Kodi Music "Best Practice" Guide

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zag Offline
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Post: #1
Since there are many different ways to organize music, here is my simple guide which will guarantee to work with Kodi.

NOTE: Other methods will of course work, this is just a guide to "best practice"

File naming
C:\Music\Artistname\Albumname(year)\01-artist-track.mp3
C:\Music\Artistname\Albumname(year)\02-artist-track.mp3

(add "C:\Music" as a source in kodi)

Tagging
Use musicbrainz picard to tag all your music.
Options: use v2.4 id3v2 tags, remove all other tags, save folder.jpg as the album cover with the fanart.tv plugin for good quality local covers

Kodi options
Enable "fetch additional information during lookups"
Use universal artist and album scraper
untick "include artists who appear only on compilations"
(This post was last modified: 2016-06-06 16:36 by zag.)
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zag Offline
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Post: #2
Extra local metadata

You can use an add-on(cdart downloader, Mediaelch ect) to grab this kind of artwork automatically, but if you want to do it manually here are the locations

Artist artwork
C:\Music\Artistname\folder.jpg
C:\Music\Artistname\fanart.jpg
C:\Music\Artistname\logo.png
C:\Music\Artistname\banner.jpg

Album artwork
C:\Music\Artistname\Albumname(year)\folder.jpg
C:\Music\Artistname\Albumname(year)\cdart.png
(This post was last modified: 2016-05-21 10:05 by zag.)
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jasn Offline
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Post: #3
I manage my music library through iTunes. I still use an iPod in my car and am addicted to iTunes to help me manage my library and Artist/Album/Track info. I also rely heavily on rating individual tracks (if I can keep up with it) to help me assemble iTunes Smart Playlists. I haven't found a better Smart Playlist editor yet. Unfortunately, track ratings don't translate easily between iTunes and Kodi.

I use Kodi: Aeon MQ7 at home for Music and MediaElch for scraping with the same formats as you list above zag. There are (almost) no issues reading tags. I only wish Kodi could read a rating tag applied in iTunes. I've found a workaround program to embed iTunes ratings in mp3 files, but not for Apple Lossless (ALAC) files. Even playing around with tagging an ALAC file with a rating in dbPoweramp will not show in Kodi. Am I missing something? Based on the tables shown in the Music Tagging wiki (Thx zag) I am not too hopeful, but keeping my fingers crossed.

Can someone also explain why some artwork files are managed in jpg and others png?
(This post was last modified: 2016-05-21 15:52 by jasn.)
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zag Offline
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Post: #4
(2016-05-21 15:51)jasn Wrote:  Can someone also explain why some artwork files are managed in jpg and others png?

PNG allows transparency.
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jasn Offline
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Post: #5
(2016-05-21 16:01)zag Wrote:  
(2016-05-21 15:51)jasn Wrote:  Can someone also explain why some artwork files are managed in jpg and others png?

PNG allows transparency.

Thank you zag
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DarkHelmet Offline
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Post: #6
I have one thing that greatly improved the quality of my library. I have artists that I have in separate folders but they also appear on compilations (charts, soundtracks etc.). In my artists folder I have fanart, folder and logo files. When I let kodi scan and scrape my music source I often found that for some artist the fanart and folder from my folders was not used but other pictures from online sources.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, because this might have changed at some point in kodi releases (for the better). Kodi scans the folders from a-z starting at a, then b, then c etc. Since I have compilations when the letter c is reached it scans the "compilations" folders and scrapes the artists. Artist after that (Duran Duran for example) were NOT scraped again when their folder was reached if that artist was part of a compilation inside the compilations folder. Therefore the local artwork was not used. In Kodi logic the artist is already in the library as the artist was in the compilations folder.

Therefore I named my compilations folder "zzzzz compilations" and "zzzzz soundtracks" and so on. Now they are the last folders that are scanned and my local artwork is taken just the way I want it.
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DaveBlake Offline
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Post: #7
You are correct DarkHelmet, and your advise is good.
I will try and include that issue in my attempts to fix some of the scraping metatdata issue, when I get to that.

(2016-05-21 15:51)jasn Wrote:  ...I only wish Kodi could read a rating tag applied in iTunes. I've found a workaround program to embed iTunes ratings in mp3 files, but not for Apple Lossless (ALAC) files.

Kodi processes the ID3 POPM tag, so you can get the ratings you want to see into that tag then Kodi will read them.

I have not encountered ALAC files but going to guess they may be tagged with Vorbis format tags (like FLAC files are), in which case you put your rating (out of 100) in a tag called RATING and again Kodi will see it.
(This post was last modified: 2016-05-21 18:25 by DaveBlake.)
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bry Offline
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Post: #8
Thanks Zag.

I have a 2 step process for my music tagging as well as sorting.

  1. Run through the files through MusicBrainz Picard to ensure tags and metadata is accurate.
  2. Search on google for the image in a 500x500 resolution
  3. Save the album cover to the album folder as Folder.ext
  4. Remove the musicbrainz album art and apply the 500x500 cover from step (2) with MediaMonkey
  5. Use the AutoOrganize feature from MediaMonkey with the following config:
  6. \\Share\Music\Bryan Music\<Album Artist>\<Album>\<Track#:2>-<Artist>-<Title>

output looks like the below.

Quote:\\share\Music\Bryan Music\Tonedeff\Hunter [EP]
01-Tonedeff-And They Watched Him.mp3
02-Tonedeff-Hunter.mp3
03-Tonedeff-Lucky (feat. Extended Famm).mp3
04-Tonedeff-Narcissus.mp3
05-Tonedeff-Competitive Nature.mp3
Folder.jpg
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Brian B Offline
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Post: #9
And what is "best practice" for compilations/ soundtracks? What about single tracks that are not on any album?

Also, I would like to retain a year for each song and be able to search the library and see every song from say...1982. What is the best way to tag for this? Is it best to just do a filename search and put it in the file...ex. Soft Cell - Tainted Love (1982) ?

Or...should I make it Artist: Soft Cell, Title: Tainted Love, Year: 1982? Do I also need to put Albumartist= Soft Cell for singles (my current practice)?

B.
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DaveBlake Offline
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Post: #10
Quote:Also, I would like to retain a year for each song and be able to search the library and see every song from say...1982. What is the best way to tag for this? Is it best to just do a filename search and put it in the file...ex. Soft Cell - Tainted Love (1982) ? Or...should I make it Artist: Soft Cell, Title: Tainted Love, Year: 1982?
Use the year tag - YEAR in FLAC files or ID3v1, and TYER or TDRC or TDRL in ID3v2.

Quote:Do I also need to put Albumartist= Soft Cell for singles (my current practice)?
No need to do this, but no harm either. When album title is blank Kodi takes the file as a "single" and uses the song artist as it needs to.

Quote:And what is "best practice" for compilations/ soundtracks? What about single tracks that are not on any album?

Took this last. The other big question is what to do with music that has more than one artist? All classical music is like that - composer, conductor, orchestra, soloist - although you would probably put albums under a composer folder, But you get collaborations in other genres e.g. B.B.King & Eric Clapton "Driving With The King".

Also what to do when you have different artists with the same name e.g. John Williams conductor and composer of film music verses John Williams classical guitar player?

In truth the folder structure is not too important to Kodi as long as you are not using local artwork or NFO files which currently depends on a artist>album hierarchy and handles compilations, collaborations, non-unique artist names and singles badly. Something on my long list to improve.

So that all said for now DarkHelmet's suggestions for compilations and soundtracks are good for ensuring that Kodi finds any local artist artwork etc. Personally I would put all the singles under the artist folder, but it depends how many you have and how you like to order your data. I would also put collaborations under a separate folder or folders too, knowing that Kodi can't cope with artwork or NFO for them.

Also after using Kodi for a while I discovered the usefulness of having separate/multiple music sources. I started with my top level folder as the only source, as the initial post describes, but now organise my files so that my classical music, soundtracks, and compilations are all separate sources to the main (pop) music.
(This post was last modified: 2016-05-22 14:21 by DaveBlake.)
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zag Offline
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Post: #11
Yes I have a 2nd source for VA compilations in a separate folder.

All tagged with Picard of course Wink

Just remember to disable including artists on separate compilations in the library settings!
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Brian B Offline
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Post: #12
@zag,

So...

1) I have a large amount of compilation albums. Disabling "including artist on complilations" would not make sense for me (unless I'm misunderstanding). For instance, I have Motown collections with 40+ Four Tops songs. I don't have a single album of Four Tops music however. I want to be able to see "Four Tops" under artists. This is the case for many artists that are apart of compilations (60s/70s/80s) that I don't have single albums for.

2) Organizing by Music/Artist/Album etc. is also undesirable due to the amount of artists and the difficulty of just scanning through the drive to see what albums are there. The only local info I use is the folder.jpg for the album covers. I am reliant on Kodi to supply artist information, but it doesn't pull many. I suppose I need to do something different. Should I be adding artist tags with mbz on each single title (that also isn't part of an album)? I'm also unclear whether I need to something additional? How does this work with compilations? Am I getting all the artists' info somehow?

3) I am not opposed to doing additional scanning with Picard (but to elaborate more on the above answered by DaveBlake), when I have a greatest hits or best of album I don't care when that disc came out, for instance The Essential Bob Dylan is from 2010, but I put the individual years from the songs in the tags. I can then search for songs from 1965 and they will come up, correct? Can I use Picard or will it overwrite my song years on all these albums?

4) What is the correct separator? Is it still "/"? So..for instance with an album of duets...ala BB King's Deuce's Wild record. Do I keep BB King as the albumartist and then per song in the artist I have BB King / Van Morrisson, BB King / The Rolling Stones, etc. etc.?

5) What is going on with the Eric Clapton box set for instance? I currently have Eric Clapton as albumartist and then the artist tag varies from Cream to Derek & The Dominoes to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, etc. Is this correct?

6) I don't need or want "feat." anywhere. If the artist is featured then I would prefer using the separator and having the artist show up as a separate artist, ex Dolly Parton / Kenny Rogers and not Dolly Parton feat. Kenny Rogers.

7) What about three or more artists? Can I still use separators? ex. Hank Mobley / Al Cohn / John Coltrane / Zoot Sims for the 1956 album Tenor Conclave? Can I use separators on albumartist like Daryl Hall / John Oates instead of Hall and Oates? I'd want the singles and Hall and Oates songs to be under the same artist, i.e. Daryl Hall solo songs listed with Hall and Oates tracks he was a part of.

I'm sure there are more questions but this is all I can think of at the moment
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DaveBlake Offline
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Post: #13
1) Yes. if you have lots of comilation albums with songs from varied artists, and no albums by those artists, or lots of singles, then you will want the artists node to show all the artists not just album artists so enable "Include artisits that only appear on compilations"

2) Folder structure only important if you want to use NFOs or local artwork. That dependancy is something I hope to remove in Krypton, but nothing done yet. Lack of scraper results could be failure to recognise the artists by name so mbids would help, but in Jarvis is possibly because it only re-scrapes album artists. So if the scraper is unsuccesful when the music is first loaded (because the server traffic is too high say), when asked to requery it only does so for album artists. It may be worth trying the nightly, this has a few fixes in it that mean the "query info for all" works better.

3) Picard returns a number of date tags, I think you can set which one gets stored as year.

4) Using the item separator as before is just fine, default is " / ", the spaces matter otherwise "AC/DC" gets spilt. But from Krypton on Kodi is more flexible and will accept a number of different artist separator values configurable by the user.

5) Yes.

6) Using the item separator as before is just fine. But for those that have not tagged so consistently, from Krypton on Kodi will try to handle that too. Say you would like to have "artist1 feat. artist2" show while playing, but have both artists separate in the lists. This is now possible in Krypton.

7) yes.

Hope that helps.

7)
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zag Offline
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Post: #14
(2016-05-23 03:41)Brian B Wrote:  @zag,

So...

1) I have a large amount of compilation albums. Disabling "including artist on complilations" would not make sense for me (unless I'm misunderstanding). For instance, I have Motown collections with 40+ Four Tops songs. I don't have a single album of Four Tops music however. I want to be able to see "Four Tops" under artists. This is the case for many artists that are apart of compilations (60s/70s/80s) that I don't have single albums for.

2) Organizing by Music/Artist/Album etc. is also undesirable due to the amount of artists and the difficulty of just scanning through the drive to see what albums are there. The only local info I use is the folder.jpg for the album covers. I am reliant on Kodi to supply artist information, but it doesn't pull many. I suppose I need to do something different. Should I be adding artist tags with mbz on each single title (that also isn't part of an album)? I'm also unclear whether I need to something additional? How does this work with compilations? Am I getting all the artists' info somehow?

3) I am not opposed to doing additional scanning with Picard (but to elaborate more on the above answered by DaveBlake), when I have a greatest hits or best of album I don't care when that disc came out, for instance The Essential Bob Dylan is from 2010, but I put the individual years from the songs in the tags. I can then search for songs from 1965 and they will come up, correct? Can I use Picard or will it overwrite my song years on all these albums?

4) What is the correct separator? Is it still "/"? So..for instance with an album of duets...ala BB King's Deuce's Wild record. Do I keep BB King as the albumartist and then per song in the artist I have BB King / Van Morrisson, BB King / The Rolling Stones, etc. etc.?

5) What is going on with the Eric Clapton box set for instance? I currently have Eric Clapton as albumartist and then the artist tag varies from Cream to Derek & The Dominoes to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, etc. Is this correct?

6) I don't need or want "feat." anywhere. If the artist is featured then I would prefer using the separator and having the artist show up as a separate artist, ex Dolly Parton / Kenny Rogers and not Dolly Parton feat. Kenny Rogers.

7) What about three or more artists? Can I still use separators? ex. Hank Mobley / Al Cohn / John Coltrane / Zoot Sims for the 1956 album Tenor Conclave? Can I use separators on albumartist like Daryl Hall / John Oates instead of Hall and Oates? I'd want the singles and Hall and Oates songs to be under the same artist, i.e. Daryl Hall solo songs listed with Hall and Oates tracks he was a part of.

I'm sure there are more questions but this is all I can think of at the moment

Unfortunately you have some really special and custom requirements there so I don't think this best practice guide is not for you.

The idea of this guide is to make things easy for new users, from the posts above you are looking to organize the music in your own way so i'm not sure how much I can help! To me a media center is all about plug and play with as little user interaction as possible to show media.

You can achieve all you want with things like 'custom tagging' and 'nodes' of course, but I don't really know your examples as I just use picard to auto tag my stuff.

What I will say, is we based the guide on musicbrainz as they have spent years thinking about how to organize music, I used to hate featured artists too, but when you see how it works its surprising and quite nice.
(This post was last modified: 2016-05-24 09:39 by zag.)
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Brian B Offline
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Post: #15
Thanks for the ideas. Truth is, most people already have music somewhere on their system and aren't starting from scratch, so having a guide on how to tag "what's there" is actually very helpful. Others (like me) who have gone through many different software and players over the years knows that not every one works the same way, so trying to find a more universal way to do things makes sense.

MusicBrainz is definitely a trend towards this, but it wasn't working 100% in Kodi either for a long time. It seems this is now changing, so revisiting Picard may make sense for me. If the "feat." thing is working nicely now, then I won't worry about it.

I still have the issue of properly tagging singles and keeping the years per song that I've put in place for many albums, but I'll do my best working on this.

B.
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