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Author Topic: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)  (Read 44407 times)

yonkiman

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Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« on: April 15, 2006, 09:01:33 am »

I consider myself pretty PC- and MC-savvy.  But I still have no idea what the basic concept is behind "Album Artist (auto)/Album" is.  All the discussions I've found on this forum seem to be on this or that detail of AA(a)/A, assuming basic knowledge. 

When I click on AA(a)/A, I see maybe 10% of the music in my library.  Some artists are missing completely, some only have one album show up out of the 6 albums that artist has in my library.  I can't detect any rhyme or reason behind it, so I've just ignored it and use the A/A category instead.

But now I'm giving my crappy MP101 another shot, and it seems to be picking up the AA(a)/A directory, not the A/A directory.  So I think it's time to find out the secrets behind AA(a)/A.

What is AA(a)/A?  How do I get AA(a)/A to include all my music, not just a seemingly random subset?

Any help appreciated!

-Fred
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Doof

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2006, 05:45:00 pm »

Most albums have a single artist, like Metallica - Master Of Puppets. All of the tracks on that album are by Metallica.

But what do you do when you have a compilation album, like a soundtrack? Who do you set the artist for for the album? You can set the artist for individual tracks, but if you wanted to play the whole album, who do you search for in a standard Artist/Album view scheme? That Album will be listed multiple times, under multiple artist names.

So that's what Album Artist is for. You can set your own Artist for the entire Album. Each individual track will still have its own artist, but the album can have an Album Artist that you can browse for in an Album Artist/Album view scheme. So you could set Album Artist to "Soundtrack" or "Various Artists" or whatever.

Album Artist (Auto) is just an easy way to use Album Artist. MC looks at the list or Artists for all the tracks in an Album. If they're all the same, like Metallica, then Album Artist (Auto) is automatically set to Metallica. If all the tracks are different, like on a soundtrack CD, then Album Artist (Auto) is automatically set to "(Multiple Artists)". So if you use Album Artist (Auto) for all of your view schemes instead of Artist, then you can easily browse all of your albums without having multiple artist albums listed multiple times.

The Album Artist field itself becomes just a way to override Album Artist (Auto). If you don't like the default of "(Multiple Artists)", then you can put whatever you want into Album Artist, and MC will use that instead.
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yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006, 11:38:02 pm »

Doof,

Thanks - that makes a lot of sense.  And I might have been able to figure it out except my Album Artist (auto) doesn't seem to be behaving that way at all! 

AA(a)/A just seems to be a random subset of what's in my library.  I have 16,701 songs in my library, and they all show up in Artist/Album view.  In Album Artist (auto)/Album view, there are 2,166 songs total.  Most of them are your typical single artist albums.

Coudl this be because I ripped most of my catalog using Easy CD/DA Extractor instead of MC?

Is it possible to make MC rebuild/recreate the Album Artist field?

Thanks for the answer!

-Fred
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Alex B

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2006, 04:58:52 am »

.... AA(a)/A just seems to be a random subset of what's in my library. I have 16,701 songs in my library, and they all show up in Artist/Album view. In Album Artist (auto)/Album view, there are 2,166 songs total. Most of them are your typical single artist albums.

Coudl this be because I ripped most of my catalog using Easy CD/DA Extractor instead of MC?

Is it possible to make MC rebuild/recreate the Album Artist field?

Are you using the calculated field that I have explained a couple of times or what you mean by "Album Artist (auto) / Album"? You would need to explain exactly how you have setup MC to make others understand what you mean. Could you a link a couple of screenshots too?


In general, MC fills the "Album Artist (auto)" field automatically. You can override the automatic selection by filling the "Album Artist" field when needed. You should use only the "Artist" and "Album Artist (auto)" fields as view items because the "Album Artist" field is normally empty unless you have used it for making a custom album artist.


This is from the program help file:

Quote
Multiple Artist Albums

Media Center comes with a number of tools to help automatically identify compilation albums that include various artists.


Album Artist (auto)

This is a built-in automatic field.  It auto-completes as follows:

- If something is manually typed in the Album Artist field, that content is included in the Album Artist (auto) field as well.
- If the Album Artist field is empty, then the Album Artist (auto) field gets completed as follows:
     - Single-artist name in the case of a single-artist album.
     - (Multiple Artists) in the case of a multiple-artist album*.

* In order for (Multiple Artists) to appear automatically, the album must be in its own exclusive directory (i.e., if there are files from more than one album in a directory, the program will not label it as Multiple Artist).

Here is the logic. A track is a mix if all the files with the same [Album] value in the same directory:

- have more than one [Artist] value among them
- have no other [Album] values used by any other file in the same directory
- are Audio and have a non-empty [Album] value


Automatic Assorted

When you rename files (right click > Library Tools > Rename Files from Properties), the window that appears provides the option to "Use Assorted for [Artist] on multi-artist albums". This is just under the Directories Rule. When selected, the files will be saved in a directory called Assorted if you have included the [Artist] rule in the directory rule.

Example:

Artist: Stackabones, Album: Best of Truck Driving Songs

Directory Rule:
Base path: M:\Music\
Rule: [Artist]\[Album]
"Use Assorted [Artist] on multi-artist albums" is checked.

Result:
M:\Music\Assorted\Best of Truck Driving Songs\Filename rule


Complete Albums

Media Center can automatically display complete and incomplete albums. An album is considered complete if all the files with the same [Album] value in the same directory:

- are sequentially numbered tracks starting at 1
- have at least 2 files or 10 minutes of audio
- are Audio and have a non-empty [Album] value.

View Schemes for Multiple Artist Albums
Create the following scheme to view Multiple Artist Albums:

1. Right click on Audio in the tree.

2. Select Add View Scheme.

3. Click "Add", Standard View Item, and add the following:
- Album Type (shows multiple vs. single artist albums, and whether they are complete or incomplete). Note: you may have to scroll up the list to get Album Type. Press Ok.
- Repeat, and add Album

4. Or display fields for each of the items displayed in #3:  Album Type, Album Artist (auto), Complete Album, Album.

You can now quickly view your Multiple Artist albums, and better yet, you can view all of your complete and/or incomplete albums. Complete albums are indicated by a "1", and "0" displays incomplete albums.


In this post I explained how I use the "Album Artist" field for overriding the automatic "Album Artist (auto)" value:

In any case you can always write whatever you like in the Album Artist field. Album Artist (auto) will use the same value.

I don't like the automatically filled (Multiple Artists) value in the "Album Artist (auto)" field. After the first 100 or so multiple artist albums I decided to write something meaningful in the Album Artist field instead. For example, I use the album series or DJ's name. Or the main artist of the album like in this example from last December:

I just bought this record: "Louis Armstrong & Friends - What A Wonderful Christmas." I filed it like this:



I wanted this album to show up besides the other Louis Armstrong albums instead of "multiple artists" or "Louis Armstrong & Friends". Also, I saved the disk files in the "Louis Armstrong\What A Wonderful Christmas" path, not in the "Louis Armstrong & Friends\..." path. With this filing system I can search for track artists as well. For example, I can use the standard Artist field for finding all Eartha Kitt tracks even she is not an Album Artist in my library.
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yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2006, 09:46:40 am »

Hi Alex,

Here's are two screenshots.  To my knowledge, I am using the default MC setup with regards to Album Artist (auto).  I've never understood it and therefore never messed with it.  Here is what things look like in AA(a)/A view:


Here's my Artist/Album View:


So...

1) I think this is the stock AA(a)/A view - I haven't modified anything
2) The Album Artist tag seems empty, both on the files that are displayed in AA(a)/A and the files that aren't.

This is why I'm completely confused about this...

Thanks,
Fred
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marko

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2006, 11:28:01 am »

Every single file in your library will have an [Album Artist (auto)] value, regardless of the state of the [album Artist] tag.

remember that MC requires that all the tracks for the album be in the same folder before it will automatically assign (Multiple Artists) to the [Album Artist (auto)] field. If the files are spread around, MC will populate [Album Artist (auto)] with the [artist] tag, which could, I imagine, lead to confusion similar to that which you describe.

Find the multiple artist albums that have not been designated (Multiple Artists) by MC and fill the [Album Artist] with (Multiple Artists). [Album Artist (Auto)] for these albums will now be (Multiple Artists)

Quote
2) The Album Artist tag seems empty, both on the files that are displayed in AA(a)/A and the files that aren't.

This is why I'm completely confused about this...

to re-iterate Doof's post:
if [album artist] is empty, MC applies a little logic and populates the [album artist (auto)] field for you.
Once you grasp the logic MC applies, you'll be off and running:
Quote
* In order for (Multiple Artists) to appear automatically, the album must be in its own exclusive directory (i.e., if there are files from more than one album in a directory, the program will not label it as Multiple Artist).

Here is the logic. A track is a mix if all the files with the same [Album] value in the same directory:

- have more than one [Artist] value among them
- have no other [Album] values used by any other file in the same directory
- are Audio and have a non-empty [Album] value

and if you populate the [album artist] tag yourself, regardless of where the files are, or how they are otherwise tagged, [album artist (auto)] will mirror the [album artist] tag.

-marko.

yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2006, 11:42:00 am »

Every single file in your library will have an [Album Artist (auto)] value, regardless of the state of the [album Artist] tag.

OK, that makes sense, but I still don't understand why only about 10% of my library shows up when I use the Album Artist (auto) view.

Quote
remember that MC requires that all the tracks for the album be in the same folder before it will automatically assign (Multiple Artists) to the [Album Artist (auto)] field. If the files are spread around, MC will populate [Album Artist (auto)] with the [artist] tag, which could, I imagine, lead to confusion similar to that which you describe.

Excellent, that probably explains why I don't see any difference between AA(a)/A and A/A for the 10% of my library I can see - I do have separate folders for each artist.  I'll try to fix that when I get home today.  So I think I'm just left with the "missing 90% of my library" issue.

It certainly seems like I'm the only one here who doesn't "get" it - I really appreciate everyone's patient attempts to educate me!

-Fred
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marko

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2006, 12:04:06 pm »

the number of files returned by artist/album and album artist (auto)/album viewschemes should be identical (see the filecount in the status bar at the bottom?)

If they are not, then something else, unrelated to album artist auto, is amiss.

yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2006, 01:31:14 pm »

the number of files returned by artist/album and album artist (auto)/album viewschemes should be identical (see the filecount in the status bar at the bottom?)

If they are not, then something else, unrelated to album artist auto, is amiss.

They are not.  As I wrote earlier:
Quote
I have 16,701 songs in my library, and they all show up in Artist/Album view.  In Album Artist (auto)/Album view, there are 2,166 songs total.

So something is amiss.  Anyone have any ideas?  Could it be some bad data in a tag?

-Fred
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Alex B

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2006, 01:38:15 pm »

I have 16,701 songs in my library, and they all show up in Artist/Album view.  In Album Artist (auto)/Album view, there are 2,166 songs total.

How do these view schemes differ besides the name?
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Jaguu

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 02:51:16 pm »

Hi Yonkiman,

I have been using MC/MJ since version 7, but it's really the first time I completely understood this whole issue of AA(a). The detailed explanations in this thread have such a clarity and depth that one would expect to see in some official document such as MC Help. ?

I never had great problems as most of my music is classical and this problem rarely arises. But I can now go and fix the few remaining ones.

Thank you Doof, Marko, Alex B for explaininig and J River for implementing such a smart concept.  :P
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yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2006, 01:14:11 am »

How do these view schemes differ besides the name?

D'OH - good idea!  I did "Edit View Scheme", and this is what I saw.  Editing "Artist/Album", I see:


Editing "Album Artist (auto)/Album", I see:


Aha!  I turned off "Honor parent scheme search strings" and I got the remaining 90% of my library back!  I SWEAR I never touched this menu before! 

Thank you Doof, Marko, and Alex B!  This awesome community is one of the many reasons I love MediaCenter!

-Fred
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marko

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2006, 02:34:49 am »

look at them again....

they're both the same. we should have spotted it ages ago, because it's right there in your first screenshot.

the 'artist/album' viewscheme is using album artist (auto) in step 1 where it should be using artist.
auto name has been unticked, as has honor parent scheme search strings.

Something does not feel right about all of this, and I'm concerned you could be heading for more problems later on.

Are both of these viewschemes children of the Audio node in the tree?
if they are, then the album artist (auto) scheme is correct, and the artist one is wrong.

if all you did to the album artist (auto) viewscheme to make it work was untick the honor parent option, then you are effectively including all of your media in this viewscheme, and by that, I mean any images, video or documents you have imported into your library.

Also, if you swear you never touched them, some-one else did, coz trust me, that artist/album viewscheme is not at it's default. ;)

if both of these viewschemes are children of audio, you might want to try "edit view scheme" on the audio node itself and see if that's been altered in any way too.
what version of MC are you running btw? I can tell from your screenies that it's not build 172 (no bi-directional option)
if you're running less than build 161, do a 'help > check for updates' or grab build 172 from the build thread at the top of this forum if you prefer.

-marko.

yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2006, 09:13:01 am »

look at them again....

they're both the same. we should have spotted it ages ago, because it's right there in your first screenshot.

Yeah, I noticed that while I was putting together my reply, but figured I could take it from here.  I got the artist/album view working correctly by changing the Preset to Artist/Album, so I think things are OK from that point of view...

Quote
the 'artist/album' viewscheme is using album artist (auto) in step 1 where it should be using artist.
auto name has been unticked, as has honor parent scheme search strings.

I'll do a new install and see what the defaults should be.

Quote
Something does not feel right about all of this, and I'm concerned you could be heading for more problems later on.

Story of my life.

Quote
Are both of these viewschemes children of the Audio node in the tree?
if they are, then the album artist (auto) scheme is correct, and the artist one is wrong.

I'm not sure what "children of the Audio node in the tree" means, but my conclusion was the same - the artist one was wrong.  I think I rebuilt it correctly:

but now you've got me concerned about unchecking "Honor parent scheme search strings" (don't know what that means) and the "Media Type: Audio" in Step 4 (I know what that means, but I don't know if that's the right thing to put there...)

Quote
if all you did to the album artist (auto) viewscheme to make it work was untick the honor parent option, then you are effectively including all of your media in this viewscheme, and by that, I mean any images, video or documents you have imported into your library.

I think I addressed that by adding the "Media Type: Audio" in Step 4.

Quote
Also, if you swear you never touched them, some-one else did, coz trust me, that artist/album viewscheme is not at it's default. ;)
I suppose it was me - I just don't recall even knowing (until yesterday) that I could edit the schemes by right clicking on the schemes.  There's probably another way to get to that menu, and months or years ago I stumbled on it and messed it up.

Quote
if both of these viewschemes are children of audio, you might want to try "edit view scheme" on the audio node itself and see if that's been altered in any way too.

Please explain what "children of audio" means.

Quote
what version of MC are you running btw? I can tell from your screenies that it's not build 172 (no bi-directional option)
if you're running less than build 161, do a 'help > check for updates' or grab build 172 from the build thread at the top of this forum if you prefer.

I've got two PCs in the house, and I never manage to keep MC current on both of them.  So the office one is 148 and the living room one (which is the server) is 162.  I'll update them both to the latest when I get a chance.

The NEW problem I'm having is that currently each song for all my multi-artists discs are stored under the arist's directory, for example (photoshop-modified to reduce size):


I thought this would be easy to fix - select all the songs, do a "Rename Files from Properties" with the following settings:


but that didn't move all the files under one "Assorted\Album" directory like I expected.  (Please ignore all the absolute file locations - I tried this on my server machine last night and it didn't work, but these snapshots are from my office PC.)  Not sure if this in an actual MC bug or just more pilot error, so I was going to work on it some more before I posted, but why close a good thread?   :)

Thanks Marco,
Fred
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marko

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 03:04:17 pm »



In this picture, "audio" is the parent, and artist/album, disk location, file type and play stats are its children

"audio" (the parent) has access to every media file in your library, but if you right click on it and choose edit view scheme, you will see that step 4 states media type: audio, which is why you only get audio files when you select it.

All of the other audio viewschemes (audio's children) will will use the their parents "step 4" rule if that honor parent option is ticked. unticking it, and then applying your own [media type]=audio rule in step 4 for that viewscheme as you did ammounts to exactly the same thing.
Remember, all you're really doing is applying filters to your whole media library. In this instance, there's no right or wrong, just different routes to the same destination :)

Re. your new problem.

That "use assorted..." option is only going to work for albums MC is already recognising as "(Multiple Artists)"

So, try selecting one album, set it's [album artist] field to (Multiple Artists) and then run the rename from properties tool on that album.
Does it fix things now?

If it does not, then with the same album selected, set the [album artist] field to Assorted, then run the rename from properties tool once more, but, this time, change the directory rule to [album artist (auto)]\[album] and you should find all your files for that album moved to C:\Music\Assorted\[album]

Once you have a method that works, select all the rest of the affected albums and off you go.

-marko.

(had to rush this a little bit, hopefully it's clear enough)

Alex B

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2006, 04:13:07 pm »

... I thought this would be easy to fix - select all the songs, do a "Rename Files from Properties" with the following settings:


but that didn't move all the files under one "Assorted\Album" directory like I expected...

You may want to tick the directories check box too. Otherwise MC does not change the file locations at all.
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Alex B

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2006, 04:39:47 pm »

The NEW problem I'm having is that currently each song for all my multi-artists discs are stored under the arist's directory, for example (photoshop-modified to reduce size):

Here is a link to your original image: http://www.yonkitime.com/images/newprob.jpg. The forum software does not allow images that are over 800x600 pixels. It scales bigger images down and screenshots become illegible.

Since that album is a Paul McCartney tribute and consists of his songs I would probably make Paul McCartney to be the common album artist. In the comment field I would write "a tribute to Paul McCartney". With the [Album Artist (auto)]\[Album] directory rule all tracks would then go to the "Paul McCartney\Listen to What the Man Said" folder. Also I would use this filename rule: [Track #]. [Artist] - [Name] for including the track artists.
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yonkiman

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Re: Album Artist (auto)/Album (need basic explanation)
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2006, 12:59:48 am »

Success!

Marco: Setting the [album artist] field to (Multiple Artists) and then running the rename from the properties tool did the trick!  The files were renamed and put in the same directory and the orphaned directories deleted.

Alex B: Good catch - the edit directories was not checked.  But that was a screenshot from my remote PC.  When I had tried and failed earlier on my main PC it was checked.

And regarding the forum software scaling images - you also just right click and select "view image" for any image that's scaled (at least with FireFox).

And finally - thanks for the excellent example of how/why to use Paul McCartney as Album Artist for the CD I showed.  That finally drove the point home.  I thought I understood it from Doof's original explanation, then after I got everything working I was wondering why I did all that only to have the album show up under "(Multiple Artists)".  Then I re-read your last post and the final piece of the puzzle fell into place!

Thanks again everyone - I've learned a lot and I really appreciate all your time and patience!

-Fred
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