NFO for music... how-to and why?
#1
Ive seen various mentions of NFO files. Most of what I could find in the Kodi wiki was about video NFOs.

How do I create an NFO file for music? What is it the benefit of doing so?
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#2
I hope that someone that uses NFO files will come along with a better answer.

Current implementation (v17) is flawed for artists that collaborate on albums, or for sets of CDs, work to be done to fix it. But let's say your music is simple - all albums are 1 CD, and have a single album artist.

An NFO file can be used to provide additional information about an artist or album, and if "Prefer online information" is enabled it can also override some library data previously derrived from music file tags. The information is also the kind of thing that can be scraped from online sources, listed here http://kodi.wiki/view/Music_tagging#Data_Kodi_Scrapes in wiki (but not well explained).

For albums the xml tags loaded are: "title", "musicBrainzAlbumID", "artistdesc", genre", "style", "mood", "theme", "compilation", "review", "releasedate", "label", "type", "year", "rating", "userrating", "votes", "thumb" plus albumartist credits (name mbid) and tracks (title, duration, mbid and artists). The tracks just get displayed, they are not connected to the songs that you have in your collection. The ability to scrape album artists can really cock up your library if the scraper mis-identifies the album and you have override tags enabled.

For artists the xml tags loaded are: "name", "musicBrainzArtistID", "sortname", "genre", "style", "mood", "yearsactive", "instruments", "born", "formed", "biography", "died", "disbanded", "thumb", "fanart" plus discography (again no connection to the albums that you own).

As you can see many things that don't come from music file tags, plus a few that do. Some example music NFO files would be useful wouldn't it. Here is an artist one:
artist.NFO
Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<artist>
    <name>Vonda Shepard</name>
    <musicBrainzArtistID></musicBrainzArtistID>
    <sortname>Shepard, Vonda</sortname>
    <genre>Pop</genre>
    <style>Rock/Pop</style>
    <yearsactive>1980s - 2010s</yearsactive>
    <born>New York City, USA (1963)</born>
    <formed></formed>
    <biography>Vonda Shepard (born July 7, 1963) is an American pop/rock singer. She appeared as a regular in the television show Ally McBeal from seasons 1-5 in which she played a resident performer at the bar... ....album.</biography>
    <died></died>
    <disbanded></disbanded>
    <thumb preview="http://www.theaudiodb.com/images/media/artist/thumb/ssxxtr1362967460.jpg/preview">http://www.theaudiodb.com/images/media/artist/thumb/ssxxtr1362967460.jpg</thumb>
    <fanart>
        <thumb preview="http://assets.fanart.tv/preview/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/vonda-shepard-4f4011538d212.jpg">http://assets.fanart.tv/fanart/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/vonda-shepard-4f4011538d212.jpg</thumb>
        <thumb preview="http://assets.fanart.tv/preview/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/vonda-shepard-4f40118deecfb.jpg">http://assets.fanart.tv/fanart/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/vonda-shepard-4f40118deecfb.jpg</thumb>
        <thumb preview="http://assets.fanart.tv/preview/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/shepard-vonda-51c751feef2f6.jpg">http://assets.fanart.tv/fanart/music/31e82ae9-f414-4a68-a0bf-d2719368166d/artistbackground/shepard-vonda-51c751feef2f6.jpg</thumb>
    </fanart>
    <album>
        <title>By 7:30</title>
        <year>1999</year>
    </album>
    <album>
        <title>Chinatown</title>
        <year>2002</year>
    </album>
    <album>
        <title>The Radical Light</title>
        <year>1992</year>
    </album>
    <album>
        <title>It&apos;s Good Eve</title>
        <year>1996</year>
    </album>
    <album>
        <title>From the Sun</title>
        <year>2008</year>
    </album>
    <album>
        <title>Vonda Shepard</title>
        <year>1989</year>
    </album>
</artist>

album.NFO

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<album>
    <title>Their Greatest Hits: The Record</title>
    <musicBrainzAlbumID>6136bbcd-fdcd-47b7-bad9-478571076706</musicBrainzAlbumID>
    <artist>Bee Gees</artist>
    <genre>Rock &amp; Roll</genre>
    <style>Bouncy</style>
    <mood></mood>
    <theme></theme>
    <compilation>true</compilation>
    <review>Blah.... </review>
    <type>Album, compliation </type>
    <releasedate></releasedate>
    <label>Polydor</label>
    <thumb preview="http://assets.fanart.tv/fanart/music/bf0f7e29-dfe1-416c-b5c6-f9ebc19ea810/albumcover/their-greatest-hits-the-record-disc-1-4e06c11518e20.jpg/preview">http://assets.fanart.tv/fanart/music/bf0f7e29-dfe1-416c-b5c6-f9ebc19ea810/albumcover/their-greatest-hits-the-record-disc-1-4e06c11518e20.jpg</thumb>
    <path>nfs://192.168.1.50/media/sde1/home/home/xbmc/Music/Bee Gees/Their Greatest Hits_ The Record/</path>
    <rating: max=10>8</rating>
    <year>2001</year>
    <albumArtistCredits>
        <artist>Bee Gees</artist>
        <musicBrainzArtistID>bf0f7e29-dfe1-416c-b5c6-f9ebc19ea810</musicBrainzArtistID>
    </albumArtistCredits>
    <track>
        <musicBrainzTrackID></musicBrainzTrackID>
        <title>Stayin&apos; Alive</title>
        <position>1</position>
        <duration>00:00</duration>
    </track>
    <track>
        <musicBrainzTrackID></musicBrainzTrackID>
        <title>How Deep Is Your Love</title>
        <position>2</position>
        <duration>00:00</duration>
    </track>
...
    <track>
        <musicBrainzTrackID></musicBrainzTrackID>
        <title>You Should Be Dancing</title>
        <position>21</position>
        <duration>00:00</duration>
    </track>
</album>

During scraping Kodi will apply the contents of an artist or album NFO file that it finds in what it determines to be the folder for that album or artist. This has nothing to do with folder names, but taken from the location of the song files for the album or artist.

How do I create an NFO file for music?

Well a simple text editor will do the job, although there are probably media management tools that will do so too. If you have scraped album or artist info from online sources then exporting your music library (from Settings>Media>Library) to separate files (it asks) will sprinkle NFO files throughout your music folders. Frankly I hate that, but it you can then see what a NFO looks like.

What is it the benefit of doing so?

If you are happy with the "wisdom of crowds" that comes from online scraping, or don't care actually about artist bios, or album reviews etc. and so don't scrape online at all then there is none. On the other hand if you like control of your library, or want to use Kodi without an online connection, or move your library without rescraping online, or want to specify additional artist or album info for things that are not well known and so don't scrape online, or use different values for say artist style or album theme etc. then NFO files are the way to do that.
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#3
I've never found any use/need for most of the "scrape" data, such as "moods". Some of that was when I was using the Last.FM scraper in the past and the data was all crap. The only things of interest to me are the artist thumb and fanart, and the bio. For albums just the review (or other comment about the album release).

There have been efforts to create music managers that generate nfo files, but I haven't seen any of these come to completion. Because music nfo files require your music to be organized in specific folder structure, I use xml file library import instead. I hand-edit the few details I care about in the xml file.

scott s.
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#4
In the bad old days before Dave started improving the name matching and widespread use of musicbrainz id's we used to get a hell of a lot of mismatches or misses altogether. I found the nfo files really useful to save information for artists not found on the big metadata sites. Also, there was a time when MusicBrainz was throttling the access of kodi users due to the strain all those information requests were putting on their servers. When libraries were a little less stable and needed re-scanning each time there was a new version or a corruption it was a little unfair for a million Kodi users to scrape Elvis' biography 50 times from allmusic or musicbrainz, so unsurprisingly they got the hump with Kodi (or XBMC as it was then). Finally, as music is an extremely personal thing we may like things organised differently. When I listen to a symphony I like to learn about the composer and the piece and so could save the information from Classical Archives to read, or if I was particularly ambitious save some of the score to play along with. Other people like to read about the album and the performer. Nfo files gave that flexibility and was safer than people editing the database directly.

Some of these things have been (or are being) solved more elegantly, but I've historically found nfo files to be really useful for flexibility.

In terms of an editor I like mediaelch. When you save it creates an nfo file and you can then right-click to open the nfo file in a text editor if you want more direct access as Dave describes above.
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#5
MediaElch fan here as well, and it does indeed create .NFO files for the Artist, and Albums. Of course it is time consuming as you have to first search for the artist. Then under the artist, select each album, and search for that as well. The benefit being you get moods for your music (as that is one of the things that are scraped).

So a little more work, but in the end, you get an awesome looking library, with all the Artists Posters, and Fanart, and tons of Bio into (as well as Album info). Now it's not perfect, and there are some artists you have to do extra work for to get all the data, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for the awesome benefits of MediaElch.
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#6
I downloaded MediaElch. For the life of me though, I can't figure out how to do anything with it. Is there a user guide somewhere? Or, would you kindly walk me through the steps to create an NFO for one of my albums? Thanks!!
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#7
There's a thread on supplementary tools, but I'm not sure there's any instructions as such. It's pretty easy though:

Go to the settings tab (spanner and screwdriver icon) and add the path to your music and select music in the type drop down box. Click save settings.
Go to the music section on the left hand menu bar and select the reload icon (circular arrow icon).
If you've already got nfo files (by exporting your Kodi database) it should populate the fields, if not you'll need to click the scrape icon (cloud with down arrow). Hopefully it will find your artist and album in MusicBrainz and you can select the appropriate releases, and choose the check boxes for the information you want to save. If not you can enter the appropriate information yourself.
Once your information is populated hit save (floppy disk icon as used by the Pentagon). It will now create or update the nfo file. You will also be able to right click on your artist or album name and open the nfo in a text editor.

Hope that works, but let us know if you get stuck, or Powerhouse can correct anything I've forgotten or got wrong.
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#8
Here is a youtube video, that basically shows what WelshPaul said (but this is for Movies, but really applies to everything - Music, Movies, TV, Concerts, etc)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ5hSNAY-qA
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#9
(2016-12-29, 12:55)WelshPaul Wrote: There's a thread on supplementary tools, but I'm not sure there's any instructions as such. It's pretty easy though:

Go to the settings tab (spanner and screwdriver icon) and add the path to your music and select music in the type drop down box. Click save settings.
Go to the music section on the left hand menu bar and select the reload icon (circular arrow icon).
If you've already got nfo files (by exporting your Kodi database) it should populate the fields, if not you'll need to click the scrape icon (cloud with down arrow). Hopefully it will find your artist and album in MusicBrainz and you can select the appropriate releases, and choose the check boxes for the information you want to save. If not you can enter the appropriate information yourself.
Once your information is populated hit save (floppy disk icon as used by the Pentagon). It will now create or update the nfo file. You will also be able to right click on your artist or album name and open the nfo in a text editor.

Hope that works, but let us know if you get stuck, or Powerhouse can correct anything I've forgotten or got wrong.

Thanks. That was exactly what I needed!! (BTW, part of my problem was that I was originally trying this on my Surface Book. It appears that MediaElch has some issues with high resolution displays? The settings tab was so tiny, I literally didn't see that it existed.

Anyway, I successfully created my first NFO file! :-)

Hope you don't mind one more question... what does the "Synchronize to Kodi" function do?

Thanks!
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#10
MediaElch by no means is perfect, but it does the trick for me. I use it for artists - primarily to get poster and fanart, but also some artist description. This works very well. Using it for albums is very time-consuming if you have a large collection and it is not clear to me whether there is any value if you have perfect tags?
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#11
(2017-01-04, 03:46)elee532 Wrote: what does the "Synchronize to Kodi" function do?

Don't know, I've never used it. I guess it does the same as 'Library Update' or 'Scan for New Content' does within Kodi, which is the way I go.

(2017-01-04, 08:05)steve1977 Wrote: Using it for albums is very time-consuming if you have a large collection

I agree with this if you're creating all your nfo's from scratch. I've only ever used it to edit and correct things after I've exported the nfo's initially from Kodi.

(2017-01-04, 08:05)steve1977 Wrote: it is not clear to me whether there is any value if you have perfect tags?

For me (being a little compulsive about things) the combination of tags, nfos and .srt files gives me the greatest ability to flexibly store many different bits of information, and then I can design my own visualisation screens to present it as I want. This is really useful for playing along to songs, etc. I know there's been a recent major overhaul and increase in the availability of infotags, but it used to be the case that you couldn't easily present song tag infos on screen but could from the nfos. I guess it depended where the database scanned the information from. So, it is probably becoming less and less important generally, but I still like the flexibility to tailor things the way I like them, and that's what I've always loved about Kodi.
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