Confused on how to deal with compilation albums with album artists and release series
#1
Music 
Hi, everyone,

I've read the documentation on music tagging, scraping and massaging them into the database, but I'm still confused.

The wiki, especially section 3.2, deals with the file structure of albums, both artist albums and compilation albums. Some of this is easy. For example Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" calls for an artis folder "Pink Floyd", containing a folder for each album (in this case "Dark side of the Moon") which in turn contains a separate MP3 file for each track. The compilation album "Celtic Myst" by various artists has its own album folder under the "Compilations" folder but no artist folder.

However, I also have a vast number of compilation albums that do have an album artist. For example, "A State of Trance 2018" contains 42 works by different artists, but Armin van Buuren is listed as the album artist because he's the bloke who mixed all these separate tracks into a single album.

Then there are the compilation albums that all belong to the same series. There are two dozen albums in the "Supperclub" series alone which are classified as being from "Various Artists" but are entirely different in character from a "Various Artists" collection such as "Best Ever 80s Hits" or "We are the Blules 1995". Yet, from what I understand, Kodi simply treats them all alike. I would rather treat series of similar compilation albums by various artists and no listed album artist (e.g. the Supperclub or "Café del Mar" series) separately from the "mixed bag" compilation albums that are not part of their own separate group or series. From a standpoint of folder structure and file organization this is simple, but how does Kodi treat these albums when adding them to the database? I have read the Wiki, including section 7.1 which deals with compilations and multiple artists, but I'm still confused on how to treat these three different types of compilation albums.

Also, Musicbrainz is inconsistent when it comes to album artist tags. Some albums by Armin van Buuren have an album artist tag listing him as the album artist, but from other albums by Armin van Buuren (which should be treated identical) the Album Artist tag is missing. Section 7 of the Wiki warns me not to override this and change the album artist myself, because if I do that I'll apparently hose my database, a tree will fall on my house and I might just possibly trigger the Apocalypse.  Blush Does that mean that I can't correct MB's inconsistencies and am forced to introduce them into my database?

How should I deal with this? All suggestions are appreciated!!

PS: is it possible to add just one folder of music to the database without having to do an entire database update? I can scrape a single movie by navigating to the video file and hitting the 'i' button; is it possible to do the same with a single folder of MP3 files?

Tnx!
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#2
Lots to answer here, and I will be back with more advice tomorrow (time for dinner now). But one simple reply to start with
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: is it possible to add just one folder of music to the database without having to do an entire database update? I can scrape a single movie by navigating to the video file and hitting the 'i' button; is it possible to do the same with a single folder of MP3 files?
Yes but not in the way video does it because "scraping" in music is just tpo fetch additional artist and album info. You can do one of 2 things:

1) Scan just a subfolder - navigate in file view down to the folder you want and from the context menu click on "scan to library"
2) Add a music source - you can have more than one music source, and then use that to filter your music too.

Library update will check all the folder and files already added to your library for changes (in date stamp or size) and then deeper scan where it finds changes. This is not as slow as deeply rescanning everything, but can take time to check if you have a large libarary.
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#3
(2019-04-07, 19:57)DaveBlake Wrote: TLots to answer here, and I will be back with more advice tomorrow (time for dinner now). But one simple reply to start with
[Info on how to add single music folders]

Thank you, sir! That's a great help already; I'll add small numbers of albums at a time to see what happens. That should reduce the risk of hosing my database. Blush Much appreciated!
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#4
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: I've read the documentation on music tagging, scraping and massaging them into the database, but I'm still confused.
That is understandable, but I promise you can make a nice music library without too much pain.
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: The wiki, especially section 3.2 deals with the file structure of albums, both artist albums and compilation albums....
That is a reasonable place to start, but unfortuneately wiki has not yet been updated yet for v18 which supports more flexibilty in locating local art, which means that you have more options on how you arrange things. But generally a structure <album artist>/<album>/<music files> makes sense.

 
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: However, I also have a vast number of compilation albums that do have an album artist. For example, "A State of Trance 2018" contains 42 works by different artists, but Armin van Buuren is listed as the album artist because he's the bloke who mixed all these separate tracks into a single album.
People think of compliations in different ways and want them handled in different ways. You can tell Kodi that an album is a compilation in one of 3 ways
a) Tag all the music files with a COMPILATION tag (a non-standard itines thing that has caught on)
b) Tag music files with common album name but different artists (and no album artist). Kodi then gives it the album artist "Various Artists" (or equivalent in your language)
c) Tag the music files with album artist "Various Artists"

Approach a) means that you can have anthologies e.g. "Greatest Hits" (all songs by same album (and song) artist but culled from different releases), or the kind of album you give as an example as a compilation if you want to do so.

What Kodi does special with a compilation is list them under a separate node - Compilations - and not under the Albums node. But they will be listed under the albums by an album artist if you navigate artists > albums

 
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: Then there are the compilation albums that all belong to the same series. There are two dozen albums in the "Supperclub" series alone which are classified as being from "Various Artists" but are entirely different in character from a "Various Artists" collection such as "Best Ever 80s Hits" or "We are the Blules 1995". Yet, from what I understand, Kodi simply treats them all alike.
Yes, support for disc sets like that is not been developed (yet). Your best approach (for accessibility) is to split the series into separate albums. Some people I know treat the series name like an album artist (rather than "various artists"). It all depends how much of this you have and how you like to access it.

 
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: I would rather treat series of similar compilation albums by various artists and no listed album artist (e.g. the Supperclub or "Café del Mar" series) separately from the "mixed bag" compilation albums that are not part of their own separate group or series. From a standpoint of folder structure and file organization this is simple, but how does Kodi treat these albums when adding them to the database? I have read the Wiki, including section 7.1 which deals with compilations and multiple artists, but I'm still confused on how to treat these three different types of compilation albums.
File organisation and folder naming does not matter to how Kodi builds the library - songs, albums and artists are derrived from the embedded tags. Scanning would cope with one big flat structureless bucket, it is humans that would struggle with that! However if you want Kodi to be able to pick up local art work, or specify additional album and artist data via NFO files, then folder structure starts to matter a bit more.

Before v18 that meant a strict artist/album layout, but v18 is liberated from that for artists. The artist nfos and local art can be off in a separate structure from the music.

So how do you want to organise the music files for the different kinds of compilation you have? None of them have to be in a folder of "compilations", just tag them as you want them arranged in the library. I think you have read the old wiki and think you must do something special, you don't need to.
 
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: Also, Musicbrainz is inconsistent when it comes to album artist tags. Some albums by Armin van Buuren have an album artist tag listing him as the album artist, but from other albums by Armin van Buuren (which should be treated identical) the Album Artist tag
is missing.
How users enter data does vary despite attempts to enforce guidelines and produce consistency. One approach would be to submit edits to Musicbrainz to make it consistent, but that may take too much of your life! I doubt that the album artist tag is missing, I'm pretty sure that all releases have artist credits (example if I'm wrong), but that might be "Various Artists". MB guidelines don't allow for having a series name as the album artist, so it may be that MB tagging is not suited to your use. The benefits of it generally are better scraping of additional artist and album info and art, but there can be reasons to sacrifice that.
 
(2019-04-07, 19:32)frankvw Wrote: Section 7 of the Wiki warns me not to override this and change the album artist myself, because if I do that I'll apparently hose my database, a tree will fall on my house and I might just possibly trigger the Apocalypse.  Blush Does that mean that I can't correct MB's inconsistencies and am forced to introduce them into my database?
Ho, yes end of the world. Smile
It is written like that because in the early days when Kodi first started processing mbid tags some users got in a great mess and became very upset about it. Kodi assumes that these were added by software hence are consistent and complete. So if you want to change the artist or album artist tag you also have to edit the matching artist mbid tag and album artist mbid tag. Or if you decide it is too much faff then remove all mbid tags not just some of them. If Kodi finds a release mbid it will expect the artist mbid tags to be present too etc.

If it is about genuine errors at Musicbrainz then help the commity out by editing the entries. If it is about Series name as album artist then maybe remove mbid tags or edit them intelligently.

My advice is that you experiment and find out what suits you. I'm happy to explain aspects in more detail if you get unexpected behaviour. I know there are users into big sets of club music, and maybe they will share their approaches.
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#5
Thank you so much for that excellent reply! It makes a lot more sense now.

What I've done so far is to essentially implement the file structure indicated in the wiki (artist->album->songs for single-artist albums and album-> songs for compilations) but I've got three different folders for compilations - one for compilations by artists, one for compilations by series and one for various artists. From what you write that should help to keep my collection human-manageable without having any effect on how Kodi populates its database.

I've bitten the bullet and tagged all albums not by a single album artists as having 'Various Artists' as their albums artist. I tried to add a "Compilation" tag but KID3 doesn't seem to want to do that, so I'm trying it this  way first. In some cases this overrides what Musicbrainz came up with, which is what section 7 of the Wiki warns against.

From what you write, I understand that if there are MBID tags present, Kodi will contact MB and do to my files what MB wants rather than what I want, is that correct?

(Not sure what the use of that would be, though, but I guess it made sense to team Kodi at the time.)

Is there a reason why I shouldn't simply nuke all MBID tags (thereby essentially killing all MB support in Kodi)? I'd hate to do that because I assume that the strong support Kodi has for MB was intended to be a Good Thing, but if all it does is get in the way of my intended way of organizing my files, there's little for it.

Once again thank you for all your advice and the time you have taken to type it all up! It's greatly appreciated!!
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#6
(2019-04-09, 14:42)frankvw Wrote: From what you write that should help to keep my collection human-manageable without having any effect on how Kodi populates its database.
Yes human manageable, v18 can do the artist local art (if needed) separately.
 
(2019-04-09, 14:42)frankvw Wrote: I've bitten the bullet and tagged all albums not by a single album artists as having 'Various Artists' as their albums artist. I tried to add a "Compilation" tag but KID3 doesn't seem to want to do that, so I'm trying it this  way first. In some cases this overrides what Musicbrainz came up with, which is what section 7 of the Wiki warns against.
If you have just changed album artist tag to "Various artists", but left whatever Musicbrainz Album Artist Id tag you also had then you will hit trouble. This needs changing to be 89ad4ac3-39f7-470e-963a-56509c546377 - the mbid for matching "Various Artists".

I assume that you have done this because you want them all to appear under the Compilation node? If KID3 can't add a compilation tag then use a tool that can e.g. Mp3Tag or Picard. It is a better approach than changing album artist and associated mbid.
 
(2019-04-09, 14:42)frankvw Wrote: From what you write, I understand that if there are MBID tags present, Kodi will contact MB and do to my files what MB wants rather than what I want, is that correct?
No, not at all!!!
There was an idea originally that Kodi could be made to phone home and get new data from Musicbrainz if the tagging was edited (correcting mistakes) rather than users having to retag, but it was never implemented. Kodi does not do that.

What I meant was that when it finds mbid tags during scanning it uses them to gather related music files together rather than using just artist names and song and album titles. Once it finds an album (release) mbid it assumes that the file will also have artist and track mbids, and if they are missing (because a human deleted them) then it can't process the file correctly. Use them or don't, but don't leave incomplete or edit in ways that don't match the other tags.
 
(2019-04-09, 14:42)frankvw Wrote: Is there a reason why I shouldn't simply nuke all MBID tags (thereby essentially killing all MB support in Kodi)? I'd hate to do that because I assume that the strong support Kodi has for MB was intended to be a Good Thing, but if all it does is get in the way of my intended way of organizing my files, there's little for it.
MBIDs are useful because names are not very unique (the bigger and more diverse you collection the more likely you are to need this).
Advantages:
  • They allow you to have different artists with the same name in your library e.g. "John Williams" the classical guitarist and "John Williams" the film music composer and conductor.
  • They negate inconsistencies in artist naming e.g. having "Peter Tchaikovsky" on some albums and "Piotr Czajkowski" on others
  • They allow you to have more than one release of an album in your library e.g. the normal and deluxe editions of an album
  • They clearly identify the artist and album in ways that names alone can not. This can then be used to accurately pick up additional artist and album information and art (stuff not in the tags such as album review, or artist dates). e.g. which of the 90 artists called "Darius" do you want?
  • They allow the scraping process (that fetches the additional data and art) to be more efficient, otherwise an extra call is made to try and get an mbid first to use at other remote sites, and each request from Musicbrainz must be throttled to 1 per sec.
 
If none of that is of interest to you then nuke away.

If you like use mbids in some albums and not in others, just don't leave partial mbid tags in some files, or in some files from an album but not others (Kodi will see these as 2 separate albums). My own collection has some albums with mbid tags and others not just from history, but now I always tag with them even making Musicbrainz entries when I rip a release they don't have an entry for.

My advice - organise the files in a way that is nice for you as a human. Tag them accurately and consistently, dare I even suggest you accept what Musicbrainz offers and see the outcome as a library before you meddle with it.
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#7
Sorry for the late response; I had to be out on business unexpectedly.

Thank you so much for your help, Dave! It's much clearer to me now and I'm sure that with this info I'll be able to kick my music collection into shape. Smile Now that I know how it actually works, I'll update the MBID tags in those albums I reassigned to the correct album artist, and I should be fine.

Once again thanks for taking the time to type up this excellent explanation. It's greatly appreciated!
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