Hard time with music library


I know this is more Kodi-related, but im pretty unsure which of the many Kodi forums is the right spot to post my question.

My Movie and TV-Show library is running perfectly fine. 95% of the infos are getting scraped via Kodi itself, for the rest and renaming I use a seperate program on PC.

But Im having a terribly hard time organizing my music library. My files are stored on a USB-HDD directly attached to the Vero. Were talking about 70GB of music. I spent hours on my PC with tagging those files to my liking. But in Kodi, they still dont show up as I want it.

For example: I have a lot of Nick Cave albums. Thing is, he played in a lot of different bands and cooperated with many musicians. So I thought tagging folders like this should be the smart thing:

  • “Nick Cave” [and only Nick Cave]
  • “Nick and The Bad Seeds”
  • “Nick Cave and The Birthday Party”
    and so on.

Additionaly, I have some musicians that cooperate and form under a new name in that collabo. So I went like:

  • “Statik Selektah and Termanology are 1982”

so they show up under the respective first letter. The problem is: Kodi completely ignores my tagging. Nick Cave & The Birthday Party still shows as “Birthday Party” and 1982 still shows under “1982”.

I played around with the “prefer online information” setting, but thats doesnt change much. I know I could acces my music via “files” so they show up as my folder structure is, but this would limit the sort options and wont bring up additional informations like biographies or fanart.

Furthermore, Kodi wont bring up Fan- and Coverart for certain artist also I pretagged them on my computer. This is not for some exotic artist but for example the band Sublime.

I would really appreciate any assistance on this matter. Thanks.

The crucial tag item is “Artist” and not “Album Artists” or “Albumartist” or any folder name.

Try a tool like exiftool to find out, ssh to your OSMC device

sudo apt-get install exiftool

Example: To check a music file “02 - 01 - Vangelis - Conquest Of Paradise.flac” cd into the containing directory and invoke command

exiftool "02 - 01 - Vangelis - Conquest Of Paradise.flac"

which gives information like

root@osmc-vero4k:/mnt/music/Various Artists/BRAVO Hits 10# exiftool "02 - 01 - V                                                                                                                                                             angelis - Conquest Of Paradise.flac"
ExifTool Version Number         : 10.40
File Name                       : 02 - 01 - Vangelis - Conquest Of Paradise.flac
Directory                       : .
File Size                       : 30 MB
File Modification Date/Time     : 2017:06:07 08:48:32+02:00
File Access Date/Time           : 2018:01:27 11:23:59+01:00
File Inode Change Date/Time     : 2017:06:07 08:48:29+02:00
File Permissions                : rwxrwxrwx
File Type                       : FLAC
File Type Extension             : flac
MIME Type                       : audio/flac
Block Size Min                  : 1152
Block Size Max                  : 1152
Frame Size Min                  : 14
Frame Size Max                  : 4071
Sample Rate                     : 44100
Channels                        : 2
Bits Per Sample                 : 16
Total Samples                   : 12700800
Vendor                          : reference libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917
Title                           : Conquest Of Paradise
Artist                          : Vangelis
Album Artist                    : Various Artists
Albumartist                     : Various Artists
Album                           : BRAVO Hits 10
Discnumber                      : 2
Disc                            : 2
Track Number                    : 1
Year                            : 1995
Comment                         : Romantisch
Lyrics                          : In nòreni per ìpe..In noreni coràh;..Tiràmine                                                                                                                                                              per ìto..Ne dominà....In nòreni per ìpe..In noreni coràh;..Tiràmine per ìto..Ne                                                                                                                                                              dominà....In nòreni per ìpe..In noreni coràh;..Tiràmine per ìto..Ne dominà....Ne                                                                                                                                                              ròmine tirmèno..Ne ròmine to fa..Imàgina pro mèno per imentirà.
Genre                           : Pop
Date                            : 1995
Encoder                         : MediaMonkey 4.1.12
Tempo                           : Langsam
Mood                            : Ruhig
Occasion                        : Romantisch
Quality                         : Exzellente Kopie
Composer                        : 5
Ensemble                        : Various Artists
Rating                          : 100
Replay Gain Track Peak          : 0.999054
Replay Gain Track Gain          : -4.620000 dB
Replay Gain Album Gain          : -4.190000 dB
Bpm                             : 99.000000
Picture Type                    : Front Cover
Picture MIME Type               : image/jpeg
Picture Description             :
Picture Width                   : 0
Picture Height                  : 0
Picture Bits Per Pixel          : 0
Picture Indexed Colors          : 0
Picture Length                  : 85747
Picture                         : (Binary data 85747 bytes, use -b option to ext                                                                                                                                                             ract)
Duration                        : 0:04:48
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Thats a crucial information. I read in other forums the exact opposite, so I took special care about “Album Artist” and allowed “Artist” to keep its clustered names.

I will try to set the “Artist” tag as I want it to be and report back.

Kodi use Musicbrainz to scrap music. And you can use Picard
to prepare your music library before.
With Picard you search for each disc (your library) the right MusicbrainzID, with all other infos. If not found you can created your disc inside Musicbrainz.And tag your music library.
After when you scrap with Kodi, Kodi search directly the right MBId.
I’ve some 10K of songs in my library, Picard needs that you spend some time to prepare, but after it’s work’s very fine.

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I did exactly this. But just like any other tagging software, Picard doesnt use a single label for an entire “artist” , often enough even not for an album.
So my approach was to leave the “artist” field as it was and use the “albumartist” field to group all albums from a artist. Other forums suggested so. But this didnt work even when i list my files via “Role -> Albumartist”.

As @JimKnopf suggested I will now retag my files using the “artist” field to group. For retagging I will use MP3-Tag as this list and edits file faster.

I’ve see some case for artist, but this one must be “worked” upstream inside Musicbrainz.
For album, Musicbrainz has x time the “same” album, but in reality it isn’t the same, but another edition.
Try Jim’s solution for some case, and verify what’s happen after Kodi scrapping. I think that Kodi scrapper update your infos with Musicbrainz infos.

The trick with multiple artists is to enter them with separators like BB King / Eric Clapton Note the spaces round the / so that AC/DC is recognised as one artist. Valid separators are / ; | feat. and ft. Slashes are part of te ID3 spec so are the safest to use.

Now if you search for Eric Clapton you will get Riding with the King as well as Pilgrim and the rest.

Then Kodi has a special tag ARTISTS which you use as above instead of ARTIST. Then in ARTIST you put the performers as named on the record sleeve eg Eric Clapton with BB King That’s the tag that is displayed when you list and play albums. There is also ALBUMARTISTS.

As @JimKnopf says, folder names are completely irrelevant to music libraries. On the Kodi wiki they do recommend a directory structure which will keep you sane but that’s only relevant if you use separate metadata files which I wouldn’t recommend.

I find mp3tag best for editing tags. Picard is better if you don’t have any tags to start with and I think it knows about Kodi’s ARTISTS tag. Edit: yes it automatically creates an ARTISTS tag and will automatically create ALBUMARTISTS if you add a script


according to notes I made a while ago.


Kodi adds the musicbrainz ID to its database and fills in any gaps in information not filled by ID3 tags. Or overwrites the tag data if you have ‘Prefer online information’ set. Kodi does not re-write ID3 tags, just writes to its database.

Yes, and when you play music with Kodi, you search in the database.

Thaks for the further input.
Like I said, I tried to list my files in Kodi using “Albumartists” because that was the tag I used to group my artists before. It worked better than listing files per “Artists” but still was far from perfect.

When I understand you correct, I dont have to cut the “Artist” tag to just one artist. But how exactly will this be displayed in Kodi. Using your example: The BB King / Eric Clapton album will show up under Eric Clapton and also under BB King? Because creating doublets is something I want to avoid.

Id rather stick to my new approach using the “Artist” tag via MP3Tag to group multiartist albums like in my Nick Cave example in the first post. This way I Hope to get a seperate entry for all Nick Cave albums alone, all Nick Cave albums with the Birthday Party, all Nick Cave albums with Blixa Bargeld etc. following each other.

The Picard-Tags still remain from my first tagging session, only the “Artist” field will be rewritten.

If you want it like that, then don’t use ALBUMARTISTS at all but put Nick Cave and the Birthday Party in ALBUMARTIST.

Albumartist? Now Im confused.

Allow me to recap: I previously had all my files tagged with edited “Albumartist”. In Kodi using the “Artist” view it was a total mess. Using “Albumartist” view was better but still clustered. According to @JimKnopf thats because of Koding focussing mainly on the “Artist” tag.
I will now edit all the “Artist” tags to my liking, so that Kodi shows under Music->Artists an entry for [Nick Cave], [Nick Cave and the bad Seeds], [Nick Cave and the Birthday Party]… (leaving the other tag informations as they are scraped by Picard). Each with a couple of albums inside. There and only there without doublettes.

If that works, I might even want to have subfolders behind [Nick Cave] for the different bands, but thats one step ahead. I really need to have a clean Kodi view first.

Hi @nifty_anthropoid,

look here to get very precise information: http://kodi.wiki/view/Music_tagging#Resolving_Compilations_and_Multiple_Artists → “7.1 Resolving Compilations and Multiple Artists”

My simple learning after years was:

  • whenever there were tracks from several artists on the album → set “Various Artists” to the “Album Artist” and specifiy the artist in the tag “Artist”
  • on non-collection albums “Album Artist” and “Artist” are often the same

The trick with the " / " delimiter is new to me, many thx to @grahamh :slightly_smiling_face: ; will try this the first time this evening .

@nifty_anthropoid Before you start to change ALL your music again and again, just take a single album and do your tests till your satisfied with your way to handle this. :wink:

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I have many non compilation albums that have a couple of different “Artist” tags. In fact, I might have max. 20 compilation albums if at all. Knowing that Kodi relies heavy on tags, especially those metainformations from MB Picard, I had the wrong assumtpion Kodi would sort stuff like I want it. My next mistake was to conclude, that solely editing the “Albumartist” tag could be used to sort my music.

Holy moly, I read the Wiki so many time, but missed that specific part:

  • If two or more songs assigned to the Album name then have different primary artists, then the Album name is considered to be a group of songs from a compilation, and the Various Artists" tag is assigned as the album artist.
  • Otherwise, if all the songs have the same primary artist but don’t have the same full artist list (eg a song or two has an additional artist) then the album is assigned the primary artist as it’s Album Artist, and we assume the additional artists are guest artists.

That should have been the main reason I had such a cluster-!*$% .

Thanks for trying to save me some time. But many mistakes in the library are only visible in the bigger picture. And Im pretty confident, that the new approach will be the correct one.

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Yes. Sorry for misleading you over albumartist. Artist is indeed king. I still recommend putting something in Albumartist as that is how Kodi decides which tracks make an album. I hope you have one file per track - tagging tracks in a single flac of a whole album is another nightmare.

So to simplify it: “Albumartist” isnt a sorting tag (quotation marks here) but more an additional meta info tag being displayed in the player etc. (?).

Only a handful one-track-albums that doesnt need this much scraping informations. As far as I understand the mechanics, I could still give them an “artist” tag and they will appear under the corresponding artist in Kodi.

I think not. Kodi’s database has an artist table that includes track artists and others with specific ‘roles’ but I don’t think it puts people who appear only as albumartists in there.

Edit: Wrong! see below.

Yup, I learned that the hard way.

Well, it didnt work.
“The Birthday Party” still shows up as “Birthday Party” in Kodi->Music->Artists, even though I went so far tagging it as “Nick Cave” for Artist.

I see two possible reasons:

  1. Im doing the reimport of the rescraped files via Kodi wrong. I cleaned up the music library and went to files -> big music folder -> add to library. Scraper started and took some time.

  2. Theres a criteria Kodi lists artists under “Artist” im not aware of/we havent thought of.

For me, problems with artist and albumartist occurred at the beginning, too. I had everything set up ONLY with the artist field filled, albumartist was meant to be empty here.
BUT: For several albums I forgot to delete the albumartist field and what did kodi do? It didn’t use the artist field to sort those tracks into one album, but it fell back to albumartist and the album was split up into various different albums. Although artist was the same for all tracks of that album.

My approach now is: albumartist always stays empty and I’m ONLY using the artist field. I don’t put different artists into the artist fields of a compilation, but all of the different artists into all artist fields of all tracks of that compilation (separated with artist A, artist B & artist C).
This solves the problem in Kodi for me and I can avoid a mess when adding the same files to other libraries by Twonky e.g. The problem is different libraries also have different approaches to sorting artists and I don’t want to have duplicates just to adjust to each library. But I want to have the very same order everywhere. Just sticking to artist did the trick for me… In Kodi, Twonky, iTunes and Winamp. :+1:t2: