Support for multiple tag values (artist, genre etc)


There have been a few suggestions, but they were targeted toward a single problem (or single tag/format).

This thread is for an official request for Sonos to support multiple values per tag as per officially defined specifications. Please add your support if this is something you would like Sonos to implement.

I'm not sure there is much to debate, the file formats clearly lay out the specification. It's simply a case of Sonos supporting multiple values (or not). Note that this thread is not recommending some bespoke implementation, or a particular user's idea of how it should be done, using rules or preferences, or complex strings (if X is Y and A is B etc). It's a case of just supporting the format as officially specified.

My hope is that the Sonos library index is not a flat file, but a relational data structure. If it's the latter, it's not impossible to add multiple values per track (one-to-many relationship). Database normalization for the developers out there. If it's a simple flat structure, it could get complicated...

Reference threads
[thread=8338]Multiple Genre Support[/thread]
[thread=5077]SONOS unable to handle mutiple artist "&" delimiting[/thread]


[SIZE="3"]Format Specifications[/size]

The following formats are supported by Sonos. I've included the official specifications to assist Sonos (and any tech oriented viewers here)

Windows Media Format (WMA)
WMA files use the Advanced Systems Format (ASF) container to store metadata. This container format provides for multiple value attributes and Windows Media Player (among others) will correctly tag files with multiple values. In simple terms, more than one value can be applied to a single file.
MSDN Windows Media - Attributes with Multiple Values

MP3 Format
MP3 files use the ID3 specification to include frames in the file. Only one frame per (text) attribute is allowed per file. To provide for multiple values, a delimiter is used.

ID3v2.3 Specification stated the "/" character should be used as the delimiter. This was a poor choice as it meant the "/" character could not be used as a 'normal' character. AC/DC was therefore split into two bands for example. Nevertheless, this is the specified delimiter.

ID3v2.4 Specification states multiple values should be stored as a null separated list. This fixed the AC/DC problem above. See section 4.2 for details.

Note that prior to formal specification, an industry de facto 'standard' (I think the word 'standard' is OK here, it's not a real standard of course) was devised. Multiple values were separated by a semicolon ";". Although this is not an official ID3 specification, it is so common in use, even today, that it should be considered along with the "/" character delimiter as part of the ID3v2.3 specification.

Vorbis (aka OGG) and Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC)
Both use the same OGG container. I love open source - all the info is freely published.
Ogg Vorbis I format specification: comment field and header specification. The OGG format uses comment fields. You can have one, none, all or multiple values per file. Here's a snippet from the spec
Field names are not required to be unique (occur once) within a comment header. As an example, assume a track was recorded by three well know artists; the following is permissible, and encouraged:
ARTIST=Dizzy Gillespie
ARTIST=Sonny Rollins
ARTIST=Sonny Stitt


For reference, the FLAC spec can be found here (although it refers back to the Vorbis comment spec). There is also a FLAC to OGG mapping document.

AAC and Apple Lossless (ALAC)
Apple (in typical Apple style) consider these codecs proprietary and refuse to release information. I can't tell you for certain (no specs), but I don't think Apple formats support multiple tag values. [any apple devs care to help out?]

WAV, AIFF
Poor metadata support. Not worth mentioning in this context.

Please post your support, comments, corrections etc. Thanks!

db

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113 replies

+1

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 2
heck yeah!

+ another 1

(although I hope this means that my # of tracks doesn't go down too significantly?)
another +1 for original idea, and a -1 if like Cecilia mentions it would significantly reduce track limit.
it shouldn't reduce the track limit. If anything, a more normalized data structure would increase the limit as it's more efficient (part of the reason the normal forms were created for all you db normalization buffs).

Of course using multiple entries would consume more memory than a single entry, just like using a longer file name uses more memory than a shorter name does today. If this is a concern, simply don't use the (proposed) feature. Just use one value per track as per today.

But a good point overall. Data efficiency is key given the limited Sonos memory.

db
Userlevel 2
another +1 for original idea, and a -1 if like Cecilia mentions it would reduce track limit.

Cheers
D2K
I support this message 🆒

I don't mind the track limit, as it is already the same limiting factor: want more tracks, then take it easy on the tagging. This feature wouldn't change that.
Userlevel 2
AAC and Apple Lossless (ALAC)
Apple (in typical Apple style) consider these codecs proprietary and refuse to release information. I can't tell you for certain (no specs), but I don't think Apple formats support multiple tag values. [any apple devs care to help out?]


m4a iTunes tagging also uses '/' to seperate multiple items.

WAV, AIFF
Poor metadata support. Not worth mentioning in this context.


There is the 'standard' which is an id3v2 tag in a tag chunk, which works quite well.
m4a iTunes tagging also uses '/' to seperate multiple items.I did some research on this. Using "/" as the delimiter in iTunes doesn't seem to split the genre, it just creates a new one.

For example, if you tag a track as "Pop/Dance", the track does not appear under both "Pop" and "Dance", but under a new genre "Pop/Dance". However you can create playlists or search for just one eg playlist that 'contains' "Pop" will include the track. You could equally use a comma.

I can't validate it, but is that what you see in the iTunes genre list (a new entry)?

db
+1!

This is my most wanted feature since I purchased my ZonePlayer 2 years ago.

I am afraid, however, that there are serious technical issues which prevent SONOS from the implementation of multiple values in tags.

Regards
Rudolf
Userlevel 2
I like to see support for multiple tags also. My music library contains flac files with multyple artist entries like:

ARTIST=DIZZY
ARTIST=SONNY

After I updated the music index only DIZZY is in the Artists section. I hoped to find two entries one for DIZZY and one for SONNY. What would be correct, but not prefered was DIZZY, SONNY or DIZZY; SONNY.

I consider this a bug. If I use the music library with other software which support the multiple artists I will only find one in the sonos index (the first one) or I need to specify

ARTIST AAP; NOOT

but than I have one entry in the other software tools as well.

Haje
Userlevel 2
Are there any classical music lovers out there in Sonos land? I consider multiple values in tags an absolute must. In classical music the only time a track can be attributed to a singel artist is when he or she plays a solo instrument, e.g. in the case of a piano sonata. But the majority of tracks has more than one artist. A violin sonata track would need two names. A violin concerto three (soloist, orchestra, conductor), etc.
In oratorio's or opera's there even more artists to name.
I only bought my Sonos a month ago and the only disappointment up to now has been this poor support for the needs of classical music lovers. I use a comma to seperate artists in the artist field.
In WMP I used to enter a semicolon to seperate artists, and this worked fine. A single track could be found under any of the artists entered in the artist tag. But now I've moved up to using FLAC and the Sonos and this possibility is simply gone. What a pity!
Also, there is a limit on the length of the artist tag, making the Sonos stop displaying after about the fifth soloist contributing to let's say an oratorio or an opera. I checked the files on my PC, and the full information is there, contained in one tag. But the Sonos simply cuts it off after a certain number of characters. Major disappointment!
I certainly hope tha Sonos will address this burning issue. But what hope do I have, seeing that people have been complaining about this on this forum for years.
Userlevel 2
+1
Cheers,
Garmpe
Userlevel 2
I would like to see this capability as well (Also a classical music lover 🙂
Userlevel 2
+1
cheers
andreas
Userlevel 2
+1

I have organised my music library using MM3 with multiple genres. Can't use them with Sonos. Please add this...
Userlevel 2
+1

[SIZE="1"]I'm sure I already posted this but can't seem to see me anywhere upthread :o[/size]
Userlevel 2
If there was one feature I could add to Sonos - this would be it... +1
Userlevel 2
+1

surprisingly few s'ware media player support this...foobar is the only one I know that does it properly...if Sonos did then it would be yet another reason why Sonos supercedes the "computer in every room" scenario.
Userlevel 2
MediaMonkey does this well too
Userlevel 2
I would also like to have this feature.
Userlevel 2
I applaud this motion and cast my Aye vote.
+20!!

I'm totally on board with this. There are multiple fields where is would be useful to support multiple values, especially artist, genre, composer ....

ALSO, since other programs have already implmented this, sometimes in different ways, it would be nice to allow a user-definable separator for these purposes.

I for one use mediamonkey (which uses a semicolon) and have tagged thousands of tracs that way. Like others, I would strongly like to continue with "what i've been using"
+1

I am only getting started with ripping my collection, and already the Genre facility is no where as useful as I would like it to be.
Userlevel 2
Absolutely! Make it so baby!
Userlevel 2
Taking advantage that this thread has been recovered, I'm adding my vote for this too. I have lots of albums in which only one of many artists is shown because of lack of support for this.