Album Artist and Album Artist (Auto)
Most albums have a single artist, like Metallica - Master Of Puppets. All of the tracks on that album are by Metallica.
But what do you do when you have a compilation album, like a soundtrack? Who do you set the artist to for the album? You can set the artist for individual tracks, but if you wanted to play the whole album, who do you search for in a standard Artist/Album view scheme? That album will be listed multiple times, under multiple artist names.
The Album Artist field is used to set an artist for compilation albums. You can set your own artist for the entire album. Each individual track will still have its own artist, but the album can have an Album Artist that you can browse for in an Album Artist/Album view scheme. So you could set Album Artist to "Soundtrack" or "Various Artists" or whatever.
Album Artist (Auto) is just an easy way to use Album Artist. MC looks at the list of Artists for all the tracks in an Album. If they're all the same, like Metallica, then Album Artist (Auto) is automatically set to Metallica. If all the tracks are different, like on a soundtrack CD, then Album Artist (Auto) is automatically set to "(Multiple Artists)". So if you use Album Artist (Auto) for all of your view schemes instead of Artist, then you can easily browse all of your albums without having multiple artist albums listed multiple times.
The Album Artist field itself becomes just a way to override Album Artist (Auto). If you don't like the default of "(Multiple Artists)", then you can put whatever you want into Album Artist, and MC will use that instead.
Rules for Album Artist (auto)
This is a built-in automatic field. It auto-completes as follows:
- If something is manually typed in the Album Artist field, that content is included in the Album Artist (auto) field as well.
- If the Album Artist field is empty, then the Album Artist (auto) field gets completed as follows:
- Single-artist name in the case of a single-artist album.
- (Multiple Artists) in the case of a multiple-artist album.
- In order for (Multiple Artists) to appear automatically, the album must be in its own exclusive directory (i.e., if there are files from more than one album in a directory, the program will not label it as Multiple Artist).
Here is the logic. A track is a mix if all the files with the same [Album] value in the same directory:
- Have more than one [Artist] value among them
- Have no other [Album] values used by any other file in the same directory
- Are Audio and have a non-empty [Album] value