Fix Plex Placing Albums into “Various Artists”

Plex is a pretty nifty media server and app for deices such as Roku. However, with a large music library, it can do some goofy things. One of the most annoying is placing albums under the “artist” Various Artists (when they shouldn’t be there).

Case in point, two albums that I ripped from CD ended up in this category. The first was Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, and the second was Daft Punk’s Discovery. Neither of these should be under Various Artists. What was the problem? Plex’s media scanner picks up on the Artist ID3 tag. If for a given album there are two or more artists it will throw it in the Various Artists group. The easy solution is to use an ID3 tag editor (EasyTAG and Kid3 are two open source options) to clean up and homogenize the artist field for all tracks in the album.

-John Havlik

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9 thoughts on “Fix Plex Placing Albums into “Various Artists”

  1. Nice to hear about some real world Plex experiences. :-)

    I still hope to use Plex eventually, but as of right now I do not have a good always on server with enough processing power to do it justice. :-(

    What are you using as your server? Any tips/suggestions for a good setup?


    • I have it running on my HP ProLiant MicroServer NL40. It maxes out both cores when transcoding for my Roku XS on a 720p display. However, video output remains non-choppy. If it doesn’t have to transcode (devices that have wider format support, or if you provide multiple versions of video files it will try to serve up the appropriate version) it hardly uses any CPU (for example streaming MP3s is more or less free).

      -John Havlik

    • Yep, here’s the output ofcat /proc/cpuinfo for one of the two cores:
      processor : 0
      vendor_id : AuthenticAMD
      cpu family : 16
      model : 6
      model name : AMD Turion(tm) II Neo N40L Dual-Core Processor
      stepping : 3
      microcode : 0x10000c8
      cpu MHz : 1500.000
      cache size : 1024 KB
      physical id : 0
      siblings : 2
      core id : 0
      cpu cores : 2
      apicid : 0
      initial apicid : 0
      fpu : yes
      fpu_exception : yes
      cpuid level : 5
      wp : yes
      flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 ht syscall nx mmxext fxsr_opt pdpe1gb rdtscp lm 3dnowext 3dnow constant_tsc rep_good nopl nonstop_tsc extd_apicid pni monitor cx16 popcnt lahf_lm cmp_legacy svm extapic cr8_legacy abm sse4a misalignsse 3dnowprefetch osvw ibs skinit wdt nodeid_msr hw_pstate npt lbrv svm_lock nrip_save
      bogomips : 2994.92
      TLB size : 1024 4K pages
      clflush size : 64
      cache_alignment : 64
      address sizes : 48 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
      power management: ts ttp tm stc 100mhzsteps hwpstate

      BTW Newegg has the newer N54L on sale today (shell shocker).

      -John Havlik

  2. Thanks for the cpuinfo report!

    Man, I came *this*close to buying a N54lL…that was a nice price for some sweet hardware! However, I found myself reaching a little too much to come up with justification to but it ;-) If it had a bit faster CPU (or at least more cores) I would have purchased one for use as an ESXi server at :-)

    • I bought my N40L over a year ago, after passing up several previous deals. A coworker told me about one of the deals, and at the time I really wasn’t interested. However, the ECC RAM became something I wanted (I really wanted a home server that was fast enough, low power, and most of all stable). I can safely say that for my application the N40L meets all three of those criteria (it absolutely blows the socks off of the Atom 330 system it replaced).

      The deal I ended up getting was the N40L with and additional 2GiB of DDR3 ECC RAM (4GiB total, which is my absolute minimum for new boxes) and a 16GB thumbdrive.

      -John Havlik

  3. This isn’t a problem with the music tags, its a problem with Plex. Plex isn’t parsing the files correctly. It should be reading from the Album Artist field. If the Album Artist field is empty, then it should check the Artist field.

    I think its absurd that I would need to retag my music just because Plex can’t properly parse files.

  4. I have a load of mp3 files going into the various artists album aswell
    I dont know why this is.. I had a look at the mp3 files and they dont have any id3tags.
    So using EasyTAG I created one..

    But the file is still in various artists.
    What the hell is going on


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