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Author Topic: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?  (Read 320 times)

dmitch77

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"Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« on: April 02, 2024, 09:11:49 am »

I'm pretty sure that as of a year ago, the predefined "Mix Album" library field was inferred simply by "Artist != Album Artist".

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,135583.msg939593.html#msg939593

At that time the file's "Compilation" tag was ignored. However as of today, it appears as if the the Compilation tag is in fact used to determine the "Mix Album" field. It looks to me like

Mix Album := (Artist != Album Artist) OR (Compilation flag set)

I can't find anything in any release notes or the wiki on this possible change. Am I reading the behavior correctly? Has this behavior in fact changed in the last year?

Thanks.
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EnglishTiger

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2024, 09:51:01 am »

A "Mix Album" is any Album where the [Artist] field/tag for one or more tracks contains different Data (Artist Name or Artists Names) to the other Tracks regardless of what the [Album Artist] field/track or [Compilation] field/track contains.
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dmitch77

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2024, 12:08:26 pm »

A "Mix Album" is any Album where the [Artist] field/tag for one or more tracks contains different Data (Artist Name or Artists Names) to the other Tracks regardless of what the [Album Artist] field/track or [Compilation] field/track contains.

That's different from what Matt told me last year in the referenced thread. Has this changed since then?

Also...what does "other Tracks" mean? What other tracks, where? AFAICT, "Mix album" is a library field which is inferred for, and applies to, individual files.

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EnglishTiger

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2024, 01:43:02 pm »

What Matt was referring to is an Album where the [Artist] and [Album Artist] contain the same data/value for every track on the disc.

So if on a 10 Track Album if the [Artist] field/tag for tracks 1- 9 only contains Artist1 but for track 10 it contains anything other than just Artist1 MC will assume it's a "Mix Album" and store that fact for every track on the disc.

"Mix Album" is Inferred for the Album but because of the way MC Works has to be stored in every track on the album.

Oh and the reason why the Compilation field/tag does not get used when MC is determining if an Album is a Mix Album is because that is a tag that only exists inn MC if the individual user adds it.
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dmitch77

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2024, 05:31:44 pm »

What Matt was referring to is an Album where the [Artist] and [Album Artist] contain the same data/value for every track on the disc.

Further experimentation seems to indicate that Album Artist has no effect whatsoever on the inferred "Mix Album" field. Is that correct? If so then I do not understand Matt's comment last year at all.

Quote
So if on a 10 Track Album if the [Artist] field/tag for tracks 1- 9 only contains Artist1 but for track 10 it contains anything other than just Artist1 MC will assume it's a "Mix Album" and store that fact for every track on the disc.

Just to be clear: this is true only when the tracks are all in the same folder on disc - correct? If the files are stored in different folders, this logic does not apply. (There is otherwise no rule about files from the same album having to be in the same folder...)

Quote
Oh and the reason why the Compilation field/tag does not get used when MC is determining if an Album is a Mix Album is because that is a tag that only exists inn MC if the individual user adds it.

Not sure I understand this. There are plenty of tags which optionally exist in a file but which MC uses if they are present. Movement, Month, Total Discs, all can be used by MC but are not always present. Why can't MC use the Compilation flag if it's present?
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EnglishTiger

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2024, 01:25:02 am »


Quote
Further experimentation seems to indicate that Album Artist has no effect whatsoever on the inferred "Mix Album" field. Is that correct? If so then I do not understand Matt's comment last year at all.

To help you understand Matt's comments I'll use 2 albums from my collection - Alan Jackson's "The Greatest Hits Collection" and "Greatest Hits Volume II"
For both Albums the [Album Artist] is Alan Jackson.
For "The Greatest Hits Collection" Alan Jackson is the [Artist] for every track, therefore MC does not consider it a "Mix Album" because [Artist] is = [Album Artist] for every track.
But for  "The Greatest Hits Collection" Alan Jackson is the [Artist] for 17 tracks but for the other track the [Artist] is Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett, because there is an instance of [Artist] is NOT = [Album Artist] MC, quite correctly, considers it a "Mix Album" and records/stores that information for every track on the album.

Another reason why [Album Artist] is taken into consideration/used throughout MC is down to the Undeniable Fact that Album Names are not always Unique. I have qute a few Albums in my Library where the Album Name is the same but the Album Artist is different.
I.E. 6 Albums whose [Album] field/tag contains "Greatest Hits" but the [Album Artist] for each Album is different; in some parts/areas of MC all 6 are considered to be a single Album because at that point MC is only using the [Album] field/tag.
I've also got more than 1 occurence where the Same [Artist]/[Album Artist] has recorded 2 very different Albums that have the Same Album Name, thankfully they were always released in different years which allows me to De-Duplicate the Album Name.

Quote
Just to be clear: this is true only when the tracks are all in the same folder on disc - correct? If the files are stored in different folders, this logic does not apply. (There is otherwise no rule about files from the same album having to be in the same folder...)

MC doesn't care if the Tracks for an Album are in the Same Folder or Different Folders, as far as MC is concerned an Album is an entity, in its Library/Database, where the [Album] and [Album Artist] fields/tags contain the same Information/Data regardless of where they are located on the device the albums tracks are stored on.

Quote
Not sure I understand this. There are plenty of tags which optionally exist in a file but which MC uses if they are present. Movement, Month, Total Discs, all can be used by MC but are not always present. Why can't MC use the Compilation flag if it's present?

One of the things the MC Expression Language is incapable of doing is to test to see if a Field/Tag Exists, therefore if I wrote a test that uses the content of s field/tag that only exists on my installation it would not work on your installation.

Movement, Month, Total Discs, and most of the other MC provided fields/tags, are only Optional in respect of their being Used - They Can Not be Modified or Deleted by the User.
The only fields/tags that Optionally Exist are the ones that are added by Individual Users.
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dmitch77

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2024, 11:27:34 am »

This all makes perfect sense. Thank you for your detailed explanation; I really appreciate it.

However there is one problem:


MC doesn't care if the Tracks for an Album are in the Same Folder or Different Folders, as far as MC is concerned an Album is an entity, in its Library/Database, where the [Album] and [Album Artist] fields/tags contain the same Information/Data regardless of where they are located on the device the albums tracks are stored on.


This is definitely not true, at least today, on my machine. (MacOS 13.6.6, MC 32.0.20). The tracks have to be in the same folder to be considered for the [Mix Album] status.

I have three files, all with [Album Artist] = Alice, and [Album] = Mix Test.
file Alice.m4a:     [Name] = Alice     [Artist] = Alice
file Bob.m4a:      [Name] = Bob      [Artist] = Bob
file Charlie.m4a: [Name] = Charlie  [Artist] = Charlie

If they are all in the same folder on disc, MC sets [Mix Album] to "1" for all 3 of them.
Move any one of the files to a different folder, and the file that was moved gets its [Mix Album] set to "0".
Move all three files to different folders and all of them get [Mix Album] set to "0".

This is without editing any of the files. It's strictly based on file location.

Please try it: move one of the files from your Alan Jackson album that *is* a Mix Album to a different folder. Rescan and refresh your MC view. Doesn't that file that got moved lose its Mix Album status?

I think it's quite possible that this behavior changed since the last time I looked at this stuff a year ago. it might be a deliberate feature change, it might be a bug. But to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "I don't think [Mix Album] means what you think it means".  ;)
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dmitch77

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Re: "Mix Album" field meaning changed?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2024, 10:01:31 am »

Just to tie this off, I did some more testing and some more looking. For one thing, I found an apparent description of the "Mix Album" algorithm in the wiki page for "Album Artist and Album Artist (Auto)", here:
https://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Album_Artist_and_Album_Artist_(Auto)

The phrase "Mix Album" does not appear on this wiki page, it refers to mix tracks. (Ironically the algorithm for "mix track" has literally nothing to do with [Album Artist], which is what this page is about.)

That wiki's description of the "mix track" algorithm is also incorrect, since it states the requirement that the set of files "Have no other [Album] values used by any other file in the same directory". In fact I have found that the [Mix Album] flag is independent of both [Album] and [Album Artist]. It doesn't matter what those fields are, or even if they are empty. The only criteria for [Mix Album] are
  • All track files are in one folder
  • Not all of the tracks have the same [Artist]. I.e. at least one [Artist] must be different from the others.

That's it. Album doesn't matter (all the files can have different values for this). Album Artist doesn't matter.

At least, that's the way it works today on my machine.
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