Artist Sort Query

First Post.
I need help please (Newbie) how do I get Artistsort to display Surname First, for example Elvis Presley in Artist, Presley, Elvis in Artistsort?

Idiots guide would be very welcome.

Thank You

Do you use any Websources and get this information wrong from (which?) external Sources?

Or do you already have the tag ARTIST filled with "Elvis Presley" and now you want an additional tag ARTISTSORT showing Presley, Elvis?

If ARTIST is already filled, try an action of the type "Format value" for ARTISTSORT
Format string: $regexp(%artist%,(.*) (.*),'$2, $1')

If you want to have the same thing with a preview, try Convert>Tag-Tag with the same parameters.


And in addition to the suggested action by @ohrenkino make sure you filter your selection to only include artists with a single "first name" "last name" to ensure you don't apply this to band names, or artists with three names like David Lee Roth. You can apply another filter and a new action as required to fix odd names, or do them manually if it only applies to a few.


I would not manipulate the artist name at all.
Just as you pointed out, looking vor David Lee Roth under "Lee Roth, David" would not make much sense.
But also there are bands that look like a first name/last name but aren't:
Rolling Stones
Deep Purple
Uriah Heep
Frieda Gold

Then there are groups like "Earth, Wind & Fire", "KC & the Sunshine Band", "Emerson, Lake & Palmer", "Bell, Book & Candle" "Huey Lewis & Then News" - where would you look for them.
In the end you have such a long list of exceptions that you have "know" each time whether the name got split or not. So I don't think that this method will really lead to a better order.
I would leave every artist name just as it is with the only exception of band names with articles as first word, e.g. "The Beatles" to "Beatles, The". But even then it could lead to strange results, my favourite: "The The" where it would not change a lot but other groups like "The Band" or "A Flock of Seagulls" - would I really look for them under "B" for "Band" and "F" for "Flock of Seagulls, A"?
So, keep it as simple as possible would be my guideline.


This is fine for the Artist and AlbumArtist tags. But the OP was asking about the sort equivalent tags. These are pretty effective if managed properly. So in a library managed by software that uses sort tags, David Lee Roth would show up as expected sorted as Roth, David Lee and The Beatles would sort as Beatles.

If you were to look for any of these artists in the store, or a library, that is where you would expect to find them.

The question is: "What is properly?
I did this over decades and I always had to look in my list how some special artist names were sorted because I was not certain, how I had decided some years ago.
Did I decide to sort the band "The Piano has been drinking" under "The" or under "Piano".
Nowadays I use the sort-tagfields only with classical music for the composers.

My database as a player-basis has a setting with a configurable list which prefixes should not be used for sorting, i.e."The El La Los Las Le Les". In sorting it strips these definitions. And searching the index cares about finding anything anyhow.

My method is far from being perfect but at least it avoids to care about painful decisions how to fill the sort-fields and to remember these decisions. :wink:

Yes, agreed.
But ... using the sort fields does not make it any better (IMHO): it will lead to strange appearances in the respective lists.
I completely agree with @poster when he observes that in the long run you end up with an awful lot of rules to comply with to add new tracks to the collection.
I, personally, and that is nothing more than my opinion, stick to the simple rule "artist name = brand name". Like I would not look for "General Electric" under "Electric, General" but take the name as it is.
What should one do about artists like "Martin Solveig" whose real name is Martin Laurent Picandet? Ist that a name to be split? Or is that an artist's brand name?
Or "Alice Cooper" where the main artist is called Vincent Damon Furnier....
and loads of other examples.
So the underlying idea to ease the search does not come to its full blossom.
In general I think that the problem is not a serious one any more. Most players support a search across all fields. So that whenever I look for "Beatles", I will find "Beatles", "The Beatles" and "Toni Sheridan & the Beatles".

Ultimately this is a personal choice. I personally would never sort anything under "The_" to start (same for any other article A/An/Le/La/etc., as this would make navigating my library extremely unmanageable. The last name, first name sorting is debatable, but to each their own. That is why we have mp3tag! :grinning:


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