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Song Tagging and Metadata Blog

Saturday, 28 April 2018

SongKong for Nas

Now that SongKong can be completely controlled via a web browser this opens up the possibility for it be run on systems that do not have a monitor connected and hence can only be controlled remotely.

Network Attached Storage


The prime candidate for this is Network Attached Storage (NAS) machines.

A NAS unit is a computer connected to a network that mainly provides file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. But it is not justa simple hard drive, it usually runs a version of linux and can run other software. But it is usually not designed to be a general-purpose server. NAS units usually do not have a keyboard or display, and are controlled and configured over the network using a web browser


Docker

There are may different NAS's on the market, each having different requirements for packaging and installing applications.

Docker is a way of packaging applications so that they can work over a variety of different platforms without having to repackage each application for every environment.


First Docker File for Synology NAS


SongKong customer Nathan Howell has kindly created a docker image for SongKong, and it is freely available from 
https://hub.docker.com/r/nathanhowell/songkong/

Now, lets be clear I have not yet used Docker so this is all new to me, but if you do know what you are doing this should work for you.

We will be working on making an official docker version and checking how it works on different NAS systems.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

SongKong 5.3 :With Improved Delete Duplicates

SongKong 5.3 released today with improved Delete Duplicates and some bug fixes.

Album based  Delete Duplicates Report

Finding duplicates is still done at song level but now the Delete Duplicates report is usually organized by Album Artist and Album making it much easier to understand.

At the top level is the Album Artist  and then this can be expanded to show each Album that SongKong has found duplicates for, these in turn can be expanded to see the duplicate files.


Duplicates will be organized Album/Artist if Song is a Duplicate If is album based. However if  it is just song based such as Same MusicBrainz Song Only then it will be displayed by Track Artist

Below we see the result of Delete Duplicates on the same folders when using Same MusicBrainz Song Only.

Notice that having found 9 duplicates for album Prince, it has found 8 duplicates for track artist Prince, and one duplicate for track artist Prince with Sheena Easton.



 

Bit Depth added  as Preferred Deletion Criteria

The Preferred Deletion Criteria is used to decide the file to delete when duplicates have been found. We already supported choosing the preferred audio format, so for example you could prefer aif instead of wav. But what happens if in some cases the wav file was a 24 bit hi res file and the aif file was a regular 16 bit file, and in other cases the aif file was the 24 bit version ? 

Now you can specify the Bit Depth as a criteria to ensure Hi-Res files are always kept.



 

Add Audio Fields to Edit Songs  

We have now added audio read only fields to the Filename tab to help customers with song identification. The fields added are Audio Bits per Sample (Bit Depth), Audio Sample Rate and Audio Bit Rate

 

  

Bug Fixes

 The full set of improvements and fixes can be found at here

Thursday, 19 April 2018

SongKong 5.2 - Now with Free Manual Metadata Support

SongKong 5.2 - Now with Free Manual Metadata Support

We are pleased to announce the latest version of SongKong with some major new features:
  • Manual Metadata Editing
  • Status Report
  • Support for reading the user edits made with Naim App for Naim Wav rips
Also SongKong Trial has now become SongKong Lite and we are offering manual metadata editing and the status report completely free as part as of SongKong Lite.
  
We have now simplified SongKong/SongKong for Melco  so the same download can be used and then the extra features of the Melco release are activated by simply installing the Melco license.


Manual Metadata Editing


The concept behind SongKong is that your songs can be identified automatically, and this gives you get a complete and consistent music library. However we realize that 100% music identification is not quite a reality for most of us just yet so SongKong also provides manual metadata editing as well.

Although there are tagger editors already available we realized that none of these allow you to tag remotely via a web browser, but Songkong now does. This is very useful if you have SongKong running on a less accessible machine such as a linux server.

If you are already using SongKongs remote matching then you can use a single application for all your music metadata tasks, and manual edit understands the same fields as automatic edit so there are no comparability problems.



After each manual edit session SongKong saves all changes to a database so that you can use Undo Fixes in exactly the same way as you can do for automatic edits, and SongKong
creates a report so you have an audit record of exactly what has been changed.

Status Report 

Before when you ran Fix Songs it created a spreadsheet showing all your metadata, but how do you get a snapshot of the metadata before Fix Songs has made any changes ?

The Status Report creates the spreadsheet showing exactly what metadata you currently have for your chosen folder, so you can take a snapshot of your metadata before making any changes.



But it does more that that.

It also has a Metadata Completeness summary, creating a bar chart showing the percentage of songs that have a given metadata field such as Album, Artist or in fact any of over one hundred fields, plus the percentage of songs that have album art of at least user defined quality. The metadata fields to be calculated are configurable.




 Naim User Edit Rips

The Naim UnitiServe is a hi-end cd ripper and library store. When you use it to rip a CD the UnitiServe rips to Wav format, it then looks up metadata from the All Music Guide or Cddb but this metadata is stored in a file called amginfo.xml or cddbinfo.txt within the same folder as the Wav rips for the album rather than stored within the Wav files themselves. If you edit your music using the Naim App then these edits are stored in a UserEdits.xml file.

SongKong with a Melco license could already embed the amginfo.xml and cddbinfo.txt metadata into the .wav files themselves, but now with this release it can also embed user edits.


Other Improvements and Fixes

 The full list of fixes and improvements can be found at here



Thursday, 22 February 2018

JThink will be at the Sound and Vision show in Bristol, UK this weekend.



This weekend I will be at the Sound and Vision - Bristol show, if you would like to come and have a chat about music metadata, or just a chat please come and find me.


I should be at the Melco stand on the ground floor where I will be demonstrating SongKong and Jaikoz and how they can work very well with MinimServer and the Melco N1.




Friday, 16 February 2018

SongKong 5.1 Release

On Wednesday this week we released SongKong 5.0, adding the new Remote mode however in doing that we introduced a regression to Desktop mode ! 

Substantial refactoring was done in the 5.0 release so that Remote and Desktop modes could share user option code but we broke the the selection boxes in Desktop mode so that it wasn't always showing the option actually selected by the user, instead just showing the first item in the selection box as selected.

SongKong 5.1 fixes this problem, apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Since there is nothing else to say about the 5.1 release here are some more screenshots of the new Remote mode






Wednesday, 14 February 2018

SongKong 5.0 - now with Remote mode !

We are excited to announce SongKong 5.0 is released today, this is a major release because it now includes a Remote Mode

Remote Mode

This feature means that you can now control SongKong from a remote device using a regular web-browser, and this could be another computer, iPad or even your mobile phone. 


First of all this means having installed SongKong on your computer you can then use it from another location in your home, for example your computer may be in your home office but you can control from your phone in your lounge. 

But it also means you can install and use SongKong on a computer that does not have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) such as a Linux server, and unlike the command line tool you have full access to all user options and administrative tasks such as license installation. 

Because you can install SongKong on the same machine as your music resides on even if it has no GUI the actual file reading and modifying does not have to be done over the network meaning much faster and more reliable matching, especially with large lossless files.  






You could even make your server visible on the wider web and connect to it from the other side of the world. 

Available For

This first release is available for MacOS, Windows and Linux as usual, but we plan releases for various NAS devices such as Synology and Qnap very soon.

Licensing

Remote mode is available for all users, but the Fix Songs and Delete Duplicates tasks can only be run in preview mode unless you have at least a SongKong Pro license


Other Improvements

We can now list all report tasks in reverse chronological order with some summary information, this is available in both regular desktop mode and remote mode.



We have also fixed a number of issues and made some minor improvements, full details on the News page

 



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

SongKong 4.13 - High Definition Release

Today we release a new version of SongKong and SongKong for Melco. As well as some bug fixes  this release has some improvements particularly for customers that have High Definition (or HD) version of their favourite albums. 

Add High Definition to Album Title


Sites such as HDTracks and Quobuz now provide many releases in 24bit format, this is better than the 16bit  standard CD quality and is known as high definition (or HD). To really see a difference the record company needs to have created this version from a higher quality original source and you need a decent sound system , but if both these conditions hold the result can be stunning.

The new Add [HD] to album title for High Definition Album option does that, it adds [HD] to the album title when your songs are encoded in a lossless format at 24bits or higher.


This option is enabled by default for Pro/Melco and Commercial customers. It means that if you have HD and non HD versions of the same album that you can clearly distinguish between the two when browsing via album. It also means that if you use SongKong to rename your songs using the standard folder = album organisation that it will be clear when browsing your music by folder.


New IS_HD Metadata field

We also now set a new IS_HD metadata field to 1 when your song is encoded as HD. You can then use this field to organize your music in other ways, such as a top level HD and non-HD folders. You could also configure MinimServer to browser music this way, we already have a guide showing how to use boolean fields in MinimServer


New Audio Fields can be used in Rename Masks

We also have added audiosuffix, audiobitspersample fields, adding them to the existing audiobitrate, audiosamplerate, audioencoder and audioformat. All these fields take their value from your actual recording rather than metadata.




Only use Main Artist in the Album Artist field Option

We have also extended the featured track artists logic to album artists. Some releases are credited to a main artist and a collaborator, if you only want to see the main artist then simply set When album contains featured Album Artists to Only Use main artist in the album artist field and discard other artists
  



We have some other improvements and fixes as well, to see the full list head over to the News page

 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Jaikoz X - Technical Road Map

We are pleased to announce our plans for Jaikoz X, the tenth major version of Jaikoz.


Improvements


Firstly there are some important improvements we want to make how Jaikoz generally works.

Slow Start Up Time

Jaikoz is slower than it could be to start up, and this is mainly because it has to read the user options, this is an encrypted Xml file. With hindsight there was no need to use an Xml file instead of a standard properties file, there is no need to encrypt it and Jaikoz does not need to read more than a few items at start up.

We are going to replace the Xml file with a properties file, this is quite a task because it affects all preferences, but in the last two versions of Jaikoz we have used a properties file for new preferences so we have made a start on this. But an improvement in start up speed will not be seen until we have converted all the preferences so that the Xml file does not need to be used.

Tabbed Spreadsheet Edit View

The idea of the spreadsheet editing was always to let you display any columns you  like and in any order you like to suit you. The trouble is that Jaikoz supports nearly 200 different metadata fields and the temptation is to display all of them but this can make the application rather slow and cumbersome, in particular changing the column ordering by drag and drop is very slow.

The solution is to have multiple Edit tabs, we already have this in the form of Edit and ID3 Edit tabs, we want to extend the Edit tab to have different type of Edit tab.

We want to eventually allow you to create arbitrary edit tabs with arbitrary columns but think a good starting point would be tabs that roughly mimic the detail tabs, namely an Info, MusicBrainz, Sorting, Relations, Mood, Classical and Custom
tab.

SongKong Feature Parity

There are some features in SongKong that should be part of Jaikoz as well, in some cases they are an improved version of a Jaikoz implementation. We want to update Jaikoz so that it has the same functionality as the improved SongKong Features.

 

Multiple Filenaming Masks

SongKong has improved file-naming, We will a add a list of pre created rename masks to Jaikoz, that can be edited plus new masks can be created and saved. And allow functions be saved independently so they can be used by multiple file naming masks.

 

Song Only Matching (Pro Only)

SongKong has Song Only Matching. By default Jaikoz groups tracks logically and only allows a match if a release can be found that the complete set of tracks can be matched to, if only some tracks can be matched then no changes are made. However often Jaikoz can identify the song just not the album, since songs are usually available on multiple albums and usually the song can be correctly identified by its acoustic fingerprint but the particular album the customer has is not in the database. 

Song Only Matching updates song fields such as SongTitle and TrackArtist without breaking up the grouping because it does not update release fields such as TrackNo and AlbumArtist

Genre White and Grey Lists

SongKong supports White and Grey Lists. We will add to Jaikoz support to only genre in  a particular list with white lists, and convert genres from another value with grey lists.

 

Accurate Changes Html Report  

SongKong create a detailed Html report  that shows exactly what changes have been made during a session, a similar report would be useful in Jaikoz.

New Features

Support for Beatports (Pro Only)

The quality of the data within MusicBrainz is unsurpassed, but it does not have total coverage. It is weighted towards CD and Albums, Discogs is better for Vinyl and Singles but better for cutting edge house and Dance is Beatport, we hope to add support for BeatPort

 

Wider Support for Artwork

For many customers the most important metadata that Jaikoz can add is artwork, in fact for some customers that is the only artwork they want Jaikoz to add. Currently we can only artwork if we have had a Discogs or MusicBrainz match and they have a link to artwork, however there are many cases whereby the existing metadata is good enough to find cover art for other sources even if the album is not available in MusicBrainz or Discogs. We want to add artwork in these cases.

Create Custom Fields (Pro Only)

Jaikoz supports nearly 200 metadata fields, but we realize that sometimes you need to add fields that we don't support, maybe for compatibility with a legacy application or for other special circumstances. We would like to add support to allow you to create custom fields as required.

Tagger Script (Pro Only)

This is a long requested feature that would let you set the value of a field based on another field, e.g artist=albumAlbum. We plan to implement this in a similar way to file-naming masks, allowing you to save multiple tagger script snippets that be applied to selected rows as required.

We are very excited about these plans and would welcome feedback on these ideas at this time. Also if there are major critical features that you think are missing for this list let us know, nothing is set in stone at this stage.

 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Jaikoz 9.3.0 Release with new metadata fields

Today on October 17th 2017 we are pleased to announce a new release of Jaikoz. 

The focus of this new release is the addition of some new metadata fields plus some fixes related to metadata editing, it can be downloaded from here
 

MinimServer Grouping

 

MinimServer is a powerful uPNP server that can be used to stream to uPNP devices, it is typically used to stream music from high end audio systems but can also be used just as successfully on a PC or Mac. It has a way to group tracks that is especially useful for classical music with the MinimServer Group field (note this is different to the more common Grouping field).  We already had support for automatically updating this custom field with SongKong. We now support automatic updating with Jaikoz, and of course with Jaikoz you can manually edit the field as well.


Overall Work

Jaikoz already had support for the Work field. Typically with classical music tracks represent movements that are part of a Work. But sometimes that Work is part of a larger work, most notably Operas that have recordings linked to Scenes that are parts of Acts, that are part of the overall Opera.

Now the all encompassing work is stored as the Overall Work 



Instrument

Jaikoz already adds performers and their instruments when matching the releases on MusicBrainz and Discogs. This information is stored in the Performer field in the form Person:Instrument for ID3 formats such as Mp3 and Wav, and Person (Instrument) for VorbisComment formats such as OggVorbis and Flac.

But now we add the person only to the PerformerName field and the Instrument only to the Instrument field. This means you can easily sort or index your music by the instruments used.



ISWC and IPI

In a similar way to how the ISRC field can identify a unique recording the ISWC field can identify a unique work. Artists and labels can have an IPI, this is used to identify the interested parties of an ISWC (such as the composer of the work). We have now added ISWC and IPI fields to Jaikoz that can currently be manually edited, in a future release we will automatically add the metadata from MusicBrainz.




Single Disc Track No  

For Multi-Disc releases it is sometimes useful to just consider the releases as a single disc release. This is the purpose of the SingleDiscTrackNo release, Jaikoz automatically adds this data when releases are matched to MusicBrainz.

This field can be used in music players instead of the TrackNo to view albums as single disc albums.




Lyricist Sort

We already have sort fields for most people, such as the composer, conductor. Now we added a sort field for the lyricist.






Other Fixes

There are also a number of fixes, mostly related to some issues with advanced editing of some fields with Jaikoz. The full list of fixes can be found here

 


 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Fix for OSX High Sierra breaking menubar for non English languages on Jaikoz and Songkong

In August we reported that Apples beta version of their High Sierra operating system was broken for all Java applications because it did not display the menubar properly.

Update Nov 15th 2017, Apple have eventually fixed this with the OSX 13.1 release, and we have reverted the now unnecessary fix in SongKong 4.13, we will do the same thing with the next Jaikoz release.


On Sunday 25th September High Sierra was officially released and the problem appeared to be resolved. However it only works if OSX preferred language is set to English otherwise the menubar does not work.

Hopefully Apple will fix this soon but in the meantime we have a workaround for both Jaikoz and SongKong with only a minor side effect: 

  • Within Finder in Applications right-click on Jaikoz or SongKong and select Show Package Contents
  • Select Contents
  • Open Info.plist for editing
  • Find the line that says CFBundleAllowMixedLocalizations and change the line below it from true to false
  • Save the changes

Now start Jaikoz or SongKong, this should resolve the issue. 




Update


Since we don't know when Apple will fix this we have now uploaded new versions of Jaikoz 9.2.0, SongKong 4.12 and SongKong for Melco 4.12 for mac users with the above workaround in place. So if you now just download Jaikoz or SongKong from http://www.jthink.net the Menu bar will continue to work. 

The version number has not changed so if you already had the latest version you will not get prompted to update. But we have updated the build date of these replacement versions to 27th of September 2017 - and you can see this in the About window.



Effects


There is one negative side effect meaning that in the main Jaikoz/SongKong menu and folder dialogs used by Jaikoz/SongKong will now show as English when they should be in your preferred language


Below is an example showing SongKong in German with and without fix.

Without Fix

Menu is incorrect, but when I click on Wรคhle Ordner to open folder buttons are still in German




With Fix

Menu now works properly, but menu items under the SongKong menu are incorrectly in English and buttons in folder dialog are also in English. But other options in SongKong will correctly be displayed in German.



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Finding Missing Artwork for Melco N1 and other Music Servers with SongKong

A question that has cropped up a few times is how do I use SongKong to only find missing artwork and not add other metadata. This is easy to do with SongKong and SongKong for Melco by changing a few options.

In order to add artwork SongKong still needs to identify the album but it doesn't have to add the related metadata.

Basic Options

Firstly, ensure on the Basic tab that you have enabled Update Artwork because you want to add this. Then disable Update Genres and Update Mood and other attributes such as BPM as you don't want to add other data.


Artwork Options

When artwork is added by default it is embedded in the file itself. But for maximum compatibility with legacy applications that only read artwork from filesystem such as Twonky UPnP you can also configure SongKong to save the artwork to the filesystem as well.

On the Artwork tab  set Save Artwork to Filesystem to Yes, but do not overwrite existing artwork files in folder. Now assuming your songs are organized one folder per album any embedded metadata will be saved as a cover.jpg or cover.png within the same folder as long as there is no existing artwork file.



You may also want to modify the minimum artwork size you will accept and the maximum artwork size above which artwork will be resized. The defaults are 200x200px and 1000x1000px. This can be done by modifying the Ignore artwork smaller than this and the Resize Artwork if dimensions larger than options.



If you already have artwork embedded in the files you can specify whether SongKong should leave this metadata alone
or replace it. The default option is to replace if it finds an image of higher quality, by quality we mean a higher resolution image.

Your choice is to either keep this as the default, or if you are happy with your existing embedded metadata you can use the Replace if Empty option instead. 





Format Options

By default any other new metadata (such as artist and title) is added to your files, overwriting existing data to provide a more consistent data set. But you can easily prevent SongKong for adding any metadata except artwork.

Click on Update next to Never Modify or add these fields 



Now click in the Available Fields list 




Then do Select All so everything is selected (Cntl-A on Windows, Cmd-A on OSX)




and click Add so everything now in Selected Fields


and click on OK. Now none of these fields will be modified




Lets Go

Keep all other options to the defaults and select Start. SongKong will now go away and identify your music but only add the artwork to your files plus a few of identifiers required by SongKong to work smoothly. These identifiers are mainly MusicBrainz identifers and will have no effect on other applications.


It will also save that artwork as a separate file in the folder if no artwork already exists.

SongKong 4.12 Fixes for using SongKong to only add artwork

In theory it is easy to use SongKong to just add artwork and and a few customers have asked for details on how to do this, so I started writing a blog post about it but I encountered a few problems along the way.

As there seems to be some demand for this particular task I have fixed these issues immediately and released as 4.12

The full list of fixes can be found on the news page

And we have published an article on how to use SongKong to only add artwork.

 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

SongKong 4.11: Bug Blasting Release

Bug Blasting


Today we release a new version of SongKong. Not many new features in this release but we have blasted away thirty  bugs. Many of these were obscure ones that had only  been reported once, but there were some larger ones in there as well.

We hope with the next release we should be able to virtually eliminate all the remaining bugs. This should help reduce time spent on ongoing support and let us concentrate on some really cool new features.

OSX iTunes Bug


We have found that the later versions of OSX Sierra no longer have the Java Applescript  library installed. SongKong requires this to update iTunes, and it wasn't accurately reporting the issue either. This new release comes with the missing library as part of the SongKong installation.

 

Saving Unchanged Songs

Too often SongKong was re-saving songs that had not actually had any changes since the previous Fix Songs task. This could make the report a little confusing, and increased the total processing time, especially if SongKong was configured to  update iTunes. We have now fixed this, note in the report the Songs Saved bar chart only shows files that have actually been changed. It is the Songs Completed bar chart that shows the successful completions, to highlight this it is now the last bar in the bar graph.

New Feature:Windows Path Length option

We have one new feature in this release (for Windows users only). On Windows the file path is limited to 259 characters, but this is only a limit of Windows not the underlying file system and it can be rather limiting sometimes, for example Classical releases.

Whilst is usually wise to adhere to this limit for files that are intended to be usually be used on Windows it is not so necessary for external or networked drives that are only temporarily being accessed via Windows.

For example you may be using SongKong on Windows to access a Linux NAS drive. Whilst SongKong can run on Linux a NAS will not not let you use the GUI, you'll be limited to using command line. And in some cases it will not be possible to install SongKong in the first place, so this is quite a common scenario.

You can use the new Limit File path to Windows Explorer 259 Character Limit option to not set the limit, or set the limit only for local NTFS/FAT32 drives, this is the default.




The Full Issue List

You can see a full list of fixes in this release here

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