iTunes album grouping problem

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Jelle Fresen, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Jelle Fresen macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2010
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to make an AppleScript to clean up my mp3 tags, but during this development I stumbled upon a rather curious use case where I am clueless as to how the metadata should be filled in properly. To be honest, it is only hypothetical, but it forces me to think thoroughly about the meaning of certain metadata.

    Now, the problem is, how can I make any difference between the two albums? If I make all tracks 'Part of a compilation', iTunes will group all 30 tracks in one album called "Greatest Hits of the 90's". I cannot set an album artist, because there is intrinsically no single artist that created and/or is associated with the album. Putting 'Various artists' in there leads to the same problem as the compilation flag. iTunes cannot even distinguish between the albums by looking at the total number of tracks, since that is similar as well.

    The way I see it, I can only think of one elegant solution: use the International Standard Recording Code. However, iTunes doesn't seem to use this particular ID3 frame (see 4.2.1 of the ID3v2.4 informal standard).
    A workaround that would suffice for now may be to distinguish the albums by album name, such as "Greatest ... 90's (1)" and "Greatest ... 90's (2)", but that would not be very elegant.

    So, my question in this particular use case is what would be the best way to tag these mp3 files?
    And more in general, if I try to query the library through AppleScript, how do I select all tracks of a single album, without the possibility of accidentally selecting too many or too few tracks, such as would be very likely in the previous use case?

    Kind regards,
    Jelle Fresen
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If they are two discs of the same album, enter numbers in the Disk tag. If not, set the Album Artist to Various Artists and make the album names unique. You don't necessarily have to use:
    "Greatest Hits of the 90's (1)"
    "Greatest Hits of the 90's (2)"​
    But you could use:
    "Greatest Hits of the 90's"
    "Greatest Hits of the 90s" (note the missing apostrophe, making this title unique)​

    Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes is a great resource for managing your iTunes tags and files.
  3. Jolly Giant macrumors 6502a

    Jolly Giant

    Sep 15, 2010
    Hamburg, Germany
    also have a look at this excellent read by Steve MacGuire.
  4. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    Have you tried putting slightly different names in the "Sort Album" tag? The Sort tags take priority over the plain Artist/Album Artist/Album tags.
  5. Jelle Fresen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2010
    @GGJstudios: no, in this hypothetical case the discs belong to different albums, e.g. they are produced by different labels. And about Doug's Applescripts, I was actually modifying one of his scripts to fit my needs :)

    @Jolly Giant: thanks, this is exactly the sort of read I was looking for.

    @ReggaeFire: I haven't tried it, but according to the read of Steve MacGuire, that won't help to differentiate the two albums. (see the second subsection)

    Thanks for your contributions. Based on those and the article of Steve MacGuire, I think the bottom line is that a differentiation must be made in either the album name or the album artist. Maybe I should add the name of the label to the album name, e.g. "Greatest Hits of the 90's [Disky]" vs "... [Telst]". So, in more general terms, I think the equivalence relation between tracks of the same album is defined as having the same album artist and the same album name.

    Kind regards,
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's right. An album is determined by "Album" and "Album Artist" being identical for all tracks.

Share This Page