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Multiple Artists and Genres per Song

28819 Views 38 Replies Latest reply: 01-Mar-2014 08:45 by Ty Lastrapes RSS
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felipead Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
31-May-2011 19:51

I listen to lots of electronic music, and I'm a professional DJ.

 

Electronic music is a very diverse and complex music category, and have lots of genres and sub-genres. Electronic music producers usually try to transpose genre boundaries, and they usually produce songs contained in two or more equally important genres. For instance, a track can be contained in the genres "house" and "techno", or "disco", "techno" and "acid".

 

Also, it's really very common that electronic music artists collaborate with each other. Songs produced in collaboration do not belong to one single artist, but to two or more. In this case, it's not correct to say that one is the main artist, and the others are second artists (collaborators, composers remixes, or whatever) - they all detain the same equal authorship status over the composed track.

 

The problem with iTunes is that it supports one single genre, and one single artist per song. Sure, there's the album artist, but, again, that doesn't apply to albums where multiple artists participate with equal importance. And using "V.A." or "Various Artists" in the song artist or album artist fields is ugly and useless - it doesn't say anything relevant.

 

I know that Smart Playlists and Grouping features can help alleviate this deficiency, but they don't solve them at all. They're not elegant and complete solutions. If you browse the iTunes library, you will still see tracks as having only one genre and one artist, which is very frustrating.

 

What I ask is really easy to implement. In fact, it wouldn't require to alter the existing ID3 and tag scheme. Just split artists and genres using a colon or semicolon character. For instance, in the "Artist" tag, iTunes can store the following:

 

    "Christian Smith; Mark Broom; Renato Cohen"

 

and then, in the browser, iTunes could display "Christian Smith", "Mark Broom" and "Renato Cohen" as three distinct artists.

 

The same could be used for the "Genre" tag:

 

    "Techno; House; Progressive"

 

could be see, in the browser, as three different genres: "Techno", "House" and "Progressive".

 

I've made an extensive web research, and I know that this deficiency  doesn't annoy only me, but lots of other users. And it's a pretty old request too - dated from 2003.

 

Please, Apple, implement this feature. My huge electronic music collection really needs to be categorized into multiple artists and multiple genres.

 

Thank you.

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    01-Jun-2011 15:58 (in response to felipead)

    Felipead,  As you know, iTunes is not designed for a "professional DJ."  It is consumer-grade freeware.

     

    iTunes only allows one genre, but you can make it as complicated as you like, depending on what information you wish to include. I have genres in my library that look like "Funky/vocal/disco/club house,"  "Uplifting/progressive trance," and "Shoegaze/noise pop/pop/rock," and of course they will match on any of the words.

     

    The multiple artists thing is a problem, and is in fact a subset of a bigger problem.  Hip-hop fans would like the featured artist, classical fans would like the conductor, orchestra, and soloists, and so on.  I cannot speculate why iTunes has not done more about this.  But I would observe that iTunes is optimized for syncing iPods, most of which are real-estate limited to only display 3 fields (Artist, Title, Album) no matter how complicated you make the metadata for the tracks.

     

    If you'd like to take one more kick at the can of feedback to Apple, you can do so here.

     

    Ed

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    02-Jun-2011 16:40 (in response to felipead)
    But those genres don't share anything in common. For instance, tracks included in the "Techno/House" genre cannot be searched within the "Techno" or "House" genres.

     

     

    Felipead,

     

    If you type "techno" in the search bar, iTunes will match on tracks for both "techno" and "techno/house."  In the column browser, however, they will appear as two independent genres.

     

    As mentioned, you can make suggestions to Apple at the link provided.

  • Keith Coker Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    15-Aug-2011 10:42 (in response to ed2345)

    Ed2345,

     

    I believe felipead makes a very valid point by saying:

     

    "The need for multiple genres and artists categorization is a necessity from anyone who has a diverse music collection, not only professional DJs."

     

    I am a perfect example, I am not a professional DJ, but an audiophile nonetheless, and I have collected and imported tens of thousands of songs from my CD collections. I find the "Single Genre Mode" of iTunes lacking. I too would like to see a more elegant solution to being able to categorize individual songs and albums than the simplistic method currently in use.  I have pored over several discussion boards only to find that others have discussed the same problem, and none have proposed a solution that is as elegant as Apple simply changing the ability to catalog songs and artists with multiple tags.   

     

    The only current solution I have seen to date  is to put multiple tags into the Comments field, and using Smart Playlists to find songs that contain multiple tags.  I find this solution inelegant as well. 

     

    One user posted the following:

     

    "What iTunes *really* needs is user-definable tags. IIRC, the current ID3 spec allows for many more tags than iTunes makes use of. If they would allow the user to add tag categories, we could ease the overburdening of the genre and comments fields. For instance, I'd love to be able to set a specific field for Lead Vocalist, so I could readily mix songs by, for instance, Eric Clapton, Cream, and Blind Faith. Right now, I have several of this kind of datum that I'm tagging in comments with various key tags that I can set up Smart Playlists to parse, and so my Comments fields look like novels."

     

    While this works, I would still like to be able to do what felipead suggests, i.e., be able to place a single song, album, or group of songs in multiple genres at once, and be able to choose a genre that contains songs that fall into multiple genres of the conceptual venn diagram of a diverse music collection. 

     

    kecologic

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    15-Aug-2011 16:54 (in response to Keith Coker)

    Keith,  Using a variable number of new tags does not strike me as any more elegant than putting a bunch of text in a single field.  However, if you would like to make a suggestion to Apple, you can use the iTunes Feedback page.

  • Bromiliad Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    12-Dec-2011 23:39 (in response to felipead)

    I understand your frustration with this. iTunes ***** for anybody who collects more then a few albums. I am an ameture DJ and I can't stand iTunes for music management. Before I recently began to use OSX, I used Mediamonkey 4 on Windows 7. This program does everything you are asking for and more. Just this week I found that someone had ported it to OSX using Wine. You can find it here. http://www.mediamonkey.com/addons/browse/item/mac-osx-mediamonkey/

     

    It's not the prettiest of interfaces, but it's functionality is amazing. I've been using it to build playlists for DJ sets for years. It is constantly being improved. You will not be dissapointed. Just take the time to tag your music correctly then learn the power of autoplaylists and seperate libraries. I have s seperate library for my albums and one for my singles. I can create auto-playlists like "Genre: House; Tech;/ Year; 2007 - 2011/ Mood: Upbeat/ Occasion: Warm-up; Driving; Peak/ Rating: >3.5 Stars" or "Genre: Rock; New Wave/ Year: 1978-1986/ Rating: >4 Stars" etc. The options are limitless.

     

    Now they just have to mac a Mac OS version and all my prayers will be answered.

  • lokanata Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    10-Feb-2012 12:16 (in response to felipead)

    YES! I also like those feature !

    my big itunes filled up with thousand albums of classical music.
    many of them are multiple artist, e.g. duet of violin concerto.

    how i can edit to album artist, where two great artist are playing both equally, and itunes only detect 1 artist.

     

    is there any itunes script that can help those mystery?

     

    thank

  • KishoreY Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    20-Feb-2012 20:48 (in response to felipead)

    I agree with this post 100%

     

    I have posted on this as well and I am dissapointed with Apple's lack of vision on this no-duh issue.  Basically artists and genres in particular need to be ampersand (&) delimited or semi-colon (;) delimited.  Semicolon would be better since it is less likely that the semicolon is already in use in artist and genre tags.

     

    They are UNLIKELY to change their tagging scheme since they have to do it to their ENTIRE itunes library.

     

    I am perfectly happy using genre tags like:

    Pop & Dance & French & Vocal

    Pop & German

    Pop & English

     

    Then I make a smartlist for each of the individual genre names.

     

    This is sorta fine EXCEPT:

    1. the ipad doesn't do smartlists correctly (it is broken) in the software.

    2. most external control systems that can read itunes library like SONOS, Meridian Sooloos, Control4 don't recognize smartlists or multi-genre.

     

    Unless APPLE fixes this problem, nobody else will.

     

    J-Rivers media center for windows has addressed this problem YEARS ago.... but it still doesn't address whole house audio solutions.

     

    NO whole house audio solution that I am aware of will delimit their artist or genre tag with ';' or '&'. It's sad but Apple is at least a decade behind on this issue and it is the only thing that ruins my experience with itunes and whole house solutions.

     

    Music from India is COMMONLY multiartist and there is NO way to alphabetize it correctly since there may be a duo or trio of singers, all of which are "primary" singers.

     

     

    If I could sit down with Apple developers for 30 minutes we could hash this out and create a truly great system... but who would ask a guy like me...

     

    Apple doesn't really capitlize on the genius of its many customers in my opinion.  Apple shoud learn to crowdsource better under Tim Cook.

     

    Apple should hire an army of 1000 people to read these forums with its 100 billion dollar cash hoard and capitalize on a lot more suggestions in the forums.   Apple should have had a comprehensive whole house audio and video system a DECADE ago with the advent of wifi ubiquity.  It is silly that all they have still is airport express and airplay...

     

    full disclosure.  I am an Apple stockholder.  I have never received a reply on this subject and I have posted numerous times in a variety of forums as have others.  Any Indian music fan with this multi-artist debacle that is Itunes should have noticed this problem by now.

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    21-Feb-2012 17:16 (in response to KishoreY)

    Music from India is COMMONLY multiartist and there is NO way to alphabetize it correctly since there may be a duo or trio of singers, all of which are "primary" singers.

     

    Kishore,

    I am somewhat curious about what you would consider to be correct alphabetization of a song with multiple primary artists.  When you sort by artist, do you want the song to appear in the list multiple times, once for each of the primary artists?

  • KishoreY Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    21-Feb-2012 20:03 (in response to ed2345)

    basically, if you delimit the artists names by a common symbol like ';' then all sorts of options open up. 1. the list could be setup to show multiple instances of the same song (not the most important thing). or more importantly 2. If I browse by artist, it wont list 3 separate artists as one artist or "various".  In the artist browser, I could look up the song by any of the contributing artists without using the search function.

     

    The same principe for genre is true.  This technique has already established by J-Rivers media center for windows and it is a much more advanced system than itunes and is perfectly intuitive.

     

    Download j-rivers media center and check it out... it leaves nothing to be desired except that it is not on the mac.

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    21-Feb-2012 20:17 (in response to KishoreY)

    Kishore,

     

    So the implication is that if you sort the list by artist, it will suddenly get longer, as additional instances of any multi-artist song will appear.  I can assure you that most iTunes users will find that annoying. 

     

    However, if you wish to make a suggestion to Apple, you can use the offical iTunes feedback page:  http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

  • Absolute2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    03-Mar-2012 08:31 (in response to ed2345)

    where do I start ed? First, this is a post about how rediculous it is that iTunes can't seem to give credit to multiple artists by allowing them equal standing on songs they have collaborated equally on, and how iTunes only allows for one genre per song, when if you know anything about music you will realize that a lot of it has multiple genres and artists. Second ed, you have done nothing but argue against this, and more specifically against all the users on this thread. No one wants to listen to you because you have nothing to bring to this thread but things like "iTunes is not designed for a professional DJ. Its a consumer-grade freeware," "Using a variable number of new tags does not strike me as any more elegant than putting a bunch of text in a single field," and "I can assure you that most iTunes users will find that annoying," which no one cares about. This isn't for your oppinion of "im against anything that doesn't love iTunes," this is for everyone agreeing and putting forward new ways to improve the thing known as iTunes. So if you can't say anything to improve the system and are just responding to everyone the negative way that you are, then get off this site cause no one will want you on their thread. Im sorry for doing exactly what you're doing, but someone has gotta call you out on it. Oh yeah, and don't bother responding to me like I know you will try, because this is the first time I have been on this site, and after seeing the way a "level 6" conducts himself on threads, this is my last.

  • Kofi7 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    18-Mar-2012 16:23 (in response to felipead)

    "And it's a pretty old request too - dated from 2003."

     

    It's quite simple to understand why Apple continue to ignore this sugesstion since introducing this feature in iTunes will not make Apple any money. they lost their soul with the iPod in 2001 and lost all hope of getting it back in 2007 when they released the iPhone. Apple is now a money machine just like the Microsofts of this world except they still pretend to be caring, sharing altruistic etc.

     

    In fact this feature is already available from Apple.... In the iTunes STORE.

     

    For example if you browse violinist 'David Garrett' the iTunes Store will list both his individual songs AND his collaborations with other artists such as the 'Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' (all available for just 0.79p!!!) I'm sorry if I sound like a cynical troll but this quite annoys me.

     

    Apple have obviously developed the feature but then decided not to incorporate it into iTunes perhaps because they think it will 'complicate' the program for their core market... but does their 'core market' not use the store? The store is designed very well to 'streamline' customers from A to P(urchase) and one of the ways to do this is to incude intelligent tagging so that a customer does not 'miss out' on the opportunity to buy a track just because it doesn't match with the 'primary artist tag'

     

    The only way I can see Apple introducing this feature is if they dont have anything more pressing on their advertising agenda and their marketing department find a way of making a snazzy ad video about how this feature is wonderful, amazing, and 'new'.

     

    N.B. I'm not a professional just a normal user with a diverse library.

  • KishoreY Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    18-Mar-2012 21:21 (in response to Kofi7)

    Well said comment...

     

     

    The solution to this problem overall is simple.

     

    If I pull out my Ipod, and go to the section to browse by artist, then all artists would be listed individually in the list if they are separated in a song by the '&' symbol.  In the main music list in itunes, this would not result in multiple copies of the file.

     

    The same situation would apply in the genre browser.  If there is a tag with "POP & Chinese" then the song would appear if I was searching in pop OR Chinese.  It would not show a Genre called "POP & Chinese" in the genre browser.  It would show POP and Chinese SEPARATELY in the list!!!

     

    This is not a issue of some programming esoterica nor does it require some super genius to figure out.

     

    Wake up Apple programmers....

    Even smartlists are broken in the ipad/ipod and don't work the same way as they do in itunes. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT A5X chip that you can't fix this problem?  I make a smartlist for the genre section at least and this allows me to accomplish what I stated above with genres by using the smartlists instead of the genre browser.

     

    The artist browser and genre browser are worthless to me...  since MANY of my songs have multi-artist and multi-genre separated by '&' and the stupid browser lists all the permutations instead of delimiting the genres and artists.

     

    My genre list looks sorta like this:

    Pop & chinese & instrumental

    Pop & japanese

    Pop & Soundtrack & Anime & Japanese

    Pop & score & anime

    Pop & chinese & vocal

    Pop & electronica

     

    What a mess...  but I can't categorize my stuff any other way without making it hard to decide which place to put a song.  Does a chinese soundtrack pop song get filed under chinese? or pop? or soundtrack?  I SHOULD be able to find the song regardless of which sub-genre I look under in the genre browser.

     

    This is basically simple.  The people that understand this are basically right and Apple is WRONG on this...  no matter what detractors on this thread say. The devices and software could easily be tweaked to dramatically improve the user experience but Apple is poor at getting involved in discussion forums like this to allow us to help them fix these issues.  Some of the product developers on the app store are far more receptive to suggestions than Apple is.  They are not getting enough of the advantages of crowd sourcing.

     

    I would fly out to Cupertino and correct MANY UI mistakes/errors for them if they will have me out there...

     

    I'll hold my breath and wait for a message to have me come out there.  There are still a lot of things about OSX and iOS that can be made simpler too.  still FAR too much extraneous junk and poor implementation of cloud capabilities.

     

    Why on earth does itunes have a "get info" menu dropdown to get into track data?  Why is the track data separated into 7 submenus separated by tabs?  The whole data entry situation in itunes is way too complex.  It's downright painful.

     

    Why are there no 24bit audio files yet for premium prices?  Are the people at apple doing too much LSD?  WHAT IS GOING ON?  You have to be disabled not to hear the difference between great recordings and that 256kbps garbage the peddle.  come to my house on the 107db sensitivity speakers with a Class A amplifier and tell me you can't tell the difference and I will have your hearing checked.

     

    hopefully the itunes department will contact someone on this thread to provide a list of the mistakes in itunes/ipod software so the problems can all be fixed.

     

    An AUDIOPHILE needs to take over itunes and fix this nonsense STAT.  It's simply embarassing at this point.  Where are my 24 bit files on my 1000gb ipod?  WHY IS THERE NO AUDIOPHILE IPOD? They can use there 100 billion cash hoard and make a GOOD home distribution system beyond "airplay/airport".

     

    Why is mediocrity being considered at Apple when they do so many other things great?  Considering I own half a million dollars in stock, believe me I do appreciate the company at large.  I am only ranting about the treatment of audiophiles and the complete dumbing down of the music experience to mass garbage when we live in the 21st century.   What we see is important (retina display) but what we hear is not?

     

    /rant off...

    Apple feel free to contact me and I can tell you how to develop the BEST product for music ever implemented...  I don't need compensation...  I want products that I WANT to buy!!!!

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