Furthering consistentcy

Providing the right tags proves absolutely essential to the use of the Media Server on my NAS-box, so I'm grateful for MP3Tag and use it a lot. Yet, there is one feature I am sorely missing and unless I'm much more of a weirdo then I thought I'd say others who take 'tagging' seriously must miss it too.
My recurring problem is that various sources of tags (be it already in place or downloaded) have very different ideas about naming, spelling and 'genres', this combined with my own inability to exactly remember what I did last time.
This leads, for example, to me having music from a range of Beethovens: there is 'Beethoven', 'Ludwig van Beethoven', 'Ludwig von Beethoven', 'Beethoven, Ludwig van', 'L. van Beethoven' to name just a few. Of course, the same goes for almost any other composer and even more for pieces composed by several people. Same thing, or worse, for 'artist'. I gave a simple example, but the problem goes much deeper: tags like 'artist', 'album', 'albumartist' are vague by themselves and often interpreted differently (in fact, the whole idea of 'album' stems from the old days of vinyl and CD and is increasingly unavailable or even non-existent).
All this leads to a discouraging chaos in my Media Server, where I very often can't find what I'm looking for in the modern way and have to revert to the option of browsing 'folders'; these at least reflect my way of organising music but are but a (poor!) substitute for 'the old fashioned way' of arranging vinyl or CD's in cabinets.

MP3Tag could help me enormously, even by fairly simple means, to make my tagging more consistent and therefore more useable.
I'd say we look for music in different ways, depending on genre: for classical music it's the composer, in popular music it's the band or the lead artist and quite often the 'genre' tag is important.
To start with the latter: a list of 'genres' is provided but I bet it will satisfy few people. The option of providing my own list (and limiting the displayed list to those) is a big improvement, but it's clumsy to work with. I'd like to be able to add a genre by simply typing it in the field; after the question "Do you want to add 'xxx' to the list?" it then is added. (Or NOT, since it is precisely such a reminder which can make me remember that I added similar music under a different 'genre'.)
In the same vein, under 'artist', 'albumartist' and 'composer' lists could appear which work the same way: displaying names previously used with the option to type in a new one and a warning when a new one is added.

Such options furthering consistency would completely transform the way I access my Media Server; they could finally provide the promised access by various search criteria as opposed to the old fashioned way of arranging CD's in a one-dimensial order in 'folders', the logic of which is not only very personal but also verry difficult to maintain over the years.

I'd gladly pay money for a version with such 'advanced features' and even more if it would use use search algorithms to look for 'similar items' (e.g. filling in 'L. van Beethoven' I am made aware that I have previously used 'Beethoven, L. van'.)

Here is a thread about user-defined lists:

and another one:

or here:

It may be worthwhile to have a look at the filter feature:

The filter would find most of the Beethoven with the filter expression
%artist% HAS Beeth

I just do not understand: what is keeping you from manually finding all of the various fields that happens to have various Beethoven-names? Starting with the most crucial one, the ARTIST?

If you do this once, than all you have to do in the future is to just remember / use that one "code word" for various Beethoven cases. And if you ever decide to switch e.g. from Ludwig van Beethoven to Ludwig von Beethoven, then you will simply select all of the files and perform a simple action applied to all of the fields [however: in this example that would potentially rename Ludwig van Beethoven in an ALBUM tag, thus leaving you with "no existing" / "fake" / "erroneous" / "whatever-you-wanna-call-it" name - for me personally it is not a problem, as my problem is inconsistent names in ALBUM tags, which I change and re-arrange as I please. You can start by making a column and adding some clearly visible marker for all of the files [ideas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_Shapes]

If you do then I suggest working on it on a daily basic, taking 50-100 files per session, changing a chosen marker to some other to indicate valuated files. And after doing all of them: repeat the whole operation, to get all that mistakes you have made. And if you have too much time: do it a third time. And that marker thing is crucial: as at the end you will be left with all of the cases of Beethoven that you did not though before

Of course there is possibility that you will make a type now and then- so I guess that is where a drop down list [at least for the ARTIST] would come into play, to prevent such errors

What is keeping me from manually redressing the inconsistencies in my files, you ask. Lack of time in the first place, and secondly the idea that software should be able to do MUCH better in assisting me to keep my library tagged in a consistent way.
"just remember / use that one 'code word' for various Beethoven cases" made me laugh bitterly: apparently your memory is a lot better then mine. Although Ludwig maybe could just make it in my memory, most of hundreds (or thousands) of others couldn't. Of course I could maintain lists in text files or even on paper to aid my memory, but I have some vague notion computers should be able to do a lot better since they are very good at maintaining lists and offering ways to search that list.
That kind of assistance was precisely what I meant to suggest to the programmers of mp3tag.

There is more in your posting which I do not grasp. You say for instance "you will simply select all of the files and perform a simple action" but I have no idea as to how I can select 'all of the files', let alone 'simply'.
I have no idea what you meant by 'making a column', not what the link you gave has to do with my suggestions - sorry.

There’s another piece of software you might like (it’s paid, but not expensive - and definitely worth the money) called BeaTunes.

It scans the tags of your entire library, groups them by similar artist name (and many other user stated rules) then allows you to batch convert all artist names to the one that you like the best. It’s a massive, massive time saver for library maintenance.

It has lots of other features, too. But it sounds like you could really use it’s find & rename similar feature.

Tell Hendrik at BeaTunes that Patch sent you.

That sounds like it could be a big help and I'll sure try it out.
Nevertheless, that's only useful to put things right afterwards and 'redressing the chaos' is just a last resort anyway; attributing the right tags in the first place seems to me not just a lot more efficient but in fact the only way to maintain a library.
Mp3Tag could be extended to do a lot more in assuring consistency the moment I add my tags. I'd be happy to pay for it.

Unfortunatly, you do not pick up any of the already linked threads which discuss Mp3tag's options and functions to unify naming in full.
The question of how a list of phrases should be maintained and if that is really worth the effort has been answered up to now with "Then create an action of the type "Format value"".

@ohrinenkino: Sorry but I don't get your drift. True, I didn't pick up on those linked threads because they went way beyond my purpose: these threads are about 'custom tags', while I still wrestle with 'standard tags'. Use of 'custom tags' (like 'mood') opens up a whole different area of problems which for the time being are of no interest to me; I'd be very happy with support in populating the most current 'standard tags' in a consistent way.

You also said: "The question of how a list of phrases should be maintained and if that is really worth the effort has been answered up to now with "Then create an action of the type "Format value"". I don't know what you refer to; I can't see it in this discussion so please explain or give a link.

I maintain my request for featrues to furthe consistency.
And it's not just about 'drop down listboxes'; the feature 'copy & paste' (which could conceivably also help to further consistency) works in an unelegant way too: Te moment you press 'paste' all meta-data are written to the file with no option of editing anything.

It’s funny that you ask for additional features, when you don’t fully understand the wealth of features already in MP3Tag.

Everything you want to do is possible, with a little effort.

Yes, this is one of the best features in MP3tag: you can copy&paste a whole tag from one file to the other even if the metadata in the file has a completely different structure or uses a completely different standard.

To treat several files that need the same information, I wonder how you used the tag panel up to now. The tag panel is designed to help to deal with the most common fields. The information that you enter there is saved to all the selected files if you press "Save" (Ctrl-S). So you can set the ALBUMARTIST, ALBUM, YEAR in one go.
If you load tagged and untagged files of the same artist, you can select all these files and you get the artist's name offered in the dropdown list for the artist field. If you select that, you have very consistent artist names for that set of files.
A question that I never quite got resolved: how many artists, albums, titles are there that need to be consistent? And how frequently do these artists issue new tracks so that some kind of template would be nice?
I know hardly any artist that has more than a 300 tracks and a low 2-digit-number of albums. And many of the most productive ones are already dead so that it is not very likely that more tracks will be added.
That is why I ask "is it worth the effort to maintain a list of all strings ever used in a field?" (as this would be the consequence).
And if the list has to be maintained by the user, then a set of actions for the really frequently used strings would be enough together with the ad hoc use of filters.

That is totally understandable

I myself am doing some some maintenance / unification work on my files; since 2015. If only I had all that knowledge and set of rules around 2005, then this would not be a problem at all as that what it is like with the new stuff- it gets added in a proper way

Apparently it is

I start watching the movie and try to guess a composer before his credit comes up- it is a little game a like to indulge myself into. Often I guess correctly- also by means of telling to myself "that must be someone I do not know of". And sometimes in cases when I do not guess correctly I say "but that name seems familiar to me". And so I open up Mp3tag, load everything and see that I was right- in that I do have 1 or 2 score by that composer, who's style I am not yet able to recognize / memorize

Although with songs / bands of course it is different as often I have just 1 piece of music from an artist who is not a movie / videogame composer- so I often do not remember such name. Also with he so called classical music it is hard for me to memorize who wrote what and e.g. how the name last name of Georg Friedrich Händel is spelled correctly [which is kind of strange as I have no problem with movie composers]

I think there was one THE Beethoven in the history of music. One THE Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one THE Igor Stravinsky

So if you have one folder for each of them- problem is solved, as you can always look at the name of the folder. And if you prefer to keep music in folders by albums [or eras or whatever]- then maybe it is time to rethink nomenclature priorities; or just put such album-folders in such artist-folders?

I really do not see a problem here, unless you have 500 individual classical composers to deal with, each and every one of them with 4 different versions of name on average

But you said at the very beginning that

So is it just me that is confused right now?

No, it is not only me


If you take a "new" contemporary score composer who does not do a lot of work, you will get a something like 10-15 albums, each with 15-20 tracks

As for the dead ones. One could assume that only people like Beethoven will be recorder and interpreted over and over through the years, thus "producing" more music. But that also applies to both pop music [e.g. The Beetles] and composers who have been dead only a decade or two [e.g. Jerry Goldsmith]

But then again @Mabel: I do not see a problem of assuming that Beethoven should always be [at least from now on] Ludwig van Beethoven, those guys from Liverpool are not to be named Beetles, The and Jerry is listed alphabetically but not starting with the last name so he does not go by Goldsmith, Jerry. And if you do not have time then just every time you stumble upon other variations of names simply rename them to the chosen "most correct one". To do that you could utilize the names of artist-folders as your list or you

I myself have such one TXT file, that I can easily open with a shortcut from Mp3tag. It does not have names of artists but some other tagging info that I rarely need to check in order to maintain consistent order among all of my files- that is when I am unable to take it from my memory and / or figure it out by looking at similar names / titles in my files. Setting up of such file is achievable under the

Tools > Options > Tools

As for you not knowing what ''making a column'' is- I wonder if you noticed at all, that you can add and remove Columns in the main window of Mp3tag; and even name them? And also, to choose which of them will be displayed in the Tag Panel; and with what description? And that you can put whatever character you like in them [with the slight exceptions of some issues with some particular file formats in relation to fields like TRACK], thus including such like these shown at the already provided to you article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_Shapes? Such distinctive signs have the advantage of sticking out in a list text and numbers, which is helpful when trying to mark processed and unprocessed files during a task.

As for selecting all of the files: you load everything to Mp3tag; and maybe also then press CTRL + A, depending on your configuration. And if you perform an action that renames Beethoven, Ludwig van to Ludwig van Beethoven in ALL of the fields, then you are done with that variations. And when you are done with all variations, you perform an action that adds a chosen marker [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometric_Shapes] to your files. As for risk management reasons, you can first filter files for versions of Beethoven- and mark all you find. This way you do not load and select all but only load all- and then filter by that marker, so that the action will be performed only on limited number of files. And then you can evaluate them manually, limiting your evaluation to the marked files

You will either invest some work into your music - or you have to wait for some AI to guess what you need and do it for you

You’ve got 2 activities that you need to carry out:

  1. Get your current library into shape.

    • You can do this with BeaTunes.
  2. Decide on, and implement, a set of very succinct rules to ensure that, going forwards, all of your tags are applied with consistency.

    • You can do this with MP3Tag.

You’ve got everything you need at your fingertips. Why not just do it?

Software can’t do everything for you. That’s why it’s usually very configurable.