Poor handling of FLAC multiple "same-field" tags

I’m currently in the process of tagging my music library (FLAC, mainly OSTs) with extensive details about artists, composers and performers. I am having problems with Audirvana handling the case of multiple composers very poorly.

As a reminder, the Ogg Vorbis documentation (which is used for FLAC tagging) states that the recommended way of tagging tracks with multiple artists, composers, … is to use multiple fields with the same field name:

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

I have been using kid3 for tagging, which worked great for me so far.

I checked with other tag editors and many do recognize the tags correctly:

However, Audirvana is a mixed bag and recognizes the tags poorly. For instance, it does recognize the multiple artists (from the separate tags). However, all the rest is simply ignored and it only shows the very first tag. This itself is not really a problem as I would have lived with it. The real problem is: as soon as Audirvana touches the tracks metadata (e.g., if you rate the track or the album, add replay gain info, …), it will delete some of the tags. For example: it will delete all the additional composer tags and keep only the first one.

So… For a 98€ music player, can we at least get proper handling of tags and meta-data please? And to be perfectly clear: I am not going to change how the tracks are tagged (since it conforms to what seems to be the standard) just to accommodate how this or that music player’s own non-standard implementation.

I also had issues with this. It’s hardly a standard and there are multiple implementations around. Some use “;” as separator, some use “” while others use “\”.

In my experience I had best results with semicolon separator: “Artist1; Artist 2, …”. To make things even more interesting some tools are sensitive to the space after semicolon.

In many tools the concatenated tag is treated as simple string, with consequences on grouping. Still it’s ok, since you find what you’re looking for when searching it.

While I do agree with you that it is hardly a standard, it is still the way that is encouraged by the official documentation. It is also very functional for artist tags, just not for the rest which is an odd decision from the development team. At the very least, Audirvana should definitely not destroy existing tags. I spent two hours tagging an album just to discover that the tags went down the drain when I rated the tracks in Audirvana ! :cry:

Can I get a response from support regarding this issue? It is getting silly now. I bought this product that I can’t use properly because it keeps deleting metadata from my files.

There is an other thread with the multi artist topic: Managing tracks with multiple artists
There @Antoine says the dilimiter is "; " for multiple artists. If that works for other tags is a good question.

Destroying existing tags is for sure not good.

Thank you! I am aware of the other thread about managing multiple artists and album artists. The problem is that what @Antoine claimed is only “partially” true. Therefore, I feel obliged to explain…

Putting multiple artists with the ; delimiter (with or without spaces) won’t work with any metadata editor and most of the time you will end up with Audirvana not recognizing separate artists. There is a good reason why @Antoine recommends to specifically use Tag Editor and why it works. it is because Tag Editor will encode each artist as a separate ARTIST tag (which, again, follows the Ogg Vorbis recommendation).

To give a concrete example. If you look at how track 10’s artists show in Tag Editor, they look indeed as if they are delimited with “;”:

However, they look in reality like this:

I.e., each of the artists is actually in a separate ARTIST field (Tag Editor just concatenates them and uses “;” as the separator for both splitting and concatenation).

As a matter of fact, this is exactly how Audirvana itself behaves when you edit metadata and add artists through its interface.

The problem is that Audirvana is not consistent with this behavior. For album artists, it has the exact same behavior. But, for composers it does not: it simply recognizes the very first COMPOSER tag and ignores the others. This by itself would have been harmless. However, the moment you edit metadata of a track in Audirvana (which includes operations such as rating or calculating replay gain), Audirvana will delete all those additional tags it ignored before and will replace them by the only one it did keep.

Are you sure there is three different composer for a same track of this album?

I am more than sure there are three composers to this track. You can check the official album page if you have doubts about it.

That said, I don’t understand how your question is relevant (unless I misunderstood it) for solving the problem…

Hi @Siguchi
You name it. But to be clear: I invested a lot of time to find out, what the “correct” way of adding multiple artists to a tag is and found many ideas. The most usefull option is to have multiple fields of the same tag for artist, album artist, composer and also genre. There seem to be different apps that are not able to read that.
I use Yate as a ID3 tagger: They use ;;; as a delimiter. A reads that correcty. iTunes can read that, but has no space between the different artists :wink:
There seem to be different apps that are not able to read that. They use other delimiters.
I couldn’t find out, if there exists an official rule for that topic.
To @Antoine:
Is it possible to have the option for multiple names in the tags “artist”, “album artist”, “composer” and “genre”, that can be searched and are sorted by the topmost name, which is given by the order of the user? Can this be seen in the info window?
Can you add the tag “album artist” in the columns of the album view and make it visible in the info window?

I too searched for answers and found many. For mp3 and other formats that rely on ID3, there seems indeed to be no standard way of tagging multiple artists and at the end it comes down to what “custom” implementation the player does (most rely on ; or /, Roon for example gives you the possibility to choose a delimiter).

Here however, we are talking about FLAC. Unless I’m missing something, FLAC relies on Vorbis comments (as per the FLAC documentation). And again, Vorbis comments do encourage one way of tagging multiple artists, composers, etc.: through multiple tags with the same name. Audirvana even complies with this for Artist and Album Artist fields. In fact, the only field for which Audirvana seems to be deleting the additional tags is the Composer field, which is either a bug or a very weird implementation choice.

It would be crazy to have different tagging strategies for different file formats. I myself have files in at least 4 different formats.

In the and the most common implementation is what counts, since there is no official standard to follow.

While I do agree that it is kind of cumbersome, having different formats use different tagging strategies is nothing new.

And again for the millionth time: in the case of FLAC, THERE IS a recommended way of doing said tagging. If you are failing to grasp this fact, it is your problem, not mine.

And for the millionth time: it is that recommended way that is implemented by Audirvana for FLAC files for artists and album artists. For whatever reason, they chose not to do it for composers.

I made my purchase (instead of alternatives) especially based on the fact that it did recognize artists correctly. It is after the purchase that I became aware of the issue with other tags. So if this does not get solved, I would very much prefer having my money back and spending it elsewhere…

Oh I can grasp it alright, but if I was responsible for developing Audirvana, I wouldn’t want to support multiple tagging strategies that are different for different file formats.

I am a developer and I can tell you with enough confidence that this is quite easy to do. There in no better proof than the fact that Roon, Tag Editor, kid3 and many other software out there do support it…

It all comes down to two use cases: (1) multiple tags and (2) one tag with delimiters. Both are trivial to handle.

Even if you support one use case only, you have to implement tagging with ID3 (mp3 and the likes) and Vorbis (for FLAC and the likes) at the very least if you are a respectable company that targets audiophiles. In both cases, you do not really implement things from scratch, you just interface your software with existing open source tools (and even proprietary ones in some cases).

It is totally feasible to implement a single UI (front-facing your end user) and handle the different use cases under the hood in a transparent fashion. Many tagging software that do not cost you 100€ already do this.

Also, the use case of a single tag with delimited artists is the stupidest to implement and I just don’t understand how paid software fail to correctly handle something so stupid. Look at how graceful Roon handles it: you get to tell the software which delimiters you use (and can specify multiple ones like ; / etc.) and the software will parse all the fields correctly.

Guess what, I’m developer too. Whether something can be done and the design choices you make are two different things.

Whether it’s trivial or not depends a lot on the implementation in Audirvana. It’s impossible to tell how trivial it is without looking at the code.

Mind you, I’m not against features. You just need to draw the line somewhere. I also use Roon and I like it. In many respects it’s better than Audirvana, but it also uses different philosophy for handling metadata. It’s also far from flawless.

Well, the functionality seems to be there!!! That is what I don’t understand. Artists and Album Artists are handled through multiple tags. Even other multiple tags like the Performer are kept intact and saved correctly. The one problematic tag is the Composer one, for which Audirvana seems to have opted for recognising and using one tag only for whatever reason…

P.S. the only flaw I find to Roon is the excessive price tag!

Hi all and happy new year.

I just discovered this Audirvana limit, which is annoying.

For most songs, there are often two artists involved in the composition. For example, John Lennon and Paul Mc Cartney for the beatles…

and even if there is a recommended tag ‘LYRICIST’, which I do not use, it is not recognized by Audirvana…

Clearly, it should be considered as the tag ‘ARTIST’ with multiple values…

1 Like

What is particularly annoying is the destructive nature of the processing by Audirvana as it deletes the additional composer. I would live with it showing only one of the composers but deleting all the others after I spent many hours correctly tagging my albums… Sigh…

Also, don’t get me started on the handling of other tags. If you, god forbid, put a conductor tag, Audirvana will interpret it as an artist tag and will, when it alters the metadata, add an additional artist tag with the conductor.

So the conclusion is : never use audirvana to update tags… I personally use foobar or MP3tag…

@Laurent69 you are missing the point: even the simplest operation, like rating a track or calculating its ReplayGain, triggers an update of its tags in Audirvana, which can lead to the tag loss problem I described above.

P.S. personally, I use Kid3.