a hot metal rod being shaped into an ornament/tool

A piece of metal being converted into something useful.
Image courtesy, Jonny Gios, Unsplash License, on Unsplash

I thought I was set with my audio jukebox when I finally finished collecting and digitising all my tapes, records1 and cds and then tagging, sorting and organising my files in or around the late noughties.
When I began doing all that in the mid noughties, I was comfortably ensconced in the Apple/iTunes ecosystem, so all my files were in various MPEG-4 formats.2

And the one big thing I missed, was letting a track have multiples genres or multiple artists. I wanted to be able to search for a song in each artist’s name i.e. the song ought to be listed as an entry under each singer’s name (Shibani Dandekar and Zoya Akhtar and Ankur Tewari and SEL) in the jukebox and also have it listed / searchable under multiple genres (remove Bollywood, but be able to add IndiPop and Oldies). I always thought that wasn’t possible. A decade passed since. I’ve moved homes to Mint and the .deb ecosystem in the meanwhile. And it still never occured to me to re-evaluate my choice of audio formats, despite this being a constant thorn in my side. I still thought it wasn’t possible. Look at what happens when I try to add a genre to a song in Quod Libet

Click to enlarge

Until, when I read that message more closely, recently. It wasn’t telling me that it wasn’t possible, just that I was a dummkopf3 with my choice of audio formats all those years ago. These files did not support multiple values for genre, but was it possible that other formats did? Spoiler, of course, they did!
A quick search revealed both mp3 as well as flac supported this.

I decided to try this with one of my recent songs.
I use ffmpeg to convert Plum Pudding.
ffmpeg -i "05 Plum Pudding.m4a" -c:a flac "05 Plum Pudding.flac"
And tada! A quick metadata edit in Quod Libet and I had multiple artist and genre entries! 🎉🎉🎉

Click to enlarge

Sigh! I’m both happy and a bit chagrined.
I can haz music the way I want it organised and tagged, but I’m looking at weeks/months of work now 😂

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  1. Thank you daddy ↩︎

  2. lossless and lossy m4a files. ↩︎

  3. a dummkopf with the benefit of hindsight that is ↩︎