Album Artist Confusion

I have recently started using MP3TAG to remove ID3 tags that were inadvertently added to some of my Flac files. I have a couple of questions after reviewing the results.

  1. When viewing the resulting files in MP3TAG the TAG field says FLAC(FLAC), I believe this means there are no more ID3 tags. The Album Artist field is empty. When viewing the same file in a different editor there is an entry in the Album Artist field. Where is this coming from and how do I determine what kind of tag it is?

  2. I understand that I can use MP3TAG to manually (or automatically) make an entry in the Album Artist field. How does MP3TAG store this? Is this a vorbis comment?

  3. Will adding the Album Artist to a Flac file violate any "rule" or "convention"? I am not sure I understand why Flac files are not suppose to have ID3 tags but after searching on this subject that seems to be the case, hence my effort to remove them.

  4. In the MP3TAG options I have ID3V1 deselected in the write box while working on my Flac files. If I want to use MP3TAG for MP3 files I assume I would have to go back into the options and select this?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can clear this up for me.

That is as it is supposed to be: flac should have only flac tags.

See Tools>Options>Tags>Mapping
There you can enter fields that should be mapped onto each other. I think on shipment there are mappings for DATE, ORGANIZATION and TRACKNUMBER.

Please note that a field for the album artist has the MP3tag variable ALBUMARTIST (one word). A variable with the name ALBUM ARTIST would be a user-defined one which would not be saved as the standard ALBUMARTIST - so perhaps you check your field definitions.

I would not use ID3V1 even on MP3 files ... but that is something else.
MP3tag takes care to write only those tags to a file that comply with the corresponding standard. For flac files, MP3tag only writes vorbis comments, don't worry about the settings for ID3 tags. For flac files you simply have no choice, whereas you have one for MP3 files.
Other file types have chunks or atoms as parts of their tags - and they can still be treated by MP3tag.

Thanks, you have cleared up several of my questions.

I only have three entries in the mapping options and none of them include Album Artist or ALBUMARTIST.

My confusion is when I view the file in MP3TAG there is a field called Album Artist (not ALBUMARTIST). If this is not a valid field why is it there? Here is a screenshot:

I looked at the help on mapping and saw this:

Please note that fields of VorbisComments (used with FLAC, OGG, SPX) and of APEv2 tags are not mapped internally by Mp3tag but are displayed with their actual name unless they have a user-defned mapping.

Is there a way to view the entire vorbis comment for a flac file? I guess I am not clear how the MP3TAG file display is working, If the Artist field is not mapped to something, why is an artist's name showing up in that field?

Sorry if these questions obvious to others, I am just trying to understand so I get this tagging thing right.

The column headers are a freely definable label.
Right-click on the column header to see the column definition - it should show %albumartist% for both field and value.

ALBUM ARTIST would be a valid, yet user-defined field and no standard field.

Use the extended tags dialogue - press Alt-T. This is the place to check also for all other file types.

Thanks once again, I think I'm almost there. I tried the Alt-T on another example:

If I followed you all the information shown here should be from a vorbis comment. Once again the Album Artist field confuses me. It has an entry here but not in the file view. I'm assuming that is expected behavior but it seems odd to me.

Just like I assumed: there is a field ALBUM ARTIST where it should be called ALBUMARTIST.
You could try this for a test file:
Select the file
Use Convert>Tag-Tag for field ALBUMARTIST
Format String: %album artist%

This copies the contents of ALBUM ARTIST to the field ALBUMARTIST - and that field should be visible in the file list.

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I think what you are telling me is that the software that wrote the metadata wrote to a field called ALBUM ARTIST when is should have written to ALBUMARTIST?

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That sums it up, I would say.

As already stated, ALBUMARTIST is standard nowadays.

Just be aware that ALBUM ARTIST (and ALBUM SORT, ARTIST SORT etc) used to be common for FLAC/Vorbis, and is still used and sometimes even required. I liked this approach for its simplicity, but because some computer geeks fear the blank spaces, ALBUMARTIST gained ground.

Personally, I've kept ALBUM ARTIST, ALBUM SORT etc in my FLAC library because it still works in my players and servers and because it's straightforward - the tag name is what you see, not a code nor a paraphrase. Which was the intent of Vorbis comment from the beginning.

Starting from scratch though, you should use ALBUMARTIST (unless you encounter problems, which should be rare).

Here is a thread that discusses more all the virtues and drawbacks of the different naming schemes and how to cope with them:

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