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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field Apps
iTunes 7 thinks of an album by a performer (call the performer XYZ), where one or more tracks are by "XYZ featuring ABC" or "XYZ and ABC," as separate albums. In the past, the only workaround was to set the album as a compilation to avoid this, but this is an incomplete solution, and it had the side effect of the album not being classified or filed properly.

Enter the "Album Artist" tag in iTunes 7. Set this tag (via Get Info with all all tracks of the album selected) to the main artist's name, and the album will be unified.

For those of you who tag with other applications, it appears iTunes uses the ID3v2 TPE2 (Band - orchestra - accompaniment) frame for this. I'll leave the debate about whether or not that's appropriate to others who care more about 100% accurate tags than I do. I'm just happy that it's finally easy to keep these albums together without resorting to calling them compilations!

Note, this information comes from a few posts in this thread on the macosxhints forums.
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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: DougAdams on Sep 18, '06 07:52:10AM
FYI: The script Artist to Album Artist will copy the artist tag to the album artist tag of the selected tracks, if you find that handy.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: shavenyak on Sep 18, '06 08:22:55AM

I've noticed something else useful about the Album Artist field. I have two albums called Decade (Duran Duran and Neil Young) and two albums called About Time (Webb Wilder and Pennywise) in my library. Before 7, if I had a view sorted by Album, the two albums with the same name would be intermingled. With 7, they are kept separate as long as the Album Artist tag is filled - if it isn't, they stay mixed up.

Of course, iTunes 7 also has the handy "Album by Artist" sort, that doesn't seem to rely on the Album Artist tag, if you don't want to go updating Album Artist for all your old files.

It's a good thing, because Cover Flow view looks really funny when the same two album covers show up alternating ten times in a row.



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Problem with sort order
Authored by: googoo on Sep 18, '06 09:36:46AM

If I change the Album Artist field for one or more tracks, the songs no longer sort in the original order when I choose ANY of the album-sorting options (i.e., sort by Album, Album by Artist, or Album by Year). If I sort by Artist the original sort order is restored. This is a very annoying bug!

-Mark



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: whodisbe on Sep 18, '06 11:07:09AM

Another GREAT use for this... I listen to a lot of foreign music, particularly from India (Bollywood) music. With Bollywood music, there are several different artists for each track on each album on each CD. The impact of this and iTunes is I could never keep track of albums correctly unless I put the artists in the composer field and vice versa, which of course completely catalogs my music incorrectly. Now thanks to Album Artist, I can tag things correctly, and the Album view and Cover view work flawlessly.



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: Ryon on Sep 18, '06 05:05:41PM

Unless I'm doing something wrong, this is rather useless to me because browse mode will still only reveal the tracks listed under e.g. "Kanye West" (and not "Kanye West Feat. Whoever") when I select his name in the artist field. I know that's technically correct, but it's not intuitive. It seems like when I select Kanye West's name in a browser and then pick one of his albums, it should show me the whole album.

Plus, I still need to keep the album tagged as a compilation to avoid multiple-artist clutter in my browse list (and on my iPod).

Please tell me I'm doing something wrong... I love iTunes but its rudimentary artist tagging—this, plus no actual, database-like support for multiple artists—bugs me so much. It's one thing WMP gets right (or at least WMP 10, the last version I used).



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: beccles on Sep 18, '06 06:15:03PM
"Set this tag [Album Artist] ... to the main artist's name, and the album will be unified"

This implies that Artist Artist = Hilltop Hoods and Artist = Hilltop Hoods (Remix feat DJ Bonez)

However, I've found that this does not unify the artist/album; a separate folder is still created for Hilltop Hoods (Remix feat DJ Bonez).

However, if done the other way Artist Artist = Hilltop Hoods (Remix feat DJ Bonez) and Artist = Hilltop Hoods then the artist/album is unified.

This seems contrary to the meaning of 'album artist' so I'm going to theorise that my iTunes7 is (wrongly) behaving the opposite from everyone else's.
Has anyone else seen this behaviour?

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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: keely on Sep 18, '06 09:39:52PM

Close - I find that if I reverse Album Artist and Artist tags, nothing gets grouped together. For example, I have Nelly Furtado's "Loose" (iTunes version). Half of the tracks are Artist=Nelly Furtado, the rest - Artist=Nelly Furtado & Timbaland or another artist. If I change the Album Artist=Nelly Furtado, the songs still aren't grouped in Album View together. If I reverse the tags on a song, it's listed separately from both the other two groups. Since some of the collaborations aren't the same, I won't be able to get them together regardless of whether this worked.

Any reason why this wouldn't work for me? I can't find a reindex tool or something like that...



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: wheeles on Sep 19, '06 03:22:14AM
It's a shame that Apple still organises the iTunes Library in the filesystem using a directory for the Artist field and not the Album Artist field if it is available.

I am going to submit a request for them to adopt this behaviour. If anyone else wants iTunes to behave this way I suggest they also submit a request via

http://www.apple.com/feedback/itunesapp.html

In the meantime I am going to continue arranging my music in the format:

Name: Alive Alone [Ft. Beth Orton]
Artist: The Chemical Brothers
Album Artist: The Chemical Brothers


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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: wheeles on Sep 19, '06 03:33:14AM

On second thoughts, could we have got this all the wrong way round and the Album Artist field should be in the form Artist + Band and the Artist field simply the main artist?

If that is the case then the initial point that Apple has got the tagging wrong is in fact not the case.



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: wheeles on Sep 19, '06 04:16:08AM

No, that doesn't work as the cover art splits into multiple albums.



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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: wardy on Sep 19, '06 04:32:47AM
There's an article about it on Apple's support site [link:]http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304389


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How to use iTunes 7 new Album Artist field
Authored by: Grommet on Sep 25, '06 07:42:03PM

The format

Crystal Skull (Feat. Scott Kelly)

works for me and seems to sort properly.

I've been using that format since SoundJam, it seems to keep everything organized with no issues.



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