Estuary:Adding music to the library

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Kodi adds music to the library by scanning music files to extract identifying information from tags in the files. In order to be able to include information on your music collection in the music library, Kodi needs your music to be tagged. When your collection is scanned, Kodi stores all the tagging information (artist, album, year, genre, etc) in the database which allows you to efficiently search and manage your music collection.

Your audio files MUST have a valid ID tag for them to work properly in the Kodi music library. There are third party applications available for download from the internet that allow you to add and manage ID tags in your music files.


1 See also audio streams

2 First Time Music Library Setup

3 Adding Additional Music Sources

4 Sources for Music

Kodi gives you the ability to listen to music from a variety of sources, click here for more information and examples of Types of Media Sources (link).
Some examples of sources that allow you to easily access all your digital music collection:

  • On your computer or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device/system, which supports SMB file sharing
  • Stored directly on the hard drive
  • On CDs/DVDs
  • Streamed from the Internet

For information on how to configure remote file shares, please click here (link)

5 Ripping CDs

Kodi has integrated Audio-CD (CDDA) ripping functionality. In order to use this feature, first configure the CD ripping settings (to set which encoder quality to use and where to store the files). To Rip the entire CD, highlight the Audio CD from the My Music root listing and choose Rip Audio CD from the context menu. To rip a single track, enter the Audio CD, highlight the desired track, and choose Rip Audio Track from the context menu.

6 Applications to edit music Tags

Your audio files MUST have correct audio tags to use the Music Library mode. Without tags you're limited to the file view in Kodi. There are several tools out there that will allow you to manipulate music ID tags.

7 Technical Explanation: File tags

Skip this section if you're not interested a technical explanation of this subject. You don't need this information to use what is explained in the previous section.

For many categories, such as genres and artists, Kodi supports multiple values in the one field. By default it uses the character sequence " / " to divide the entry into multiple values. This divider may be changed via advancedsettings.xml.

7.1 Artist Tags - Resolving Compilations and Multiple Artists

Kodi reads the Album Artist tag in ID3, Ogg, APE and MP4 tags and uses it if available to assign an artist to the album (independently of the track's artist information). This is the "Album Artist" tag (in ID3 this is represented by the "TPE2" tag; in vorbiscomment (ogg) files "ALBUMARTIST", "ALBUM ARTIST" and "ENSEMBLE" are all supported). Multiple artists for either a track or album artist can be specified in "Artist1 / Artist2 / Artist3" format.

If no Album Artist tag exists, Kodi will use the first (primary) artist from the tracks as the Album Artist. Essentially we do a string comparison of all the track artists, and assign the common artists as the Album artist. This is generally the TPE1 tag in ID3.

As many users don't yet use the Album Artist tag, Kodi has an additional filter system for identifying compilation albums, where each track normally has a different artist. As Kodi scans a folder, it does the following:

  1. Identifies albums based on Album name alone in the folder and groups the songs that have the same Album name together as an album.
  2. Runs through each album's assigned songs. If there is 2 or more tracks with the same Track number, the group of songs must come from 2 or more albums, so the Album name is ruled out as a possible compilation.
  3. If any of the songs assigned to the Album name have an Album Artist tag, then Kodi assumes the user knows what they're doing, and this album is also ruled out from being a compilation.
  4. If two or more songs assigned to the Album name then have different primary artists, then the Album name is considered to be a group of songs from a compilation, and the Various Artists" tag is assigned as the album artist.
  5. Otherwise, if all the songs have the same primary artist but don't have the same full artist list (eg a song or two has an additional artist) then the album is assigned the primary artist as it's Album Artist, and we assume the additional artists are guest artists.

7.2 Ratings in ID3 tags

Ratings in ID3 tags are read via the POPM field, and (if this doesn't exist) in a custom (TXXX) field named "RATING". For the RATING field, we accept 1-5 as valid ratings. For the POPM field things are more complicated, as there is no established standard in place. We currently most closely respect what Mediamonkey does, and also have some support for what Windows Media Player 11 does. The POPM tag takes a value from 0..255, with 0 meaning no rating, 1 the worst, and 255 the best. We currently map these as follows:

POPM value

Star rating



* This is a special case for Windows Media Player












8 Embedded Album Art

Kodi supports embedded album art in files with ID3 tags, WMA tags and MP4 tags only. It does not support embedded album art in APE, Ogg or FLAC tags currently. To have album art for these formats, see the Thumbnails portion of the manual.

9 Album art and thumbnails

There are a number of ways to get thumbnails to display in Music.
Album art can by obtained via and described in the The Context Menu section. Music tags can also contain art for that specific song, as can be seen in Preparing your Music.
If you want a custom thumb, you can add a .jpg file to your music directory. The .tbn file can be either a .JPG or a .PNG file (with transparency) that you simply rename the extension from .jpg/.png to .tbn.
The size of the picture can be anything from 64x64 to 256x256 in pixel-size (you may want to use a larger pixel-size if you use Kodi in 720p/1080i HDTV resolution to get a sharper image).

In this example audiofilename.mp3 will use audiofilename.tbn as thumbnail:


The same goes for playlists, Cue sheets, SHOUTcast, and internet-stream files, eg:


If you store each of your music-albums or artists in a separate subfolder to keep things organized, you can also make the folder have a custom thumbnail image. To do this you need to rename your .jpg thumbnail as folder.jpg and place it in the folder (the size of the picture can be anything from 64x64 to 256x256 in pixel size).



Now your album/artist folder will have a lovely custom thumbnail-image.

You can via advancedsettings.xml change the default filename of the image that Kodi uses for music folders. See the <musicthumbs> tag. for more information.

10 NFO files

NFO files can be used to provide metadata to the library for video and a music files. They are helpful if the metadata fetched from a web site does not match the video or music you have, or if data for that particular file does not exist, such as for home movies. It can also be used to control the search behaviour of scrapers.

11 Cue sheets

Cue Sheets are used to provide index and playlist information for a large audio file. They are generally used in conjunction with either extracting from, or burning to, Music AudioCD. Cue sheets have the file extension ".cue", and are simple plain text files.

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