Confused about ID3v2.4 tagging and "/" in artist names


I've been struggling to find a way to solve this particular problem I'm having with a certain artist handle in ID3 tags.

The artist handle is simply "/f".
Of course, ID3v2.3 uses the / symbol as a spacer for multiple artists, so the artist handle isn't read properly. Windows and music players read it as the artist tag being only "f", which is frustrating.

Googling and reading around for a good while today, I figured that the easiest solution to this problem should be using ID3v2.4 tags which, from what I understand, don't use the / symbol as a separating value.
So, I cleared all metadata with MP3Tag from the file, changed the "Write" encoder to ID3v2.4 UTF-8 only, and put "/f" into the artist field.
Unfortunately, I still get a similar result: Windows still just reads it as "f" only, without the /. And Spotify, the music player I'm trying to play the file on, interprets it as "; f".

Is there something I'm doing wrong while trying to write ID3v2.4 tags or am I misunderstanding something about how the / symbol is used by this version of ID3?
Does anyone know if there is any other possible workaround to get the artist value to display correctly?

Any help and suggestions would be really appreciated.

  • Matt

The problem is how few media players and even OS handle v2.4, as v2.3 is still pretty much the standard.

I can suggest for the few artists that use a forward slash (most common one is AC/DC of course) that you use an alternate but similar Unicode slash character. I have used the division slash (U+2215) in my library. Note you may have to also add leading or trailing spaces if necessary. This not only solves the issue with the separator you already mentioned, but also file and folder conventions as well.

I've thought about replacing it with a similar-looking Unicode character and it does work as a workaround, but it's not what I'm looking for, unfortunately.
It being a different character in the system messes with my own file library and how I listen to music. I need it to be the actual regular forward slash character to be uniform with the rest of my listening habits.

It's such a weirdly frustrating situation. lol
I've listened to music with all sorts of odd, special characters in the metadata and never had major issues. But this simple forward slash is being the biggest problem for me.
It's a bit crazy to me that there isn't a some sort of command for it to not translate the symbol into a spacer for multiple values. Or to turn off the multivalue trait of the artist space completely.

  • Matt

The problem with the / has been around since AC/DC and other group names.
And it is a player problem when they suddenly split such names into pieces.
The only way around so far has been to replace the / with something that looks like it but isn't.
E.g. AC⁄DC

I don't know how one listens to a forward slash.

Where would you like to issue that command? If at all, this would be a function of the player. But as apparently it cannot deal with real multi-value fields but uses the slash as separator, I doubt that there is such an option.
So perhaps it is an idea to change the player - e.g. foobar2000 can cope with the slash...

Your call, you asked for a solution and this was just one alternative. But I am curious what habit/method this character changes given the few artists that actually use it.

The id3 spec and OS functions aren’t something that are going to change at this point, and v2.4 hasn’t gained any wide acceptance despite being available now for many years. So your options are kind of limited.

Hah. That cracked me up. I think I just phrased badly what I meant.

It's just about the way I listen to music and log what I listen to.

To be more specific, since you are curious, I use Spotify to sync both music from their streaming platform and local mp3 files from my hard drive together on multiple devices. That's why I'm so hellbent on getting Spotify to read the ID3 tag correctly.
The reason I don't want (or can't) replace the / character with a different similar looking Unicode character is that I use the service to log what I listen to for personal stats and stuff. Using a different unicode symbol instead of the "original" would mess up the data it collects, so to say.

(Funnily enough Spotify does accept the correct "/f" tag when it's a wav file instead of an mp3. But they don't allow lossless files to sync on other devices which makes it pointless again... That's a Spotify problem though.)

It's just an unfortunate coincidence that this one specific musician has an artist handle that causes problems with the specific way I listen to music. lol
I guess there really isn't much more to this and I just have to deal with it. It just caught me off-guard because of how I never had much problems with more exotic Unicode characters in ID3 tags, but then this common forward slash symbol broke things.

I appreciate the help and suggestions from everyone that replied though. Thank you all.

  • Matt

Which then proves that not every (original) idea for a name is actually one that is practical.
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