Common (LMS) Issues with album collation / compilations and how Muso addresses them
The following are not necessarily all issues in the current version of Squeezebox Server (LMS), but they have been reported in the LMS forums at various times. They serve to illustrate problems which can occur in LMS or other music managers:
- When viewing albums for an artist, LMS does not differentiate between albums by the artist and compilations the artist appears on. Muso groups albums under an artist into 4 distinct categories to make this clear: (As Titled Artist, As Supporting Artist, As Contributor, and As Supporting Contributor).
- Supporting two different versions of the same album (title) by the same artist, without having to relabel the Album title or the Artist (perhaps you have one MP3 version and one lossless version). LMS merges these into one album so doubling up each track. Muso can treat as 2 different albums provided they are stored in different folders – via the Album Organisation setting “Same Folder”.
- Having one album’s tracks scattered around the file system. LMS splits these as different albums (one per folder). Muso can collate them as a single album by setting the Album Organisation setting “Dispersed”.
NB. Logically speaking LMS shouldn’t be doing both of the above since they are mutually exclusive, but issues have been raised on the LMS forums that both are being experienced. Muso supports both scenarios and makes it possible to tweak the album collation via the Album Organization track-level setting. Which it does by default is driven by the General Rule “Collate by Folder”.
- LMS can split an album into multiple entries even if they are in the same folder. This can result from a mixture of tags (ID3v1, ID3v2, Ogg Vorbis). Muso doesn’t fall prey to the same problem when reading tags since it reads them in priority order (if Ogg Vorbis tags are found, they are used and nothing else).
- LMS can combine several albums of the same title into one even if they are in different folders. This can result from having multiple artist tags but the first one being the same (workaround is to specify different ArtistSort tags). For older versions of LMS It even did this when several artists all have an album titled “Greatest Hits” or similar (bug 4361). Muso avoids this by consistent use of the Album Organisation settings.
- Handling multi-disk albums: LMS has the setting “Treat multi-disc sets as a single album”, but if you arrange the media files by sub-folder for each disk “Disk 1”, “Disk 2” etc they can still be split. Muso can deal with this by having the Album Organisation setting of “Parent Folder” which groups tracks of the same album title by common parent folder. Both systems require that the album title is set without a “ (Disk 1)” suffix for example, and that the Disk Number and Track Number tags are set correctly in order to output the track listing properly.
- Separate queries by Composer, Band and Conductor : LMS optionally includes these these in the list of Artists but they are not separately queryable. In Muso they are separately queryable, and this includes Performer and custom tags also.
- LMS shows every single album which for some collections (where there are lots of partial albums) makes it very cumbersome to navigate. Muso has the concept of qualifying criteria for assuming an album is a “Full Album” and has the option whether to show all albums or only Full albums.
- LMS always will have Album Artist supercede Artist for the LMS DB field of artist, this is a fixed rule – it cannot use Composer for classical albums unless you copy Composer into Artist for all your classical tracks. Muso keeps separate Album Artist, Artist and Composer database fields, and applies similar logic in album collation (and in showing titled artist) though this is overridable at individual album level - and it does have the flexibility to take Composer as priority over Artist for classical music.
- Compilations in LMS cause much confusion and tagging issues. Compilations to Muso are albums which cannot deduce any titled artist, but which have multiple (Track) Artist values (or Composers if the album is classical). The Compilation track tag only assists in the collation of multiple artists with the same album name into an album. Albums which have a titled artist are not considered compilations even if all tracks have the Compilation track tag set. Muso can file compilations under a configurable name when artist groups are listed.
- On LMS, artists are only track artists on compilations, and not if they are guest artists on an album with an album artist. Not on Muso – it associates the artist to both compilations and albums by a different album artist that the artist has contributed to.
- LMS treats artist tags literally and does not cater for small inconsistencies – eg. it will register two artists if one album is labelled with Artist = “Sundays” and another with Artist = “The Sundays”. It can even split a single album into two if the album tracks have a similar inconsistency. Muso deals with a large number of such inconsistencies, recognising them as a single Artist (using the most common reference), without forcing the user to re-tag.
- LMS does not offer fully Flexible Sorting/Grouping/Filtering without using a plugin - eg. to see your favourite albums of the year (or the decade) ordered by overall rank (based on your own track-by-track ratings), or to group albums by artist/genre/year/etc in a "Cloud" type view. Muso does all this and more.