Album Artist Anarchy!
April 23, 2007 11:41 AM   Subscribe

(Yet another) iTunes question: Is there a way to list different Album Artists for a given album and still have iTunes display it as a single album?

I'm pretty compulsive about labelling/categorizing my MP3s, and have developed a system for classical music; I list the conductor as the artist and the orchestra/chorus etc. as the Album Artist, which looks nice and keeps my Artist field fairly uncluttered. Usually, this works fine and dandy, but I've hit a snag; I have a compilation CD of four different recordings under the baton of Lorin Maazel, each with a different orchestra.
After inputting the different orchestras as the Album Artists for the respective tracks, I find iTunes thinks that the one album is actually four; in cover flow, sure enough, the cover comes up four times. When I sort by album, the track order is determined by the name of the Album Artist, not track number. Is there any way around this? Can I get iTunes to display the tracks in their proper order with different Album Artists? The album title and artist are the same for all tracks, and I've checked the "compilation" box.
posted by Bromius to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: isn't the whole sorting tab in itunes for exactly this. Click on a song --> get info --> sorting --> and enter the sort name. I believe this tells itunes what name to sort it by, even though it may be named something else.
posted by jourman2 at 12:01 PM on April 23, 2007

When you use something for unintended purposes, you can't be surprised when it behaves in unexpected ways.

It seems to me that the only way around this is to reverse your practice for this album -- make the conductor the album artist and the orchestra the artist. If you still want to see the conductor in your lists, you can right-click (or ctrl-click on the Mac) the column headers to add Album Artist as one of your columns.
posted by jjg at 12:03 PM on April 23, 2007

You could use the "sort album artist" field (get info > sorting) and put the, uh, conductor's name in that. I think that'd work.
posted by adamrice at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2007

I have enabled the browser view (view, browser), then I just click somewhere in the album field and start typing the name of the album, it displays everything from it in the window, hit play.
posted by ijoyner at 12:15 PM on April 23, 2007

Response by poster: jourman2- I tend to view the info of multiple tracks at once and totally forgot about the sort fields. I entered the album name and a single album artist into the respective sort field of each track and now it's coming up fine. Thanks!
posted by Bromius at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2007

While we're on this topic, what the hell is the difference between "Artist" and "Album Artist"?
posted by dobbs at 1:10 PM on April 23, 2007

iTunes 7 includes a new attribute for song files called Album Artist This allows you to assign a primary artist name for an album that many includes songs by several artists. It is important that all songs in the album have the same Album Artist name. To assign an Album Artist, select all the songs in the album and choose Get Info from the File menu
Nice copyediting, Apple.

More info.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2007

Thanks kirkaracha.
posted by dobbs at 4:45 PM on April 23, 2007

In the latest version of iTunes you click the "Album" header multiple times to cycle through sort options:
(A) Album
(B) Album By Artist
(C) Album By Year

I like Album By Year as it puts artists A-Z, their albums chronologically, compilations together and correctly ordered (assuming compilation is ticked).
posted by hydrophobic at 12:51 AM on April 25, 2007

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