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my music-folder setup in principle looks like this:


In case of compilations or movie soundtracks I name the album artist to "Various Artists". The tags of the mp3-files are labeled accordingly, meaning "Artist" and "Album Artist" of regular albums are usually the same, whereas in compilations or movie soundtracks the "Album Artist" is named to "Various Artists". I use to scrape my library with "Universal Album Scraper" and "Universal Artist Scraper". Language is of the scraper as well as of XBMC itself is set to German ("de") since I am from Germany.

Now, after scraping all titles are recognized correctly. But I have the following problem with compilations and film music: I get two(!) different sections in my Artist-Library, one called "Various Artists" and one called "Verschiedene Interpreten" (which simply is the German translation of Various Artists). Some of my Albums are listed under the first section, other under the second sections and some are even listed under both sections. I actuall cannot see an kind of system in that since all the songs of the affected albums have the mp3-tag "Album Artist" consistently named to "Various Artists".

My search through the internet and this forum just brought up the suggestion to leave the "Album Artist"-field empty. However, I need that section for I am not only using XBMC but also iTunes and other music apps with my library. Anways, there must be way to have all songs tagged with "Various Artists" listed under just one section, either "Various Artists" or "Verschiede Interpreten", but not messed up in both of these sections.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any help!


My bet is you scanned at once point with the language set to english, and then scanned afterwards with it set to German. The first ones to be scanned got Various Artists. The second got the German version.

Sound plausible?

Note that it has nothing at all to do with the scraping - this is purely a tag-based operation.

The "fix" would be to clean out everything (remove the source) and re-scan. Or just fix up the db yourself by hand if you're confident with SQL.

Hi Jonathan,

thanks for your reply. I now deleted the "MyMusic32.db" and had my whole library scraped again. But I ended up with the same result. I have "Various Artists" as well as "Verschiedene Interpreten". Currently it seems that all compilations with songs who actually have different artists are listed under "Verschiedene Interpreten" (= german translation of Various Artists). XBMC seems to totally ignore the Album Artist of those compilations. However, if there actually is only one song-artist for all songs of a compilation (o.g. some of my Movie-Soundtracks have only one song-artist, but I have tagged them with the Album Artist "Various Artists" anyway to be listed together with other Samplers and Movie Soundtracks) XBMC will read and use the name of the Album Artist then. And there you get the language mess up.

So the "bug" is that XBMC always defines its own Album Artist when you have a compilation with different Song-Artists even if those samplers do have the Album Artist tagged. If you are using the english version of XBMC you might not see the difference. If you have tagged the Album Artist with "Various Artists" and XBMC is ignoring it because it is a compilation of different song-artists XBMC will apply its own Album Artist which also is called "Various Artists". But if you use a different language of XBMC, like e.g. German, XBMC is applying the translated version of "Various Artists" then (e.g. "Verschiedene Interpreten") but only to the compilations with different song-artists. So you end up with ""Verschiedene Interpreten" showing alle compilations with different song-artists and with "Various Artists" showing all compilations with only one song-artist who are tagged with the Album Artist "Various Artists".

Best thing would be to not translate "Various Artists" into any language (any user should be able to understand this artist name for his compilations anyway), or to have XBMC use the name that is listed under "Alcum Artists" even if it is a compilation consisting of different song-artists.


Your best plan would be to create a small sample set that can be used to verify this.

I'd suggest 4 songs would suffice - 2 from each of the album cases you've found.

With a sample filesystem others can reproduce and thus fix.

Hi Jonathan,

hmm, maybe I can check at the weekend. However, I think the problem is already identified. It is XBMC automatically sorting all compilations (= Album with all songs same "Album-Name" but different "Song-Artist") under the translated(!) name of Various Artists, which in my case is "Verschiedene Interpreten", wheras if you have compilations with all songs showing the same Song-Artist it uses the name of the "Album Artist" as it is tagged within the files. Additionally this beaviour is not quite realiable since some of my compilation do show up under both - "Various Artists" and "Verschiedene Interpreten".

Solution would be: Integrate an option to disable the "automatic identification" of compilations based on the system of "same Album-Name, but different Song-Artists" and switch to the simple identification based on the Album-Artist-Name (names like "Various Artists", "VA" etc.). People using XBMC will sure tag their albums correctly and therefore take care of the Album-Artist themselves. This would prevent any miss interpretation as to "what is a compilation and what is not" and it would avoid the language "bug" (meaning some compilatins under "Various Artists" and some under the translated name).


i've got the same issues with "various artists" and the german translation "verschiedene interpreten". Is there any solution?
Hi all,

I've got the same problem, some albums are classified as "Artistes Divers" on my french setup.

I think I know the main cause of the problem : files tagged using Music Brainz Picard, or not. Let me explain.

According this post http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=235880 Kodi uses an internal logic to determine if an album is a compilation or not. Should it see it as a compilation, the artist will be set to the language translated for "Various Artists" in the database (msgctxt "#340" msgid "Various artists" msgstr "Artistes Divers" in my French language .po file)

BUT, Kodi won't use that logic if the file are tagged using MusicBrains Picard (http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=...pid2084981). It will then trust the tags, and use the ID3 Tag for Album Artist in the files, "Various Artists", without any translation in most cases.

Now, I have no idea what's the best way to make it consistent. At the moment, I duplicated my french language to change the translation to the english value, and had to remove the files, clean the library, and add them again to make it consistent. But this is not a permanent solution IMO.

I must admit I'd prefer to be able to select myself the name of the "Various Artists", nevermind MusicBrainz tags or not, using a field in the configuration files maybe ?

Up to you Kodi guys now Smile

All the best.

Moved to "Music Corner" because very much a music issue.

The short answer is yes Kodi still has consistency issues in this area. It is difficult to fix because so many people now have different work arounds in place, whatever change is made will upset someone.

Yes the ideal solution would mean that the user can set the name of the "various artist" independant of the .po language file, and apply that to both albums with songs with no albumartist tag and those with the Musicbrainz id for "Various Arists"

In the meantime it is possible to make your library consistent with a little bit of music file tag editing. Smile
(2016-06-09, 14:57)DaveBlake Wrote: [ -> ]Moved to "Music Corner" because very much a music issue.

Thanks !

(2016-06-09, 14:57)DaveBlake Wrote: [ -> ]In the meantime it is possible to make your library consistent with a little bit of music file tag editing. Smile

I played a lot yesterday with tags for some albums MusicBrainz is not aware it exists. I checked the real Album Artist (it's "Various Artists"), I tried to add a sort order, tried to force the "MUSIC BRAINZ ALBUM ARTIST ID" in the advanced tags, and I was not able to find the right way to make it consistent using ID3TAGS.

All the time, Kodi detects my album as a compilation by it's own, and set the album artist using the translation.

Regarding https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/blob/master...canner.cpp line 615, that's the normal behaviour : album is pushed directly if and only if the MUSIC BRAINZ ALBUM ID is filled. But how to get the album ID for an unknown album ? Maybe it worth a try to use a "0 GUID" but I fear a "basic" user (no offence to anyone of course) won't be able to do it, and I have no idea how some other plugins can handle that ^^

If you have any tips regarding Tags Editing to make it work, I'm ready to try ! But regarding the code, I'm affraid it will fail.

Another solution I can see to fix the problem is to call the "compilation detection" code also when MusizBrainz tags are set, but as said, even if I'm french, I'm confortable with the "Various Artists" name, as it reflects the artist name on my file system.

But as said, it's up to you Smile

Sorry I was a bit flip with my tagging suggestion before, and it may not be so easy to achieve. And to avoid misunderstanding, I repeat the issues (for non English language settings) are known, so no one is saying that this is a user problem, it is a Kodi core problem for sure.

Yes there are obvious routes for a solution, but I have been warned by longer standing team members that "Here be dragons", so leaping in with a fix without a full understanding of those issues would be a silly thing to do. I have not started an implememtaion thread about it because I know the people that need to input are too busy to do so. Many things have been considered before, and until I (or anyone else) can show we have taken all of that into account any work is not going to get approved.

So although I'm in the dev team, and well ensconsed in "music corner", it is not entirely up to me either!

Meanwhile let's try to work out what can be done with tags to get a consistent result. I have not tried this myself, always using English language settings I have never had any problems, but I do undertsand why issues occur. Perhaps first it will help you to know a little bit more about how the music library artist entries are managed.

Firstly scanning music files without mbid tags, artists are identified by name alone. So "artist1" is searched for, added if new or any existing entry found. However there is no guarrentee that artist name (without mbid) is unique, so a search by name is non-derterministic and Kodi just uses the first artist it finds with that name. Applying the rules for what make a compilation album Kodi is quite determined to use the local language translation of "Various Artists" as the artist name - if you tag with ALBUMARTIST = "various artists" or "various" or leave it blank, Kodi uses the language version e.g. "Artistes Divers". Such an artist is created as any other. If you change language profile part way through the lifetime of a library this all gets quite messy with all manner of VA artists getting created.

The only way I can see to avoid "Artistes Divers" with songs without mbid tags is to use some other ALBUMARTIST tag than "various" or "various artists" or blank. But then this album will not be taken as a compliation, and that artist will appear as a normal album artist in those places where "Artistes Divers" would be filtered out.

Next those files with mbid tags. Musicbrainz has an ID for VA (89ad4ac3-39f7-470e-963a-56509c546377) the same as every other artist. But Kodi only treats an album as having mbids when it has a MUSICBRAINZ ALBUM ID tag (just adding artist mbid, which is what I think you may have tried, isn't going to have effect).

When artists with an mbid are added to the library it is the mbid that is searched for first. If an entry is found with that mbid then the artist name is only updated if that name had previously been set to a mbid as well (a state that can happen when inconsistently tagged files are scanned). A consequence is that the first time an artist name/mbid pair are scanned from a music file that becomes the name of that artist. If other music files have the same mbid but a different artist name, then this "alias" is ignored.

If the mbid is not found then any entry with the same name and no mbid is looked for. In this way mbids are applied to artists already in the library that don't have them. It allows for mixed tagging qualities over the lifetime of a library, some with mbid some without.

Thus I presume from your music files with mbids you currently gain an artist called "Various Artists". You can control that by changing the ALBUMARTIST tag of every compilation album track, where
MUSICBRAINZ ALBUMARTIST ID = 89ad4ac3-39f7-470e-963a-56509c546377
to something else e.g. "[Various]". Actually you could get away with changing just the first track with mbid scanned, but consistency seems a good idea.

If you did both, setting ALBUMARTIST to something other than "various" or "various artists" e.g. add brackets, then I think you could at least have that one VA name across the entire library. But you would need to start with an empty library, and all those tags edited before scanning.

This is far from ideal, but it may be useful stop-gap. Try Mp3tag for tag editing, it is my prefered tool.
Thanks DaveBlake for this very detailed answer.

To be totally honest, the tag editing way sounds a bit "too much work for so few advantage", but it it's good to know. My language workaround fits my needs at the moment, and I'll keep it 'till you can produce a fix.

I totally agree with you it can't be done without considering all aspects of the change, and perform all requiried tests before it's released, and that it can (will ^^) take some time, that's the normal life of such a nice piece of code Wink

But I think it's good for everyone to know it's really a bug, or at least a wrong conception in the code with internationalization, no offence guys Smile

Hopefully the team will fix it in a future version.

Please keep us in touch if you can...

All the best.

This "issue" is still present in 18.4, is it?

If I get it correct, the only way to avoid translation of "Various artists" without MBID into "Verschiedene Interpreten" (german) is to 
a) tag the albumartist something other than "Various artists" or
b) keep Kodi running in english only?!

Why does that tag gets translated at all!? No need for that!

It's already a mess to keep Compilations in order. "Cafe del Mar" for example sometimes have "Various artists" and sometimes some single artist as albumartist. "Blue Note Trip" series, too. So it's already really hard to keep compilations together or remember that some albums of a series are "Various", some are "Artist A" and some are "Artist B" ;(
If Various gets translated, it's getting even massier...
Short answer -- no change.  Basic issue is Kodi tries to determine compilation with program logic but also supports explicit setting via the tags.  Problem is when the tags are not complete and you get mixed results (some info from tags, some computed).

scott s.
(2019-11-13, 19:39)scott967 Wrote: [ -> ]Short answer -- no change.  Basic issue is Kodi tries to determine compilation with program logic but also supports explicit setting via the tags.  Problem is when the tags are not complete and you get mixed results (some info from tags, some computed).

scott s.

Which tag is it that marks an album as compilation?! If it's tagged as compilation, does "Various artists" still gets translated?

In regards to "complete tags"... when would kodi call tags "complete"? Artist, Title, Album, Year, TrackNo, Albumartist, performersortorder? Something missing?
(2019-11-13, 20:44)Uatschitchun Wrote: [ -> ]Which tag is it that marks an album as compilation?!

Obviously depends upon the format of your music files, but for example, for ID3v2, its "TCMP".  For Ogg its "COMPILATION" and for MP4 its "cpil". 
(2019-11-13, 20:44)Uatschitchun Wrote: [ -> ]If it's tagged as compilation, does "Various artists" still gets translated?

(2019-11-13, 20:44)Uatschitchun Wrote: [ -> ]In regards to "complete tags"... when would kodi call tags "complete"? Artist, Title, Album, Year, TrackNo, Albumartist, performersortorder? Something missing?
This is a dump of the tags from one of my tracks.

4/21. Seven Spanish Angels

        musicbrainz_albumstatus: [u'official']
        releasecountry: [u'US']
        date: [u'2008']
        performer: [u'Willie Nelson']
        musicbrainz_albumartistid: [u'668fd73c-bf54-4310-a139-305517f05311']
        tracknumber: [u'4/21']
        musicbrainz_albumid: [u'2391f9fe-3983-4a46-9054-01ef2e1603d9']
        album: [u'One Hell of a Ride']
        asin: [u'B000VEA38O']
        musicbrainz_artistid: [u'668fd73c-bf54-4310-a139-305517f05311', u'2ce02909-598b-44ef-a456-151ba0a3bd70']
        media: [u'CD']
        artistsort: [u'Nelson, Willie with Charles, Ray']
        conductor: [u'Bill McElhiney']
        barcode: [u'886971391527']
        performer:harmonica: [u'Terry McMillan']
        performer:background vocals: [u'Hurshel Wiginton', u'Louis Nunley', u'Lisa Silver', u'Diane Tidwell']
        performer:keyboard: [u'Hargus "Pig" Robbins']
        performer:gut guitar: [u'Billy Sanford', u'Pete Bordonali']
        performer:bass: [u'Robert Wray']
        performer:acoustic guitar: [u'Dale Sellers']
        performer:drums (drum set): [u'Kenneth Malone']
        performerConfusedtrings: [u'The \u201cA\u201d Strings']
        performer:lead vocals: [u'Ray Charles', u'Willie Nelson']
        performer:trumpet: [u'Jose McElhiney', u'Bill McElhiney']
        performerConfusedteel guitar: [u'Pete Drake']
        musicbrainz_albumtype: [u'album', u'compilation', u'boxset']
        genre: [u'Blues']
        discnumber: [u'4/4']
        artist: [u'Willie Nelson with Ray Charles']
        title: [u'Seven Spanish Angels']
        musicbrainz_trackid: [u'7fe0144a-077a-4a98-b545-229e7c188eba']
        organization: [u'Columbia', u'Legacy']

There are still some tags that can be set that Kodi can't yet read, but it's worth setting them if you can as I believe there is work going on to expand the range that will be read in the future.  Preferably, tag your stuff with as much info as you can.  Musicbrainz Picard does a pretty good job of it I find and Kodi can use the musicbrainz specific tags (ArtistMBID, AlbumMBID etc) to look up additional data online.
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