Music and computers II: This time it’s irritating

Update ≠ reversion.

Yesterday I was wondering how to add album art to my MP3 files. The solution is quite easy, but there were problems.

First, the solution. Copy the album art off the Net (or if it came as part of the download), go to the Album section in WMP, right click on the album, and paste the art in. All the files will them share the same cover art. That’s what I wanted.

Problems. I also found some facility for finding album information online. It worked quite well the first time although someone needs to explain to Microsoft that Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music aren’t really Classical in the strict sense of the term. But then things went pear-shaped. The information I was finding online was utterly wrong. Then there was the option for updating album information. I was pleased when I got some album art back, but then found that the details which I’d spent time editing had been replaced with the original information, which should’ve long since vanished from all knowledge. When I tried to correct the information about Vivaldi’s Concertos for Recorder (Die Konzerte für Blockflöte und Flautino; Camerata Köln), it took three attempts before the corrected details stuck. I kept going back to WMP only to find that nothing had changed, and a check in Explorer showed that nothing had changed there, either.

In addition to that, Vol. 6 of Wind Concertos by Telemann had somehow been split into two parts with a few tracks being listed as if they were a separate album. Not my doing as far as I’m aware. I’ve had several instances of tracks by Matthew Locke, played by the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, popping up in the oddest places.

Thus searching for album info via WMP is a bit of a waste of time because it’s likely to undo at least some changes. Updating the album information appears to do no such thing because it appears to undo any changes which might’ve been made since WMP got its claws into the album.

The more I use WMP, the more wanting it seems. Instead of being a music-playing version of Explorer in which files and folders can be altered as the user pleases, it doesn’t like it when either of these is changed, and the original meta information about a particular album or track seems to persist in the system. Play lists are quite interesting in this respect. The play list file retains its original name, and any changes after that are saved within that particular file. You cannot use Ctrl + left/right arrow keys to skip about when creating play lists or editing them where they’re listed on screen. What kind of stupid system is this? It should be possible to manipulate them like every other file name.

WMP is not entirely hopeless. I like the sync facility since it does a much better job with my Walkman than Sony’s own software. But overall, WMP keeps coming across as inept.

[15.05.12. I tried Real Player (RP) last night and uninstalled it about half an hour later. Somehow it, too, was able to dredge up dated information about the sound files when I was creating a library, and when I added some album art, which was there but missing in RP, I had to add it to one file at a time. The consequence was that I got an error message when I tried to play the sound file afterwards.

RP also decided to ignore my directory structure and do its own thing by lumping whole discs together (e.g. The Well-tempered Clavier and Corelli Opp. 1-4). It also truncated titles and other information as if it was still living in DOS world where file names could only ever be eight characters long.

No, RP was not a solution.

05.09.14. I did eventually get used to WMP, which, for a time, seemed to be quite good for editing the details of albums without the fuss and bother of using Explorer. But one day, because it started misbehaving again (album art is a particular bone of contention; but the consequences of shifting things about in Explorer can also be unpredictable), I started editing new albums with mp3tag and adding them to Winamp and iTunes before letting WMP know the new music existed.]

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