Doing things the right way!

Adding title and artist information may seem to be a simple thing. And indeed it can be! In fact, if your CD is listed in the online CD database, then you probably don't need to do any editing at all! However it's important to point out that Ots Studio, and the Ots file format itself, have been designed with both music lovers and professionals in mind. If you use your Ots software mainly for recreational purposes, then you will probably not be too concerned with the rest of this topic. If you are a seasoned professional, or are the type of person who likes to do things the right way, you will be delighted with the following information.

Some of the underlying goals behind the design of the Ots file format, were that it was to be fully extensible and that artificial limitations were not imposed except where absolutely necessary. Most current formats which handle the storage of media data make basic assumptions about what you might want to store, and how you might like to store it. For example, formats which allow the storage of a song's genre information usually only allow you to specify a single genre. How ludicrous! Not all songs can be neatly boxed into just a single category of genre, and neither should they be. This becomes very important when you are maintaining a large collection of music and want to be able to perform powerful searching or apply comprehensive playlist generation rules. The Ots format blows these limitations away.

Following are some of the defined Ots chunk types, and details of how they work/allow for the storage of various information:


Artist Information

The Ots artist info chunk type supports the concept of multiple artists. Instead of simply specifying "Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney" in a single line, you should enter:


Michael Jackson

Paul McCartney


When Ots software displays the information in a list or in a deck, it will properly concatenate the separate artists into a single string for display purposes.

Note: In a future upgrade of Ots Studio you will be able to search for the extra artists entered, and have the playlist generation tools properly identify one artist from another.

You can enter as many artists as you like in a single chunk, well up to about 65,000, to be precise! If you enter, for example:


Billy Joel

Elton John

Michael Jackon


This will be correctly shown as "Billy Joel, Elton John & Michael Jackson" for display purposes.

You can even enter additional artists which are not displayed. Take the following example:

You have a song by the band "Genesis". The artist on the CD is listed purely as Genesis, as this is what it officially is. However, some of the (previous) members of Genesis have also had quite successful solo careers, and have a lot of released albums in their own right. With regard to playlist generation for a radio station, you probably would not want to have a Genesis song followed immediately by a Phil Collins song, as from the listeners' perspective they are almost one and the same. The Ots file format allows for this.

Consider that you entered the following into an artist info chunk:




Phil Collins

Peter Gabriel

Mike Rutherford


The "dot" on a line by itself, signifies that the following artists are not really part of the official artist info (the CD was published under "Genesis" only), but that the following artists should still be considered for the purpose of searching or playlist generation rules.

When OtsAV displays this item in a deck, it will show up as being by "Genesis", because this is what it is, and the dot terminates the display part of the artist info chunk. However, as stated, the other artists are still present, and will influence searching and playlist generation.

Another use of this flexibility is for artists who have changed their name. Take the example of "John Cougar", who has officially been known as, and released albums under, three different names. If you were creating an artist info chunk for John Cougar's 1982 "American Fool" album, then you might enter the following:


John Cougar


John Cougar Mellencamp

John Mellencamp


Then, if you are searching for a song by this artist, you are certain to catch it, no matter which variation you use. Also, playlist generation rules will recognize that two songs by him are the same, even though the main display artist name is different.

In a deck, the item will display as being by "John Cougar", as this is what you entered above the dot, and this is indeed what his official name was in 1982 and is the name he released that particular album under.

The possibilities are endless, but in line with what was mentioned at the beginning of this section, you may not want to get too bogged down with details at this level, and if so, that's fine... Ots Studio and the Ots file format will adapt to you, and how ever you wish to use it. Just entering everything in a single line is fine if you feel that this is as deep as your future requirements will go.


*Note: The use of artists placed under the dot is not yet supported in OtsAV, however this is planned for implementation and is worth preparing for.


Album and Item Titles

The album and item titles work in the same way, except that obviously one is intended for the storage of the title of the collection of items, and the other is the intended for the storage of the explicit title of each individual item.

Let's just talk about the item title chunk. With other software, a lot of people enter titles like the following:


What A Girl Wants (Radio Edit)

There She Goes (Ben Grosse Mix)

Are You Ready (Remix)


People do this, because the software and file formats they use only allow a single line for title information. The obvious problem with this approach is that it becomes unclear what exactly is part of the official title, and what is additional information. Many songs actually have brackets as part of the official name, so you can't even make the distinction based on the brackets. There is a better way! Again, you may not care if you're a casual user, but professionals with large collections will probably care.

With the Ots file title chunk, the first line should always be the official title only. The second line of the title chunk is reserved for things like "Radio Edit", etc. You should not enter this information in brackets, but just specify it raw. So, as an example, you may enter:


What A Girl Wants

Radio Edit


When OtsAV displays this item in a deck, it will show a single line as follows:


What A Girl Wants [Radio Edit]


Basically, if the second line is not blank, then the info in it will be placed after the title in square brackets. Obviously this is a much more innovative approach!

The third line of the title is reserved for the user to place their own information, such as a library catalog number, database ID, or some other type of code or information. Any information specified in the 3rd and subsequent lines will not normally be displayed anywhere, but it is stored, and can be used for special purposes.


Release Information

Again, software and file formats which allow the storage of release info are usually severely limited. Most allow a simple "year of release" to be specified only, such as "1996". Ots blows these limits away.

The release info chunk allows the date to be specified right down to the date level, if this info is known, e.g. 29 Dec 1973. Alternatively, it can be specified as a month and year only, such as Feb 1995. A year can be specified on its own if that is the only info you wish to store, such as 1984. And, going even more non-specific, a decade or century can be specified, if that is the only information you have. For example, you could specify the release info as 196*. This means "this song was released in the 1960s". Alternatively, you could specify 16**, which means "in the 1600s". As you can see, the format is capable of storing how much, or how little information you have and wish to enter. Then, when searching, you will benefit by whatever you have entered. If you want songs from the 1960s, then any release info chunks which flag a match will come up, even if you only entered "196*" for some of them.

This is only half of the story regarding the release info chunk. There's also the issue of multiple release dates. Although most songs only have a single release date (the date when the record label actually published the song), some have more. Take the Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody for example, which was released originally in the 60s, then the exact same version was re-released in 1990. For such a song, you would enter both release dates, and would subsequently benefit when searching your database. There's a whole generation of people who remember that song from the 1960s, but then there's a younger generation of people who remember it being on the charts in the earlier 90s. If you're a professional DJ, or a radio station, you want the benefit of both, and you want your searches and playlist generation to be reflective of reality.


Another example: Lois Armstrong's What A Wonderful World



We already touched on the genre chunk type, and it is pretty obvious that limiting a song to a single genre is an artificial limitation that can be just too hard to live with, even for casual users. The Ots file format allows practically unlimited genres, up to 65,000 to be precise, but you will probably be happy with two or three!

General Editing Tips

Here are a few basic tips for entering information. If you follow these "rules", your collection will be more consistent with industry standards, will work better with the various tools you use, and will provide a better overall user experience.

Tip 1. - When entering title, artist, copyright and genre information, do not use all upper case or all lower case. Make sure you capitalize the first letter of each word, even common minor words like "the" and "on".



the way you make me feel --> Wrong!

The Way you Make me Feel --> Wrong!

The Way You Make Me Feel --> Correct!


Tip 2. - When entering artist information, do not start with the word "the". Industry standard practice is to drop this word, because a large percentage of bands/artists start with this word, and it would make alphabetical listings very lop-sided. Book libraries do the same thing. If you honor this, you will be in line with the industry.


The Beatles --> Wrong!

Beatles --> Correct!

The Tea Party --> Wrong!

Tea Party --> Correct!


Note that for titles, as opposed to artist information, you should leave the word "the" there if it is part of the song's name. Do not alter a song's title.

Tip 3. - Do not abbreviate words. If the official song title uses an abbreviation, then that *is* the title, so use it as is. Never add your own abbreviations or short hand, however. Doing so will only add inaccuracies that will make later searches more difficult or prone to failure and confusion.


I Love U 2 Much --> Wrong!

I Love You Too Much --> Correct!

You're The Sunshine Of My Life --> Wrong!

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life --> Correct!


(Of course these examples assume that the song title really does not contain these abbreviations. Many songs do contain abbreviations, and if so, use them exactly as they are on the CD cover -- as this is then the official title.)



As you can see, the Ots file format will allow as much power and flexibility as that which your purpose demands. You should not be intimidated however if you do not need or care about these details, and are simply going to rip CDs, live with whatever information comes via the online CD database, errors and all, and just play music! For many people, this is adequate. Even if you are a casual user however, it is probably worth investing a little bit of effort up front as you grow your collection, and you will inevitably benefit in the long run. Either way, do what is good for you. Tools are only there to serve you and your purpose.


Related Topics:

Editing title/artist information

Editing your Ots files