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Song Tagging and Metadata Blog

Thursday, 18 August 2016

What would you like to see for Classical Track Artists

For Pop/Rock the track artist is clear, generally they are the artist credited for the track on the album cover, they are the performer of song and often the writer as well. If tracks are not credited seperately then they will be the artist credited for the release as a whole, and it is assumed all tracks are performed by the same artist. Usually the artist credited will be just one person or band, and rarely more than three people.

But for Classical it gets more complicated...

 Keeping things simple at release level a Classical release will give usually give credit in this order to
  • Composer
  • Soloist
  • Orchestra
  • Conductor
Of course they may be no soloists and if the release contains multiple works there many be multiple composers or in the case of compilations even multiple orchestras and conductors

At track level clarification can be provided on which tracks a soloist actually performed. When there are multiple works by multiple composers the track artist would only list the composer for that particular track and so on.

So there are more types of people credits on a Classical release, and more people in total.

What should we store as the Release Artist in SongKong and Jaikoz

We use what MusicBrainz provides, which usually corresponds to credits on the cover, and would usually comprise Composer, Soloist (if prominent), Orchestra and Conductor. By having the composer first this has the added advantage that if the AlbumArtist field is used for naming files then all releases by a particular composer would be alphabetically grouped near each other.

But what should we store as the Track Artist in SongKong and Jaikoz

In the past track artist would probably just store the composer field, and this is what MusicBrainz currently provides by default and is what SongKong and Jaikoz currently use.

But in all metadata formats there is a standard Composer field, and this is now well supported by most media players, so do we need to store it again here. There is also a standard Conductor field but this less well supported. What there is not is good support for Soloists and Orchestras

But MusicBrainz does in most cases also store the conductor, orchestra, soloists and also performers

When there is an orchestra performers would probably not be considered of enough signifcance to be part of the track artist, but when it is a classical piece performed without an orchestra then they could be.

I am working to add support to store Soloists, Performers  and Orchestras in their own fields as well to allow users to make use of the data as they wish but we still need a sensible value in the Track Artist field and I would love to hear what you think about this

Some Options

Use Composer as Track Artist
Use Orchestra as Track Artist
Use Soloist/Performer/Orchestra as Track Artist
Use Soloist, Orchestra, Conductor as Track Artist
Use Composer, Soloist, Orchestra, Conductor as Track Artist

But I would rather not add options that are not going to be used so which would be your choice ?

Friday, 1 July 2016

New version (3.25) of SongKong Music Tagger with new features

I am pleased to announce that SongKong 3.25 is now available

This contains some bug fixes and some improvements

1. The rename mask has been extended to allow you to use audio data such as sample rate and bit rate and also to use the original filename as it was when the file was first loaded into SongKong.

2. To help customers with Classical music or home made albums that may use certain fields in a particular way there are now more option to not overwrite these fields on the Artist Format and Album Format tabs

3. We no longer try to guess whether we have permission to edit a file at load time because this does not always work for some filesystem/network combinations. Instead we try to save first and if this fails because of a permissions problem we then display the permissions for that file in the report

4. When using Delete Duplicates you can decide when you find duplicates what criteria to use for deciding the duplicate file to keep and the duplicates to delete. We have now added a new option File Modified Date

Full details here

Friday, 25 March 2016

Tagging DSD Files with Artwork and metadata

What is DSD?

Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) was the name used by Sony and Philips for their system of digitally recreating audible signals for the Super Audio CD (SACD),  But more recently it  has gained traction as a way of storing computer-based audio, especially for playback on hi end audio systems.

Most digital audio use a form of  pulse-code modulation (PCM). But DSD is different in that its underlying audio storage is pulse-density modulation (PDM).

This is how Paul McGowan of PS Audio describes it

1-bit audio is simple to understand in concept.  There are no samples, there are no words, there is no code.  Instead there is a continuous streaming “train” of single identical bits that are either on or off.  The more bits that are on, the higher the eventual output voltage becomes.  The more bits that are off, the lower the eventual output voltage.  We refer to this type of scheme as Pulse Density Modulation because when you have a greater number of on bits it appears as more densely populated.  
The speed of the bits is 64 times the sample rate of a CD and some DSD schemes run at 128 times faster than a CD.

Here’s the interesting part of this: if you take a DSD stream and run it through a simple analog lowpass filter to smooth out the on/off transitions, you get music!  This is amazing considering that if you do the same with PCM you get only noise.

DSD is a lot closer to analog than PCM ever thought to be.

this simplicity and direct relationship with analog provides for a potentially better listening experience. 

Converting Super Audio CD to Computer Files ?

When we convert a Super Audio CD to computer files to store on a computer there are two options, DSF and DFF

DSF supports ID3 metadata just like MP3s, but DFF does not and requires use of an separate database. 

So it is always best to convert to DSF not DFF, if you already have DFF files then it is simple to convert to DFF using an Audio converter application.


Adding artwork and metadata to DSF files

I said earlier that DSF support the ID3 format, this means that tagging software that support DSF files such as SongKong can add the rich depth of information from MusicBrainz and Discogs that it already does for other formats.

1. Select your DSD folder(s)

2. Start Fix Songs

3. SongKong will identify your songs and add lots of lovely metadata, when it has finished
 a summary dialog will appear

4. Then a Song Changes report is open which details exactly the metadata that has been added, even with two screenshots we cannot fit it all in

5. Now you can properly manage your DSD music with the Music player of your choice.

Monday, 14 March 2016

A Discogs Tagger

If you have digitized your Music collection, then there is a real boon in not just identifying your songs but maintaining the links to the Music database they have been matched to. For example you can list your collection on Discogs, you might want to just share your music preferences or you may be interested in trading some of your records.

This is why SongKong and Jaikoz do not only store basic metadata like Artist, Album and Title, but also fields that identify the correct MusicBrainz/Discogs data such as the artist(s) and release.

With previous versions of SongKong songs an attempt was always made to match to MusicBrainz before matching to Discogs. But now in the latest 3.24 release you can disable MusicBrainz matching and only match your songs to Discogs, just disable the Search for a MusicBrainz match.

Now you can even disable the Acoustic fingerprinting stage, but even if you are only matching to Discogs then SongKong can still make use of  acoustic fingerprints, so we do not usually recommend it.

And of course you can just match to MusicBrainz and not update or match to Discogs by disabling Update from Discogs and Search for a Discogs Match.

Monday, 15 February 2016

SongKong 3.23 now supports DSF audio fingerprinting and metadata tagging

This new release of SongKong has a a host of new features and improvements

Perhaps most exciting is support for the DSF format

DSF is the DSD format stored as a regular file with metadata support. DSD is a PDM encoding of audio, essentially the audio can be seen as a stream of bits that can be on or off, the more ones in a row the greater the amplitude they represent. This simple encoding can allow a better representation of the original analog sound, hence potentially better representation of the original analog recording.

SongKong supports audio fingerprinting, song identification and adding of metadata to the DSF format. DSF supports the ID3 metadata format, exactly the same as MP3 and AIFF files so this means we can store all the great same metadata including cover art as these other formats

New Options

There are a host of other new features, including the following new options suggested by some of our PS Audio customers

1. Ability to not modify Artist, Album Artist, Sort Artist, Album Artist, Composer and Sort Composer to help with Classical/Jazz collections
2. Option to use JRiver compatible field for Album Artist for Flac/Ogg files.
3. Easy option to set max file path length 

Better Matching

And now we have even better matching

1. Better matching for individual songs.
2. Better identification and matching of Multi Disc releases

3. Use of Acoustids to match individual songs to Discogs when no match in MusicBrainz. 

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