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Handle different albums with same names better (examples in the post)

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Currently, Poweramp uses the Album tag content to separate albums, which is of course exactly what that tag is for and isn't a problem perse. However... it does cause some issues with different albums having the same name. On PC, I use MusicBee to manage my collection and it has a few nifty options to help with this:

  • Force files in different folders into different albums. This one's pretty straightforward: it assume that all albums are in a separate folder and thus, if the same album name is detected, but in two different folders: they are treated as two separate albums.
  • Being able to define what tag or combination of tags define an album. So, I would select Album Name and Release Year as combination of tags that define an album.

It would be great if Poweramp would include either or both of these features so that it's easier to handle album name duplicates.

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1) If you have your albums in folders anyway, why not just use Folders mode to navigate through your library? That's what I do 99% of the time. However, if you do prefer to use tags rather than folders, the correct way to do it is to ensure that the Album Artist tag is set appropriately on all files, as that tag is there for precisely this purpose - especially for the potentially ambiguous albums such as collections where you might use an Album Artist tag of "Various Artists". With a batch tag editor you could update any incorrect tagged tracks pretty quickly.

2) You could try altering Settings > Library > Lists > Join Albums, which was added to PA before Album Artist tags were properly recognised, but it is still available. Using 'Year' as a separator is not really a good idea as you might for example have a 'Singles Collection' album for an artist where each track is tagged with the song's original release date rather than the date of the collection. Or even a collection album where each Track Artist and the Year are different for each track (which can be resolved with Join Albums was necessary). If you are not going to use Join Albums mode, and your Album Artist tags are not all set correctly, the only other solution is the one that people used to apply back in the early days of PA, which was to make their Album Title tags unique - for example not using potentially ambiguous album titles like "Best of", but fully name them as "Best of David Bowie", "Best of Blondie", etc. 

Andre

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Thanks for the reply!

3 hours ago, andrewilley said:

1) If you have your albums in folders anyway, why not just use Folders mode to navigate through your library? That's what I do 99% of the time. However, if you do prefer to use tags rather than folders, the correct way to do it is to ensure that the Album Artist tag is set appropriately on all files, as that tag is there for precisely this purpose - especially for the potentially ambiguous albums such as collections where you might use an Album Artist tag of "Various Artists". With a batch tag editor you could update any incorrect tagged tracks pretty quickly.

I suppose that's a fair point, I could use the folder browser yes, but it's not ideal because at the end of the day I do want to browse albums and not folders. It also limits the various available sorting and viewing options. For example, I can't sort by artist in the folder browser, but I can in the album browser. My tags are mostly pretty good. I use MusicBrainz Picard to tag them (with a few custom scripts) and I also referenced this excellent Tag reference sheet: https://getmusicbee.com/forum/index.php?topic=26177.0

Granted, I do use some less-supported/known tags here and there. Compared to MusicBee which I use on PC, Poweramp's (tag) customization is pretty lacking anyway, but I don't think that's an issue really. Poweramp is a mobile app after all, not a full-fledged desktop application.

Anyway, back to your point. As I said, my tags are mostly all fine. My duplicate album title problem is mostly an issue with a bunch of compilations I have. Which have the same title and album artist (Various Artists). So, I end up with two or more albums with the same title and album artist 😕

3 hours ago, andrewilley said:

2) You could try altering Settings > Library > Lists > Join Albums, which was added to PA before Album Artist tags were properly recognised, but it is still available. Using 'Year' as a separator is not really a good idea as you might for example have a 'Singles Collection' album for an artist where each track is tagged with the song's original release date rather than the date of the collection. Or even a collection album where each Track Artist and the Year are different for each track (which can be resolved with Join Albums was necessary). If you are not going to use Join Albums mode, and your Album Artist tags are not all set correctly, the only other solution is the one that people used to apply back in the early days of PA, which was to make their Album Title tags unique - for example not using potentially ambiguous album titles like "Best of", but fully name them as "Best of David Bowie", "Best of Blondie", etc. 

I don't think the 'Join Albums' setting would be of any use for this problem. At least going by the description that's accompanying the setting. My tags are all fine, so I shouldn't have any issues with wrong album artist tags.

Also, indeed year is not always the best way to separate albums with identical titles. It was just an example that would for me personally. As I explained, in MusicBee the tags that form an album are customizable. So one could edit it to their needs.

And yes, editing the album titles manually so that they aren't identical anymore is an option. But I'd rather leave that as a last resort, I'd be ideal if I can keep my music in sync between my pc and phone rather than having to customize titles specifically for my phone.

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If multiple songs have the same Album Title and Album Artist tags (not necessarily Artist tags though) they will be considered to be part of the same album. You need to tweak one or the other tag to differentiate them. Out of curiosity, could you provide an example of a case where this naming is not possible (or even desirable) to manage your collection?

For folder sorting by the way, I would suggest you create artist level folders and then have their album folders within subfolders.

Andre

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18 hours ago, andrewilley said:

If multiple songs have the same Album Title and Album Artist tags (not necessarily Artist tags though) they will be considered to be part of the same album. You need to tweak one or the other tag to differentiate them. Out of curiosity, could you provide an example of a case where this naming is not possible (or even desirable) to manage your collection?

For folder sorting by the way, I would suggest you create artist level folders and then have their album folders within subfolders.

Andre

Here's an example: 4 compilations all called 'Hed Kandi: Nu Disco':

 

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I see the problem, must make buying his content online a bit hit or miss when at least three separate albums have the same title! :)

image.png

Even if PA did somehow separate them (maybe by doing something like checking for matching MusicBrainz ID tags, which has been requested in the past) you still wouldn't be able to tell them apart in the Library views or Player screen anyway.

I would suggest that if you wish to treat these as separate items, and see which one is which, just modify the Album Title tags a little (e.g. "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2009]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2010]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2012]", etc). A batch tag editor could do this in seconds.

Andre

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6 hours ago, andrewilley said:

I see the problem, must make buying his content online a bit hit or miss when at least three separate albums have the same title! :)

Haha, well, most people refer to the releases in the series based on their catalog id. Some databases do put, as you said, the year in the title to differentiate them because in most cases, there is only a single release per sub-series per year. Though, in the examples I listed above even that is a bit of an issue because I believe there were 2 in the same year.

  

6 hours ago, andrewilley said:

Even if PA did somehow separate them (maybe by doing something like checking for matching MusicBrainz ID tags, which has been requested in the past) you still wouldn't be able to tell them apart in the Library views or Player screen anyway.

Well, the cover-art?

6 hours ago, andrewilley said:

I would suggest that if you wish to treat these as separate items, and see which one is which, just modify the Album Title tags a little (e.g. "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2009]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2010]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2012]", etc). A batch tag editor could do this in seconds.

As discussed before, editing the title is indeed an option, but I rather not. I keep my tags up to date with MusicBrainz Picard and having to constantly manually edit titles isn't ideal. Furthermore, it works as it is on my pc. Yes, it's an option of course, but imo it's more working around the problem then providing an actual solution. Hence I made this feature request 🙂

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To be fair, the real problem is the same artist releasing two or more albums with the exact same name, that was never going to end well. Just think what would have happened if the "Now That's What I Call Music" people had released 100+ identically titled albums with no volume numbers or years in their titles.

Andre

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I have this issue in some areas. One instance is I have Eminem as artist, but he is also in the band/group "Bad Meets Evil", so I tag album artist with that name and end up with duplicate albums in my list:

Screenshot_20200827-115537.thumb.png.d7d7412f29117680d95e072426d73f0d.png

if I reverse the way this is tagged, I can't see "Bad meets evil" anymore, I'll only see Eminem in the album artist category and two separate artists in artists category. So until Poweramp offers multiple artist feature, this is a bug I tolerate.

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11 hours ago, andrewilley said:

I see the problem, must make buying his content online a bit hit or miss when at least three separate albums have the same title! :)

image.png

Even if PA did somehow separate them (maybe by doing something like checking for matching MusicBrainz ID tags, which has been requested in the past) you still wouldn't be able to tell them apart in the Library views or Player screen anyway.

I would suggest that if you wish to treat these as separate items, and see which one is which, just modify the Album Title tags a little (e.g. "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2009]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2010]", "Hed Kandi: Nu Disco [2012]", etc). A batch tag editor could do this in seconds.

Andre

@maxmp This one example seems a little extreme, and I agree with @andrewilley that this is more of an issue with the artist or label releasing identically labelled albums. But if there is future support for sort tags in the (near?) future for PA, this can help. The displayed title can remain as published, but the sort title can add things like year/month/day of release, additional artist details, etc. Just a little nudge for support of the sort tags.😉

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