[X] "Album Artist" != "Band" in FLAC

I'm tagging FLACs using Mp3tag (v2.42)'s "Band" field, but the results aren't showing up properly under the "Album Artist" heading in Winamp, and it's making a mess of my library.

To be more detailed... I'm RE-tagging FLACs after converting them FLAC > WAV > FLAC. My initial versions all have proper tags, thanks to a prior release of Mp3tag... but now when I re-tag the info isn't getting stored properly. (I have to re-tag after the WAV phase because my audio editor wipes that particular tag.)

This issue was raised earlier, here:
But nothing was offered in the way of a solution.

As I said, this wasn't an issue before; is there any easy way around it?


BAND is used for ID3v2, WMA, and MP4 tags. Vorbis Comments as well as APEv2 tags have no special internal representation of tag fields and allow for using the names of the tag fields directly as keys in the respective tag.

To add a little explanation: BAND is not and never was intended as »Album Artist«. Apple iTunes and Winamp simply (intentionally) misuse this field. Unfortunately, ID3v2 doesn’t provide for a »native« Album Artist field, so various ways to do it have evolved:

  • iTunes and Winamp use TPE2 (BAND) for it.
  • The foobar2000 community recommends using "ALBUM ARTIST" (with a blank).
  • MusicBrainz Picard (newer versions) also uses TPE2 (BAND) in ID2v2 but "ALBUMARTIST" (no blank) in Vorbis Comments (FLAC, OGG).
I guess the only (half-easy) way to handle it would be to use a Mp3tag Action to convert from (whatever you have now) to (whatever you decide to use in the future), i.e. BAND -> ALBUMARTIST. This can easily be done using a "Format value" action.

Btw, you can easily re-encode FLAC to FLAC, skipping the WAV step. I think that could help not losing the tags.

My Winamp (5.541) shows the FLAC Album Artist in the Info Window when I use the "ALBUMARTIST" tag in the FLAC files, if that helps.

I need them in WAV for processing during the intermediate stage. The processing itself doesn't change the tags, but the format conversion (WAV) does.

I've just seen that Winamp (5.541) will display the ALBUMARTIST tag instead of the BAND tag when both are present (in FLAC). Not sure if this will always be the case-- perhaps someone else can test it more thoroughly.

BUT-- why isn't the ALBUMARTIST field included in the Mp3tag pop-out menus? E.g., when adding/editing a field in the "Tag Panel" section of the Options dialog. The absence of ALBUMARTIST there-- and BAND as the available option-- makes this program (Mp3tag) far more misleading than it has any reason to be.

If this is not going to be taken seriously as a bug (and why not?), I suggest that a post be included somewhere Easy To Find on this forum, to the effect that one may force the ALBUMARTIST field into availability by typing it in via the Tag Panel options. The length of the available menu lists gives them the appearance of being exhaustive.

As far back as I can remember "BAND" is the tag name for the TPE2 frame. "AlbumArtist", "Album Artist" are fairly new names (last 4-5 years) for the same frame. Also, players can have a hand in how in how tag names are written & read. foobar2000 writes both "AlbumArtist" & "Album Artist" as a TXXX frame. It's confusing, but you learn to deal with it. :slight_smile:

I use Album Artist & BAND tags in my FLAC & MP3 files, because I use foobar2000 (Album Artist) and sometimes iTunes (BAND) if needed for my iPod. By having both, I'm covered for both players.

Probably because Vorbis Comments (the tags usually used in FLAC and OGG files) allow for almost anything to be put in—there is no »standard« on how the tag frames are called. This is why some people (programs) use "ALBUMARTIST", some use "ALBUM ARTIST", and Mp3tag simply puts whatever is in "BAND" in a frame that’s also called "BAND". You could also call the frame "WhatEver123" … so how could Mp3tag possibly know?

Then again, it’s quite easy having Mp3tag (or others like foobar2000, Picard, etc.) generate ALBUMARTIST. Since "BAND" was never originally intended to mean "Album Artist" but iTunes and Winamp just use it for this purpose, you might as well use "ALBUMARTIST" in other file types, like MP3. Winamp might still want to use TPE2 but you might want to try if it maybe also sees and prefers TXXX:ALBUMARTIST if it’s present.

winamp only copied what WMP, itunes, musicmatch, and others had done long before it.

yes, TPE2 has been hijacked, and yes, it shouldn't have been, but i doubt it'll ever change. TPE2 is effectively album artist now, its the de facto standard.

i do think mp3tag could handle the issue better. i would like to see the T codes listed... i forget how jjzolx suggested it but his suggestion was a good one.

i doubt winamp supports TXXX fields but i'd like to hear any results anyone comes up with.

I agree with you here. To be able to see the frame name would be really nice, considering how different players read & write tags. For now, with ID3v2.3 tags, I use metamp3 with a batch file:

metamp3.exe --info %1

I can drag any mp3 file on top of it and very quickly see the frames that are populated.

Thanks for that useful info Moonbase... but re

[*]The foobar2000 community recommends using "ALBUM ARTIST" (with a blank).

for what comment format(s)? Surely not ID3??

For any newbies around -
I have just created my first FLAC files and used mp3tag to setup tags - i use a procedure with several actions, e.g. BAND = 'Various Artists' for a compilation.

Inside Media Center (i.e. Windows Media Player) the mp3 files show field WMP 'Album Artist' as the BAND. But for FLACS the WMP field doesn't use BAND and appears to simply use Artist.

In MP3TAG I created a new field (right-click on columns) called ALBUMARTIST and set 'value' and 'field' to %albumartist%. Next I created an Action - type Format - where ALBUMARTIST = %band%. I applied this action to my flac music - in WMP the Albumartist is now displayed correctly.

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