Artist vs Album Artist??


I had this weird problem bringing music into my iPod.. normally, all tracks of an album are grouped together, but for this one album, it fragmented over several albums.

I examined the orphaned tracks and could not see anything out of the ordinary when I used MP3Tag: they looked identical to the others. Even looking at the tags with Windows Explorer, they looked the same.

Then something caught my eye: in iTunes, the orphaned tracks had a different artist listed under the artwork! When I went back to Windows Explorer, I noticed something different: when I hovered the mouse pointer over the file, it showed something called "album artist" near the bottom (ref: screencap ) - yet, when I opened Properties for the file, I never saw this, nor in MP3Tag.

Sooo.. how the heck does one change this 'album artist' tag?

In my case, I was able to fix it directly from iTunes with the Get Info box, but surely there is a way to change this with MP3Tag?

(using v2.37d)


The Album Artist field used by WMP and several other programs (I think iTunes aswell, but since I don't use it, can't say with certainty) shows up as "BAND" in MP3Tag.




I'd love to see a "Mp3tag dropdown-name vs. MP3 frame name" table for Mp3tag like this one - or did I miss something?

I agree that the TPE2 frame (BAND) is commonly used for "album artist".
For iTunes, it might be needed to also set the (non-standard) TCMP frame (i guess it's called ITUNESCOMPILATION in Mp3tag). "1" means compilation, "0" normal album.

I wonder what frame the "VA ARTIST" refers to?

The Album "Disco 4" by the "Pet Shop Boys" is a nice example for using Album Artist, my tags currently contain this info for the "Atomizer" remix:

ALBUM = Disco 4
ARTIST = Atomizer
DATE = 0510
TITLE = Hooked on Radiation (Pet Shop Boys Orange Alert mix)
TRACK = 6/8
VA ARTIST = Pet Shop Boys
YEAR = 2007

Interestingly enough, TPE2 (BAND) isn't used at all, and I don't know about TPE4 (which I would use since it's a remix). Since it's a remix, it's correctly credited to the original artist "Atomizer", not the remixer "Pet Shop Boys".


Mp3tag's help file has a list of tag mappings.

Kind regards,


I would think that VA ARTIST refers to Various Artists, commonly used in a compilation disc,, ie, an album with multiple artists. I know iTunes has a tick box to indicate this to keep all the tracks together in one album.. however, in the example you give, it does not seem to apply. Try it with a compilation disc and see if it contains various artists' names.


Florian, thanks for the list - I must have overlooked it somehow.

Would you be interested in expanding the comparison list for other "well-known" pieces of software?

  • SpacialAudio's SAM Broadcaster (v4.2.2)
  • MusicIP's MusicIP Mixer
  • MusicBrainz' Picard Tagger (v0.9.0beta1)