Brainstorming skin changes for Music
#1
First things first... the default Estuary skin is great, I love it, but it seems lacking in music functionality and data to me.

So I'd like to change that!

What skin changes would people like to see that specifically relate to music?

Personally I can think of a few changes:

- More data on Album info page such as Theme, Mood, Style, Tempo, Sales figure
- Album review data
- More data on Artist info page such as Style, Mood, Current Record Label, Active dates, Country, Birthplace
- Album CoverFlow view
- Album Back cover
- Album Spine Cover browser view
- Album Large cover Shift/showcase view like this
- Album year visible on Artist >> Album browsing page
- A-Z nodes for All Artists, All Album and All Track view
- A-Z images on IconWall view or a smaller IconWall view similar to how the year shows
- Artist ClearArt on artist/album info page
- Artist Logo browse view
- Artist Banner browse view
- Artist and Album comments (probably need Marcel to add this to helper Add-on and me to actually write an API method to access it)

I've been working on a new music orientated version of the default skin, so any ideas would be appreciated Smile I'm also happy to PR any changes that are wanted to the default skin.

Current Estuary Views that can be "upgraded" Smile

Artist info
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NOTES: Dump the album icons from here and replace with more artist data perhaps?

Album Shift
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NOTES: As you can see this view is poor when there are less than 6 albums with them all scrunched up to the left. 

Album Info
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NOTES: I don't personally see the reason to list tracks on this page as they are already accessible from the track list view.

Track List
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NOTES: I've already added star ratings to this view for each track, but I would also like to see more data on the left hand panel. Does anyone know if its possible to use track cover images yet? I know there was talk at some point about it.
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#2
Thanks for starting this thread.

Music Videos:
Album Artist thumb come from Music (audio only) database. If there's no music artist Kodi should look for an artist image in the Music Video's folder (artist.jpg would be good as folder.jpg is used for cover art). So all skins could take advantage there need to be a new JSON API method to return Music Video data for this. I'm happy to provide more info if required (I looked at the Kodi source for this but couldn't work out how to do it)

The Music Video view on 'tracks' (songs) doesn't work if the video files are named with track no. as a prefix (e.g 01. Song Title.mkv) if you have hundreds of concerts all with a 01. ... file name. This needs to changed to sort by atrtist, album, track/file name. Maybe the default Music Video view should be by Artist/Album too?

I'd love to work with a dev on some of these/more Music Video (Concert) mods. I'm good with SQL and coding (but no Python experience). I've got hundreds of m.vids and can provide sample (stubs to reduce size) files and structures to work with. Semi retired with plenty of time and dead keen to help if I can)
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#3
I've already implemented this fix for music videos in my own skin, so the covers show square and not widescreen and work correctly with the current scraper.

As for the other stuff you mention, as you probably already guessed that will need core changes which isn't really what this thread is about Wink

What I am really interested in is what people want regarding skin changes. I need opinions on whats missing in the default skin while browsing music.
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#4
(2017-12-31, 00:46)docwra Wrote: I've already implemented this fix for music videos in my own skin, so the covers show square and not widescreen and work correctly with the current scraper.

As for the other stuff you mention, as you probably already guessed that will need core changes which isn't really what this thread is about Wink

What I am really interested in is what people want regarding skin changes. I need opinions on whats missing in the default skin while browsing music.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Maybe Dave is not so busy and he can help? If not can you or Dave please give me a dev contact I can talk to? THX.
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#5
I think the main issue from Kodi is what is provided in the music and song info dialogs in the list 50 that is generated by Kodi, not the skin.

I'm not that interested in new views, as there's plenty of skins out with different views.

I'm mostly interested in what is shown in music visualization and the visualization info display.  Secondarily views for music playlist.  Part of that is how best to show contributors in addition to artists.  Also, how to incorporate the concept of "work" if Kodi can ever support that data.   Some of this would be helped if there was a way to define different looks for classical music as I haven't seen any good way to make a single look work well for classical and other music.  I can key it off genre, but that assumes everyone agrees on a top-level genre set.

Changes in Kodi 18 should make it possible to define and use more arttypes.

In the past there has been discussion about showing an artist (or contributor's) total discography, or just that present in the library.

Music videos mostly use movie info dialog for info, but in certain instances have used song info dialog though currently Kodi 18 won't show the song info for music video.  Not sure if that is intended or not.

As a general thing I would prefer to make skin.helper.service and skin.info.service optional, as I am concerned about the hardware resources required to run those add-ons.

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#6
(2017-12-30, 19:29)docwra Wrote: What skin changes would people like to see that specifically relate to music?
...
I'm also happy to PR any changes that are wanted to the default skin.
That is the crucial part, thanks for volunteering Smile

Estuary:
The lack of information on the album and artist info dialog is the biggest defect for me (and a real niggle). As I pointed out when Estuary was in beta there is much missing, and new fields are available for v18, a fix for that would be good. A layout that allows for possible additional fields in the future would be best.

A list view type that shows more item (song, album or artist) information would also be welcome (by me that is, no idea what the Estuary devs will think). That would include showing album year on the albums node even when not sorted by year. Not clear if that would need core changes though?
(2017-12-30, 19:29)docwra Wrote: - Artist Logo browse view
- Artist Banner browse view
For v18 (following JSON API addition of set/get art and the potential art explosion that could follow) I will look at changing the info dialog to have a "browse art" button much like video has, rather than a button for each type of art. Not a skin thing.
(2017-12-30, 19:29)docwra Wrote: - Artist and Album comments (probably need Marcel to add this to helper Add-on and me to actually write an API method to access it)
The long term idea, and Marcel agrees, is for much of SHS stuff to be perfromed more efficiently by core. He created SHS as a quick way to achieve things when core devs not available for supporting core change. Now there is me Smile
This sounds like a core/scraper change to me - fetching more data and storing it. Best way to approach is to specify what data from where, and let me do what I do.
(2017-12-30, 19:29)docwra Wrote: NOTES: I've already added star ratings to this view for each track, but I would also like to see more data on the left hand panel. Does anyone know if its possible to use track cover images yet? I know there was talk at some point about it.
Using JSON that should be possible with the nightlies now.
 
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: I think the main issue from Kodi is what is provided in the music and song info dialogs in the list 50 that is generated by Kodi, not the skin.
...
In the past there has been discussion about showing an artist (or contributor's) total discography, or just that present in the library.
Remind me of List 50, is that the track list / discography? If yes then I am up for changing core for v18 - already removed the scraped track list data and yes going to amend the discography to always have the albums from the library (as a minimum) as well as any scraped others.

I find myself questioning if having one dialog for song, album and artist info is the best idea. Less skinning I know, that is why they were amalgamated, but does that make it difficult to show all the varied data? Also I know there are bugs when you navigate say song info to album info to artist infor and then back/refresh. The core implementation also needs changing to get the data fetch off the main thread so it does not lock the UI if it is slow.
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: Music videos mostly use movie info dialog for info, but in certain instances have used song info dialog though currently Kodi 18 won't show the song info for music video. Not sure if that is intended or not.
No idea about intentions, not something I have touched. I will try to look into this when I get to info dialog stuff.
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: I'm mostly interested in what is shown in music visualization and the visualization info display.  Secondarily views for music playlist.  Part of that is how best to show contributors in addition to artists.  Also, how to incorporate the concept of "work" if Kodi can ever support that data.   Some of this would be helped if there was a way to define different looks for classical music as I haven't seen any good way to make a single look work well for classical and other music.  I can key it off genre, but that assumes everyone agrees on a top-level genre set.
Yeap Smile
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: As a general thing I would prefer to make skin.helper.service and skin.info.service optional, as I am concerned about the hardware resources required to run those add-ons.
Yeap Smile
Core can do things more efficiently. Unfortunately Marcel and I seem to keep missing each other making it hard to progress, so any help identifiying major things SHS does that could be done in core would be a help to both of us.
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#7
Music Videos:
(2017-12-31, 01:18)HomerJau Wrote: Maybe Dave is not so busy and he can help? If not can you or Dave please give me a dev contact I can talk to? THX.  
Gary I'm afraid I'm probably all there is, and I am as busy as ever.

What you mention sounds far more core related than skin, you have the time and enthusiasm so maybe I can help you uncover what code needs changes/extending and how best to approach it. Do you have a dev environment set up, can you run Kodi in debug? First you need to understand what Kodi does, and maybe deduce why it does it like that. Anyone working on this would have to do the same, it is not something any dev has already in their heads or a documented design. Start a thread, maybe we can get some others interested? Say what you know, what you need to know etc., what you want Kodi to do compared to what it does.

Starting is hard, I know it is, but I will support you best that I can.

EDIT: So I have copied the relevent posts into a new thread rather than hijack this one Smile
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#8
Not having the correct artwork showing for the currently playing track in a playlist is my biggest bugbear, I want to see the artwork for the track that is playing by default, rather than showing the artwork for the track currently in focus

EDIT: To clarify he means the on current playlist screen, see https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=305853 for more details. Not sure how much can be done by in the skin, jjd suggests something can, otherwise this is a core issue.
Dave
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#9
Before I start waffling - brilliant work guys all round.  So nice seeing my music like this, so much more accessible.  And darn pretty too.


Features I miss in the Estuary skin include:

* Quality of audio tracks.  At least FLAC \ MP3 \ M4A logos somewhere.

This is due to my collection having come from different sources.  So I can have the same album as both MP3 and FLAC.  Currently I can't tell which is which in Estury.

When looking at any list of tracks it would be nice to see FLAC or MP3 logos on the files just like we have SD or HD logos on video files.

* Location of music files.

Sometimes I spot an error in the album I am looking at in KODI.  OR I want to know if this is a copy from my own CD rips, or sourced elsewhere.  In those situations I need to know where the files actually are.  So need to see the path.  Some skins tuck that into the interface.  Though even if there is some "extra info" or a button I could press would be fine.

* Album year. This release and original release.

When I look at a single Artist I would like to see the year as part of the album name.  And then sorted by that year.  This is generally how I have my Artist View setup so when I open it, I see all the albums sorted by year of release.

* Ability to see "Disc Subtitle" tag.

I have a few too many box sets, so it would be good to see this for some of them.  Even if for now it is just visible on screen.

* Thoughts of using the extra tags.  

Now I have been retagging with MusicBrainz data there is a lot more info in the files themselves.  Would be nice to see this one day.


In last few months I swapped to the Metropolis skin as felt like the music looked better.  Especially as it had the file path visible when looking at Album \ Information.


When in ARTIST view it would be good to have a few more sorting options.  Example being - sort by Year of Release, and sort by Year of original Release.  Some days I want to see my remastered albums listed in the order of the original release date.  Other times I want to see when that version was released.  (Roger Waters - Amused to Death was released in 1992 and then remastered in 2015.  Full MusicBrainz tagging includes both of these dates.)


(Insanely advanced request but where some of the above is leading to.....) When in Artist View it would be good to be able to have some way of grouping: Official Albums, Singles, EPs, Bootlegs, Single Web Releases, Concerts, Cover Versions, remixes, etc.

One of my missions on my TODO\wish list is to make some of my favourite artists more accessible.  When I open up a band like Pink Floyd on my system it is hard to find an album as there is SOOOO much in there all gathered together.  The official albums are in with the remastered, re-releases, special editions, official concerts, dodgy bootlegs, official bootlegs, obscure releases.  On the filing system these are generally in different folders - but that is not something KODI is aware of.  So there is no natural way of filtering this all at the moment.  Instead I just have a 130+ items in the Pink Floyd folder to scroll!

This is another place where the path and quality notes above come in to play for me.  I have at least 20 different versions of Dark Side of the Moon.... (Yes, I am certifiably mad... or at least in training for the fully qualification... Rofl )

You asked for Brainstorming... Wink  Welcome to my storming brain...
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#10
(2017-12-31, 11:43)DaveBlake Wrote:
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: I think the main issue from Kodi is what is provided in the music and song info dialogs in the list 50 that is generated by Kodi, not the skin.
...
In the past there has been discussion about showing an artist (or contributor's) total discography, or just that present in the library.
Remind me of List 50, is that the track list / discography? If yes then I am up for changing core for v18 - already removed the scraped track list data and yes going to amend the discography to always have the albums from the library (as a minimum) as well as any scraped others.    

Yes this is
Code:
#define CONTROL_LIST 50
defined in GUIDialogSongInfo and GUIDialogMusicInfo

In the Aeon MQ skin series (including my MQ5 mods) there has been an optional replacement for the Container 50 items. When a song is playing, if script.artist.slideshow is installed the skin will start it and display the artist's discography as obtained from AS in Song Info. Mostly useful in the music playlist view. But a shortfall of music playlist view is that there is no way to "auto-focus" the currently playing song, so no easy way to "one click" open the song info dialog (except in party mode, where the first item in the playlist is always focused/playing).
 
(2017-12-31, 11:43)DaveBlake Wrote: I find myself questioning if having one dialog for song, album and artist info is the best idea. Less skinning I know, that is why they were amalgamated, but does that make it difficult to show all the varied data? Also I know there are bugs when you navigate say song info to album info to artist infor and then back/refresh. The core implementation also needs changing to get the data fetch off the main thread so it does not lock the UI if it is slow.
Something else on Song Info -- core provides a button 12 that launches album info dialog, but doesn't provide one for artist info dialog.

As far as combining artist/alum info into a single skin xml -- I just wrapped my existing code into visibility booleans and combined the 2 original xml files. So for me at least, did nothing of benefit but maybe other skinners prefer this design.
(2017-12-31, 11:43)DaveBlake Wrote:
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: Music videos mostly use movie info dialog for info, but in certain instances have used song info dialog though currently Kodi 18 won't show the song info for music video. Not sure if that is intended or not.
No idea about intentions, not something I have touched. I will try to look into this when I get to info dialog stuff.  
This is the crash issue I reported before (here). In music playlist views opening the context menu and selecting info on a music video opens movie info dialog, but sending the <info> action crashes Kodi 18, where in the past it opened the Song Info dialog (so you had to handle the case in Song Info that the infoitem DBType was music video, most skins neglected that).
(2017-12-31, 11:43)DaveBlake Wrote:
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: I'm mostly interested in what is shown in music visualization and the visualization info display.  Secondarily views for music playlist.  Part of that is how best to show contributors in addition to artists.  Also, how to incorporate the concept of "work" if Kodi can ever support that data.   Some of this would be helped if there was a way to define different looks for classical music as I haven't seen any good way to make a single look work well for classical and other music.  I can key it off genre, but that assumes everyone agrees on a top-level genre set.
Yeap Smile
(2017-12-31, 06:57)scott967 Wrote: As a general thing I would prefer to make skin.helper.service and skin.info.service optional, as I am concerned about the hardware resources required to run those add-ons.
Yeap Smile
Core can do things more efficiently. Unfortunately Marcel and I seem to keep missing each other making it hard to progress, so any help identifiying major things SHS does that could be done in core would be a help to both of us.     
  
Something else in Estuary the info dialogs have a button 130 that brings up a custom dialog with a textbox.  Most useful for displaying the contributors and roles.  Something else on roles:  If you display "all contributors" node,  you just get a list of all songs for the contributor.  It would be nice if they could be grouped by role, or maybe there is some way to do that already?

Another thought on roles.  What is the best practice for things like Opera?  Say a performer is a "tenor" and also plays a specific individual role (person)?

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#11
Thought I would do a bit of triage on BatterPudding's brainstorm (thank you for sharing BP), at least separate the skin from core stuff from my view point.
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: * Quality of audio tracks.  At least FLAC \ MP3 \ M4A logos somewhere.

This is due to my collection having come from different sources.  So I can have the same album as both MP3 and FLAC.  Currently I can't tell which is which in Estuary.

When looking at any list of tracks it would be nice to see FLAC or MP3 logos on the files just like we have SD or HD logos on video files.
A skin change to OSD should be able to show this for currently playing song.

I also have on my todo list to make quality a stored library item too, then not only could it be shown on all the song type nodes (skins willing) but it could be a smartplaylist rule/filer and even used in sorting.
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: * Location of music files.
Skin change - yes I woud like to see song filename and path on the song info dialog, and album path (when it has a unique one - Kodi will add a flat mess of songs to the library as aseparate albums) on the album info dialog. But note artists do not have a path!!
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: * Album year. This release and original release.
Showing album year more often is a skins thing.

Storing (and thus showing and sorting by) both release and original release year requires a music library change. On my todo list.
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: * Ability to see "Disc Subtitle" tag.
Core change, on my todo list with other disc set improvements. When done I just add to the skin API changes thread and hope that skiners will pick it up.
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: * Thoughts of using the extra tags.  

Now I have been retagging with MusicBrainz data there is a lot more info in the files themselves.  Would be nice to see this one day.
Other than Musicbrainz IDs (which could be useful for debug but otherwise just ugly) what data do you think is missing BatterPudding? First step is for the skins to show everything the music library has, but beyond that it is about adding to library too.
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: When in ARTIST view it would be good to have a few more sorting options.  Example being - sort by Year of Release, and sort by Year of original Release.  Some days I want to see my remastered albums listed in the order of the original release date.  Other times I want to see when that version was released.  (Roger Waters - Amused to Death was released in 1992 and then remastered in 2015.  Full MusicBrainz tagging includes both of these dates.)
Core design changes as I said above, on my todo list.
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: (Insanely advanced request but where some of the above is leading to.....) When in Artist View it would be good to be able to have some way of grouping: Official Albums, Singles, EPs, Bootlegs, Single Web Releases, Concerts, Cover Versions, remixes, etc.
Yes, I like the idea of a grouping ability too. Appropriate sorting undoubtedly is a core thing, and something I would like to "liberate". But a display that groups stuff I would like to hear what skins can do and what additional core support would be needed if any.
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: One of my missions on my TODO\wish list is to make some of my favourite artists more accessible. 
Yes making large and diverse music collections more accessible is one of my missions too Smile
 
(2018-01-03, 23:01)BatterPudding Wrote: When I open up a band like Pink Floyd on my system it is hard to find an album as there is SOOOO much in there all gathered together.  The official albums are in with the remastered, re-releases, special editions, official concerts, dodgy bootlegs, official bootlegs, obscure releases.  On the filing system these are generally in different folders - but that is not something KODI is aware of.  So there is no natural way of filtering this all at the moment. 
Kodi is aware of album path, and can make smart playlists using it, but smart playlists are too static. What you want is to be able to dynamically filter albums by path. I'll consider adding that, but I would like to add a custom property facility instead, that way you could set whatever properties you wanted for an album (or artist) and use those to sort, filter etc.

Meanwhile @BatterPudding to separate your remasters, re-releases, special editions, official concerts, dodgy bootlegs, official bootlegs, and obscure releases etc. why not use "album type"? Rather than hijack this thread I will start a new thread about how to do that. Smile See https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=326606
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#12
(2018-01-05, 01:46)scott967 Wrote: Something else on roles:  If you display "all contributors" node,  you just get a list of all songs for the contributor.  It would be nice if they could be grouped by role, or maybe there is some way to do that already?
An artist can perform a number of different roles, so not sure how group/sorting by role would work. The "all Contributors" node was a bit of a debug tool that shows all the artists in the db, than a carefully considered node with user value. I am open to suggestions and willing to add core support for things you want do do with this.

(2018-01-05, 01:46)scott967 Wrote: Another thought on roles.  What is the best practice for things like Opera?  Say a performer is a "tenor" and also plays a specific individual role (person)? 
Yikes, opera Smile
I really don't know. I would guess add both as roles, or "tenor" as a role, and the person they play in the opera as part of the album description. Unless you really want to be able to find all the different artists that performed as Ophello etc.

Again I am open to suggestions and willing to add core support.
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#13
Thanks guys, some great ideas to start working on.

I will get to work on some skin changes and post screenshots when done.
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#14
I've been working away learning the skinning engine, its actually quite simple when you work out all those circular include files and where they are!

I've also been documenting it on the wiki as well so it helps others hopefully.

For now I have a new Music Artist screen to show off using the new artwork recently introduced by Dave and Ryan. Massive thanks to them and hopefully it shows that others can build off this awesome work.

New Estuary Landscape view
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Image Image
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#15
Is there a test skin of this we can try out ?
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