iTunes - Album is a compilation

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Tech198, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #1
    Going through and tagging my music in iTunes 12.x, what is the difference between the check-box "Album is a compilation of songs by various artists" vs just entering the words "Various artists" in Album artists box.

    Wouldn't this accomplish same thing ? What is the difference?
     
  2. kayjprod macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    #2
    The album artist field is for names. By entering 'various artists' here, you creating an album with an artist who is Various Artists. The check box for compilation is a flag identifying that the album is just that. I suppose iTunes could interpret 'various artists' in the same way you suggest and could create the 'compilation album' flag automatically in the metadata, but it doesn't.
    I often fill in artist and album artist with the same information, but for albums where a song might have a different or additional singer, I use the artist field for that information, and album artist for the 'headline' artist.
     
  3. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    May 6, 2014
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    USA USA USA
    #3
    I think the "compilation" flag instructs iTunes to group the album together rather than separating it into albums by different artists. But I believe it's primarily to cause the album to appear under the "compilations" tab on music players (iPhone/iPod/iPad). Why they need a separate tab I'm not sure, but I've noticed that it seems to have that effect.

    That last paragraph could be wrong... What I'm pretty sure about is that using "Various Artists" in the album artist field to denote a compilation will not be enough. For instance, the album "Loose Caboose" by DJ Dan is a compilation by all tests... there are several tracks by all (mostly) different artists. "DJ Dan" is not listed as an artist on any track, but the whole album is credited to him, so that data should be retained rather than using "Various Artists" in the album artist field, and the compilation flag should be set.
     
  4. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

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    #4
    Oddly enough, there's a "Compilations" folder inside your Mac music folder which includes at least some of the tracks on compilation albums. Having accidentally trashed that folder this morning, then spending some hours reconstructing the thing, I can say that its behavior is fairly bizarre. Tracks tend to get lost when you take the thing out and put it back in, on some but not all compilation albums.
    I'm sure there's some underlying logic-like process involved there, but it's not triggered by using "Various Artists".
    Maybe Apple will come out with a Manual for iTunes come 10.11? I hear they're trying to neaten things up a bit; maybe go for another "Rock Solid" release. That'd be nice.
     
  5. Tech198 thread starter macrumors G4

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    Australia, Perth
    #5
    I'm guessing if the whole album is from one person, then the album artists field should reflect that.. However If it's a compilation of different artists on the same album them it can be "Various Artists"

    If what u mean is by the different in doing this vs checking the compilation box only is that it would set the tag and "tell" iTunes its a compilation vs just creating a pointer saying it is one, then it may be better just checking the box and leaving the field blank for various artists albums only .
     
  6. dyt1983 macrumors 65816

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    USA USA USA
    #6
    It doesn't work this way because in reality it's more complex than you think. My example album shows that your suggestion would not work for that case. If you want to do it the way you suggest, you can, but iTunes works that way with the compilation flag because it isn't that simple.
     
  7. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #7
    There are two hints as to how Apple meant Album Artist and Is Compilation to be used:
    View > Column Browser > Group Compilations and
    View > Column Browser > Use Album Artists

    Watch what happens in the Artists column when you toggle those two features.

    If you're going to use Is Compilation then intentionally making the Album Artist "Various Artists" is somewhat redundant - you may be able to use Album Artist more effectively.

    Take for example an album where there's one main artist who does duets with guest artists. To me, the Album Artist is the main artist - I can find all albums by that artist by searching/sorting Album Artist. Similarly, if I have a compilation featuring solo appearances by various members of The Beatles, I might make the Album Artist "The Beatles," since "The Beatles" won't be listed in Artist and might not appear in the Title. For classical albums, Artist may include the names of the conductor, orchestra, and soloists ("Emanuel Ax; Andrè Previn: Royal Philharmonic"). If you're a fan of the conductor, maybe you want to make that conductor the Album Artist for all albums in which he/she appears.

    I also don't see the point to searching/sorting on "Various Artists" - there's just not enough info there to make that search/sort meaningful - ("contains 'various artists' and 'classical'" doesn't tell me much, considering how much mix-and-match exists in the genre).

    I've found Is Compilation to be the most reliable way of ensuring that a particular album is displayed only once in Album View. It fixed a problem recently where a 15-song compilation was displayed twice in Album view - all 15 songs were listed in one "album" and 3 of those songs were grouped as a second "album" as well. Adding Is Compilation eliminated the duplication.
     
  8. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

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    #8
    "Classical" is a horror story which is not Apple's fault. 3 composers, 2 orchestras with different famous conductors, a quartet and various choirs on a single album just makes classification difficult. The compilation button can be very helpful for when you don't want your JS Bach mixed in with Terry Riley as "various artists".
     

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