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Fenhalls100 06-13-2017 09:01 AM

iTunes and iPad Pro query
I am about to purchase an iPad and would like to ask a few questions about the iTunes app on the device:

1) Am I right in thinking that albums are sorted by "album artist" and the alternative "artist" tag has no part to play here?

2) If albums are marked as compilation albums in iTunes on a desktop do those albums appear as "Various artists" under "artists" or do they only appear in "albums"?

3) When playing a song and looking at the now playing screen (or whatever it is called here) do the titles scroll? If not does anyone know the character limit for titles? I'm thinking in particular here of the actual song title. After all, anything else can be instantly seen by glancing at the album art.

Many thanks.

cjmnews 06-13-2017 03:03 PM

The iTunes App is not really useful unless you are buying new music on your iPad. I tend to uninstall it.

The Music App is the one that plays music, and allows you to see your iTunes music as well as your downloaded music.

1) Sort of. Generally the Artist tag is used for the sorting. But the songs are also listed by Album Artist when there is a difference and the album is NOT marked as compilation. Compilation albums are always under Album Artist only.

2) Listed under Various Artists in Artists. Also in Albums under Various Artists.

3) Depending on the mode you use how it looks and works. The mini-player where the current track is at the bottom of the Music player does not scroll the text and shows a mini version of the album art. 19 characters is the max. Above the player are the rest of the playlist/album. If you tap on the mini-player, then you get about 1/2 screen of album art, and the text scrolls. Both the track name on the first row, as well as the artist and album name on the second row. 31 characters max. The scrolling pauses when both reach the beginning for a few seconds, then scroll again.

Fenhalls100 06-15-2017 04:03 AM

Very many thanks for getting back so promptly with all that valuable information, cjmnews. It is much appreciated. I'm sorry for not responding sooner but I haven't been well for the last day or so.

If you don't mind I have a few follow-up questions.

1) In that case where there is a difference are the other artists shown at all when playing tracks or is everything marked as album artist? Are all the artists shown in the actual artist list? I hope not as that would surely clutter up the library.

2) That's excellent.

3) Regarding the 31 characters, is that the number shown at any given time on the display or is that the maximum number of characters that will scroll so that if there are for example 40 characters only 31 will scroll? There used to be a trick (I'd post the link but I'm not allowed) whereby you can see the whole track name by putting your finger on the track listing and a black pop-up box containing the title name will appear? Does that still work?

I intend to take advantage of the excellent Home Sharing facility to stream music from my iTunes library on my computer to the iPad. Is the library only seen by the Music app you mention or can alternative music apps also access the streamed library? I'm thinking here of trying to get around the possible 31 character limit or will the same restriction apply even with other apps?

My library (all lossless) is large. Will that be a problem as regards Home Sharing?

Many thanks once again.

cjmnews 06-15-2017 12:40 PM

1) When you have the difference, there are ways to tell. Album art is not shown next to the Album Artist, it is shown with the Artist. All of the Artist tag values (artists) are shown in the Artist list.

The Album Artist tag is only shown in the Artist list in the one special case that I am aware of (Artist != Album Artist, Compilation not checked).

Usually when there is a difference between Artist and Album Artist, it is because it is a compilation, so generally the Compilation is checked in this case, which hides the Album Artist from the Artist list.

3) 31 characters is what is shown at any one time. If the length is 31 characters or less it does not scroll. Longer does scroll automatically. Also changing the font size will change the number of characters. No, the full track window no longer works in iOS 10+.

4) Home sharing - As far as I have seen only the Music App can recognize iTunes running with Bonjour enabled for sharing your library. I may not have come across the apps that do that though, so you may find something different. I have used other applications that scan my PC library, build information about it and share with other apps. These work fine as long as you don't have the old encrypted files from the iTunes Store (I have several) as these will not play through 3rd party applications since they don't know how to decrypt the files, like iTunes does. Yes there are ways to work around this too.

The number of characters I was quoting was for an iPhone 6 using the default font which only uses Portrait Mode view for the Music player. I forgot that you were interested in the iPad. So I tried it there with the default font. And guess what, they have the same mini-player (19 characters) and bigger player (uses 1/2 the screen in Portrait mode and 1/3 the screen in Landscape mode) that have the same character limitations (31 and scrolls). Now my iPad is older so there may be other differences with the Pro that I can't see (3D touch stuff).

Lossless should work just fine in the home using the Home Sharing. The lossless format may limit the 3rd party players you can use. Several don't understand Apple's Lossless.

Fenhalls100 06-15-2017 01:28 PM

So as regards 1 and the album artist, artist business, if I don't have the compilation checked then every single artist will appear in the artist list. On the other hand, if I do have compilation checked the individual artists will not appear in the artist list and the album will be found under "Various Artists" in album and artists. Thus, it's most important that compilation is checked to avoid having the artist list swamped with a huge number of artists. Do I have that right?

Update: Just one thing: if it's a simple matter of 1 album artist and 1 artist - say Tchaikovsky - Album Artist and The London Symphony Orchestra - Artist, then just 2 artists (Tchaikovsky and the LSO) will appear in the artist list. Right? But in that case which artist will you see when the album is playing? I would expect Tchaikovsky if that's the artist selected or LSO if that's the artist selected.

Thank you for simplifying matters in such a way that even a dolt like myself can understand.

BTW, last time I had anything to do with Apple I had a few of the iPod Classics (still have them and they are fine apart from the batteries). Since then with phones and tablets I've been with Android. Fed up to the back teeth with Samsung I decided to move to Apple a week or so ago. Hence these naive questions.

cjmnews 06-15-2017 01:39 PM

1) No matter whether or not the Compilation is checked, every Artist will show up in the Artists list.

The Album Artist is where there is a difference (and if it is not the same as the Artist) and IF Compilation IS checked, it will show up under Various Artists. IF Compilation IS NOT checked, then the Album Artist will be in the Artists list, as well as being listed under Various Artists.

No, I don't think having Compilation checked is important. Quite the opposite. I think it should be unchecked so that you can find the song by Artist OR Album Artist.

cjmnews 06-15-2017 02:07 PM

I didn't expect a live update.

Classical is handled differently.

With or without the Compilation tag set it will show up as London Symphony Orchestra (playing with a Kodaly Quartet Haydn album to see this) so it seems to use Album Artist for Classical genre.

So in my case my Haydn album shows up as Haydn as that is what the Album Artist is set to, where Artist is Kodaly Quartet. Same with a Mozart album where Album Artist is set to Mozart, and the Artist is Brigitte Meyer, it shows up under Mozart.

When I was looking before I was looking at Pop and Rock tracks, which seem to be handled differently than Classical.

I guess it will be a bit of trial and error.

cjmnews 06-15-2017 02:16 PM

OK, I went back and tried some more.

It looks like I was wrong in my earlier posts (low blood sugar?) as the Album Artist is what shows up in the Artists list no matter what. I can't seem to get the earlier behavior to reproduce anymore.

So, Album Artist is the one that will display, unless it is blank, then Artist will display. I have a lot of Album Artist blank, so maybe that confused me earlier.

Fenhalls100 06-15-2017 02:47 PM

And I would expect that album artist and not artist would display when the album is playing.

The way I see it is that because of the lack of scrolling except on the now playing screen, you are almost totally reliant on album art to find what you want. On the iPod with classical music you could append the artist to the album details to differentiate between different performers or orchestras playing the same piece. That's because both artist and album details scrolled. So you'd go Schubert, Franz - String Quartet No. 14 (Lindsay Quartet).

Still trying to get my head around this.

Love the Kodaly playing the Haydn Quartets. The box set has a Penguin rosette if I remember correctly.

cjmnews 06-16-2017 12:02 AM

I would find it difficult to tell the difference between classical tracks in an album based on the art. I would have to pick a random track where I think it is, and skip forward until I heard the track I was looking for.

Modifying the names are possible, and you an enable the use of movement and work fields to help this out, though I don't think the Movement field shows up in the player. The Work field does not and is at risk of being overwritten as iTunes uses the work field for an intermediate holding place for some actions.

The artwork I have seems to be a portrait of Haydn. Like a copy of a painting. It looks like the other albums have different portraits.

Fenhalls100 06-16-2017 05:56 AM

As I only play classical music by album it's not finding the track that bothers me. Returning to an album I've not finished listening to I can always count down to the track I want. It's finding the album in the first place that's the issue. Most classical album art tells you what's on the album and the names of the performers. A box set becomes more problematic if it is divided up into separate albums. Then I wouldn't have a clue how to find what I'm looking for.

I really wonder why Apple which is so dependent on music for its success in this area (leastways that's my impression) doesn't make things easier for its customers. I used to wonder the same thing about Microsoft and its Windows Media Player, an excellent player that was virtually destroyed by various changes. Obviously it's nothing to do with stupidity or laziness. The only explanation I can come up with is ignorance: that people doing the programming or the deciding know little about music themselves.

cjmnews 06-16-2017 01:00 PM

I can understand the frustration. I have set up my Best of Mozart set to have the Volume numbers in the Album Artist to help with this situation.

I am not sure what Apple is needing to succeed. I agree that their players have been getting worse over the years. I tolerate the music player for Smart Playlists. I gave up on their podcast player because it stopped supporting smart playlists and was not easy to use. I have been using Overcast which is easier to use, will actually play 2 podcasts in a row, download quickly and auto-delete when I finish listening. (Have you tried The Concert podcast? Monthly classical).

I hear more changes for the Apple music player is coming with the next iOS (v11). Hopefully making it more usable. I would like to see a separation between Apple Music and synced music.

This whole thing with the purchased music being downloaded to your device and you have to manually delete it from the device and iTunes to get your space back is ridiculous. If I didn't sync it, then delete it. I want my space! Just because I played a track from the store once, I don't need it to be on my device forever. Don't tell iTunes to select it. Don't keep it downloaded. These are the grey-dotted circle tracks that you can see on your device in iTunes.

Ok, that was a bit of a rant... The music player is obviously built to support the streaming Apple Music. It seems to only tolerate the sync method of music acquisition. I think Apple needs the subscriptions to succeed so that is why the players are getting crappy for the rest of us that refuse to use that model.

Fenhalls100 06-16-2017 02:01 PM

OK, I looked at three iPads today - all iPad mini 4s. One was fine, but I had real doubts about the other two. All had 10.3.2 installed:

1) Regarding the one that was just fine in artist view the artists were listed in alphabetical order with the number of albums for each contained just below the name. You clicked on the artist found an album and then started playing a track (actually these were in stores and there was only 1 track in each album). You then clicked the track playing right at the bottom of the screen and a full now playing screen came into view. I couldn't click on next track as there were none but I assumed that there was no issue there.

The information provided in artist and album views together with the album art got around most problems we have discussed I and was more or less satisfied.

2) The other two iPads were a rather different ball game. In artist view once again the artists were listed in chronological order but the number of albums for each artist was missing. When I found a track to play and clicked the bottom of the screen this time instead of the full now playing screen I got a pop up player that took up in width about half of the screen. The album view with the album cover remained in the other half of the screen. This I found pretty plain if not ugly.

I guess it's an issue of my accessing the wrong view in the app. I couldn't discover how to access the correct view, though, and the store assistants didn't have a clue.

Your comments much appreciated.

You know it's just possible that one of the iPads was not a mini but an iPad Pro. I couldn't swear to it however.

cjmnews 06-16-2017 07:09 PM

The difference could have been portrait vs. landscape. The first one seemed like landscape mode (wide screen) the other two sound like portrait mode.

They also could be different hardware. Based on not being able to differentiate, I would guess the 10.5 in iPad Pro vs the iPad. The size difference is only .4 inches so they would be hard to tell apart (9.8 inches high x 6.8 inches wide for the pro, 9.4 inches high x 6.6 inches wide for the iPad) The mini is 8 inches high x 5.3 inches wide and I think it would be obviously different.

They may behave a little different because of the 3D touch, but I don't know as I don't have access to the Pro.

Fenhalls100 06-17-2017 07:42 AM

Nope, I'm fairly sure it wasn't a portrait/landscape issue. I switched from one to the other and it was the same. I'm also now certain that the view I liked was on an iPad Pro (not this year's model). In any event, I loathed the now playing view on the other tablets. Don't know how people could have designed and implemented it and I've never seen a device before without a full screen now playing mode. But perhaps I'm missing something.

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