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Wednesday 24 May 2017

MinimServer with SongKong: Part 8: Configuring the Date Index

Part 9: Is Classical and other boolean fields
Part 7: Album Artist

The Date field generally stores the release date of the album. Note ID3v24 formats also have a ReleaseDate field but it is not generally used. By default MinimServer lists the date in descending order as follows:

But Date or any other field can easily be shown in ascending order by adding a '+' sign before the field name in the indexTags option

This now shows the date ordered the other way round

The Date value can be in dd-mm-yyyy, mm-yyyy or yyyy formats. Your file metadata may contain all three types , browsing can be made simpler by simply displaying only the year part and this can be done by adding 


Now we have a grouping by year only which is more readable.

We may wish to browse by Original Date as well, this stores the date of the first release the song was released on, this is particularly useful when you have compilation albums or reissued albums.

We can add Original Date in the same way

You may only be interested in the Original Date and would like it as the Date, in this case you can map to Date using an aliasTag.

This works nicely within MinimServer but if you need to do this so your files metadata outside of MinimServer use Original Date as date then you can configure SongKong to always put Original Date into the Date field by enabling Use Original Release Date on the Album Format tab.

Sunday 14 May 2017

hi-fi News - SongKong King of Apps ?

We got a nice mention in the latest edition of hi-fi news
as part of a review of the second generation Melcos.

.. with particular benefits for those whose collection goes beyond the usual artist/song/album norm, such as jazz and classical music enthusiasts. What's more, it allows a high degree of user-customization to suit specific needs

Thanks guys.

JThink will be at Hi End Audio show at Munich with Melco

The Hi-End Audio show in Munich is one of the largest and most important in the World. Its runs from the 18th to 21st of May at the MOC in Munich, and has exhibitors showing just about anything connected to Hi-Fi

As part of the recent partnershop with Melco I will be at the show demonstrating SongKong and available to have a chat about anything metadata related or not metadata related !

Please come and visit, I should be at Atrium 3 D102-105 for most of the four days.

Friday 12 May 2017

MinimServer with SongKong: Part 7: Album Artist

Go forward to  Part 8: Date
Go back to      Part 6: Classical Track Artist

The Album Artist stored in MusicBrainz replicates what is written on the spine or front of the disc.This represents the the main people that the release is credited to. 

For Pop/Rock this is quite straight forward, usually a single performer or band is credited for the release as a whole and all the tracks, with perhaps an additional performer credited on a couple of tracks.

For Classical music its more complex since first of all more people are involved such as composers, conductors, performers and orchestras. Secondly these people are not all involved in all tracks, certainly when multiple works by different composers exist on a single album

The Album Artist can be used as a way to correctly identify a release, allowing us to differentiate between different releases with the same or similar names. But for Album Artist to work correctly with MinimServer it must use a single field for the albumArtists rather than one per album artist


ALBUMARTIST= Dallas Wind Symphony, Frederick Fennell

instead of  

ALBUMARTIST= Dallas Wind Symphony
ALBUMARTIST= Frederick Fennell

Album Artist is automatically configured for MinimServer, we just need to add sorting.

But we can also browse by the individual album artists as we do for track artists by adding an additional Album_Artists index

Then we can configure as follows

Add Album_artists to indexTags 
Add albumartistsort & album_artists_sort to itemTags
Add albumartist.value.sort={albumartistsort}, album_artists.value.sort={album_artists_sort} to TagValue

This leaves the Artist index as the default configuration, this is useful for differentiating between similarly named albums. 

It then adds a Album_Artists index that lets us browse by the individuals credited on the release and is useful for viewing all releases that they were a principal person or group.

Composer in Album Artist

The other thing to consider is if we want the composers to be part of the album artist fields since they may not be actively involved in the actual performance. We can easily strip these out with SongKong using the Remove Composer from Album Artist option

Monday 8 May 2017

SongKong 4.8 updated to fix bug with Comment field

Unfortunately a regression worked its way back into SongKong 4.8. SongKong will fail to load any files containing a comment field larger than 1000 characters.

We have updated the SongKong 4.8 and SongKong for Melco 4.8 binaries to fix this issue 

If you have already installed SongKong 4.8 release from last week please fix as follows to solve this issue

  • Re-download and install SongKong 4.8
  • Run SongKong
  • Ensure they are no changes you want to Undo
  • Run File:Empty Database to recreate the database

This will resolve the issue.  

Beware of 'God mode' on the latest Windows 10 release

Recently a long term user of Jaikoz found that it would not start, the only change he had made was to update Windows 10 to the latest version, build 1703.

Usually Windows updates do not effect Jaikoz or SongKong, since they run inside the Java Virtual machine (JVM) that protects applications from differences in operating systems. Evey new release of the JVM is extensively tested by Oracle before a new release against the wide range of operating systems it is supported on, making it very unlikely that serious regressions would occur.

But in this case it was Windows that was updated, and it was a change in Windows that inadvertently caused a problem for Java

The issue occurs if you have created a  God mode folder to control all your Windows configuration from a single place, from build1073 onwards this prevent file dialogs working.

So if you have an issue with Jaikoz or SongKong opening files please disable God mode until either Oracle or Microsoft release a fix.

Thursday 4 May 2017

MinimServer with SongKong: Part 4: Groups and Works

Go forward to Part 5: The Artist Index
Go back to      Part 3:Sorting Conductor and other fields


Groups and Compositions

Minimserver has the concept of Groups and Works (or Compositions). In its purest sense Groups are simply a way to groups tracks within a particular album. But with regards to Classical music a Group is synonymous with a work, with each track representing a movement and all movements in a a work having the same value for Group.  

In the majority of cases the Work/Composition field has the same value as the Group field but it is used for a different purpose, if added to the indexTags field it can then be indexed and browsed in the same way as the artist or album.

But some music such as Operas are more complex than a simply consisting of movements and works. Operas can consist of multiple tracks per scenes that are part of acts that then make up the Opera. When there are more than two levels the Work/Composition should usually be set to the highest level, i.e the Opera name

Groups Example

Without using groups all tracks are listed in track order when you open an album

But with groups we see the groups representing a work when you open the album. This is much clearer, we can clearly see at a glance there are two different works, String Quarter in G minor Op 10 and String Quartet in F major. This makes sense because it is more common to play the complete work rather than just one movement of the work

but you can still double click on a group to see the  movements contained within, and play individual tracks.

Configuring Groups with SongKong

So how can SongKong help? 

Although the Group field is not a standard metadata field we have added support for it in SongKong so with SongKong your identified tracks will be automatically grouped by MinimServer with no further configuration needed.

If you don't want SongKong to group fields just add to the Never modify or add these fields list.

Browsing by Works

For browsing by work SongKong provides two different possibilities. 

Browse by Overall Work

The OVERALL_WORK field lets you browse by the top level work such as the Opera name. Simply add OVERALL_WORK to MinimServer indexTag field and rescan. I have renamed it here to the more user friendly Work using the originalName:NewName syntax.

Now you can browse the Work index

Browse by Work 

Alternatively the WORK field lets you browse at a level synonymous with Group . Simply add WORK to MinimServer indexTag field and rescan. 

There are some differences between the Group field and the Work fields. Sometimes movements are not listed contiguously within an album. MinimServer does not support non-contiguous Groups, but there is no such restriction on MinimServer Works.

This article is correct for SongKong 4.8 onwards it replaces this older article

SongKong 4.8 released with improved iTunes and MinimServer support

SongKong 4.8 released with many new features for iTunes and MinimServer

We have some exciting new features in the latest SongKong release plus a number of fixes, here we list the highlights.

Support for Arm32 Linux installations

The Arm32 chipset is often used on embedded and specialist architectures. For the most part SongKong has supported all flavours of Linux, but the audio fingerprinting component was not supported for arm32 chips, but now it is.

Support for adding WAV metadata to iTunes

SongKong and iTunes have both supported the WAV format for some time and SongKong has always had support for informing iTunes of changes made so that iTunes can update its metadata with the latest details from SongKong.

However iTunes doesn't understand that metadata can be added to WAV files so it ignores the metadata added. When editing within iTunes itself it stores only in the iTunes library not the file itself.

We have now improved SongKong iTunes integration so that for Wav files it updates the iTunes library itself preserving the metadata added by SongKong into iTunes seamlessly.

Better MinimServer Work and Group Support

We have been working to get SongKong working as seamlessly as possible with the MinimServer UPnP server. 

As part of this we have now added a new Group field. This works in a very similar way to the Work field we already support in iTunes and allows movements of a work to be grouped within MinimServer this works immediately with MinimServer without any MinimServer configuration required.

We have also added an Overall_Work field that can be used to browse by the overall work composition. This is often the same as the Group field, but not always. For example in an Opera tracks are grouped at the Act or Scene level but the overall  work would contain the name of the Opera itself. This can be used in MinimServer by simply adding overall_work to MinimServers indexTags settings.


There is also a new Instrument field that can be used to index songs by the instruments played by the listed performers. Again configure by adding the MinimServer's indexTags field.

Of course all these new fields can be used in many ways by many applications, their use is not confined to MinimServer.

The full list of over twenty improvements and fixes can be found on the  News page
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