Support for multiple tag values (artist, genre etc)

Userlevel 1
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?]

Poor metadata support. Not worth mentioning in this context.

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


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113 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +8

I would definitely like to have this.
Userlevel 2
(This thread's list of requests)++

Now that we are seeing competition heat up (eg. Bose, Denon, etc) maybe the fine folks at Sonos will implement this simple yet in-demand feature.
Userlevel 2
I am slightly astonished that Sonos still does not support this feature and yes:
I would very much like to see it implemented
Wow, 7 years without any improvement. That's poor... Is the priority THAT low??? Please implement it, Sonos.
Userlevel 3
Badge +5
Add my vote for this
Hi, purchased my Sonos system last week, after careful research and comparision.
After having bought it I am discovering more and more disappointing issues, this one being one of them.

As stated, it is indeed apalling that Sonos has not resolved this after 7 years.

Therefore: +1, and serious conciderations returning the whole system for an alternative system.
This would really be the icing on the cake for an otherwise excellent range of products.
Surely the developers at Sonos can find a way to implement multiple genres / artists etc...?

I have tested using a ; delimiter in the 'Genre' field in Tag&Rename 3.9.10.
The result in Poweramp on my Android phone, is that the album that I've tested (M.I.A's 'Arular') shows up under both 'Electronic' and 'Hip Hop' (after specifying 'Electronic; Hip Hop' in Tag&Rename).

Come on Sonos... We all love the products, but for the website to state 'The Sonos app does it all' is a little wide of the mark. I'd almost rather not have the option to search by genre in the Sonos app at all.

With alternatives from the likes of Bose and Denon, I kinda feel that Sonos should be breaking new ground and doing their utmost to stay ahead of the curve. This would certainly go a long way in the eyes of many.
+1 - it frankly is pathetic that this high end expensive system does not support such as basic function (as do lots of free pieces of software).
Userlevel 2
+1 - I'm beginning to look for another app to play my music. I'll still use my Sonos for internet radio and streaming. Tried Bose and their terrible app doesn't recognize multiple valued tags either.
Userlevel 1
STILL no multiple genre support? Sonos, this is not acceptable. It's not an unreasonable request as it's something other basic apps such as MediaMonkey have supported for ages. Get off your duff and fix it.
10 years and counting! How hard can this be? Sonos, please support your loyal customers (while we're still loyal).