user has complaints about tagging while he is using wav.
Some basic wav tagging may work, but you shouldn't expect anything close to predictable perfection.
Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 08:32:35 PM by hiccup