Wierd iTunes / Zappa Problem

I got an iPod for Christmas. Go me.

So, I’m importing all of my mp3 files into iTunes and making sure all the tags are set correctly. I tag both the “album artist” and “performing artist” of all my Zappa stuff as “Zappa, Frank” even though I know a lot of it is The Mothers of Invention. It just makes live easier for me.

But for some reason, when I go to the albums tab of iTunes, it insists on alphabetizing them under “M”, as if they were tagged as “Mothers of Invention.” So my list actually reads:

Moody Blues
Zappa, Frank
Mott the Hoople
Move, The

Has anyone else come across this? Is it just me?

Well, what you could do is open the “View options” window and check “Artist” and “Album Artist” then compare them. That should provide some insight. There’s got to be some reason why it’s ordering them that way.

Also if you “Get info” on any of these tracks, you’ll see there’s a tab labelled “Sort Options” or something like that. Is the “Sort artist” Zappa, Frank or Mothers of Invention?

Been there, done that. All the tags are correct. Even if they weren’t, the artist should read “Mothers of Invention” rather than “Frank Zappa.”

What kind of iPod? iPod touch? Do you have a problem with the way the albums are listed in iTunes, or the way they are showing up on the iPod? What operating system, Mac OS X or Windows?
In iTunes, you can customize the display to show whatever fields you want, so you can display the “Album Artist” field on the screen and order by that field.

Here is what I’ve done in my iTunes library. There is a field called “sort album” that you can set for each track. I like to see my albums by artist and chronlogical order. So, for each album, I have changed the “sort album” field (you can change it for all songs in the same album at one time) to have the artist name and then the year. e.g. for the Beatles, the first album (“Please Please Me”) will have the “sort album” field set to “Beatles 1963 A”. Their second album (“With the Beatles”) will have the “sort album” field set to “Beatles 1963 B”, and so on. I set the columns in the view window so that the “sort album” field is visible, and when I order by that field, the albums in iTunes show in the same order I use when arranging the physical CDs in the CD tower.

It’s an iPod classic but iTunes is running on my laptop using Windows 7.

Here’s a screenshot so you can see exactly what I’m talking about:


I see what you mean now. I’ll have to check at home where my iTunes library is, but since you are in the Artist view (the “Artists” button is selected at the top of the window), I would try changing the “sort artist” field to “Zappa” to see what happens.

And I won’t even mention the fact that your screen shot shows 'N Sync in your iTunes library. :stuck_out_tongue:

I keep all my Zappa under “Frank Zappa”, and it alphabetizes in the F’s, where it should, however this routine’ll let me move them all:
Select the Frank Zappa icon with a click, then choose get info,
Change artist ‘Frank Zappa’ to ‘Zappa, Frank’
Quit and restart iTunes.
Now he and the Mothers are alphabetized under ‘Zappa, Frank’
Switching it back to the way it should be did not require restarting iTunes.
You might try this and see if you get similar behavior.
When I had a 4CD collection of chants disaggregate itself spontaneously into 4 distinct albums, something along the lines of the above technique resolved the issue for me.

Did you let iTunes “copy files” and “organize your music folder”? If not, you may still have a “Mothers of Invention folder” lurking somewhere, which iTunes knows about and thinks is the right thing to alphabetize all your Zappa under.

Found the problem.

I tracked it down to a SINGLE album (“Just Another Band From LA”) which had the “sort artist” listed incorrectly.

Thanks for your help!

As far as the N’Sync album goes … I collect Christmas albums. I fear to let you see what else is in there. :wink:

Glad you found it! I played around a little bit at home last night and saw the same thing you did when changing the sort artist field (I tried with Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention albums, same as you.)

It hasn’t happened to me in a while, but I remember with an older version of itunes that sometimes “group changes” (e.g. changing the “sort album” field for many songs at once) wouldn’t take, and I would have to change the field value for all the songs to a brand new value like XYZ123 and then change them again to what I wanted it to be. This happened when I was changing a group of songs, and some of them already had the value I wanted in the field I was changing.

One thing I’ve noticed: when you do a group change, the change window will show you a value in the field where all the songs have the same value, and blank in the field where not all the songs have the same value (or they all have a blank.)

I have 11 songs, all have “sort artist” = “mothers of invention” but only six of them have “sort album” = “weasels ripped my flesh”.
When I do a group change on all 11 songs, the change window will show me “mothers of invention” in the “sort artist” field (it’s the same value for all 11 songs), but it will show a blank in the “sort album” field, because the 11 songs don’t all have the same value in the “sort album” field.

So if you selected all the Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention songs in your iTunes library and did a “group change” on all of them at once, if the “sort artist” field is blank in the change window, then it means that not all of them have the same “sort artist” value (or they all have blank in t he “sort artist” field.)

P.S. I’ll admit your excuse for the N’Sync, I have a “Boyz II Men” christmas album in my library.