Windows Media Player assigns 'Various' as the Album Artist Tag

On any album I tag with mp3Tag, I add the Artist tag but I leave the Album Artist tag blank.

However, for many (but not all) of my Various Artists compliations, Windows Media Player assigns 'Various' as the Album Artist tag.

This means that if I use Windows Media Player to search for songs from a particular artist, Otis Redding, for example, then the results show me those songs where Otis Redding is the main artist on the album but songs on compilations with one or two tracks from Otis Redding are not displayed.

I have seen this and similar problems discussed on other forums. For example,

However, I have not seen any satisfactory solution.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Are you saying that WMP modifies the file tags without your knowledge, or is that 'Various' only within its library database? If it's modifying tags, then I'd mark all of the files read-only until you figure out how to prevent it. If the problem is the 'Various' in the database then you might see what happens if you assign those compilations a different ALBUMARTIST, say, 'Various Artists' or 'Compilation'.

As long as WMP has any kind of web access you cannot avoid that WMP adds information where it thinks it needs additional information.
You find this option in Extras>Options>Tab folder "Data Protection" (my translation) > update media information via internet.
Actually, I would untick everything in this tab folder except "Set system clock".

The best way would be to only use MP3tag to update the track data and block WMP completely in the firewall of your router.
But even then dares WMP to take the information from POPULARIMETER and put in in RATING WMP and delete POPULARIMETER ...
WMP is a "player" as the p implies, not a tagger.

I assigned a different name to the album artist tag for one of these 'problem' various artists compliations with mp3 Tag and I found that WMP accepted the new tag name. However, when I blanked this tag, WMP re-inserted the Various Artist tag and it will not allow me to blank it. I could use WMP to correct the album artist tag for each of these 'problem' tracks one track at a time but I have thousands of these tracks and that is not a workable solution.

For those various artists compliations that do not have this problem, the album artist tag is blank in mp3 Tag but WMP has assigned the correct artist as the album artist. However, I cannot work out why some of my various artists compilations are tagged correctly while others are not and I cannot get mp3 Tag to correct the problem.

As for the option of allowing WMP to retrieve additional information from the Internet, this option has always been unchecked.

Thanks for your replies. I haven't solved the problem yet but I understand it a little better. Any further help you can give me would be very much appreciated.

You are welcome ;-).
Just another idea: I am not sure whether WMP evaluates the field COMPILATION.
So could you check the tracks that get a "Various Artists" added if COMPILATION is set to 1?
(Or even better: have a look at the extended tags (ALT-T) to see if these tracks feature special/other fields that might provoke WMP to treat these tracks in a special way).

Thanks for your help.

The extended tags on several of the 'problem' compilations (for which WMP treating as Various Artists) show that ITUNESCOMPILATION is set to 1 and contain several other tags that appear to be related - COMMENT ITUNGAP, for example. Compilations that do not give me this problem do not contain these ITUNES tags.

However, when I delete the ITUNES tags from the 'problem' compilations, WMP still displays the Various Artists tag.

Ah, that is good news: a reason why!
Probably you have to either delete the tracks from WMP or rename the file so that WMP re-reads it.WMP has a library that is updated apparently according to moonshine and tides so the old VAs may be artefacts.

Finally, that works!! Thank so much for your help.

So now:

  1. I search for various as the artist in WMP;
  2. I delete these compilations from the WMP library;
  3. I use mp3tag to delete any tag that refers to itunes from these compilations; and
  4. I search for these compilations by album name in WMP and check that the artists are named corrrectly by WMP.

In time, I probably won't carry out step 4. At the moment, I just think it's important to check that the method works correctly.