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Problems with Albumartist and mbid tags (Why is Kodi so unpredictable....)
#1
Music 
Kodi 15.2
Ubuntu/Linux - QTS 4.2.0

This issue is about how Kodi interprets the content of my Music library.

An example;
I have 9 albums with The Bee Gees organized as; Music/AlbumArtist/Year - AlbumName/Track - Songname.mp3

All 9 albums are tagged exactly the same way using ID3 only:
AlbumArtist= The Bee Gees
Artist = The Bee Gees

Still, Kodi has made up its mind to split the 9 albums in two groups;
5 of them are listed under Artist; The Bee Gees
The remaining 4 are listed under Artist; Bee Gees

The latter 4 albums all have nice Fanart while the first 5 albums has no fanart!

Why is Kodi "inventing" a band name Bee Gees without the article 'The' ?
Not a single place in my library do I have a song or an album where I did not use the whole name including the article "The"
I have checked and doublechecked, and all 4 albums listed in Kodi without 'The' are tagged properly with 'The'

These things makes it very hard to stay on friendly terms with Kodi. At least until I understand why it does these things.
Any assistance is appreciated
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#2
Are you sure the tags are clean? I had a similar issue and it wasn't until I used musicbrainz(I'm sure there are others that do this, but this is what I used) and there was an option to clear ALL tags before writing the new information. I'm guessing with the different versions of id3 they can be hidden in certain programs. I used to use a different tagger and did basic tagging, but the files kept showing things that I did not write and could not see in the program that I was using at the time. I used musicbrainz and that cleared up about 90% of my problems. Then I found the option to wipe all tags before writing the new information and VOILA! Let us know what you find out!
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#3
I am aware that The ID2/ID3/APE meta-tags are not 100% well defined as far as tags go, but I have used a large number of other programs to read my library without having these kinds of problems that I have with Kodi. Even though the tagging may not have been totally consistent all the time, most programs will let you "see" how the interpretation is done so that you can easily drill down and find the reason for the discrepancies and correct it. But as long as I do not know what causes this, I'm in the blind.
I am reluctant to let any program "automatically" clean my library. I have used over 10 years to collect, archive and tag more than 250.000 tracks and I hate to see everything go down the drain in the blink of an eye. (Yes I do have backup, but still). I have yet to find any online source that has a tidier tagging than mine, including both Spotiy and Discogs. Their libraries are huge, yes - much larger than mine, but their tagging is not very clean and consistent, and often full of typos.

Could you explain why Musicbrainz can be trusted?
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#4
(2016-02-28, 21:31)oyvindo Wrote: I am aware that The ID2/ID3/APE meta-tags are not 100% well defined as far as tags go, but I have used a large number of other programs to read my library without having these kinds of problems that I have with Kodi. Even though the tagging may not have been totally consistent all the time, most programs will let you "see" how the interpretation is done so that you can easily drill down and find the reason for the discrepancies and correct it. But as long as I do not know what causes this, I'm in the blind.
I am reluctant to let any program "automatically" clean my library. I have used over 10 years to collect, archive and tag more than 250.000 tracks and I hate to see everything go down the drain in the blink of an eye. (Yes I do have backup, but still). I have yet to find any online source that has a tidier tagging than mine, including both Spotiy and Discogs. Their libraries are huge, yes - much larger than mine, but their tagging is not very clean and consistent, and often full of typos.

Could you explain why Musicbrainz can be trusted?

I'll be honest, Musicbrainz is a pain in the ass. I only recommended it because that is what I had used. The only advantage musicbrainz had vs. my own tagging was the fact that it wiped hidden tags I did not know were there. I definitely agree that I have used many other programs as well, but I would assume that these programs(at least the ones I used) probably defaulted to id3v2 for reading/writing when there was an id3v1 tag that I could not see UNTIL kodi. I agree that kodi is a one of a kind when it comes to music(to put it nicely), but it wasn't until I had these issues that I looked into it further and found out what I did. I would say try it on an artist or 2 that you have an issue with and let us know! It might be your fix! Wink
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#5
Ha, ha, thank you for you honesty! :-)
I think I'll stay clear of Musicbrainz.
I will investigate a bit more, but seriously - there must be some where to find an explanation for the Kodi behaviour?
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#6
(2016-02-28, 23:22)oyvindo Wrote: Ha, ha, thank you for you honesty! :-)
I think I'll stay clear of Musicbrainz.
I will investigate a bit more, but seriously - there must be some where to find an explanation for the Kodi behaviour?

I don't want to beat a dead horse, but it HAS to be some tags that you can't see. I had the EXACT same issue and I couldn't figure it out until I used musicbrainz. Then again, I'm also running windows, so who knows Rofl
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#7
(2016-02-28, 23:22)oyvindo Wrote: Ha, ha, thank you for you honesty! :-)
I think I'll stay clear of Musicbrainz.
I will investigate a bit more, but seriously - there must be some where to find an explanation for the Kodi behaviour?

Yes, post a debug log_file (wiki) of you adding these albums.

Most likely cause is some of the albums having MBID's in the extended tags.
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#8
Is there no way to tell Kodi to completely ignore online information and just use what's embedded in the ID3 tag? (maybe I need to pull the plug to Internet during scanning)
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#9
Sorry that you are feeling exasperated but Kodi's behaviour is not random, the library entries are based on the tags. How the files are arranged, folder hierarchy, does not have any impact on the library, just the tags within them. Kodi may be behaving differently to other players because it does use Musicbrainz id tags if they are present whereas others do not. You say the Bee Gees albums are all tagged the same, but the outcome suggests that there must be differences that you are unaware of, probably Musicbrainz Ids in some, or a mix of tag types.

I do not think your problems are scraping related, but for future reference you can choose not to scrape at all, and you can choose not to override library data scanned from tags with the information gained online (no need to pull the plug!).

Not sure how big your library is, but if you could make your MyMusicXX.db file available to me I may be able to see what has happened.

Otherwise we need to look at the music files themselves, and since I don't want to download all of your Bee Gee collection, that means you looking at the tags. Take a look using Musicbarinz tagging software called Picard, you need not change anything just look at how these files are tagged and if there are any mbids in some of them.
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#10
(2016-02-28, 21:31)oyvindo Wrote: Even though the tagging may not have been totally consistent all the time, most programs will let you "see" how the interpretation is done so that you can easily drill down and find the reason for the discrepancies and correct it. But as long as I do not know what causes this, I'm in the blind.

I'm looking to improve the music library side of Kodi, and since tagging problems is one of the things that detracts from the joy of using it, I am interested in how you think Kodi could let you see better any discrepencies? What would the process be from a user view point?

Quote:I am reluctant to let any program "automatically" clean my library. I have used over 10 years to collect, archive and tag more than 250.000 tracks and I hate to see everything go down the drain in the blink of an eye. (Yes I do have backup, but still). ...

Could you explain why Musicbrainz can be trusted?

Let's be clear Kodi does not modify your music files in any way. There is a clean library function that tidys-up the library after you have removed things by removing music sources. Rescanning tags, and then rescraping extra info can take a while on a large library, and any choices for artwork you have made would have to be repeated, but your music collection itself can not be harmed by Kodi.

The library can be extended with artist and album info scraped from external databases. Mostly this is data not in music tags anyway e.g. artist biography or instruments, album review or theme and fan art etc. Musicbrainz website is one source of such information, data quality varies with the contributor like all the other sources.

Separately but related, Musicbrainz have a system of unique ids for artists and their work. Sometimes name alone is not enough to identify an artist or even an album or track, here having a unique Id available is very useful. Music files can be tagged with these Ids, and if they are then Kodi will use them. For example I have tagged my music by the two "John Williams", one conductor the other a guitar player, with their mbids and so I see them as separate artists with the correct artwork etc. Kodi will also use mbids to idenitfy artists and albums if you choose to scrape extra info, e.g. I don't get the guitarist biog for the Star Wars theme composer.

So it can be useful to have mbid tags even if you do not want to scrape extra info from their site. But when Musicbrainz integration was first implemented in Kodi, the impact of mbids on the library did upset some users (and still does). If these tags are inconsistent, or users change other tags and don't realise that they are there it can cause odd behaviour in the library. When it works it is great, but when it goes wrong it can be confusing.

Happy to work with you an try and make Kodi's behavoiur less mysterious.
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#11
Music 
Hi, and many thanks for your feedback.
As a professional ICT Project Manager myself, working in the largest government agency in Norway, I am very custom to lean SW development using SCRUM methodology.
I admit I was blinded somewhat by some of the good looking skin graphics available for Kodi. It lead me to investing in a new 8Gb x86 based NAS from QNAP with 8Tb RAID10 to host my music collection (to begin with).
And yes, my muic library is rather large and growing. Currently passing 1TB just for the mp3 files themselves. Even with my hardware, Kodi fails big time handling such a big library if I choose 'Song' listing. While my old NAS, an ARM based unit with only 512Mb of RAM handled the same library perfectly using Logitech Media Server (LMS 7.9).
So something tells me that either I'm doing things the wrong way, or the Kodi core is simply not up to the task. Most likely - I'm doing something wrong, including the possibility of the way my NAS manufacturer (QNAP) has implemented the environment in which Kodi runs (QTS 4.2.0 and HD Station).
But still, I do have a number of comments about the default confluence Skin from an end user perspective that I find strange that have passed QC (?) - but let's leave that for now and concentrate on the issue above.
(Oh, and yes, I acknowledge and appreciate the fact that Kodi is an Open Source project, available free of charge, and the result of hard work from people such as yourselves)

First things first:
(2016-02-29, 12:07)DaveBlake Wrote: I'm looking to improve the music library side of Kodi, and since tagging problems is one of the things that detracts from the joy of using it, I am interested in how you think Kodi could let you see better any discrepencies? What would the process be from a user view point?

This may be pushing things too far, but in my opinion, anything visible on the screen should be seen as objects that have properties. The property dialog of any object should be accessible by right-clicking on the object itself. This is basic Windows behavior that the world has grown accustom to. Thus right-clicking on an album or an artist (name or icon) should bring up a context sensitive submenu where the last item in the list should be 'Properties'
The property dialog for an album (or artist) should present how the object has been treated (tagged), including the ability to not only see:
  • from where is the album name retrieved (found)
  • where is the AlbumArt found
  • etc.

but also include an option to edit these fields. If the Album art is fetched from a file named folder.jpg in the folder /Music/Artist/Album/ then I would immediately understand what to do in order to correct a bad picture. If it is fetched from MusicDB.com using the following parameter by this or that scraper, then I would see if there was a typo or understand that this is beyond my control and would have to edit this property to point to a custom local jpg file). If the album art was picked up from the an APEv2 meta, then I would know what to do to correct it.
Isn't the above quite obvious?
The thing with Kodi is that right-clicking on a screen object produces a number of different actions, from nil to exit depending on the object. This is inconsistant and confusing. I mean this as constructive criticism.

(2016-02-29, 12:07)DaveBlake Wrote: So it can be useful to have mbid tags even if you do not want to scrape extra info from their site. But when Musicbrainz integration was first implemented in Kodi, the impact of mbids on the library did upset some users (and still does). If these tags are inconsistent, or users change other tags and don't realise that they are there it can cause odd behaviour in the library. When it works it is great, but when it goes wrong it can be confusing.

I agree and understand your point. What I seek is a simple way to choose how I wish Kodi should behave when scanning my library. Let me start clean by an initial scan based only on what I deliver; Namely my library! Warts and all. Nothing added, nothing deleted. Then I can selectively allow scraping, choosing scraper, scrape only a single album or a single artist or the entire library. Every time Kodi encounters a situation where something needs to be removed, altered or replaced, it should have an option to warn and let me decide, or at least produce an easily accessible and human readable log file. (maybe such a log file exist (?) I haven't figured out yet how to locate any of the Log files that mysteriously hide within the dark forests of Kodi) Wink

I'd like to know how to easily add fanart and artist picture in a manual way. I have found countless number of entries in this forum asking the same, but to this day none of them ever received an answer (as far as I could tell).

Last but not least - would you recommend throwing 1Tb of mp3 files at Musicbrainz to have them 'cleaned' and ID'd ? If so, how? If not - how else?

Many thanks for taking the time to answer. I hope my comments doesn't depress you. I'd really like to succeed with Kodi if not for any other reason that it looks good on my TV Angel
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#12
Taking things in reverse because makes sense to me that way, and no not depressed at comments. I find other people's views interesting, we all experience things so differently and want different things. But no expectation I will agree or even if I do that I will be able to do anything about it.

Quote:Last but not least - would you recommend throwing 1Tb of mp3 files at Musicbrainz to have them 'cleaned' and ID'd ? If so, how? If not - how else?

If you are asking if I recommend you retag all your files using Picard or Mp3tag adding mbids, then if they are as carefully and accuractely tagged as you say, and if you have no artists with the same name, or albums (e.g. 3 copies of Beethoven's 5th Symphony), and if scrapers easily identify them for art work or if you don't care about that facility, I would say no there is no point. Could there be benefits in selectively retagging some e.g. all the Bee Gees tracks, or those that the scraper gets confused about, well maybe.

How big is your MyMusic52.db file? I repeat my offer to examine this and try to gain insight to the nature of why Kodi music library seems to behave so oddly for you.

Quote:Even with my hardware, Kodi fails big time handling such a big library if I choose 'Song' listing. ...
So something tells me that either I'm doing things the wrong way, or the Kodi core is simply not up to the task.

The slowness of songs node on big libraries is a known problem. Some team members just want to remove it rather than live with the embarrassing slowness, as fixng it requires a major redesign no one is in a position to implement. I think that removing the facility is an over reaction, and in the end there are sometimes reasons why list of all songs is useful no matter how slow.

But it is also that you are doing it wrong too, or at least the songs node is not the best choice. If you have a big library Kodi offers other efficient ways to access/browse your music. Approach Genre->artist->album->song, or create smart playlists or custom nodes using data based rules. I have used the genre tag extensively on my music collection to categorise my music is ways useful to me.

Quote:But still, I do have a number of comments about the default confluence Skin from an end user perspective that I find strange that have passed QC (?)
Well a new default skin for v17 onwards is about to be released called Estuary (Confuence will still be available through the repo). Perhaps it better to save your comments for that?

Quote:...produce an easily accessible and human readable log file. (maybe such a log file exist (?) I haven't figured out yet how to locate any of the Log files that mysteriously hide within the dark forests of Kodi)

Debug mode is turned on in settings. The resulting file is in userdata/kodi.log. There is wiki that tells you how in more detail, no dark forest.

Quote:I'd like to know how to easily add fanart and artist picture in a manual way. I have found countless number of entries in this forum asking the same, but to this day none of them ever received an answer (as far as I could tell).

If you mean completely manual with a local image, not selected from an online database, then you need to create an NFO file in the correct foler and the scrape from local. Otherwise you can scrape all artists/albums or just chosen ones. It is something that could be easier, but Kodi has lots of users and very few developers, so it could be some time before someone works on this.

Quote:The thing with Kodi is that right-clicking on a screen object produces a number of different actions, from nil to exit depending on the object. This is inconsistant and confusing. I mean this as constructive criticism.

The right click/context menu is intended to be only contextual actions only. The non-contextual actons on this menu are being remove in later versions. I guess this means in some ways it will become even less consistent, but the UI devs say this is "common sense".

Quote:What I seek is a simple way to choose how I wish Kodi should behave when scanning my library. Let me start clean by an initial scan based only on what I deliver; Namely my library! Warts and all. Nothing added, nothing deleted. Then I can selectively allow scraping, choosing scraper, scrape only a single album or a single artist or the entire library.

Yes Kodi can do that now.

Quote: Every time Kodi encounters a situation where something needs to be removed, altered or replaced, it should have an option to warn and let me decide, or at least produce an easily accessible and human readable log file.
Strictly without scraping nothing gets removed, altered or replaced. Interactive scraping could be tedious on a large library, it can take a while, but someone has just raised a PR for this, so maybe its times has come?

Quote:The property dialog of any object should be accessible by right-clicking on the object itself.

Artists, albums and songs all have an "infomation dialog" available from the context menu, just not called "properties". But possblly not the technical detail you want, and not editable.

Editing is complex. Kodi is not a tagging tool, there are plenty of good free applications for that. Want to change the tags use one of those. Then take album name, that is derrived from song file tags, edit the name do we not also change the song files? The data not derrived from tags is easier. At the moment to set specific vaules you have to use NFO files, and there are problems with muitple artists per album, and album sets etc. On screen editing would be nice.


I have picked thorugh your answer just to indicate where Kodi is at the moment, I think it can do more than you have found so far, it just does it in its own way. But thanks for the view point, and I will give some things some more thought. I agree with you on much of it.

But rather than turn this into a feature request thread I would like to get back to your original issue - why your tagging is not giving the library results that you expect. Would like to see that tagging (a screen shot or 2 from Picard?), and the MyMusic52.db could be revealing.
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#13
(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: How big is your MyMusic52.db file? I repeat my offer to examine this and try to gain insight to the nature of why Kodi music library seems to behave so oddly for you.
Jesus - I need to send you flowers. Please don't go away now that I've found you! Blush
MyMusic52.db is 89Mb (I do not expect you to waste your time examining it. Instead I used Mp3Tag to analyze my BeeGees collection, and you were right - several tracks do contain MusicBrainz info. So I cleared everything out and now I've updated my library (using file manager). How do I ask Kodi to update changes only? (Rescanning the whole library each time take too much time).

(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: The slowness of songs node on big libraries is a known problem. If you have a big library Kodi offers other efficient ways to access/browse your music. Approach Genre->artist->album->song, or create smart playlists or custom nodes using data based rules. I have used the genre tag extensively on my music collection to categorise my music is ways useful to me.
I agree. I tried to find the Genre->artist->album->song path, but this doesn't exist in my Confluence skin (I guess this is some custom path you built, right?)

(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: Well a new default skin for v17 onwards is about to be released called Estuary (Confuence will still be available through the repo). Perhaps it better to save your comments for that?
17? I haven't even been able to move to 16 yet Tongue

(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: If you mean completely manual with a local image, not selected from an online database, then you need to create an NFO file in the correct foler and the scrape from local. Otherwise you can scrape all artists/albums or just chosen ones.
I trust this is explained in more detail somewhere in the Wiki...
How do I scrape individual items and not the whole library? I haven't been able to figure that one out...

(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: Yes Kodi can do that now.
Now? What do you mean? Version 17?

(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: Strictly without scraping nothing gets removed, altered or replaced.
How do I turn off scraping altogether?


(2016-02-29, 19:44)DaveBlake Wrote: Would like to see that tagging (a screen shot or 2 from Picard?), and the MyMusic52.db could be revealing.
I'll try to see if my attempt to clean BeeGees helped, and clear and rescan the whole library once I can figure out how to turn off all scraping.
Thanks for your help so far.
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#14
(2016-02-29, 20:47)oyvindo Wrote: Jesus - I need to send you flowers. Please don't go away now that I've found you! Blush
LOL, Mrs B would be pleased. Actually I am off for a few days so there may be a delay in replies or they will be brief, but don't cancel those flowers. I am just enthusiastic about Kodi as a music player, my main use for Kodi.

Quote:MyMusic52.db is 89Mb (I do not expect you to waste your time examining it. Instead I used Mp3Tag to analyze my BeeGees collection, and you were right - several tracks do contain MusicBrainz info. So I cleared everything out and now I've updated my library (using file manager). How do I ask Kodi to update changes only? (Rescanning the whole library each time take too much time).
Data diving is easy, but good that you found the tags that were causing Kodi to separate the Bee Gees. If mbids are there then Kodi gives them presedence. Calling "Update Library" from the side blade should only scan those files in the music sources it knows about that have a new date. But unless you clean the library, (from system-settings) too you many still end up with extra Bee Gees left from before, update does not delete artists that no longer have any songs.

I assume that you have added all your music as one source. Another way would be to add folder at a time, then you can scan a folder at a time.

Quote:I tried to find the Genre->artist->album->song path, but this doesn't exist in my Confluence skin (I guess this is some custom path you built, right?)
No, they are standard default nodes. From home screen, once you have added music sources and scanned them to create a library (context menu in Isengard) go Music -> Library. Then you have a number of nodes inc Genre, Artist, Album etc.

Maybe start with a smaller library, rather than add all your music as one source in one go, easier to play about with.

Quote:How do I scrape individual items and not the whole library? I haven't been able to figure that one out...
There is an auto scraping setting, should be off by default but do check in System>Settings>Music
Then to scrape all artists or all albums on demand, there is a "Query Info for all" item on the context menu from artist or album node. Isengard behaves badly so as soon as you look at Artist Information or Album Information for an artist or album it immediately tries to scrape. Don't want scraping then don't look! Jarvis has been fixed, and you have to actually tell it to scrape.

I assume that you have gasped the difference between scanning tag data to make library, and scraping extra info from online sources or local nfo files. My suggestion would be to stick with just tag data initially, be happy that the library has the things in it you expect, and only then try scraping to get all the fan art etc.

Yes even in 15 (with a bug) you can control the library not to scrape, choose scraper used, scrape only a single album or a single artist or rather scrap a music source (that is the the entire library if it is a single source). But in 15, because of bug, to prevent scraping all together turn auto scraping off and change the scraper setting to local and don't have any nfo files just in case you accidentally look at artist or album info.

But remember scraping is not going to do anything to your music files, the Bee Gees issue was tags problem not scraping. Do try scraping after you are happy with the basic library and see what nice art etc. it can deliver, it does enhance the user experience and look pretty (the thing you like about Kodi).
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#15
(2016-03-01, 12:07)DaveBlake Wrote: Actually I am off for a few days so there may be a delay in replies or they will be brief......
Thanks for letting me know...

(2016-03-01, 12:07)DaveBlake Wrote: But unless you clean the library, (from system-settings) too you many still end up with extra Bee Gees left from before....
I assume that you have added all your music as one source.
Yes, all is one source. I cleaned the library, replaced the whole BeeGees folder with the new one (cleaned by Mp3Tag), and rescanned (updated) the whole library with all scrapers turned off.
This is what I got when i searched for "gees":
Image

I have 13 albums in my library folder named "The Bee Gees". In the above screenshot, only two (2) of them are included. The rest is gone. How can that be explained?

(2016-03-01, 12:07)DaveBlake Wrote: I assume that you have gasped the difference between scanning tag data to make library, and scraping extra info from online sources or local nfo files.
Yes, I understand the difference between scanning and scraping. And no, my library does not contain any nfo files. In fact, my library only contains mp3 files. Nothing else.

New Question:
I have tried a number of different "webinterfaces" with Kodi, and they are all more or less great for the purpose they've been written to serve. But I have yet to find one that offers what I am looking for. Let me explain:
I'm in my office right now, remotely connected to my Kodi server (NAS). The primary output device for Kodi is my television back home. So how do you think I managed to make the above screencapture from this remote location??
Well, I didn't. It cannot be done unless I find a webinterface that will allow me to see exactly the same thing in a browser that I see on my television.
This is a feature that I really miss. Do you know if a solution exist?
(2016-02-29, 20:47)oyvindo Wrote: Instead I used Mp3Tag to analyze my BeeGees collection, and you were right - several tracks do contain MusicBrainz info.

You're welcome Wink
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Problems with Albumartist and mbid tags (Why is Kodi so unpredictable....)00