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Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 10:24

As many of us know Artist tag is a multi item tag and Minimserver manages it in the right way.
But this “peculiarity” of Artist tag is not true for Alac (m4a) file type.
I came to Minimserver arriving from iTunes and Audirvana, iTunes is quite “superficial” but Audirvana simulate the multi item characteristic (JRiver does it as well) quite well.
Starting with Minimserver was a real chock when I realized that, according to the standards, there was no way to let Alac Artist tag to be managed as a multi item tag.
Therefore I have some hundreds Alac albums in which Artist tag is shown as:
Artist-a;;;Artist-b;;; .......
I can live with this of course but this is a big compromise, the alternative should be to transcode all Alac files to flac .... very tedious and time consuming, and lesson learned is never use Alac again ...
My question to Simon is:
can you have mercy on those of us who have this situation and realize a “trick” like Audirvana to simulate a multi item tag for Alac files? Maybe giving us the possibility to define which separator is to be used (ie “;;;” or “///“ or .... as different editors use different separators)?
Thank you for your attention

RE: Artist multi-item tag - DavidL - 14-10-2020 11:15

I store the great majority of my music files as ALAC. CDs are ripped to ALAC using iTunes which I also use to curate the files. Typically I set 'Album Artist' to the principal performer and add other performers to this artist to complete the 'Artist' tag. The list of performers may change from track to track. I point MinimServer to the iTunes media/music library and I have never had any problem picking up the metadata with control apps (BubbleUPnP and dCS Mosaic). Thus in BubbleUPnP 'Album Artist' is listed at the album level and all the contributing artists are listed as 'Artist' at the track level. Note that I have many examples of multiple artists varying between tracks on an album - all are displayed correctly by BubbleUPnP at the track level.
So I'm not sure what your problem is: is it the tag editor you use or perhaps a limitation of Audirvana? (I've not used the latter for years but can't remember any problems with the 'Artist' tag.)

RE: Artist multi-item tag - simoncn - 14-10-2020 11:19

As DavidL says, the m4a file format supports multiple values for the artist tag, so this issue must be caused by a limitation of your tagging prgram.

RE: Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 12:01

Sure? I started ripping and tagging Alac files with iTunes and in none of them Arist tag is displayed as multi item.
Then I switched to XLD for ripping to Alac and Yate for tagging, the same result ...
btw I cannot use Bubbleupnp as I have iPhone and iPad thus I use Lumïn app, but the same result is with Linn app, MConnect and others I tried, but I don’t think it is a control point matter ...
... and I’m talking about Artist tag, non Album Artist

RE: Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 12:08

... and I clearly remember a post from paul taylor describing a possible workaround which consisted of using SongKong to insert a custom multi item tag for alac files

RE: Artist multi-item tag - simoncn - 14-10-2020 14:23

See this post and the rest of the thread. There are two possible formats for doing this and different tagging programs implement one or other of these formats. MinimServer can read multivalue tags in either of the two formats.

RE: Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 14:59

... quite complicate for my very basic knowledge....
to summarize
Alac files do handle multi item tags, but iTunes ignore the right syntax that’s to say that any Alac file coming from iTunes is unluckily not compliant.
I understand that something must be done on the files and the suggestion is to use a different tagging program.
As I explained, I’m using Yate that can handle multi item tags for everything but Alac files, the same is for dBpoweramp I tried in the past (I’m on macOS). Never tried kids3 but I could.
Then remain SongKong or Jaikoz, they both solve the issue adding a custom tag named ARTISTS, but this tag cannot be read by Audirvana nor JRiver, this means that I will end with duplicate informations, not my cup of tea.
... the meaning of my initial question was to stimulate the development of some kind of trick (like Audirvana and JRiver do) to avoid to put my hands on hundreds of albums/thousands of files

RE: Artist multi-item tag - simoncn - 14-10-2020 15:12

An important aspect of MinimServer is its support for industry standards and specifications. There is a standard here although its support by other software is not universal. In my view, implementing a trick that can be used as a substitute for the standard approach would weaken the standard by making it less likely that other software will support it. Have you considered contacting the authors of Audirvana and asking them to support the standard?

RE: Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 15:41

.... I'm using Audirvana less and less but now the damage is done ....
thanks anyway

RE: Artist multi-item tag - stefano_mbp - 14-10-2020 17:27

Hello, I have just asked for some support to Yate (2manyrobots) and Barry ( very kindly offered himself to discuss the problem with you.
He would love to get in touch with you to better understand the issue
This is what I asked him (at the bottom) and his answer
“ Hi Sephano,

I don't know what spec the folks at Mininserver are looking at but I've love to see it. To the best of my knowledge only one tag of any type is allowed in an MPEG-4 container. In fact even multiple artwork items have to be merged. I don't know of any players who support more than one. I know that no Apple product supports more than one. Audirvana parses the semi-colon construct. Yate writes multiple artists to MPEG-4 files ... separated by the multi value delimiter (;;Wink. Now, multiple tags could be written, but as I said it is non standard in my opinion and I'm not sure that anyone would (or should) process them. Certainly Apple products would not.

If you can get them to point me to a spec that says it is allowed, I will support it. I can even make the support optional.

I have no contacts with them so if you can confirm that they read multiple tags of the same type it would help.

Best regards,


On Oct 14, 2020, at 11:14 AM, Stefano <> wrote:

Hello, I have a problem with alac (m4a) files. According to the standards Artist tag should be a multi item tag (like it is in flac files).
This is what Simon from Minimserver is telling me.
But I don’t find any way to solve this issue using Yate.
To fill the m4a Artist tag I write different artists separated by “;;;” (three semicolon) and this works for flac but not for alac.
I have tons of m4a files with this issue (in the past I used iTunes and Audirvana) and I would like to find a solution without transcoding those files to flac, a very tedious ant time consuming task.
Thank for your suggestions