This is a placeholder topic and still a work in progress
With the introduction of the new Music Support plugin there is a renewed interest in adding metadata for your music collection.
This topic will discuss the folder structure recommendations and metadata tagging for your music.
Recommended folder structure
Here we’ll discuss the recommended folder structure for your music collection and the benefits for local metadata like artwork.
The Music Plugin relies heavily on proper ID3 tags (more on that later). The physical folder can be in a variety of ways, but there is recommended folder structure.
Below is a recommended basic folder layout for music:
D:\Music\Michael Jackson\ backdrop.jpg backdrop1.jpg folder.jpg logo.png D:\Music\Michael Jackson\Bad\track 01.mp3 D:\Music\Michael Jackson\Bad\... D:\Music\Michael Jackson\Bad\track 11.mp3 D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD1\track 01.mp3 D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD1\... D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD1\track 11.mp3 D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD2\track 01.mp3 D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD2\... D:\Music\Michael Jackson\History\CD2\track 11.mp3 D:\Music\Rihanna\ backdrop.jpg backdrop1.jpg folder.jpg logo.png D:\Music\Rihanna\Loud\track 01.mp3 D:\Music\Rihanna\Loud\... D:\Music\Rihanna\Loud\track 11.mp3
Basically there are 3 kinds of artwork for music in the music plugin.
Artwork for artists
Media Browser looks for this artwork in 4 places in the following order.
- in the Artist folder in the physical folder structure (see above)
- in the ImagesByName\MusicArtist\Artist folder
- in the ImagesByName\MusicArtist\Default folder
- internally (the generic “Saxophone Guy”)
A folder.jpg (or folder.png) saved in either of these locations will be displayed as the poster.
In general Music Artists images are stored in a square aspect ratio, just like an album cover.
400x400 pixels for example. For CoverArt tips & tricks, see below.
a logo.png will display a so called ClearLogo of the Artist in supported themes.
Currently not supported
A backdrop.jpg will be shown whenever you view an artist or an album of that artist in Media Browser.
More information about backdrops and rotating them, please have a look here.
Artwork for albums
Media Browser looks for album artwork in 2 places in the following order.
- in the mp3 files' ID3 tags
- in the album folder in the physical folder structure (see above)
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is highly recommended to always embed the album cover in the MP3 files using ID3 tags. This ensures that the artwork will always travel with the files from device to device
Artwork for views
[ improvement needed ]
Creating a CoverArt profile for Artists
If you’re using square artwork for artists, you might experience that the images are stretched when a CoverArt treatment is applied.
To make sure that your music library will display the original square aspect ratio of your artwork, do the following:
In this example we’ll apply a CoverArtSapphire treatment to artists and use the CoverArtCD treatment for albums
- Launch the Media Browser Configurator and open the CoverArt Configurator from the plugins tab
- Click on New profile and choose the root of your music library. For example “
If your music collection is stored on another computer, use the UNC path. For example “
Do not use Mapped Drive letters. Read more here.”
- Select the created profile in the list of profiles
- Check “keep original art aspect” under Profile Options
- Set Movie, Series, Season, Episode, Remote/Trailer and Thumb to “Ignore”
- Set Album to CoverArtCD (default value)
- Set Folder and Person to CoverArtSapphire
Repeat the steps above for every Music Library location you configured in the Music Configurator.
We set the “Folder” treatment to CoverArtSapphire so all folder.jpg files in the physical folder location are treated.
We set the “Person” treatment to CoverArtSapphire so all folder.jpg files in the ImagesByName\MusicArtist location are treated.
Tagging your music
Here we’ll provide a basic explanation of how to properly tag your music. There are several pitfalls and known limitations of media players that provide tagging.
The Music plugin primarily works with ID3 tags to generate the views and display your music library. ID3 tags are metadata like Artist, Albums, Track number, Track Title, Release Year, Genre that are stored inside the MP3 file.
For the Music Plugin to display a “by Genre” view for example, it is important that the Genre tag has a value for each track. If it’s blank, the tracks will show up under “unknown”.
The benefit of using ID3 tags is that it doesn’t restrict users to a particular file naming format. the filename can be as simple as “01.mp3”. It’s a widely used standard for MP3 files and many other media filetypes.
Popular Media Players like Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp or MediaMonkey all provide means to retrieve metadata like artwork and tags from the internet. Your albums probably look pretty nice in these applications…
But that’s not enough!
Most of these applications use their own internal database to speed up launching and interaction with the application. The fact that you see an album cover or properly formatted track titles and genres does not necessarily mean the information is actually stored in ID3 tags of the mp3 files.
Windows Media Player 12 for example is notorious for it’s many quircks when it comes to editing and saving metadata. See more in the Troubeshooting section.
To make sure if a file has at least the basic tags correctly stored, we highly recommend the use of MP3Tag. It’s fast and simple but extremely powerful.
If you use and like MP3Tag, please consider making a donation to it’s developer.
The most common problem people run into is album covers not displaying or showing something else as what you would expect.
Here’s the 101 of album art troubleshooting.
- Open MP3Tag
- “Choose File > Change Directory” and browse to the folder with files your want to check. For example “
- The left pane shows you the basic ID3 tags and their values. The right pane will display a list of files and several columns with additional information.
- Select the first file. You’ll see that the left pane will now show values and an album cover image.
- Navigating down, we see that the third file is missing an embedded image.
Break. Here’s a little background info:
So you thought your files were properly tagged, because when you viewed them in Windows Explorer there were all these pretty album covers showing? Or Windows Media Player or iTunes for that matter?
Well, that’s not the case. If you enable “Show hidden files and folder” and disable “Hide protected operating system files” in Windows Exporer you’ll see that there are some hidden system files in the directory as well.
Is that a folder.jpg?
Windows Media Player creates these hidden system files and uses the folder.jpg to display the album.
- If the cover was stored in the ID3 tag, windows Media Player will create a low-resolution 200x200 folder.jpg based on that embedded image and use it from that point forward.
- If the cover was fetched in Windows Media Player using the “retrieve album information from the internet”, the cover is not saved in the ID3 tag, but only saved as folder.jpg.
If we delete these hidden system files and refresh the folder, we’ll see that the third track now suddenly has a generic MP3 file icon.
NOTE: you do not have to delete these files. We’re just showing you what is actually happening here
Back to work. Let’s fix it!
- In MP3Tag, select the previous file that has the album cover embedded and right click on the image.
- Choose “Copy "Cover”
- select the file with missing artwork, click on the generic disc icon and choose “Paste Cover”
- Hit the save button
If you’d navigate back to Windows Explorer again, you can see that the file now has a shiny icon again.
But now properly embedded.
There’s a lot you can do with MP3Tag and it’s too much to explain all the tips & tricks here. These are the important ones:
- If you install MP3Tag, consider enabling the Context Menu entry. If enabled, you can right click on a folder that contains MP3 files and choose “MP3Tag”. The application will launch and immediately load all the files in that folder for you to analyze and/or fix.
- If you select multiple files at ones, paste a cover and hit the save button, the cover is saved in all selected files
- You can copy an image in your internet browser and paste it directly in MP3Tag
- How do I configure and use the new Music Plug-in?
- Useful Utilities and Scripts to simplify tasks in relationshi...