Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

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make_or_break
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:40 am

Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by make_or_break »

Greetings...First post.

I use MediaMonkey to manage my Sony Walkman A829. In general it's been a pretty good experience and I've contemplated going with the Gold version and using it to handle my Creative Zen X-Fi as well. But I've had problems with certain tag data that was originally written within various iterations of iTunes, which I still use to manage all of our many iPods including the Touch--which is why I can't abandon iTunes entirely. It seems inconsistent, but MM does seem to have problems with interpreting the play count with some tracks while reading it perfectly for others (matching the count in iTunes 8.x). I've done what I could find to try to refresh the library manually, including nuking a problematic track from the library listing and then re-adding back to MM, but it doesn't seem to make any difference.

In addition, I've found that some Genre data isn't read in MM as well (the field comes in as blank), yet the same tag date IS read correctly when I use other non-iTunes apps like my Zune software and that awful Creative Centrale software I still use for my Zen X-Fi.

I see and use my Walkman as a superior replacement of my older 2G iPod nano, so the idea was that I'd like the exact same songs on that player to be on this Sony. This metadata problem is becoming a royal pain for me, and dampens any enthusiasm I have for the Gold upgrade. With the nano I synched to iTunes via a couple of playlists, which I can't (or haven't been able to) import into MediaMonkey. Both Smart playlists were based on parsing the Genre and the play count metadata to feed the iPod. Now that MM isn't reading that same data like iTunes does, I can't even manually replicate what the iTunes playlists were doing for my nano, at least nothing beyond going SONG-BY-SONG and transferring one at a time, which I can say with dead certainty isn't going to happen if I can help it.

Am I doing something wrong? Are there workarounds? I haven't even tried to calculate how many songs that this affects, but combining both data problems I'd estimate it impact several thousand song files, both in MP3 and M4A formats.

Any suggestions or kind advice would be appreciated.
Lowlander
Posts: 49427
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by Lowlander »

Do other applications read the Genre for those tracks that MediaMonkey doesn't?
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
make_or_break
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:40 am

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by make_or_break »

Lowlander wrote:Do other applications read the Genre for those tracks that MediaMonkey doesn't?
Both the Zune software and the Creative package see the missing iTunes metadata. I just discovered that Winamp does not, and I've known for some time that neither of my two Sony PMPs can see the info. I'm not sure about any other programs; these listed--along with MediaMonkey--are currently the only programs I use outside of iTunes.

Basically what I think I've discovered is that there seems to be several genre types that I'm guessing iTunes does something "unusual" with when writing the tag data for those particular types. I've bit the bullet and batch edited a bunch of these files and re-entered in the correct genre data in MediaMonkey. AFAICT, iTunes interprets all of the edits correctly. I guess this means that I need to re-edit the "missing" Genre data in MM for the rest of the problem files, and in the future if I rip CDs in iTunes I'll have to edit the data in MM if the happen to be one of those genres. Fortunately it only seems to affect a few genre types, so it'll probably go fast (I hope).

As for the playback count: comparing the two program's data over the past hour or so, it looks like iTunes and MM use different counter data fields. My take is that MM did the initial library read from iTunes and took the iTunes count and created a separate count field for itself. I noticed that the counts of several songs I played in MM this morning didn't change when I looked at the same file library entries in iTunes, so there's obviously no data sharing back to iTunes when it comes to play count.

This would also explain why the there's a bunch of songs with play counts that are dramatically different between the two apps--the iPods and iTunes around here get used a lot more than MediaMonkey for music listening. For instance, there's one song that shows 14 plays in iTunes but only 1 play in MediaMonkey; which was probably true in iTunes at the time the song was originally imported into MM's own library several weeks ago.

Guess it would be good if I could delete the old count data and re-read the iTunes library for the updated data...only problem is that every time one of our iPods is synched with iTunes, the play count will go out of whack yet again. Just can't win...(sigh). And I'm not sure even HOW to reset the playback count field data in MediaMonkey; every time I "delete" a song from the MM library, it no longer loads in the count data from iTunes when I import it back in.
Lowlander
Posts: 49427
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by Lowlander »

The genre issue might be caused by iTunes not saving the data to the tracks which is why MediaMonkey and WinAmp didn't see the changes. If you think it's a specific genre in iTunes you might want to send a track with the issue to support.

Play counts are only stored in the database, not in the songs tags. As such the only way to get play counts is direct access to the other applications database (where the play counts are stored). I don't know if iTunes can read MediaMonkey's database, so you might not be able to get the data from MediaMonkey into iTunes.
As for iTunes to MediaMonkey I'm not sure if the iTunes data retreival at the end of the Add/Rescan Tracks process is supposed to update the play counts for tracks already in the MediaMonkey database. Someone else might now that answer.

If play data is import it's best to only use one application for play back and portable device synchronization as this data isn't stored in the tags by any application or portable device.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
make_or_break
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:40 am

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by make_or_break »

Actually a LOT less of the Genre data shows up in my fresh Winamp install than in MediaMonkey. Even the genre data in the files I edited this morning in MM still don't show up. Not sure at all what's going on with that, but then again this isn't a WInamp forum. Still I wonder why it affects roughly 15,000 files but not the rest. It's these sorts of nagging things that's the reason why originally I gave up Winamp to begin with.

The inability to update play count data from the iTunes database is disappointing, mostly because I use the information to select the most popular songs in the master library for synching to my non-iPod player. If I could figure out a way to force MM to delete its own count data and force it to import it back in, the program would be perfect.

BTW, I did upgrade to the Gold version anyways. It makes managing my Sony (and soon my Creative Zen X-Fi as well) pretty easy. The Sony software wanted me to agree to allow them to transfer personal data to wherever, and loading the Sony via Window Explorer was getting pretty bad after the first thousand songs (Explorer gets really slow reading from flash memory). MM makes it easy by keeping all the albums and artists in their own folders. Pretty happy so far...
Lowlander
Posts: 49427
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by Lowlander »

What file types do you have Genre issues with MediaMonkey? When you check these files in Windows Explorer do they have the correct Genre information?

As for the play count issue, I first of all don't know if MediaMonkey is supposed to do this for existing tracks or not. I would understand that they might not as it would be hard for MediaMonkey to determine what play counts to add (which are new) and which it already added previously. Secondly there might be a script that can do this so it might be worthwhile to search the forum for any such script.
Alternatively you could try this if you only want the play counts from iTunes and don't care for those that have been stored in MediaMonkey so far. Rename the database (MM.DB to MM.DB.old) and start MediaMonkey. Now Add/Rescan Tracks to the blank database and see if the correct play counts get transferred. This of course is not a feasible work around for use on regular bases as you will loose all play counts, playlists and unsynchronized tags from MediaMonkey's database, but would work if you switch all playback/syncing over to MediaMonkey and need to start with the iTunes play data as a base.

The key to remember is that if play count is important to you (which it is) you should only use one application to play/sync songs as play counts are not as easily transferred.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
make_or_break
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:40 am

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by make_or_break »

For MM, "Pop", "Easy Listening", "Latin" and "Country" genres seem to be problematic, but only in some files. A lot of the m4a and mp3 files show these categories correctly, but roughly 30-40% of the files in these categories showed the information as missing in MM. Most were ripped using various versions of iTunes; it doesn't seem to make any difference whether the rip was recent or from a few years ago. I've already gone through batch edited all of these files using MM, so their genre info now show up properly both in MM and iTunes.

In the past I also used Nero 7 for some AAC (m4a) rips as well, mostly because I believe Nero rips sound better than comparable bitrate iTunes rips (but getting them to sequentially load via track number into the iTunes database can be laborious, so I ended giving up on Nero); the genre metadata in the few files I can recall as being created w/ Nero seem to show correctly in MM, but I'm not certain that I actually ripped much of the problem genre types using that app...it's been too long and I don't remember for sure.

Since I edited the genre data already, using File Explorer to look the mp3 files as they are now no longer is useful (the edited info shows up correctly for the mp3 files, and FE can't read the genre metadata for m4a files).

OTOH, reading WMA files with these genre classifications have no problems at all with properly displaying the correct genre info (most of these were ripped with the old MusicMatch program, or Windows Media Player (9 or earlier).

I thought about deleting the .db file, but when I tried that alone MM still doesn't go and retrieve any of the iTunes play count data. To force MM to re-read the iTunes database (including the count info), I then tried deleting the .ini and the .m3u file in the same folder as the .db file. I suspect that it was the .ini file that finally did the trick; during the library rebuilding, MM finally gave me the data import popup asking me if I wanted it to read the iTunes (and Windows Media Player for my WMA files) database info for playback count and other data.

With the size of my library, it took MM roughly 90 minutes to complete the re-read everything and rebuild its library. Definitely something I don't want to do all that often. But at least the updated play counts from the iTunes database are now back in. Also, I've talked with others about this; they believe that this problem primarily lies with iTunes and the manner in how it (poorly) writes metadata and album art. Given what I've just had to go through...I believe it as well.

Thanks again for all your help.
Lowlander
Posts: 49427
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by Lowlander »

make_or_break wrote:I suspect that it was the .ini file that finally did the trick;
This means that you previously told MediaMonkey to no longer ask to import from iTunes. Subsequent scans of your music shouldn't take this long as you should set it to only update files which changed timestamp (Tools > Options > Library).
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
Edgar
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:06 pm

Re: Some iTunes-created metadata not read in MM

Post by Edgar »

Lowlander wrote:What file types do you have Genre issues with MediaMonkey?
I know I am coming late to this thread, but it's not that old!

I too had problems with MediaMonkey recognizing specific tags. I am using iTunes to import my CD collection; at the present time there are over 60,000 tracks on my hard drive. I also use Tag&Rename to manage tags and file/track names.

Starting with a completely empty library in MediaMonkey I imported all 60,000+ tracks. Over 9000 failed to have the genre tags recognized. The following genre tags invariably fail to be recognized: Latin, Easy Listening, Big Band, and Speech. I am almost positive that Latin, Easy Listening and Speech are native genres in iTunes and Tag&Rename; I am fairly sure that I created the Big Band genre in Tag&Rename.

As a test, I selected one track in each of the genres using MediaMonkey and set the proper genre via the properties dialog. My thinking was that this would help MediaMonkey recognize the genres. I then cleared out the entire library and reloaded all 60,000+ tracks hoping that this would allow MediaMonkey to recognize the genres. This failed -- only those few tracks that I had manually changed with MediaMonkey were recognized. Given that I had over 9000 tracks to correct I tried to devise a simple method to resolve the problem.

What I did was open the entire library in iTunes and sort by genre. For each of the recalcitrant genres I selected all tracks with that genre in iTunes then changed the genre text. Latin became "Hisp”, Easy Listening became "Ell", Big Band became "BBB" and Speech became "Dia". I then (in MediaMonkey) cleared the entire library and reinstalled all 60,000+ tracks. Happily, every track now had an appropriate genre associated with it. All I had to do was open the genre view of the library in MediaMonkey, select all the tracks, and type in the real/appropriate genre text.

As a sanity check, I then inspected these tracks with iTunes and Tag&Rename to ensure that MediaMonkey versions of the genre were readable by iTunes and Tag&Rename -- they were.

Obviously, given that other people have had problems with these exact same genre, there is some inconsistency between iTunes and MediaMonkey. I could provide some very short (musically) files which have had iTunes genre set to these specific problem texts if this would help Support.
[size=150][b]---[color=#8000BF]Edgar[/color][/b][/size]

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