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Using Sort Order

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Author: Psychoadept

MusicBee offers you the ability to use custom sort tags for Artist, Album Artist, Album, Title, and Composer.  This guide will show you how to configure MusicBee to sort your library according to your preferences, without the need to display sort order tags in the main window.  It covers how you can handle both simple sort order (ignoring specific words and symbols at the beginning of a tag) and more complicated scenarios (non-Latin scripts, special characters, sorting by last name, etc.), and what you can do if not all your tracks are tagged with sort order info.

Ignore WordsEdit

Ignorewords

Ignore Words

In Sorting & Grouping Preferences, you can tell MB any words or characters you want it to always ignore at the beginning of a field when sorting.  All entries are separated by commas and spaces between entries are ignored. The only characters that won't work here are commas (because they are used to separate entries in the list) and semicolons (because they are used to separate multiple values in tags).

Sort TagsEdit

Customtags

Custom Tags

For all scenarios that aren't covered by Ignore Words, you can use custom tags to fulfill your sorting needs.  If you look at the Tags (1) page of Preferences, MusicBee has the first two custom tags configured to read and write the tags for Artist Sort-Order (TSOP) and Album Artist Sort-Order (TSO2) by default.  Album Sort-Order (TSOA), Title Sort-Order (TSOT), and Composer Sort-Order (TSOC) are also available.

Sort Artist, Sort Album, Sort Title, and Sort Composer work as follows:

  • if there is a value in the custom tag, then that is used
  • otherwise it applies the $Sort function to the standard tag, if it exists

Sort Album Artist is more complex:

  • if there is a value in the "sort album artist" custom tag then that is used
  • otherwise if there is an album artist entered, it applies the $Sort function to the album artist
  • otherwise if the iTunes compilation flag is set on the file then it uses the value set in the Sorting/Grouping Preferences (by default "Various Artists")
  • otherwise if there is a custom sort artist field value set it uses that
  • otherwise if there is a custom sort composer field value set it uses that
  • otherwise it applies the $Sort function to the display artist

Define Custom SortingEdit

Customsort

Defining Custom Sorting

The final piece of this puzzle is to define a custom sort order under the Sorting/Grouping page of Preferences.  As you can see, you can specify up to five criteria for each custom sort order, and you can define up to five different orders. 

Sortbymenu

Sort By Menu

Once you've defined one, you can apply it to your library as shown in the picture.  (And you can easily access a stand-alone version of the Sorting/Grouping settings to make changes by using the Define Custom Sorting... menu link.)

Now if you find any tracks that aren't sorted the way you want, just fill in the appropriate tag and resort!

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