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Tag-based MP3 player

TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEONRegistered User regular
edited July 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Winamp, which has generally been my MP3 player of choice, kind of annoys me with the way it does playlists. If I have 2 folders, and I want one playlist to have some songs from each and the other playlist to have a different set from each, I have to go in and manually add each song one by one, and if I ever lose those playlists, I'm basically boned.

What I want is a player that lets me tag all my movie soundtracks "movie," all my game music "game," all my fantasy movie soundtracks "movie" and "fantasy," all my fantasy game soundtracks "fantasy" and "game," and all my sci-fi movie soundtracks "movie" and "sci-fi," and all my sci-fi game soundtracks "game" and "sci-fi," and so on and so forth, then let me make playlists comprised of all sci-fi or all movie or all movie and game or something.

Does this exist? Anywhere? On EARTH? Google just thinks I'm talking about ID3 tags.

TychoCelchuuu on

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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Yeah you are talking about ID3 tags. But you need a library program. Music Match, iTunes, any of those apps all do exactly what you're talking about, and have been around for quite a long time.

    Incidentally, this is exactly when I fell in love with iTunes. I had all my music in folders, with tags, and used Winamp to create playlists. Only I would end up just listening to the same albums and playlists despite having gigs upon gigs of music ripped from cds. And I knew I had them because I had the damn CDs sitting right there. How was I suppose to audition and find songs I knew I already liked? It involved hunting through folders and opening them in Winamp, and then deleting them from the playlist that automatically gets created. Inevitably it was a huge pain in the ass and I didn't listen to the music I had.

    I fell in love with iTunes when I discovered that not only could I sort everything by artist, but also by genre, and more. And with smart playlists I could set up a more obscure tag and use that to get everything I wanted. So if I wanted to have a playlist of every song that was in the Electronic genre with a rating I assigned of 4 or 5, excluding compilations, under 8 minutes in length, and not played within the last week, it's a piece of cake. And iTunes automatically keeps it up to date whenever a song is finished (and thus played within the last week).

    But yeah, any of the "library" mp3 players will do exactly what you're talking about. They're basically made for people who are playlist-oriented, rather than album oriented, since album-oriented people will want to listen to an album in its entirety, rather than a mix of different artists or albums. Or they'll have a favorite artist or group of artists and generally stay within a small sampling of songs that they enjoy. But if you have a sprawling library of songs with a lot of variety, and feel that an album can contain songs that suck, a library app like MusicMatch or MediaMonkey or iTunes is just the ticket.

    EggyToast on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Sorry, I'm a little dim, but I don't think I'm really understanding you. I'm looking at the MediaMonkey webpage and it seems like songs are sorted based on their ID3 tags and stuff, which is great but those only have room for one genre. If I want to tag Song A as "Pirate" "Movie" and "Main," tag Song B as "Pirate" and "Main," Song C as "Movie" and "Main," and Song D as "Sci-Fi" and "Game," and then make a playlist for "Pirate," a playlist for "Movie," a playlist for "Main," a playlist for "Sci-Fi," a playlist for "Game," a playlist for songs that are both "Pirate" and "Game," etc, can I do that? Because I don't see where MediaMonkey would save that info, since it's using ID3 tags as far as I can tell.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    So you want to use tags as in a tag cloud? No, nothing handles it in a way similar to, say, a website.

    However, you can do essentially the same thing in, at least, iTunes. If you look at the Info for any song, you can fill in the Grouping field, Comment field, even Genre, with anything you like.

    Note that I'm using iTunes because I'm on a mac, both at home and at work. I'm also the most familiar with it and I really like the program. So even though I'm using iTunes in my examples, I'm assuming that other library programs allow you to at least have smart playlists. If not, at least try iTunes to see if it works like you hope.


    OK, I downloaded a few songs from a friend's website and put them in iTunes. I opened up each one and added in the Comments field "fantasy folk," "fantasy rock," "rock game," and "game folk." I then made a Smart Playlist and the only rule was that the "Comment" field "contained" one of those words. Sure enough, it pulled in all the songs I had "tagged" as having that word.

    The comments field in iTunes is kind of a "catch-all" space for any kind of comment or tag you'd like to use, since smart playlists can look into that field for a word to include or exclude.

    So, in your case, if you wanted to tag an entire album as "movie main," you would click on the album name in the Browse view (the 3 columns that pop open when you click on the "eyeball" icon, or View>Show Browser) and click File>Edit Info. You can also control-click or shift-click to select multiple songs if you're looking in the song window. If you Edit Info on a large block of songs, it will first prompt you "Do you want to edit info on multiple songs?" and then open up a window with all the same fields and a series of checkboxes. If the checkbox for a section isn't checked, it won't change the data for that section -- so you won't overwrite all of the artist/song information if you simply change the Comments.

    Then, just make a smart playlist by File>New Smart Playlist..., and select Comments>contains>[tag].

    EggyToast on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Okay, cool. I hate iTunes so I think I'll stick with Winamp and see if I can maybe append the information somewhere in the ID3 tags, but you've still been pretty helpful :D Thanks.

    Oh, and if anyone figures out an elegant way to do this with Winamp or Foobar or some other weirdo audio program, lemme know!

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    FirstComradeStalinFirstComradeStalin Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm just going to have to make another push for iTunes. It isn't the smoothest running program on Windows, but it's interface is absolutely fantastic, especially with what you're looking for. I know it's kind of become chique to hate on it now that it and the iPod are so big, but it's a very capable program.

    What about iTunes do you not like? I remember in a previous iTunes thread somewhere most of the problems people talked about were actually solved in later versions or the solution was already there.

    FirstComradeStalin on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I don't like the interface, both the look (brushed metal and blue bubbles) and the CPU/memory usage, especially considering the performance (scolling/clicking all feels a little delayed). I also don't remember having an option to view my playlist in a skinny form under the pause/play controls, like Foobar or Winamp can do. I'm also not so happy that they foist it on you with the latest Quicktime but that's more of an ideological thing.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    iTunes on Windows does sometimes have those quirks. I occasionally run it on an old AMD x64 laptop, with 512mb ram and a 1.8ghz cpu, and it doesn't give me any issues, but I know some people on this and other forums run into oddities with the performance.

    Still, *any* music library program that allows you to make smart playlists, or sort your music based on deeper ID3 tagging, should allow for "tags" in a way I outlined above. The menu clicks will be different but the functionality should be the same.

    Winamp is great for "playing an mp3." It's kind of a dog as a music library management tool, mostly because it's not.

    A few quick searches led me to Songbird and this long list.

    EggyToast on
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