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Album being split by artist


MichaelB
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I've checked several other topics of this nature, but have not found a satisfactory answer. Basically, when I choose the option under library to sort by album, it splits those albums by artist. This is a sincere problem for me. I predominantly listen to classical music and opera, so the artist changes track-by-track based on who the soloist is. I have "join albums" checked, and this is not resolving the issue. I could theoretically change the artist tag one-by-one to have all soloists in the artist field on every track for every album I own, or I could sort by folder for the album in issue, but this would take hours. Also, the sort option is "album", rather than "album and artist", so I believe in principle that the app should do exactly what it says and only sort by album. How do I resolve this?

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8 minutes ago, MichaelB said:

I've checked several other topics of this nature, but have not found a satisfactory answer. Basically, when I choose the option under library to sort by album, it splits those albums by artist. This is a sincere problem for me. I predominantly listen to classical music and opera, so the artist changes track-by-track based on who the soloist is. I have "join albums" checked, and this is not resolving the issue. I could theoretically change the artist tag one-by-one to have all soloists in the artist field on every track for every album I own, or I could sort by folder for the album in issue, but this would take hours. Also, the sort option is "album", rather than "album and artist", so I believe in principle that the app should do exactly what it says and only sort by album. How do I resolve this?

Do you have the album artist set to the same for every track on the album? This will link the album back together.

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17 minutes ago, MotleyG said:

Do you have the album artist set to the same for every track on the album? This will link the album back together.

I do not. As stated, this often varies by track (sometimes cd by cd for the same album), and the sort option is "album" rather than "album artist" so I do not understand why it would separate it like this. Poweramp- for whatever reason- does not allow me to edit this for multiple files at the same time for certain shared information like this, so this would take an insane amount of time to edit individually track by track. But also, "Album artist" is not the sort option on the library menu, so it is misleading that this would actually be the predominant factor in how tracks are sorted rather than by album. They should label this menu option "album artist" if this is what it is sorting for in actuality

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The Albums category does indeed display all of the albums contained within your Library as a flat list, sorted by whatever criteria you choose. For example, this is sorted by album title:

image.png

Your problem, as @MotleyG mentioned, is that your tracks presumably do not contain Album Artist tags, so as they are listed as having different Artists they are considered as being part of different albums.

For Poweramp to consider several tracks as being part of a single album, they should have matching Album Title and Album Artist tags. If there are no Album Artist tags, PA will instead try to use the Track Artist tag to group the songs into albums, but that will of course fail if various tracks are listed as being by different artists - such as in a collaboration album, or a collection.

The reason that Album Title is not sufficient on its own is for cases such as an album title of "Greatest Hits", which could be by Queen, Tina Turner, The Police, or hundreds of others. You don't want all of those songs bundled together into one huge album called Greatest Hits. There are lots of other ambiguous examples, such as the simple album title "Up" which could refer to the Pixar animated film soundtrack, or albums with the same name by ABC, Shania Twain, Peter Gabriel, or R.E.M. Hence the use of the Album Artist tag to correctly differentiate these - or the less-accurate fall-back of using Track Artist, which as you have found will fail if there are guest artists on some of the tracks.

To update your tracks to have suitable Album Artist tags so they will be grouped correctly, I would suggest using a batch tag editor on a PC - such as TagScanner or MP3Tag - which can do the task across a whole music collection pretty easily. There are Android apps that can do this too, but it's much easier with a bigger screen and a keyboard/mouse.

Andre

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On 12/5/2020 at 12:00 AM, MichaelB said:

I do not. As stated, this often varies by track (sometimes cd by cd for the same album), and the sort option is "album" rather than "album artist" so I do not understand why it would separate it like this. Poweramp- for whatever reason- does not allow me to edit this for multiple files at the same time for certain shared information like this, so this would take an insane amount of time to edit individually track by track. But also, "Album artist" is not the sort option on the library menu, so it is misleading that this would actually be the predominant factor in how tracks are sorted rather than by album. They should label this menu option "album artist" if this is what it is sorting for in actuality

The Album Artist tag ensures any Album with Titles featuring different Artists stay grouped together. Whether they are compilations (typically “Various Artist”) or a main Artist with one or more tracks featuring additional Artists, the Album Artist is the glue that will keep the Album intact. Otherwise your Greatest Hits album may end up with hundreds of tracks.

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Thanks for the advice! I guess I just don't understand the decision of the developers to not make this sort feature optional if it wasn't even included in a prior version. Most other music players are able to sort just by album title, and being a classical music listener you'd have multiple recordings of the same piece so I've already structured the Album title tag to account for this. Seems like less of a deal to have people change their Abba album entitled greatest hits to "Greatest Hits - Abba" from the Microsoft file explorer than to be forced the other way to have to individually edit artist for each track or download an entirely separate program to do this by batch. Is it not possible for them to make it optional and let people have it either way by flipping a switch in the setting menu?

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43 minutes ago, MichaelB said:

Thanks for the advice! I guess I just don't understand the decision of the developers to not make this sort feature optional if it wasn't even included in a prior version. Most other music players are able to sort just by album title, and being a classical music listener you'd have multiple recordings of the same piece so I've already structured the Album title tag to account for this. Seems like less of a deal to have people change their Abba album entitled greatest hits to "Greatest Hits - Abba" from the Microsoft file explorer than to be forced the other way to have to individually edit artist for each track or download an entirely separate program to do this by batch. Is it not possible for them to make it optional and let people have it either way by flipping a switch in the setting menu?

The tags are an ongoing development to add more functionality and enhance library management, as well as a source of frustration for those with music library OCD. AFAIK the AlbumArtist tag has been in general use since at least 2007 (using the idv2.3 TPE2 field). Needless to say almost every person uses these tags to suit their own need. But in this case, given the flexibility of Poweramp, I think it is a warranted use to avoid having albums with the same name by different artists all listed in the same place. This isn't just about compilations or Greatest Hits packages. The album "Faith" by Faith Hill and George Michael, "Big Ones" by Aerosmith and Loverboy come to mind quickly. For me, the use of the AlbumArtist tag is where you would typically find the release if you were looking in a library or record store, regardless of the individual track performer(s).

But in your case, there are a couple of options in the settings you can try that may be the solution. These are found in Settings>Library>Lists, scroll down to the Albums section. If you turn on the Join Albums option, this will link all albums with the same name if you do NOT have an AlbumArtist tag. There are a couple of other option switches in the same section of the settings regarding the AlbumArtist label that you may want to look at, to see if they help sort your library to your preference. I can't recall if a full rescan is required after making these changes.

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Album Artist is the proper way to do it. If you are suggesting that people edit the Album Title tags for every song with an ambiguous (although correct) album title, how is that any easier than editing the Album Artist tags so they are correct? And even if you did edit the Album Title, you would technically be making it incorrect just to fix a problem which has already has a more accurate and elegant solution - for example "Up" by ABC, Shania Twain, Peter Gabriel, or R.E.M. should not be forced to have Album Title wording of "Up by ABC", "Up by Peter Gabriel", etc.

As @MotleyG said though, you can still use the old Poweramp V2 workaround kludge from 5+ years ago to force every track that has the same Album Title to be grouped together. It's not the proper solution (it never was really, and it created numerous bug reports back in the day; Album Artist has been supported since build 701 in March 2016) but it works most of the time to allow for inadequately tagged files.

Andre

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