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Monday 31 March 2014

How do iTunes options affect SongKong ?

If you are an iTunes user SongKong can automatically update iTunes with any changes it makes -but there are a couple of options in iTunes that can subtlely affect the interaction. I recommend they are disabled, not only do they cause problems for SongKong but they increase disk space usage and they reduce interoperability with many other applications as well.

Both options can be found in the iTunes preferences advanced tab, and they are enabled by default

Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized
Copy files to  iTunes Media Folder when adding to library

1. Both Options Off

This is the best option, then iTunes makes no modifications to your files.

2. Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized enabled only

Just enabling this option has no effect if you have nothing in your iTunes media folder.

3. Copy files to  iTunes Media Folder when adding to library enabled only

If the files do not exist in iTunes then if they are matched by SongKong then when they are saved copies are added to iTunes. But note if you make more metadata changes to these files then that will have no effect on the ones in iTunes because now iTunes is interested in the versions it has added. So from now on you should be loading the iTunes media library rather than the original file location.

If you rename these files then they will be seen as new files and added again to iTunes, this could happen if you changed the rename mask or if the first time SongKong only added fingerprints, and second time actually found a match.    

4. Both Options Enabled

Same problems as above, but additionally if you do load the iTunes Media folder into SongKong and match the songs then iTunes will move and rename the files according the latest metadata. This means that the songs may no longer be where SongKong expects them to be so that trying to use Undo Changes and selecting the last location will fail, you will have to select the original location.

If you still want your songs copied to iTunes media folder and you want songs renamed according to their metadata using the iTunes format you can let SongKong rename the files instead of iTunes by selecting a suitable format in the File naming tab


Its always best to be in control, but if you want to continues using these iTunes options at least you aware of the potential problems. If you use create multiple iTunes libraries for different scenerios note that the two options will always be enabled by default  for every new library

These problems are also relevant to Jaikoz users.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Why do we still call digital music taggers Mp3 Tag Editors ?

Browsing the web this morning I was surprised that most articles about tagging music still refer to software such as Jaikoz or SongKong as a type of MP3 Tag Editor or MP3 Tagger. Whilst MP3 is probably still the most common form of digital music shouldn't we be talking about Digital Music Taggers or simply Music Taggers these days. I hope mp3 doesn't become ingrained as the defacto word for digital like Hoover became for Vacuam Cleaner

Certainly mp3 is not an acceptable format when purchasing digital music these days, for example iTunes uses mp4. And with the availability of cheap disk space ripping CD's to lossless formats like Flac or Apple Lossless is the most sensible option.

Another annoyance about MP3 is capitalization, after all these years I'm very unsure whether to refer to it as MP3 or Mp3

I was also surprised that the wikipedia entry for tag editor   has one page for two completely different type of taggers, music taggers and image taggers.

Actually the word Tag was the name given to the metadata format used by Mp3s (ID3) to describe the container for storing metadata, most formats don't actually use this terminology and it would be better to say Music Metadata Editor rather than Music Tag Editor. Many applications have got confused about the word Tag and use it to refer to parts of the metadata within the tag like artist or genre, in fact Ive been guilty of this myself in the past.

Having said that Tagger is a a nice shortening of Tag Editor, so my preferred choice is still Music Tagger, anybody have a better alternative ?

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Why does the Artist column in Jaikoz Column Browser not match the values of my artists ?

Today a customer asked why even though they had modified the artist field of some of their songs that Jaikoz still shows the old artists names in the column browser, even after removing the sort artist and sort album artist fields.

The culprit is the artists field, Jaikoz uses the artists field in preference to the artist field for the Column Browser if the artists field is not empty. The artists field is only used by Jaikoz and SongKong currently but other applications are looking at incorporating it. It only differs when a song is attributed to multiple artists. In this case each artist is added separately to the artists field allowing you to search for a song by just the first (main artist) involved in the song.

i.e 'Jackson' by 'Johnny Cash & June Carter'

ARTIST:JohnnyCash & June Carter
ARTISTS[0]:Johnny Cash
ARTISTS[1]:June Carter

So the column browser would have one entry in the artist column containing 'Johnny Cash', but if you delete the artists field you'll then have one entry showing the artists concatenated together as 'Johnny Cash & June Carter' so it is then harder to list all the songs involving Johnny Cash

Now actually when the artists field is intact we want June Carter to be listed as well in the Column Browser but that is not yet done, see http://jthink.net:8081/browse/JAIKOZ-783

Monday 17 March 2014

Identifying unknown songs in iTunes using SongKong

Just posted a new video showing how to fix an album in iTunes with no metadata using SongKong, I have purposely kept it nice and simple

As you can see:
  • The original files contain no metadata, and no useful information in the file path
  • The songs can be dragged directly from iTunes to SongKong
  • Once the songs have been fixed and saved the changes are reflected in iTunes immediately

Saturday 15 March 2014

Finding split up tracks from compilation albums revisited

The Problem Revisited

A Mac customer wanted to use Jaikoz to only fix some compilation albums that had been broken up into different folders by another application, so typically each song was the only file within its own folder.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a solution to this but since then I have made a couple of improvements:

  • The original script would only find files if there was one file in total in the folder, so if there was one music file plus an image file it wouldn't be listed, it has now been fixed to only count music files.
  • Folders containing more than one music file may need fixing as well so it  has now been extended to allow you to search for x music files in a folder where x is another parameter

Here is the new script ( but no need to copy it there a version available to download)


shopt -s nullglob

find "${1:-.}" -type d | while read dir; do
        files=( "${dir}"/*.{mp4,mp3,ogg,flac,wma,m4a} )
        (( ${#files[@]} == ${2:-1} )) && echo "${files[*]}"
This checks all the folders under the provided one looking for folders containing only the number of music files requested in the folder and list the songs that Jaikoz can process.

Then if we redirect the output to a file, and we name it as a unicode playlist we can load the list of files straight into Jaikoz

And this solution should work for Linux as well

The Solution

Finding the list of orphaned files

Save this file to your Documents folder 
Open Applications/Terminal,
Within Terminal enter

        chmod 777 Documents/findodd2.sh  

and press <ENTER> then

   ./Documents/findodd2.sh MusicFolder NumberOfFiles > playlist.m3u8

and press again.

where MusicFolder is the full path of the root of your music directory and NumberOfFiles is how many music files the folder must contain.

i.e. I might enter:

        ./Documents/findodd2.sh /Users/paul/Music 2 > playlist.m3u8

to find folders in /Users/paul/Music containing exactly 2 music files
this may take a few minutes depending on how much music you have

Then start Jaikoz and drag playlist.m3u8 onto Jaikoz to load the files

Matching files to releases

Ensure View:Show Column Browser is enabled , and use it or the search so that at any one time you only have the songs from one of the album you want to reconstruct listed.

If you know the release exists in MusicBrainz use Action:Match to Release:Match Songs to Specified MusicBrainz Release and then move onto the next release.

Or if you know the release is in Discogs use Action:Match to Release:Match Songs to Specified Discogs Release and then move onto the next release.

If it doesn't exist in either database  you can still use Jaikoz to manually fix the metadata

Then use Action:File and Folder Correct:Correct Filename from Metadata and  Correct SubFolder from Metadata to rename the files and folders to bring the files back together.

Now check the results and then Save Changes

Friday 14 March 2014

Opening Playlists with SongKong

Today we release a new version of SongKong with a number of fixes and improvements, the most important detailed below.


In addition to files and folders SongKong can now open M3U playlists, just drag the playlist onto SongKong and then all the files and folders within the playlist can be fixed or searched for duplicates.

You can create M3U playlists from your iTunes playlists as follows:

1. Select the desired playlist then Control-click / Right-click the playlist and select the Export... option

2. Select Save as type M3U files (.m3u8), selecting this option instead of M3U files (.m3u) ensures that songs in any language can be correctly stored on the playlist, this is particularly important for non European languages such as Arabic, Chinese or Japanese.

3. This newly created playlist file can be dragged and dropped onto SongKong.

But don't forget that although you cannot drag native iTunes playlists directly into SongKong you can drag the songs themselves directly from iTunes.

Fix Songs Cancelled 

There was an issue in the last couple of versions that could cause SongKong to finish prematurely before it had tried to match all songs, the report would say it had been cancelled even though it was not cancelled. This issue could occur when potentially duplicate files were found in a folder when matching and is now resolved in this version.

Report Creation not Finishing

SongKong fixes songs in a pipeline and is very careful not too use very much memory during this process however many songs you are fixing. However at the end of the fixing process a report is created and this does require more memory when more songs are fixed, in extreme cases this could cause SongKong to fail during report creation. Memory usage has now been substantially improved during report creation to prevent this from happening.

Other Improvements

The  full list of improvements can be found here

Friday 7 March 2014

Jaikoz versus SongKong

A few times I've been asked me the difference between SongKong and Jaikoz, a good question which I'll answer in this post. I've also been asked which is better,but there is no answer to this question they are just different.

Jaikoz Summary

Jaikoz is an established music tagger encompassing both automated tagging using online databases and manual tagging, development started in 2006. Jaikoz has automated matching to MusicBrainz and Discogs, but also has semi-automatic tagging and matching an album to a specific Musicbrainz or Discogs release. Jaikoz also allows new releases and other information to be added to MusicBrainz.

Jaikoz was designed to be very flexible so that all fields can be easily and quickly modified in comparison with other tag editors and players such as iTunes, metadata can be exported to or imported from a spreadsheet

Jaikoz also supports finding and deleting duplicates songs.

Over the years many new features have been added to Jaikoz to deal with almost any situation.

One important principle of Jaikoz was that it would only modify your files  when you actively choose to do so. Within Jaikoz you load your files into it, modify your songs then save your songs.

SongKong Summary 

SongKong was started in 2012, the main objective was to provide a simpler solution than Jaikoz that would work for the majority of people. With advances in automatic tagging I decided to only provide automated tagging and a simpler more streamlined interface. SongKong starts fixing songs as soon as you start loading them without waiting for all songs to be loaded, it works in a pipeline.

SongKong actually saves songs as they are matched, this has the advantage that there is no delay at the end saving all songs at once, and if anything goes wrong no matches are lost. But to ensure the customer retains control SongKong keeps a full audit of everything modified and allows you to Undo any Changes even after restarting your computer.

SongKong takes automated tagging further as it can continuously monitor your music folder and correct any new files added to the folder.

SongKong also supports finding and deleting duplicates songs.

SongKong also provides a command line interface.


The automatic matching and duplicate deletion provided by both is the same except for minor differences, both support the same audio file formats and both integrate with iTunes. Development continues for both applications, and typically there are new releases every couple of months.


Wednesday 5 March 2014

Secret genre option in SongKong

Genre support in SongKong is quite simple at the moment, it does not currently have the same genre options as Jaikoz because I'm looking for something simpler but more effective then we have in Jaikoz.

Currently if you start Fix Songs then select the Update Genres option on the first tab it will update the genre from the Discogs Style field but only if the genre field in your song is empty.

However there is an option you can use that is just missing from the UI to overwrite the genre at all times as follows:

Simply add the line


to your user copy of songkong.properties

this can be found in the following places depending on OS

From Finder, hold down Option Button and select Go menu
Select Library from the list
Go to Preferences : SongKong

Windows 7/8

Go to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\SongKong

Go to $HOME/.songkong

Any suggestions for how you would like genre support implemented, just let me know.

Why is SongKong not renaming my music ?

I had three different customers reporting that SongKong is not renaming their files for three completely different reasons so I thought it would be worth sharing this with everyone.

Rename Files From Metadata Not Enabled

By default SongKong does not rename files, in many ways it would make more sense for renaming to be the default so they reflect the new metadata added to them - however I have had too many occurrences of Jaikoz customers wondering where their files have gone to think this is a good idea.

The problem in this case was that although the customer had gone to the File naming tab and checked their rename and compilation masks

They had forgotten to actually check the Rename files based on metadata when matched on the Basic tab, this is required to actually do the rename.

iTunes Organizing Your Music Files

If you have configured SongKong to inform of iTunes of modifications then iTunes will can be kept up to date with metadata modifications, new songs added to iTunes and songs deleted. 

However within iTunes if you have Preferences:Advanced:Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized enabled whenever iTunes is informed of a change to a song it will rename the song based on the new metadata. This is okay if you are not using SongKong to rename your songs but if you are using SongKong to rename (or move) songs you should ensure this iTunes option is not enabled. 

Because SongKongs rename mechanism is much more advanced then iTunes and because SongKong logs the changes it makes I recommend not allowing iTunes to organize your media.

Songs not Renamed because not Matched

The final reason is because of the way SongKong works, when SongKong gets to the save stage it will only rename the file if it has been matched to MusicBrainz or Discogs, This is done by checking the MB_RECORDING_ID and DISCOGS_RELEASE_URL fields so even if the files were not matched during this run previously matched files can be renamed.

It wouldn't make much sense to rename songs that contained poor or non-existent metadata because their current filename may be the only means of identifying them. But you may have songs that SongKong has not matched to MusicBrainz or Discogs but other than that omission contain correct metadata and could be safetly renamed. I'm looking at adding an extra option ion SongKong for this scenario

Tuesday 4 March 2014

New Jaikoz release solves the iTunes update problem

A new release of Jaikoz is now available, the full list of changes can be found here .

Updating iTunes on OSX

This release fixes an important problem with updating iTunes from OSX on some systems.
Jaikoz uses Applescript to inform iTunes of changes, however because of an oversight later versions of the library Jaikoz uses no longer have the necessary calls to talk to the Applescript library. However if you have earlier versions of the library (as all my test machines do) then Jaikoz can talk to iTunes without problems. Until last week  I wasn't aware of the seriousness of this issue, I thought the problem was only on a few isolated installations. If previously you have have been unable to update iTunes from Jaikoz on OSX this release should solve that issue . We have also sped up the time it takes to create the internal model Jaikoz has of iTunes.

Changes to Release Type

Also the Release Type is now a multiple value field. Previously MusicBrainz only allowed a release to be one type, but now multiple types are supported so a release can be both an album and live or a single and a soundtrack, or even an album, a soundtrack and live.


Usually the first type indicates the length of the release such as album, single or e.p, in MusicBrainz this is known as the primary type. However because it is generally more useful to know if a release is a soundtrack then an album (which can usually be inferred because most soundtracks are albums) if a release has a secondary type of soundtrack we make this the first type added to the song.


Opening Playlists

There was a regression on OSX that meant that Open Playlist and Add Playlist no longer work, actually dragging and dropping a playlist continued to work so it was not noticed for a while but this is now fixed


Sometimes unusual versions of apostrophes are used when release are added to MusicBrainz, usually by mistake. This causes a problem for Jaikoz when trying to capitalise titles or save files containing these characters so now Jaikoz automatically changes them to the regular apostrophe.

Code Signing

For some time the OSX version of Jaikoz has been code signed but not the Windows version, with this release we put that right. This means you can be sure that the installer you download has been created by JThink, and has not been modified by anyone else.

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