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Wednesday 18 January 2017

SongKong 4.5 released with Classical and iTunes improvements

We start the New Year with a new SongKong release, this one concentrates on two aspects, Classical music and iTunes.


New Option:Only use Artist Type to categorise groups as ensembles, choirs or orchestra

Every artist in MusicBrainz is categorised as either a choir, orchestra, group or person. But sometimes a group may be a credited as an orchestra or choir on a particular release, and when this occurs we credit that artist as an orchestra or choir for the particular songs in that release. However this can mean that within your songs metadata the same artist is sometimes added to the Orchestra or Choir field and sometimes the Ensemble field depending on what release the song is from, if instead you wish a particular artist to be categorised the same way throughout your collection enable this option.  

New Option:Allow changes to songs existing metadata fields if song only match

When SongKong can match a song but not determine the album it will update song metadata such as song title but not album metadata such as Album Title or Track No regardless of any existing metadata. This means that the song is identified and updated with useful metadata without making any changes that would prevent it being identified as part of the same group on a subsequent run of Fix Songs

However even modifying only Song Only metadata such as the Song Title or Track Artist could still change values significantly so that there is a difference between these songs and the totally unmatched songs. This difference is more likely when dealing with Classical release since there is not a single standard way that these fields are used with Classical music, for example you may have some songs where the work has been included in the song title and others where only the movement is used. If you disable this option then it will only update fields that are currently empty and this may better preserve consistency if some songs in an album are matched song only and some are not matched at all. The disadvantage of disabling this option is this can prevent SongKong replacing existing incorrect metadata with correct metadata.

Advanced modification of Classical Identification

One way that SongKong identifies classical releases is looking for releases that have credits to particular people known to work only on Classical music. This list is available within classical_people.txt, here is a small section, each line has the MusicBrainz Artist Id and then Artist Name

               1f9df192-a621-4f54-8850-2c5373b7eac9 = Ludwig van Beethoven
               d01c08ad-f09f-4396-b8a7-e27ae146ea27 = Ludwig von Széchényi
               5a4ae8d0-7ee4-4e83-bb89-1cfc9cf63d8b = Ludwik Osiński
               676bf1b0-b834-4117-86d2-ceba42fac051 = Luigi Badia
               688986c3-da7b-4465-92cb-f4736c94f2cd = Luigi Balestra
               cc272df6-a476-4d30-9ede-a47db04d8813 = Luigi Bassi
               5c1a3f8f-d5e5-4dcd-9e44-9443f06bb77d = Luigi Boccherini
               d6077dc7-7bdb-4cc8-9425-fb80bf2dff41 = Luigi Caracciolo
               375d52ad-5b7a-4f96-80e2-6d9ad13f5160 = Luigi Cherubini
               63b22cde-9b11-4465-83bf-ecf374eb490e = Luigi Gordigiani

The term Classical is used here in the most general sense so that anyone who died before music could be recorded is included plus Classical composers and conductors of the 19th and 20th century, in total there are about 6000 people listed. If you are finding that certain releases credited to a particular person are being classified as Classical when you do not want them to be you can search this file for that person and remove that line, you can also add people to this file using the format MusicBrainz Artist Id = Name

There is also a classical_composers.txt file, like all automated music taggers SongKong is always dealing with incomplete databases, a particular problem for classical music is that the database may have the list of credits for a release but not their particular role, e.g. Is Person B a composer, performer or conductor. SongKong has created a list of people who principal activity is composing so when we find this person credited on a release we can usually assume that they are the composer even if they do not have a composer credit on that particular release.

The smaller classical_conductors.txt list works the same way for conductors, both these files can be edited in the same way as the classical_people.txt file in order to fine tune your classical metadata requirements. If a person is a composer and conductors (or performer) then they will not be included in the composer/conductor list unless the vast majority of their credits are for one particular role


Working with iTunes is difficult since it can be configured many different ways. For example multiple libraries can be created in different locations. iTunes can make copies of every music file added (the default on OSX but not on Windows) and it can rename files automtically when their metadata changes. The configuration of these iTunes options are not available in the API that iTunes provides developers with so some guesswork is required.

One particular problem is that a customer may have iTunes configured to copy media files but when using SongKong open the location of the original file rather than the one now under iTunes control. We now warn the user when we detect this to try and prevent this common mistake that can cause to duplicate songs to be added to iTunes.

We also now have an iTunes summary that details the location of the iTunes media location plus a count of how many new songs were added to iTunes and how many songs already known to iTunes have been updated.

The library we use to talk to iTunes on Windows has been replaced with a newer one that is btter supported.

Full List of Fixes

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

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