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Discovery: pseudo MP3 playlists in the MS!!

kirkbauer

Member
May 31, 2015
623
242
Atlanta, GA
So like many of you I have been frustrated by the limited flexibility of the media player in the MS. For example, I have a directory structure of music from the 1960s but there is no way to listed to a random song from this directory structure because there is one folder per artist inside my 1960s folder. I can choose the "Oldies" genre but then it gets other music as well.

So what I found out is that the MS supports the ID3v2 TCON tag and uses that for the Genre (but only if there is no ID3v1 info present, see below). The neat news is that the TCON tag allows you to use arbitrary names for your genres, so you are not limited to the official set of them. So you could have a "Driving Fast" genre if you wanted to :)

So basically I was able to put all of my 1960s files in the "1960s" Genre and now it shows up when I go into Genres in my MS. At a high level the process is simple if you have the ability to use any sort of automated tool for ID3v2 tagging:

1) Add or update the ID3v2 TCON value to the "genre" string that you want
2) Delete the ID3v1 info completely from the file (you probably want to make sure it already has ID3v2 artist and such set)

The one downside is that even though ID3v2 allows a song to be in multiple genres, the MS only seems to use the first one. So each of your songs can only be in one "genre" playlist. But since we can also play by artist and directory it should allow for some good flexibility on what you listen to.

For the Linux people in the room I can give you the steps I used to do this, using the Linux CLI tool "id3v2".

1) First convert v1 tags to v2: id3v2 -C <filename>
2) Next add TCON Genre: id3v2 --TCON "Whatever You Want" <filename>
3) Finally, delete v1 tags: id3v2 -s <filename>

Note that whenever this particular tool adds the TCON tag it recreates the v1 tags as well which the MS uses instead of your TCON tag. So for me the last step has to be to delete the v1 tags. Other tools might work differently.

If you have a directory structure like me and you want to update the genre for everything in the directory, just do this:

Code:
cd <directory>
find . -name '*.mp3' | while read file ; do
   id3v2 -C "$file"
   id3v2 --TCON "New Genre" "$file"
   id3v2 -s "$file"
done
 

SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,248
Houston TX
I like this a lot.
Lots of folks use FLAC files, I'm no coding whiz but would employ logic to catch those too. Do they tag similarly??
I'd assume the directory would contain both those filetypes (and maybe more?)...
 
Last edited:

kirkbauer

Member
May 31, 2015
623
242
Atlanta, GA
I like this a lot.
Lots of folks use FLAC files, I'm no coding whiz but would employ logic to catch those too. Do they tag similarly??
I'd assume the directory would contain both those filetypes (and maybe more?)...

I don't know about FLAC specifically but it looks like it support ID3v2 as well.
 

Dbitter1

Journeyman Member
Dec 12, 2014
211
10
Chicago, IL
If you have a directory structure like me
... since you are volunteering, mind if I ask how you sync your stuff to a USB drive to take out to the car with you?

I'm assuming if you are using CLIs to update tags, that means you have a master storage somewhere. Adding one song to somewhere in the tree then remembering where it was the next time you want to bring it out to your car is a PITA (IMHO).

My guess is you have something cooler to share than the usual "OMG! My iTunez do3sn't sink! Suxxxx0r!" posts on this subject...

Thanks in advance!
 

kirkbauer

Member
May 31, 2015
623
242
Atlanta, GA
I haven't got that far (still trying to get my structure figured out, etc), but the "rsync" command is the way to go on this... it can be a little bit tricky on the parameters, but it can quickly copy only changes into a directory.
 

David29

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,257
1,909
DEDHAM, MA
So like many of you I have been frustrated by the limited flexibility of the media player in the MS. For example, I have a directory structure of music from the 1960s but there is no way to listed to a random song from this directory structure because there is one folder per artist inside my 1960s folder. I can choose the "Oldies" genre but then it gets other music as well.

So what I found out is that the MS supports the ID3v2 TCON tag and uses that for the Genre (but only if there is no ID3v1 info present, see below). The neat news is that the TCON tag allows you to use arbitrary names for your genres, so you are not limited to the official set of them. So you could have a "Driving Fast" genre if you wanted to :)

So basically I was able to put all of my 1960s files in the "1960s" Genre and now it shows up when I go into Genres in my MS. At a high level the process is simple if you have the ability to use any sort of automated tool for ID3v2 tagging:

1) Add or update the ID3v2 TCON value to the "genre" string that you want
2) Delete the ID3v1 info completely from the file (you probably want to make sure it already has ID3v2 artist and such set)

The one downside is that even though ID3v2 allows a song to be in multiple genres, the MS only seems to use the first one. So each of your songs can only be in one "genre" playlist. But since we can also play by artist and directory it should allow for some good flexibility on what you listen to.

For the Linux people in the room I can give you the steps I used to do this, using the Linux CLI tool "id3v2".

1) First convert v1 tags to v2: id3v2 -C <filename>
2) Next add TCON Genre: id3v2 --TCON "Whatever You Want" <filename>
3) Finally, delete v1 tags: id3v2 -s <filename>

Note that whenever this particular tool adds the TCON tag it recreates the v1 tags as well which the MS uses instead of your TCON tag. So for me the last step has to be to delete the v1 tags. Other tools might work differently.

If you have a directory structure like me and you want to update the genre for everything in the directory, just do this:

Code:
cd <directory>
find . -name '*.mp3' | while read file ; do
   id3v2 -C "$file"
   id3v2 --TCON "New Genre" "$file"
   id3v2 -s "$file"
done

This sounds great, as I too would like to be able to edit the genre field on some of my music files. I have many blanks, probably because of copying CDs and losing the data along the way.
But, sorry, I am not a coder and don't use Linux. So I am a bit lost in the technical details of this discussion.
Does anyone know if there is an efficient way to edit the "Genre" column in the music file properties using Windows software? Windows Explorer allows me to make the edit, but one song at a time, and that is too tedious and time consuming.

Any suggestions for someone that isn't as tech-savvy? (And I also do not use iTunes and many of the suggestions in other threads revolve around that.)
Thanks!
 
Last edited:

EdA

Model S P-2540
Mar 24, 2011
2,306
262
Cape Cod
This sounds great, as I too would like to be able to edit the genre field on some of my music files. I have many blanks, probably because of copying CDs and losing the data along the way.
But, sorry, I am not a coder and don't use Linux. So I am a bit lost in the technical details of this discussion.
Does anyone know if there is an efficient way to edit the "Genre" column in the music file properties using Windows software? Windows Explorer allows me to make the edit, but one song at a time, and that is too tedious and time consuming.

Any suggestions for someone that isn't as tech-savvy?
Thanks!

I have not tried it but...ID3 Tag Editor
 

EdA

Model S P-2540
Mar 24, 2011
2,306
262
Cape Cod
Thanks! I'll give it a try. I had seen it referred to earlier, but only in the context of much more technical discussions so I wasn't sure it would work with Windows, and I see it does.

I hope it has a "batch" mode versus file-by-file.
 

David29

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,257
1,909
DEDHAM, MA
I do not think it has a batch mode, unfortunately. Also, I tried it on one file, and it only seemed to save changes to the genre, not to the file name, etc. So that is disappointing. No instructions, no help file, so if I am doing it wrong there seems to be no way to tell.
I will play with it some more, maybe after I get my cards and gifts finished!
 

Dbitter1

Journeyman Member
Dec 12, 2014
211
10
Chicago, IL
I use Winamp... but you have to find an older version, the current website is AFU (I guess they sold out...?).

Very easy to use, edits the ID3 tags, very lightweight, runs on ANYTHING Win32+....
 

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