Help in creating a Basic Music Library



I'm referring to

But Plex does not processes tags correctly (and they are correct, I've updated them with mp3tag and Synology Audio Station processes them correctly). To be more precise:

  1. Plex adds "Various Artists" in compilations, and even though "track artist" info is preserved, I cannot make searches on "track artist"
  2. Plex sometimes processes tags incorrectly (loosing artist name and/or album name)

Am I dong something wrong ? Or is this a PMS bug ? If so, what info is needed for correction ?


If you edit that music library (click on the 'pencil' icon beside the library name on the home page), do you have the 'use embedded tags' option check marked on the 'advanced' tab?


Yes, I have.


In order for Plex to pick up the Artist name correctly, you must have the Album Artist tag entered. If it is a Various Artists album, you want to leave the Album Artist tag blank.

Other than that I don't really know what tags are used, I don't think the cover art tag is used, I think Plex relies on LastFM or Gracenote to supply those.

But Plex should use Album Artist, Track, Track Number at least.

Do the Plex logs show anything, like failed matches?


Here is a problematic case of an Album where I filled “Album Artist” and track is blank:

Track 7 is missing, PMS created a separate album with just track 7

Here is another “problematic case”, a compilation Album where I left “album artist” blank, but “track artist” is filled:

In this case PMS decided to fill “Various Artists” as the Album artist (even though the tag is blank), and as a result I can’t browse by artist “Slovak Ch…” in PMS (but I can search by “Slovak Ch…” in Audio Station)
I’m not able to see anything relevant in the logs when the library was created, but here they are

  1. Check the tags for track 7, you will find that the name is different somehow. It may have a lower case letter instead of an uppercase letter, it may have an extra space, a space that is not a space or an incorrect foreign character, but there will be a difference somewhere in the tags compared to the rest of the album. If in doubt, use copy and paste wherever possible. :)
  2. There seems to be a problem with your tags or with Plex. The Artist names should not end with .... and you should not search for .... That might be a problem with foreign language vs English perhaps? Or maybe it's just because of the small window size?

If your Artist names were complete and not truncated, then you should not have any problem searching for tracks by artist. Remember, Plex does NOT use the Artist tag to gather the Artist name, it uses Album Artist to gather the Artist's name, but you should have both the Artist and Album Artist tags in all of your files, except where noted.

In all of my Various Artist albums, I do not have any problem searching for a particular Artist. Also, all of my Various Artist albums are in a library of their own, although that should not make any difference.

For your logs, you do not have debug logging turned on, so they are next to useless. :(

Also, these are the only fields you really need to fill in, the rest should be blank, but that is up to you of course.

Artist (for ALL tracks)
Album Artist (blank for Various Artist albums, filled in for everything else.)
Track Title
Track Number
Cover Art

For music files of unknown origin, it is a good idea to remove ALL tags and then write your own tags into the above fields, that way, you wont have any badly formatted tags or useless comments which can sometimes cause issues.

I use Tag & Rename, because it makes the whole process very easy and allows you to copy the tags you want to keep, and then write them back in when you need to. Very useful for saving the track titles after wiping the entire tags for an album for example. I'm not sure mp3tag can do that?


Andy, many thanks, but I'm convinced that I did not make any mistake. I've sent you a PM with a zip so that you can create a small music library and see for yourself what is happening.


Thanks @moody_blue did you forget something? I don't see any PM from you?


Thanks @moody_blue I did get your second PM. :slight_smile:

In the Guitarra Portuguesa folder, the files do not have an Artist tag and the two files use a different track numbering system.

07 A Noite Caiu No Cais.m4a uses 07 as the track number.
11 Manhã De Lisboa.m4a uses 11/12 as the track number.

You need to correct those tags.

The files in the Top 100 Favourite Classical Melodies folder are added in a Various Artists album which is correct since both files have a blank Album Artist field.

I had no problem searching for Karin Lechner as can be seen in the attached image. Keep in mind though, that I use English as my primary language in Plex. If you use your native language, that might explain why you don’t get the correct search results.

Search results:

Before correcting the file tags:

After correcting the file tags:


Hi Andy, thanks for taking the time to diagnose the situation. I still have some questions:

  1. You suggest me to correct the tags in album "Guitarra Portuguesa". I'm using mp3tag tool and I don't see any error to be corrected. Can you please suggest another tool that shows the faulty tag ? If a tag is incorrect it must be in track 07, I've not sent you the whole album, but all musics are in the same album except track 07, that PMS puts in a different album. I can give you access to my whole music library if you whish
  2. In album "Top 100 Favourite Classical Melodies" it's true that I can use the search function. But if I list all tracks (Library/All/Tracks) with PlexWeb, instead of the artist name I get "Various Artists", and I think that this is a bug. Maybe PMS is working as designed, but I think that whenever the "track artist" tag is filled it must be shown instead os the "album artist" tag. In my opinion this would make more sense

  1. Thanks Moody, see my PM :wink:
  2. No, that is not a bug, because Plex cannot list ALL artists in that context, so it uses Various Artists, which is correct.

If you are viewing your music by ‘Artist’ you will see an entry there called Various Artists. If you click on that, you will see all the albums that have various artists listed. You can then search for a particular artist and Plex will return all of the albums that, that artist appears on.

It is a bit strange and hard to get used to but Plex actually handles Various Artists correctly.

Here is a view of my Various Artists albums, after clicking on Various Artists in list view. I can then search for any artist by name and it will show only albums that contain tracks by that artist.

You will also note that I treat multiple disc albums as separate albums. So each ‘disc’ shows up as a separate album.


Here are my final conclusions, and the reason why I decided to move to Synology's Audio Station:

  1. Plex is "vulnerable" to track numbering system used in tags, Audio Station is not
  2. The "By Artist" folder in Audio Station shows all artists of compilations, not like Plex, where you have to open the "Various Artists" albums to search what you want
  3. Plex does not supports "composer" tags, which are fundamental for classic music

Plex has however some strong points compared with Audio Station, such as the agent, but unless the previous points are solved / improved in a next release, my overall preference continues with Audio Station.

Thank you very much Andy for your help.

  1. Yes I agree to some extent, although track numbering should be consistent within an album and that was an issue with your particular album. I don't see any reason for having differing number systems within an album. From album to album is fine though.
  2. You should not have to open the Various Artists in order to search, but it does kind of make sense to do so. Searching for an Artist should be achievable from anywhere within a music library though, regardless of whether the tracks are part of a Various Artist album or not. There are some improvements needed in search in general though, and hopefully in upcoming releases of Plex, they will be addressed.

You are most welcome @moody_blue :)


The tags were created by iTunes when I ripped my CD's (I suppose that iTunes uses Gracenote). I used the tag&rename tool to inspect my albums, and several of them have, in the same album, some tracks numbered xx/xx and others numbered xx. Strangely the only album that gives problems with this is "Guitarra Portuguesa". No problem whatsoever with Audio Station.

During the month that I've subscribed plex pass I've voted in someone else's requests to handle idv3 tags properly, and include the "by composer" functionality. Some of these requests were very very old, I don't know if Plex will ever consider them. If Plex does it =D> , maybe I will return to Plex for music, who knows ;)

Plex has an enormous potential to be a my only media server, but with its flaws in music and photo album support I'm forced to look at alternatives.


iTunes uses it's app store as far as I'm aware, to gather metadata for iTunes.

Audio Station does not use tags properly either. Although it is probably better, more forgiving than Plex where tags are concerned.

I'd like to see .m3u playlist support in Plex too, but I am not expecting that anytime soon. :(