Managing AlbumArtist for FLAC files


#1

We need to ensure that a usable Album Artist tag is included in addition to the Artist tag when we add a CD to our FLAC-based media servers.

The Album Artist is the name of the artist responsible for the entire album, whereas the Artist tag is the name ot the artist(s) appearing on a specific track on that album. Quite often, Album Artist may be "Various Artists" or it may be something like "John Doe, Friends and Family." These albums are compilations.

So the questions are:

  1. How can I configure MP3Tag to add, edit or monitor the presence of the Vorbis comment 'AlbumArtist' for CDs ripped to the FLAC format?

  2. Is FLAC the right format for our purposes? Note that we prefer a lossless, non-proprietary standard with good metadata capabilities and decent prospects for long-term support with applications.


#2

What I do:

I manually add a COMPILATION=1 tag to all compilation albums by using an action (also easily done without an action, such as by adding the COMPILATION field to the Tag Panel on the left).

Action type: Format value
Field: COMPILATION
Format string: 1

Then I have a conditional action that sets ALBUMARTIST to either 'Various Artists' or to the value found in the ARTIST field.

Action type: Format value
Field: ALBUMARTIST
Format string: $if($eql(%compilation%,1),Various Artists,%artist%))

I also add an ALBUMARTISTSORT field while I'm at it. Not all software supports this field this, but it's good to have and can easily be renamed in the future. Same idea - it's set to the same value set in %artistsort% if the album is a non-compilation.

Action type: Format value
Field: ALBUMARTISTSORT
Format string: $if($eql(%compilation%,1),Various Artists,%artistsort%))

That's a big question, unrelated to Mp3tag. FLAC:

Lossless. -check-
Non-proprietary -check-
Long-term support (sorry, crystal ball is cloudy)

As far as lossless formats go, the ones most widely in use would appear to be FLAC and those that are proprietary. Apple has ALAC, Microsoft has WMA Lossless. That leaves FLAC as the most popular non-proprietary lossless format, with a couple of also-rans like Monkey's Audio (APE), Shorten, and TTA. The thing about any lossless format, though, is that it should be possible to transcode any of them into any other. You don't have to really worry about future compatibility, as you can transcode your entire library should the need arise.


#3

Thank you for your assistance.