Album Artist VS. Artist

I apologize in advance if this has been covered a ton of times but I could not find it via searching.

I have just started making a brand new music library and I wish to have all of the correct information which is why i started using mp3tags which by the way, I am very thankful for. My sister has an iPod and I have an Android. My goal is to have one entry per field. Meaning I do not want to go to artist on any device and have 10 entries for the same artist despite who else sing on that track.

To my understanding, Album Artist is the artist in which the album is under. Meaning if it its Aerosmith's CD, Aerosmith goes under Album Artist and no one else despite who else sings on the album. The Artist field then would be whatever artist is singing on that track like Drake feat. lil Wayne.

From putting music on my Droid and my sisters iPod it appears to be backward. the Droid works one way but in order to get the iPod right, you need to reverse Album Artist and Artist.

Can anyone shed some light onto this?? I am very close to just putting the main artist in both fields to avoid this non-sense but i am very anal and want to have it the correct way. Also, is there an easy way to switch data from column to column. Meaning can I have the program swap the contents in Album Artist and Artist without having to manually do it?

Also I've recently started using this program so I am looking for new features on it. I dont really know any besides TagSources --> MusicBrainz

In general is the albumartist (one word if you refer to the tag im mp3tag) the superior grouping criterion over artist.
For many albums both fields will contain the same data.
In compilations though, the albumartist very often becomes "various artists" and the artist then shows the actual performer.
if the albumartist is not filled then some players pretend that all tracks come from the same artist (the "empty" one) and show each track as track of a separate album.
So, always fill the albumartist tag even if it means to duplicate the data.
In the FAQs you will find instructions on how to create an action that copies the contents of one field to another.

Tag correctly. If the dumb device can't read proper tags, that's the device's fault.

I'd rather my tags be correct from the start than try to fudge them to work on one device.

Did you find a player for Android which fully supportst ALBUMARTIST ?

I'm new on Android, got a new smart phone two weeks ago. I tested several free players from the android market.

All group compilations correctly when I sort for album.
But most of them show the first artist in the album list as the artist of the album.
The only exception is "Jukefox", the app shows "Various Artist" in the album list if I set the COMPILATION tag to "1". But still doesn't read the ALBUMARTIST tag.

When I sort for artist, all of them show every single Arist. None of them has an option to sort for Albumartist.
The only exception again "Jukefox". Here Tracks with COMPILATOIN = 1 show up twice in the artist list, under the artist and under "Various Artists".

The album I am using as an example is LMFAO's Sorry for Party Rocking. There are a few tracks that have featuring artist on those tracks.If I put "LMFAO (feat. Lauren Bennet)" in the ARTIST field and LMFAO in the ALBUMARTIST field, the built in media player on my droid works fine. There aren't any duplicates, one Artist one Album perfect. I was using Winamp on my droid and that im guessing doesn't support ALUBUMARTIST since if i put feat in either field I either get duplicate artist or duplicate albums which is freaking frustrating. I am ill have to stop using Winamp.

The kicker is, as far as I can remember, the format that works on my droid has to be reversed in order to work on my iPod. I'd rather have the tags the right way but i use my iPod in the car and it takes forever to scroll through the artist when there are so many duplicates. For the iPod, if the ARTIST field isn't identical, it makes a new entry for each. My Droid read its correct but the iPod doesn't. Could it be an outdated software on the iPod?

Oh and what about track title. I like to know the featuring artist on that track. The correct way it putting it in the artist field and the player should then show it but should it also be in the title?

To be honest, i dont entirely understand your point pone. There's a ton of features MP3Tag has that I dont even know about.

My point isn't about Mp3tag. There I would call myself pretty experienced and I have no problems to get tags from one field into another and using all the other features of Mp3tag

My problem is with the Android's players. There I'm an absolutely neewbie and need some help. Sorry for hijacking your thread with my own questions.
Mp3tag has is not specially designed for any specific player and as you have experienced, there are no fixed rules which all players follow at the way they treat and support tag fields. In order to optimize your files for your players, you have to know what tag fields are supported and how they are treated. That's what I have described for the players I have tested.
My built in Droid media player seem to be different from yours. I have dupicates in the artst list where the same artist appears with different featurings. And it seems there is nothing I can change about that.

The safest thing which works with all players is dropping the ALBUMARTIST field completely, putting that information into the ARTIST field (artist without "feat...", "various artists", djs of mix-cds, ...) and everything else into the TITLE field. ("title feat. ...." for albums, "artist - title" for compilations).
Or putting the album artist into the ALBUM field and forgo sorting by album name.
But that ater of course the very last solutions. And before spoiling all my tags with something like that, I rather forgo sorting correctly by album artist on my mobile player but keep the correct tag fields on my big archive at home.

For you iPod problem: have you tried using the COMPILATION field? That field has been introduced by itunes, as far as I know, so it should be supported. Enter the value "1" for compilations and leave it empty or enter "0" for standard albums. When you want the different featuring artists in the ARTIST field, you have to treat the album technically as compilation, because it has different artists.

for compilation, best to use a value of "1" when it is a compilation and to NOT have the field at all if not a compilation (rather than a value of "0")

I forgot to mention, I have Cyanogenmod 7 on my droid so that is probably why. I was disappointed to see that Winamp does not support it. It appears that a lot of players use the artist field to in the filter list by artist. I might just do it the incorrect way so it shows up correct on majority of devices and players I use. I wish I could have it the right way and have it read correctly on my devices but whats the point of organizing it if it doesn't work right on the device.

As I mentioned I was using Winamp for some cool desktop features I then tried PowerAMP (theres a free and paid, i used free) which had even cooler features but still no luck. Same thing for TTPod Music Plater v2.8.1. I did not try PlayerPro Music Player Trial. You get 7 day trial of the full $5 paid version. I am not sure what happens on the 8th day, if you cant use the app or cannot use more advanced features but it claims to support the correct tags but have not tried for myself yet.

I am getting to the point where I might just do your second suggestion and eliminate the album artist field or more likely just duplicate artist and album artist.

Side note, big fan of musiXmatch app which finds lyrics as the song starts playing. Another 2 apps might be worth looking into are MusicBrainz and Discogs. I've noticed there are a ton of on device music tag editor. I tried one and even they dont have the artist listed the way I want.

Can you give me some basic tips and tricks for using MP3Tag? I've been using musicbrainz under tag sources to look up entire album information. Besides that, adding album cover and manually changing the fields, I dont know anything else. Is there an easy way to have MP3Tag swap the data in artist for album artist without doing it one by one? How do I have it set my file names to follow the following format:

Track - Song Title - Artist(featuring artist if any)
Track - Song Title - Artist(featuring artist if any) - Album

Thanks in advanced!

The point (for me) is, that I want to keep my collection clean and usable on as many devices as possible. But I also don't want to loose any information. I consider the Albumartist as very important for sorting and finding release. And I mainly do that on my laptop. For the complexity of it and the enormous amount of storage space, I think the laptop will be my main device for the next ten years or so. And almost all software players for windows comupter support Albumartist.
So, to put it short, I hope that Android will support it at some point at the future. I'm almost sure they will do. You can't get over it once you seriously think about music database structures.

I tested it and even got the full version. I think if you don't want it, you can simply delete the app after 7 days, but I have not tested.
It's a very good player. But the albumartist claim is simply wrong. It does not read it at all. However, it uses a kind of workaround, which can produce acceptable results for albums where some tracks have a "feat..." in the artist name. But it doesn't work for compilations.
This it what it does:
For every album, it simply takes one of the tracks' artist field and claims this to be the albumartist. In most cases it's the artist of the first or the last track, in others just one of the tracks between.
Than it has a option to list only artists with albums at the artist list, so you get kind of a albumartist list, but some of the entries are simply wrong, and you never get "Various Artists" as albumartist.

Thanks for the app recommendations. But I prefer tagging in one database (my external harddrive) and moving everything from there to other devices. So tagging on my smartphone and synchronizing it with may hardrive afterwards is no opiton.

The basic things of Mp3tag are explained here:
For more, just search & ask the forum.

For swaping fields, one way to do it is this:
Action: Guess Values
Source format: %artist% %albumartist%
Guessing pattern: %albumartist% %artist%

To re-write your filenames, use:
Action: Format Value
Converter: Tag - Filename
for both things, your formatstring would be: %track% - %title% - %artist% - %album%

You may want to use $num(%track%,2) instead of %track% to always get numbers with leading zeros, if you haven't those in the track field.
I have taken %artist% for what you called Artist(featuring artist if any). If you really swap %artist% and %albumartist%, you have to take the other one, of course.

I forgot to mention my workaround for for the missing albumartist support. I have on folder vor every album on my andooid, which is always formated %albumartist% - %album% (%year%). By this I can use the folder view to get kind of a albumartist view.

Yea I understand, I have the same setup. If i have a song on my devices then I definitely have it on my ftp server. The reason I suggested this is while my library may be "correct" its nice to change it so it looks correct on the device itself. I use these tag editors to change it without having to constantly update the files via file transfer.

Yea I had not considered that which is a good option but I dont think every player has an option to view by folder.

I've started managing all of my family's music as well and they like having one entry per artist despite compilations. Since I am just starting out on my library, I will probably do it the "correct way" and put the one artist in the album artist and the feat. in Artist but use MP3Tag to make a copy and alter it to fit each devices' needs. Its more work but I want it the way I like on each and every device. HOPEFULLY one day this tag nonsense will be completely uniform and I think is BS that is already isn't <_<.

Thanks for explaining how to set filenames and swap field values. This will come in handy when I need to alter a copy my library before loading it on a device. I still may just have albumartist and artist identical and put the feat in the title but hoping one day everything will support albumartist and I wont have to go back and alter my entire Library. I wanted to clarify this as I am just starting out on my library and building it as I get/need songs. I wouldn't want to have a full library and then have to go back and alter it all.

Thanks again for everyones help!

Unfortunately, I don't see any truly clear cut tagging standards emerging in the near future. You'll almost always have to deal with differences in applications' handling of tags. If you're smart about it, you can tag things with Mp3tag so that you can deal with new applications in the future. One thing that I do is "stash" data in fields that are unrecognized. For instance, I have one application where if you tag COMPOSER, it adds the composer to the artist list and makes a mess of it. So if I do tag the composer, I'll use a field named COMPOSERX and hope that in the future I can move all of that data to COMPOSER when either the application is improved or I move on to another.

I find that all of my applications use ALBUMARTIST fairly well, so I do add the field to every track. In probably 98% of the cases, it's the same as ARTIST. For compilations I'll add COMPILATION=1 and also set ALBUMARTIST=Various Artists. An application can handle that in a couple of different ways. One, it sees the COMPILATION field and groups the album with all of the other compilations. Two, it simply treats 'Various Artists' like any other album artist name, so they all end up grouped together under that name.

The place where I find the decision-making toughest is deciding on ALBUMARTIST names. For instance, collaboration albums by popular artists that also appear by themselves in the library, like the album 'Raising Sand' by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. If you set ALBUMARTIST=Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, then you end up with a new artist in the library. If you set it to one or the other, then the album may only be found under one of them. I tend to do the former, but it does expand the album artist list quite a bit, especially if you have a lot of jazz albums, where these groupings are commonplace.

I guess you know about multi-value tag fields? But that's of course another question of support by different applications.

Sure. Like you say, that's a different question.

That Raising Sand album would be tagged in FLAC for an application that supports multiple artists as

ALBUM=Raising Sand
ALBUMARTIST=Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
ARTIST=Robert Plant
ARTIST=Alison Krauss

There would be a new 'Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' album artist, but I'd also expect to find the album under both of the individual artists. Under an application that doesn't support multiple values, the app might do any number of things - it might see only one ARTIST, or it might concatenate them.

Then you could use a single field with separator character, or NULL separator in ID3v2 (strictly, should only be ID3v2.4, but I think Mp3tag may also do NULL separators with ID3v2.3 tags), and on and on and on.

Luckily, I use primarily just one application for my FLAC library (Squeezebox Server), which recognizes ALBUMARTIST , multiple ARTIST fields, plus _SORT fields in Vorbis Comments. And just one application on my portable players (Rockbox) which recognizes ALBUMARTIST, but not multi-value fields or _SORT fields. When I transcode the FLAC library to MP3 with ID3v2.3 fields, it's not hard to find compromises that works well enough in Rockbox.

I have been swamped with the holiday season so I have not had a chance to read new replies but I have a few questions...

if there is only one disc is it better to have the Discnumber field blank or 1/1

The track field like 1, 2, 3, .... or 1/17, 2/17, 3/17

If there is a feat. artist is it ideal to have it in the Title?

I think "they" could solve all this nonsense by adding a new field featuring/contributor keeping it separate. It wouldn't be like the aritst field that has Drake Feat. Nikki but just the feat artist. Then you could just add the feat. to any field quickly using the actions part in mp3tag and then you could search all songs by an artist and it would show tracks in which they art featuring.

My response to these questions is that it's primarily application specific. And when it makes no difference in your preferred application, personal preference.

In multidisc sets I use DISCNUMBER and TOTALDISCS. I'm not sure where these field names originated (although I know dbpoweramp uses them), but they work in my primary application - Squeezebox Server. I've also seen DISC and DISCTOTAL used. For single disc sets I prefer to leave out both fields. Some applications will display the disc number before track number and I don't need to see 1-1, 1-2, etc. for a single disc album.

I prefer the former. The 'n/m' form seems to be used mostly in Mp3 files. I've also seen TOTALTRACKS and TRACKTOTAL used for the total number, and many applications will simply compute their own total. I don't include it.

Probably. Either there or use a multi-value ARTIST field. The latter, though, isn't always handled well by applications.

The problem is that there is no "they". There are no standards bodies defining any of the usages. They arise out of applications' use of the various fields. Apple, for instance, with iTunes has defined a number of new fields and how they're to be used. These de facto standards are all we have to work with.

Not sure if ya got an answer for this but I use Google Music on all my Android devices and it recognizes all the tags fine ...

If you intend to use your album via the Samsung AllShare (basically any Samsung device that supposts it) then you will need to have the MEDIATYPE tag blank.

Google Music for Android is available in the U.S. only :frowning:
Can you use it as offline player or is it just for the music you have in your google music account?

I upload all of my music to it ... sorry forgot it was a US only thing though. I have an APK for an older version and not sure if it would work if you just install it on your device. I can send it to you if you want to try. Let me know if you want it and how I can send it to you. Or maybe you can use something like Tor for a US IP ... just an idea

thank you, but not needed. i'm only interested in offline solutions.