Tagging issue, possible tag name conflict?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f24c40318b8> #<Tag:0x00007f24c4031778>



So I’ve theoretically written an extremely basic script that says: “Whatever the Album Artist Sort Order tag is set to, copy it into the ALBUMARTISTSORT tag.” This should alphabetise everything nicely in iTunes, which seemingly only pays attention to the latter tag.

In practice, however, the script appears to set the Album Artist Sort Order tag twice (the value’s displayed twice, semicolon-space separated, as in the tag seems to be set to multiple values at once), and not set ALBUMARTISTSORT at all.

My tagger script is:

$set(ALBUMARTISTSORT, %albumartistsort%)

Is the issue with my script or Picard? It would appear that “Album Artist Sort Order” is perhaps behind the scenes really “albumartistsort”? So is Picard using tag nicknames sometimes, when displaying the tag names? Are tags supposed to be case sensitive, so that both “albumartistsort” and “ALBUMARTISTSORT” can co-exist, or are those supposed to be the exact same tag, hence the issue? (If they are the same tag, that doesn’t really explain to me why iTunes doesn’t seem to spot it.) Or is “albumartistsort” a shorthand for the “Album Artist Sort Order” tag in such a way that it’s like a reserved word, unused and also unusable?

Or, to get back to my original issue, without all my assumptions… How should I alphabetise my albums in iTunes with Picard?

Thank you!


I should probably point out I’m storing all my albums in FLAC format, then later on batch converting them automatically into MP3 format, so I guess I need to check whether the tags in either of those formats are case sensitive…


You should whenever possible use the tag names as Picard understands them, and they are always written lowercase and are case sensitive.

If you set it upper case it is a different and unknown tag for Picard. How an unknown tag can be written to the file depends on the tagging format. But for FLAC it will just write a tag with the given name, and since tags in FLAC are case insensitive you end up with the duplication in this case.

You can find the full list of tag names at https://picard.musicbrainz.org/docs/tags/


For your core question I unfortunately don’t know whether iTunes uses the ALBUMARTISTSORT tag for FLAC files. But since Picard saves this data by default and it doesn’t work for you that means probably it doesn’t?


Thank you, that makes sense!

So Picard writes to the tag “albumartistsort”, while iTunes expects “ALBUMARTISTSORT”, and if I try to write to both, it just writes to the same one twice because I’m writing to .flac files, which have case insensitive tags.

So I either need to figure out a way to change the tag names while converting them from FLAC files to iTunes-ready MP3 files (which was my original plan, but I couldn’t figure out how), so that one becomes uppercase… Or I could perhaps wrap an Ogg header around my FLAC data, although that seems unnecessarily complex.

I’ll remove that script, now I know FLAC tags are case insensitive. Thank you for explaining what was happening!


Hmm, it sounds like Ogg headers are case insensitive too… So using that wrapper wouldn’t help anyway. Back to trying to convert them during the FLAC to MP3 transcode it is!