The new music plug-in for Media Browser provides the ability to browse and play your music collection from directly within MB – including all of the great graphics and view capabilities provided for other media.
Due to the large size of many music libraries, however, there are some limitations and things you should be aware of.
Please review this information to understand how the plug-in works before posting questions. If you still need help feel free to post a topic. It is best to start most topics out as questions. If they are later determined to be bugs, they can be changed at that time.
This plugin is created and maintained by ebr.
- This Plugin is in the default repository.
- Plugin Installation instructions can be found here
This plug-in will only work on Windows 7. It will not load in Vista.
This plug-in depends heavily on ID tags in your music files. If your music is not tagged, the plug-in probably won’t work all that well for you.
Note: Some users have reported problems with the tagging done by Windows Media Player. It appears that it is tagging the songs, but it actually doesn’t embed those tags into the files causing the plug-in to not be able to see them. It is best to handle your tags with one of the widely used tagging programs available on the net (MP3Tag, TagAndRename, etc.) if you are having trouble with the plug-in deciphering your tags.
The default location for song and album images is embedded in the songs themselves. Albums will take on the image of the first song within that album. If no embedded image exists, then the plug-in will look for a “folder” image in the same folder as the songs.
You define the location of your music collection to the plug-in via its “configure” option in the configurator not as a normal media collection.
After installing the plug-in, you should configure it to include your music locations and the views you want to show, then run a Library Update via the Library Management tab to populate your music library in MB.
Music content is never managed or validated within the MB interface as allowing this could potentially cause huge performance issues (because music libraries tend to be very large). The service refresh or the built-in library maintenance feature of the plugin will pick up changes to your music files. Manual refreshes inside of the MB interface will only re-read tags on existing items and/or refresh their images.
Due to the above point, when music is installed, the progress bar in the service during a refresh will appear to complete long before the refresh is actually finished. This is unavoidable and completely normal. Just let it finish.
Configuration and maintenance of your music library are accomplished through the “Configure” option in the Plugins tab of the Configurator. There are three tabs on this configuration screen:
Top-level Item name
This is the name that will appear on the main item for your music collection (if you are grouping under a main item – see “Show at Top Level” below).
Music Root Folder(s)
Add the root level of your music library here. For example, if you had your music under a directory structure of “\\server\music\artist\album\song.mp3” you would add “\\server\music” to this list by entering or selecting it in the text box and hitting the “Add” button.
Multiple roots can be defined if you have multiple locations with music.
Add the folder where Media Center saves your playlists (when you hit the Save button in the song list in the Audio Player). Only .WPL files are supported and multiple playlist folders can be defined.
You select the different views of your library that you wish to appear in Media Browser. All will show the same music but presented in a different way. The options are:
By Album – This view will present you with a list of all the albums in your music collection. You can drill down into each album to see the individual songs. Note: you can sort this view by Artist to group the albums from a particular artist together.
By Artist – This view will present you with all the Artists who have albums in your music collection. Drilling down will show you the albums by that artist.
By Genre – This will group all your music by Genre. Drilling down will present you with all the artists that have albums in that genre. From there you can then drill down to albums and songs.
By Decade – This will group all your albums into folders by decade (1980s, 1990s, etc.). Drilling down will present you with all the albums released in that decade. Note: this list can be sorted by artist as well
By Folder – This view is dis-abled by default. It should only be used if your library is either not tagged well or you have organized it in some special way via the file structure (like under genre or other folders you created) and you want to view it this way. It will show you your music as it exists in the file system. It may not be as full-featured as the other views.
Note that songs will always be grouped at least into albums.
Show All Songs Entry
Selecting this option will create an “All Songs” album in Artist views where that artist has more than one album.
As noted before, the library is never validated or refreshed inside of the MB interface for performance reasons. Changes should be picked up by the nightly refresh of the service but this tab allows you to re-build your library on demand if you wish.
Selecting this option will skip the refreshing of individual songs and only pick up new items (or deleted ones) and re-build the selected views. This can significantly speed up the refresh on a large library if all you want to do is pick up new items or change the available views. The nightly service does a quick-refresh.
Selecting this option will force a refresh on all items (without it, only items that have actually changed will have their tags re-read and images may not refresh). It can make the refresh much slower but may be necessary if you want to be sure all changes are picked up after a lot of mods to your library.
Tips & Tricks
The plug-in contains some default icons for most items. These defaults can be overridden through the normal mechanisms available in MB.
To provide your own image for one of the top level views (By Album, Artist, etc.) simply create a like-named folder in your IBN/General folder and place a folder.jpg/png and backdrops in it.
To provide individual images for artists you have a couple of options:
- If your music library is structured in the standard setup of artist/album/song then simply place a folder.jpg/png and backdrops in the artist folders and they will be picked up and displayed as the images for those artists.
Note: Be sure the folder name is identical to the ‘album-artist’ tag in your music files. This may mean you need to change that tag if it contains characters that are not valid in file/folder names. For example if ELO is in the tag but the artist folder is Electric Light Orchestra it won’t resolve. This is the same requirement as other IBN type images.
- If your library is not structured with artist folders, you can create a “MusicArtist” folder under your IBN structure and then create folders for the artists the same way you would for actors.
If you want to replace the generic artist image aka “saxophone guy”, create a “MusicArtist\Default” folder under your ImagesByName structure and place a folder.jpg in it.
To provide individual images for genres create a “MusicGenre” folder under your IBN structure and create folders for each genre there.
To provide individual images for decades create a “MusicDecade” folder under your IBN structure and create folders for each decade there.
Trial version, Donation and Registration
This plug-in is a premium plug-in but will work with limited functionality after expiration. Basically, you will only be able to browse your music collection with the “By Album” view once the trial period has ended. It will work with full functionality for 14 days after you first install it. The plug-in can be registered via the MB Store.