Ian Blyth – It's Just a Thought

My thoughts and opinions

Album Artist

Posted by Ian Blyth on 14 April 2008

I have had a Creative Zen for a while. It was a 60 GB model which was huge in those days and it is only now that capacities have caught up. It is great to travel with all my music rather than having to decide which music to take with me as I used to do with CDs or before that cassettes. And a small capacity like 5 GB or 8 GB would mean that I would have to decide what goes on. However, on short journeys I have decided that I do not need to carry it and my phone could do the job – especially as I bought a 2 GB micro SD card for less than £10. As I always have my mobile why carry 2 devices on a short journey? It is disappointing that it can not do WMA but I can copy MP3 files (the lowest common denominator) straight across. It will transfer the WMA files to a smaller mobile format. It does take time (with my processor maxed out) but I am amazed at how much music I can get on 2 GB.

But the biggest disappointment with the phone (which I should not be too disappointed with as it is a business and not a media phone) and my Creative is that there is no view by album artist. There are views for artist, songs ( a very long list) or albums (which is not that great if you have a lot of albums all called Greatest Hits!). I have a number of compilation albums which has the album artist as Various or Various Artists. But each track then lists the artist so that the list of artist to search through gets very large very quickly.

I looked at my friends recently purchased iPod Nano but that did not have a view for album artists either which surprised me give how everyone raves about the iPod (except me). Although it does a little picture of the album beside the name so it helps with the list of albums all with the same name. It seems that the people that design these products only ever buy CDs from a single artist and have never bought a compilation CD – never mind bought a whole bunch of them.

Album artist is a valid tag for a music file and seems to be used by everyone. But MP3 players (not ones that I have seen anyway) do not seem to use it. What I would like is an MP3 player that lists Album Artists as well as Artists. And if the list of albums is going to be text only (no nice picture of the album which is OK on a small device) then I would like the artist’s name to be in brackets after the album name to get over the problem of have a list all called “Greatest Hits”. Surely I am not the only person to have come across this?

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