Does the Clip have a way to deal with compilation albums?

Compilation or “various artist” albums can frustratingly glut up the music library of many mp3 players, and even many jukebox programs with media library capacity.

When browsing the music library by artist, each individual artist from a compilation album can show up as its own artist. So if, for example, I load the soundtrack from Pulp Fiction onto my Clip, I’ve added 18 artists to my music library, when I would likely only access the album as a unit. This is exacerbated with the Clip because of its small screen, and because it is a relatively small-capacity player anyway and so a couple of compilation albums would notably increase the number of total artists on the player, making browsing more difficult.

There are different methods for dealing with this issue:

  • iTunes has a “compilation” tag field that is basically just a 0/1 switch
  • Windows Media Player and a number of other programs use a tag field called “BAND” to indicate album artist, and the album artist for a compilation album would read be “various artists.” foobar2000 uses a tag field simply called “album artist” to do the same thing.

Windows Media Player stupidly uses the information from the “BAND” field to totally override the normal “artist” tag, so you can’t view the actual track artist (normal “artist” tag) except by opening up the advanced tag editor.

But it’s easily possible to program a player or media jukebox program to use the “album artist” or “BAND” field (or iTunes’ “compilation” switch) for browsing the music library, and to use the normal “artist” field to display track info while a song is playing. This way the albums would show up in the music library under “various artists” or “compilation” but when playing songs from such an album, you’d still see the info about the actual performing artist.

Anyway, I’m just wondering if the Clip recognizes any way of differentiating compilation/various albums, aside from just changing the actual “artist” tag.

Since the Clip sorts by the ID3 tags, finding your compilation album is simple, as the references are there.  Go to Music > Albums, and there it will be!  You can pull the individual Artists or Songs too, depending upon your preference.

Bob  :wink:

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I know that I can pull up an entire compilation album by browsing albums instead of browsing artists. I just get annoyed when browsing artists and half the artists in the list are just people who happen to have a song on a compilation album. That’s what some people and programs use the “album artist” tag or “compilation”.

I guess one way to handle this:  change the artist tag for compilations album songs to “Various” or something similar (if you don’t really care about having the artist identified).

yeah, that works if you want to alter your tags to be player-specific, and plenty of people do this. I wouldn’t with the Clip because it’s small enough capacity anyway so even with 4gb there won’t be a crazy glut of number of artists, plus I like having my files tagged properly and want the track-artist info on each track.

I’m figuring that the Clip doesn’t have any special method of classifying compilation or various-artist albums, which isn’t a huge problem, but would also be easy to fix in firmware in the future. 

I am also dealing with this issue.  I think it is an important one to be dealt with for good usability.

I have all of my mp3s that are part of a “Various Artists” work tagged with the “Part of a compilation” tag frame indicated.  I use the program “Tag & Rename” for tagging.  I am sure many other Clip users have their files tagged with iTunes equivalent of this tag.  I understand iTunes implements this tag differently, but the Clip firmware could presumably look for the presence of either. 

Despite this tagging, my Clip shows an “Artists” entry for each artist in a compilation album.  This pretty much ruins the usefulness of the “Artists” browse display whenever I have any V/A albums loaded.  This forces me back to the “Albums” browse, which does work, but doesn’t show Artist information in the browse (understandably due to little screen space).  This makes selection difficult.  

As a workaround, I end up retagging a copy of my V/A album mp3 files, putting the text “Various” in the Artist field and the Artist+Album names in the Album field.  This step is very labor intensive and I would like to avoid it.

What I would propose is that the Clip firmware be coded to recognize the “Part of a compilation” tag frame and iTunes compilation tag.  When detected, the Clip should store the tag information internally such that all albums tagged this way are presented under a single Artists entry, “Various Artists”.  Choosing “Various Artists” in the Artist browse should show a list of all of these albums, as with any other entry.

It would be hard for me to overstate what a great feature this would be.  I’ve struggled with this on various portable players and have yet to see it handled well.  I love my Clip in so many other ways.  Tackling this one problem would really differentiate your players from competition.  And the fact that this feature was implemented in response to a user community request would really highlight Sandisk as a responsive, customer-focused organization. 


I’m also supporting this!! In fact, this is the 90% (if not 100%) of my problem with tag-based browsing. Should the Clip have support for the Album Artist tag, I wouldn’t feel the need for Folder Browsing!

In fact, it doesn’t need to be dependant of a compilation album flag; it can be as easy as an added browsing option within the Music menu (“Play All”, “Albums”, “Artists”, “Album Artists”…).

I don’t want folders!!!

I want Album Artist!!!

Message Edited by porio on 07-31-2008 12:25 PM

+1 for Album Artist browse.  This is the correct way to solve the problem.  The “part of a compilation” flags are not widely supported across different formats.  MP3, Ogg & FLAC all support Album Artist, so this would be the best way to go.

There’s no reason to limit this fix to rely only on Album Artist tags.   Once the code adjustments are made to group the “Various Artists” albums in the display, then that display behavior can be triggered by any of a number of different tags.  It could be Album Artist, it could be iTunes “part of compilation”, it could be the more standard “part of compilation” tag frame.  I’m using “part of compilation” tag frame for both FLAC and MP3. 

If maximum compatibility is the goal (and IMHO, it should be), then you’d want to allow for and support different tagging styles.

I’m wondering whether any progress has been made on this issue in the latest firmwares? 

The additional of a folder-browsing option may provide some relief, but I’d still like for this to work as described in the discussion above.


@keihin wrote:

I’m wondering whether any progress has been made on this issue in the latest firmwares? 


The additional of a folder-browsing option may provide some relief, but I’d still like for this to work as described in the discussion above.



No . . . and it doesn’t look very hopeful for the future.

Perhaps there is hope that this will be implemented for the Clip+ if not for the Clip.   

I wonder if we should summarize this request and repost over in the Clip+ forum.

Any news on this? I would love to see some support for this on the Clip+. I can’t use “artist” because even one compilation album destroys it! :frowning:

@goobaby7 wrote:

Any news on this? I would love to see some support for this on the Clip+. I can’t use “artist” because even one compilation album destroys it! :frowning:

Have you read the manual or played around with the menus on the Clip+? Folder Navigation was included in the model out of the gate. It’s at the bottom of the Music menu.

Tip: Reading and/or replyiing to 2 year-old threads is not really the best way of finding out any “news”. :wink: