Grouping by Album Artist

Q: Is there any way to get my iPod and Apple TV to group tracks by different artists under one ‘album artist’ name? After all, that’s the point of the ‘album artist’ field!

I know I could group these tracks as a Compilation, but I don’t want to list all these albums under “Various Artists,” I want them listed by the artist credited on the album.

– T.F.

A: Unfortunately, the “Album Artist” field is not presently used outside of iTunes itself. On the iPod and Apple TV, tracks continue to be sorted by “Artist” rather than “Album Artist.”

The only workaround for this is to actually set the artist field to the album artist, and then use another track field, such as the comments, to store the specific artist information. This will unfortunately prevent you from browsing for that particular artist directly, as well as limiting your search options on the iPod and within iTunes.

Grouping by Album Artist

One alternative field that you might be able to use for this purpose, if you’re not using it already, is the “Composer” field. The Composer field is normally reserved for composers, but if you’re not filling this information into your tracks, can just as easily be used for featured artists or specific artist information. This field can be browsed directly through the Music, Composers menu on the iPod, and is included in searches within iTunes (although not on the iPod itself, unfortunately).

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