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Thread: Two requests: Album Artist/Band tag and Active Playlist Filters

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Lightbulb Two requests: Album Artist/Band tag and Active Playlist Filters

    Howdy,

    I've been evaluating a slew of UPnP servers and Mezzmo is absolutely coming out on top (2 days left on my trial!). Above all else, it's because Mezzmo gives me more control of organizing my music library than any other product I tried (the only ones I refused to even evaluate were those with a subscription or recurring upgrade fee). While I have a few other suggestions, I'm going focus on two biggies here and leave the others for a future post.

    The absolutely biggest limitation Mezzmo has for me, right now, is that "Album Artist" is not one of its priority tags. I make heavy use of this tag (as do many others as it's popular with my fellow obsessive organizers on foobar2k and musicbrainz communities). The advantage over Artist is that it handles Sampler, Compilation, and other multi-artist albums in a much more organized manner. This allows individual tracks to have their unique artist or artists, while still allowing a single album to remain grouped under a wider umbrella (often "Various Artists"). You should see what those "99 Songs" compilation albums from Amazon do to ones collection with a Artist/Album hierarchy, it's a MESS! I would like to see Album Artist be an additional option for use pretty much everywhere Artist is currently used, most importantly as a criterion for Active Playlists.

    Unfortunately, various tagging apps use two different tags for this same purpose for MP3s. Some use "Album Artist" and some use "Band". The latter is probably more common for this usage. In fact, a lot of tagging apps have "Album Artist" in the GUI but actually write to the "Band" tag. If you google +"Album Artist" +Band, you'll see what I mean.

    To complicate things a bit more, since a lot of people tend to use one of the Album Artist tags only for those albums with multiple artists, it would be nice if Mezzmo could, when set to use Album Artist, fallback to Artist when an Album Artist tag is not assigned. This is how I have my library view in foobar2k set up. Actually mine has multiple levels of fail-over. It uses "Band" first, "Album Artist" if "Band" is missing, and "Artist" if both are missing: [$if2($if2(%band%,%album artist%),%artist%)] It all sounds complicated but it actually pans out really nicely leaving one with a really nicely organized library.

    Second on my obsessive organization kick is the ability to attach what I'll call filters to Active Playlists. Essentially, you create an active playlist per normal, but then can attach any number of filters to eliminate any entries in that level or below in that active playlist hierarchy. Let me give an example of how this would be useful. I have a lot of holiday and anime OST music in my collection, but I never want it mixed in with my usual shuffles. So I could create one root active playlist that has a filter of (!genre:anime) && (!genre:holiday). Those filters would propagate down into any sub-active playlists. Then I could have another active playlist with a filter of (genre:holiday) which would then, of course, just have holiday music, etc. It would be useful for people with spoken word or comedy albums in their collection as well, as well as a slew of other uses. The more tags you can filter against, then better, of course. I just use genre as an example because it meets a need I currently have.

    I'm curious if these sound like reasonable requests and if they have any chance of being included some day?

    Thanks so much,
    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Greg,

    Thank you for the great suggestions!

    The "Abum Artist" tag has already been suggested and it's scheduled to make its way into Mezzmo soon. Do you normally use it instead of the Artist tag or do you use those two tags at the same time in the same file? I'm asking so that we can better decide whether a new field in the database is needed for "Album Artist" or whether we can re-use the Artist field and store data from "Album Artist", "Band" or "Artist" there, based on whether one of those tags is filled in.

    Further filtering of playlists is planned as well and I'm glad to see your thoughts on it - it'll help in planning this feature too.

    So, yes, both of those requests are something that will be developed over the next few minor updates.

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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response Dennis. I admit that when I was in my initial "what servers will I test" phase, I found your forums so welcoming that I wanted to like Mezzmo before I even tried it.

    Let me preface my response by saying that I'm going to use the term "Album Artist" to represent the multiple tags that are used for it, since there is no official "Album Artist" frame in the MP3 spec.

    Regarding "Album Artist", I always use "Artist" in addition to "Album Artist", but I do not always use "Album Artist". "Artist" is the artist of an individual track, whereas an "Album Artist" will be the same for every track in a single album. 95%+ of the time, if I use "Album Artist", it'll be "Various Artists" which I use for compilation albums (e.g. "The 99 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music", "Pure Moods"), for samplers (e.g. Sub Pop Records Sampler, Best of Nuclear Blast, Celtic Sampler Summer 2009), and movie/TV OSTs (e.g. O Brother, Where Art Thou? OST, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album). There are a few edge cases where it's not "Various Artists", but I can't remember what they are right now. On the other hand, I don't always use "Album Artist". In fact, I rarely include it unless it's a multiple-artist album. That's why having the system fallback to "Artist", when "Album Artist" is not available, is so critical.

    From a DB standpoint, I'd urge a single new field. The benefit of keeping the two separate is that I still like to know who is performing a song when it's being played even if the album is categorized under "Various Artists" in the hierarchy due to its "Album Artist".

    So, if I were in your shoes, I would create a new field in the DB for "Album Artist". That could then be populated, at scan-time, by any of the following tags which tend to be used interchangeably: "BAND", "ALBUMARTIST", "ALBUM ARTIST". BAND (which is TPE2 frame) is actually supposed to be used for things like the performing orchestra, but got hijacked a long time ago to be used for "Album Artist", very unfortunately. But it's so prevalent now that one can't ignore it. The other two are TXXX frames. I think newer formats than MP3 tend to have a proper tag specifically for "Album Artist" so it will be simpler for them.

    Because I also suggest that the "Album Artist" fallback to "Artist" when an
    "Album Artist" tag is not present, obviously there are at least two remaining options. You could simply fallback one more level to Artist at scan-time (thereby populating the "Album Artist" field with BAND->ALBUM ARTIST->ALBUMARTIST->ARTIST where -> is followed if the former field is not present) or you could query "Artist" when "Album Artist" is NULL at run-time. The former seems to be more in-line with what I've seen of Mezzmo. I can't currently think of a really good reason keeping the "Album Artist" as NULL if not available and resolving with the query, but something on which I can't put my finger is niggling in my brain so if I think of a good reason, I'll let you know very soon. But I suspect the performance advantages of the former is likely better.

    If any of that was unclear or I can be of any further help, please let me know.

    Thanks again,
    Greg

  4. #4
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    No, that all makes sense and I am leaning towards a new field as well. A side benefit of that is also a new active playlist keyword of course, which wouldn't be possible without a new field. I'll try to squeeze this in asap, as it's not a big change and should be simple to implement

    Mezzmo Android: Install it on your tablet, smartphone, Android TV or Amazon Fire to browse and stream files from your Mezzmo library to all your devices. Full details at http://www.conceiva.com/products/mez...mo_android.asp
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  5. #5
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    That sounds great Dennis. Thanks so much.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    No, that all makes sense and I am leaning towards a new field as well. A side benefit of that is also a new active playlist keyword of course, which wouldn't be possible without a new field. I'll try to squeeze this in asap, as it's not a big change and should be simple to implement
    Dennis, can we have a new field for "Plot Outline" primarily what the video is all about - I have requested this previously (perhaps on a wishlist to email sent Conceiva)

  7. #7
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    Yes, we can add that in as well. Is that field coming from any meta information/file or would that be purely stored in Mezzmo for your personal use?

    Mezzmo Android: Install it on your tablet, smartphone, Android TV or Amazon Fire to browse and stream files from your Mezzmo library to all your devices. Full details at http://www.conceiva.com/products/mez...mo_android.asp
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  8. #8

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    I'd just like to add my request for an 'Album Artist' tag. I don't use the 'Artist' tag at all; there's no point as it's populated with a load of one song artists from a number of 'Various Artist' albums that I have (classical compilations, magazine cover CDs etc). The 'Artist' tag is populated but is purely used by the player to show the 'Artist' being played at the moment. I don't use it for filtering purposes.

    To give you an example, when I'm looking to play a certain album I use this route:

    Album Artist > Album

    This enables me to find any album (compilation or not) very quickly and easily. If I were to use Artist > Album, I would find it very difficult to find a compilation album, and I'd have to sort through a huge number of 'Artists' to find any album.

    I use Media Monkey to actually organise my music and that's written the 'Album Artist' data. I'm not sure which tag it really uses, but everywhere I look it seems to be in 'Album Artist'. I've not seen a 'Band' tag anywhere.

  9. #9
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    Just to let you know - Mezzmo v2.4 has just been released.

    It contains full support for the 'Album Artist' tag. You can use this tag in your smart playlists and active playlists. For existing users, you should run Maintain Library so that Mezzmo picks up the Album Artist tags in your files. Note: If no Album Artist tag is found in a file, then the Artist tag is used to fill in the Album Artist. You can see/change the Album Artist for a file using the Properties dialog in Mezzmo.

    Full release notes are at http://www.conceiva.com/products/mezzmo/whatsnew.asp

    Mezzmo Android: Install it on your tablet, smartphone, Android TV or Amazon Fire to browse and stream files from your Mezzmo library to all your devices. Full details at http://www.conceiva.com/products/mez...mo_android.asp
    Mezzmo for Kodi Add-on: Install it into Kodi to stream files from your Mezzmo library directly in Kodi. Full details at http://www.mezzmo.com/wiki/doku.php?...odi_user_guide
    Mezzmo for Roku App: Install it onto your Roku to stream files from your Mezzmo library. Full details at http://www.mezzmo.com/wiki/doku.php?...oku_user_guide
    Wiki: User Guides & Reference Manual at http://www.mezzmo.com/wiki
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