Music library

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Revision as of 17:30, 17 November 2007 by Cayotic (talk) (Scanning your music)
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The Music Library, one of the XBMC databases, is a key feature of XBMC. It allows the organization of your music collection by information stored in your music file ID tag, like title, artist, album, genre and popularity.

1 Preparing your Music to be Scanned

In order to be able to include information on your music collection in the Library, XBMC needs your music to be tagged. When your collection is scanned, XBMC stores all the tagging information (artist, album, year, genre) in the database which allows you to efficiently search and manage your music collection. If you have never taken the time to tag your music properly, the time is now! Today most media applications and players (iTunes / iPod for example) organize your music by this ID tag information.
Your audio files MUST have a valid ID tag for them to work properly in XBMC's library. There are third party applications available for download from the internet, that allow you to add / manage ID tags in your music files.

For information on preparing your music to be indexed see

2 Scanning your music

To scan your music collection into the Music Library, first make sure you are not in 'Library Mode' (on the left). Next browse to the location of your music collection and press the white button. This brings up The Context Menu menu with various options. Select the option labeled "Scan item to database". XBMC will then proceed to scan the selected music source in the background into the database/library. Once the scan is complete, you can browse your collection by selecting 'Library Mode'.

Note that scanning a source will scan in all subdirectories, including full albums, singles, and unsorted music. If you only need to update a single album folder then no need to rescan the entire album collection. Navigate and Update!

XBMC supports mutli-genre tagging i.e. "Acoustic / Live / Alternative". This is a viable option in response to the lack of sub-genre support. Not only that, but maybe you want to create a smart playlist of all live music. Now you can using this method. The smart playlist is brilliant though ratings alone aren't enough to enjoy a DJ free evening with some friends. You almost need a mood or tempo tag to ensure that the party stays lively. For example, you make have some slow RnB jams like Boyz II Men that you rate a 5 and Some up-beat RnB tracks from Usher that you rate a 4. Well those slow jams will come in and put a damper on the party if you don't monitor the list frequently. You might say, make a rule that leaves out BIIM, but the fact remains that there will be various tempos, ratings, from all artists and genres. One way to combat this would be to use a simple number scale as a sub-genre. 1 being the tranquil and 5 being a caffeinated, you get the idea. You don't have to do this for every track in your library mind you, just those you rate highly, 3 or better that you would like to distinguish from slower equally rated songs, "RnB, Soul, 2". If you required a little more clarification try Tempo2. (Rating is greater than 2; Genre Does not contain 1; Genre Does not contain 2)

Sufficed to say, this feature also works for mutli-artist or colaborative works featuring additional artists. Just be sure you put a space in between the artist and the devider just as you did in the genre tag. MS Zune will not insert spaces where needed and in some case may even take out the spaces since it doesn't require them. This will mess up your XBMC library so monitor this carefully!!!

3 Navigating your Library

The library organizes your music into many categories, allowing you to find a specific song using one of many possible criteria. Below you can see root menu showing the different sections.

You can the toggle between the different display options, amongst others; List, Icons and Big Icons.
Sort By
You can choose what criteria to sort your music by. Note the arrow to the right which controls whether the items are sorted in ascending or descending order.
Library Mode
This control allows you to switch between Library Mode and File View. (used to be called Switch View)
You can search for a string anywhere in the XBMC music database, see more below.
Allows you to filter the library to only show albums, artists or songs that include the specified string in the name.
Party Mode
See below.

4 Searching your Library

The search button is available on the left side of the 'Music' window, and is also available in the root listing of your music library. Select it to begin your search. A keyboard will pop-up where you may enter search terms (SMS style with the remote, or just using the virtual keyboard). As you enter more letters, the search will be performed in the background, and results displayed in the search node of the music library. Previous searches are saved, so if you return to the search node later on, it will have the results of your previous search. Artists and Albums are shown on top, followed by matching songs. If the search string you enter is less than 3 characters, XBMC will just search in the first word of each artist/album/song. Otherwise it will do a full word search. NOTE: In order to search within words as well as just for words beginning with your search string, place a % sign in front of the match.

5 Party Mode

The Party Mode option allows you to randomly play music from your entire music or music video collection based on criteria specified in PartyMode.xsp. Simply build a Smart Playlist and save it as partymode.xsp in The UserData Folder.

Selecting 'Party Mode' from the sidebar will play ALL valid media scanned into your libraries in a random order that meet the conditions specified in the Smart Playlist.

6 Music Context Menu in Library Mode

You perform actions on your music files using the Context Menu. Press the White button on your controller (Title on the remote). This will bring up the context menu, pictured below right. In Library Mode selecting an album, the following options are available:


Queue Item
Adds the item to the Now Playing playlist.
Plays the selected file.
Add to Favourites
Adds the item to your Favourites menu.
Album / Song Information
Shows the relevant information from
Query Info For All Albums
Queries information from for all albums in the path.
Update Library
Checks if files in the Library have been changed, added or removed, modifies the database accordingly and runs a cleaning routine. Adds missing media to the database.
Go to Root
Takes you to the Music Library root.
Now Playing...
Takes you to Now Playing screen that shows what is currently playing and what the next queued files are.
Opens the Music Settings menu.

7 Remote browsing

To be able to browse the Music Library outside the GUI, like through The Web Interface, you'll currently have to add a special musicdb:// source, which will show up as 'Library' under Music in the web interface.

8 Clean Library

Cleaning up the Music Library can be done via the User Interface Settings, in the Music Settings with the Clean Library option.