Hi everybody. I’m a (yet) happy owner of a 4Gb clip. It’s a really nice device!! So far, I pretty happy with the way I can navigate through my music collection. I used to use the tags in a consistent way, so there was no big deal with the fact that the clip doesn’t respect folder structure. Moreover, I used to be a MSC guy, but I gave the MTP mode a try -mainly because of the database refresh speed after disconnecting the player.
Initially, I was very happy to discover the way Windows Media Player helps to organize and browse my collection (I´m very Artist-Album-oriented), and also to retrieve album information. Of course, previously I did that by arranging things in folders and retrieving tags with mp3tag, but now I tried this new (for me) way… and I liked what I saw!. But then some strange things started to happen. I will use a real example to make myself clear.
As you may know, each song has an Artist (or ‘Album artist’) and a ‘Contributing Artist’. In the The Commitments Songtrack album, the contributing artist as retrieved from internet is different for each song, as vocals are played by different people. But they all are The Commitments. Also, the retrieved Album artist is ‘Soundtrack’ (¿?) but it’s not big deal to change it back to ‘The Commitments’. Then I transfer the song to my Clip and want to listen to the album. As I told before, I’m pretty much Artist-Album oriented, so I go to Music–> Artist–> … and there is no ‘The Commitments’!! There are the individual artists, so by navigating that way I will only get to listen the songs that each of them (1 at a time, so to speak) sing.
* I could easily do it by Music–> Album–> The Commitments. But when I have 30+ albums in my Clip, will not be that easy. Artist is always a good way of narrowing my search. Besides, if I go Music–> Genres–> Songtrack (or ‘Soul’ as I relabeled it)… I find the Artist filter again, listing all the individual contributors.
* With Sting’s Fields of Gold album, the thing was a little bit more annoying. ‘It’s probably me’ is credited both to Eric Clapton and Sting (in that order), but then in the Clip it only appears under ‘Eric Clapton’ (i guess it is because he apperas first). If I go Music–> Artist–> Sting–> Fields of Gold, I will listen to the full album EXCEPT for ‘It’s probably me’. The very same thing happened with a couple of Beatles’s albums.
* Of course, I have manually (in batch, but manually after all) edited the tags so I don’t get a list of a million artists I don’t want to know about. I want the Artist field to be a useful filter when picking an album or a set of albums; not a filter for picking THE song played specifically by (or with) some guy.
* And finally, I could forget about Windows Media Player’s database, and go back to freedb as retrieved by mp3tag. And also go back to MSC.
So my point is this: the Artist filter, as currently being used in the WMP database-WMP-Sansa Clip framework is not a useful filter. It kind of adds noise, because you may end with a 1,000 artist listing with one or two songs each. Is this a bug or a feature? A completely different thing would be if the Clip made use of the ‘Album Artist’ field rather than ‘Contributing Artist’.
I know I’m being a little (or a lot) picky, but does all of this make sense to anybody else?