Maildump: Bluesound music libraries

Following on from my Sonos maildump I decided to bring together various information I've learnt about Bluesound libraries down the years.

Bluesound produce an elegant and audiophile grade music system, and they are one of the more popular systems people contact me about. There are a few quirks here and there about how music libraries are managed, so let's gather them in one place here...

Album art - check the sizing

Probably the most common area in which I provide help is around album art. Bluesound, like many other systems, has a number of rules around finding and displaying album art. If your library does not obey these rules, you might find album artwork is missing.

The rules are:

  • The image must be in a folder.jpg or cover.jpg file, or embedded within the music file.
  • The image itself must be no larger than 600kb.

These rules are pretty easily transferred into bliss:

  • Save a 'folder' image file.
  • Embed art.
  • Image data size should be less than 512kb.
  • Only allow JPEGs.

Following those rules should get your artwork displaying. But once you've fixed your art, remember you will need to tell Bluesound to re-index. Which brings me to...

Bluesound has two levels of indexing...

Something that confuses some users is that Reindex Music Library only looks for new music; it doesn't re-index existing music.

For that, the more powerful Rebuild Index option works. Given that software like bliss works on existing music, it's likely that Rebuild Index will be what you want to click once you have, for example, fixed all that album artwork.

... but even then, you might need to delete and then re-instate the network share

That said, I've had reports that even a Rebuild Index doesn't always work; deleting then re-instating the network share Bluesound is reading is sometimes required.

If you change files known to Bluesound and you don't rebuild the index, you can get a rather worrying artifact...

Why is my Bluesound shouting at me?

I received this email last year:

I just tried using the 100 free fixes for my Bluesound library as I was having issue with embedded image iTunes files (too large for Bluesound). The previews look great however all the song names are now all caps.
Bluesound capitalisation issue after changing files

It's understandable to worry about this - have the music files been corrupted?

It turns out this is common Bluesound behaviour when changing music files. As above, a rebuilding of the music index normally fixes it.

Bluesound supports up to 200,000 tracks

That's a lot more than Sonos's limit!

Multiple genres are not supported

Bluesound does not support multiple genres.

There are two ways of storing multiple genres in a music file tag. The first is to store separate fields with the same field name. This is possible in Vorbis Comments (used in FLAC and OGG files). The second is to use a well-known delimiter to separate the genres (most commonly a semi-colon.)

Bluesound support neither; if you are currently using delimiters these will be shown with the multiple genre names concatenated. This might produce a far larger genre list than you would otherwise want.

If having just one genre is acceptable, you could use a bliss custom rule to look for delimiters, remove them and only retain one genre. This would at least tidy up the genre list.

Album tracks are combined for different formats

I'll let a Bluesound user say it:

Is there a way I can use Bliss to tag just my Lossy library which is a separate folder from my FLAC library so that each Album tag includes say (Lossy) on the album name field. Bluesound combines the two format versions of the album together as one album.

Frustratingly, I have a plan for this. But it's not there yet!

It comes down to the heuristics for grouping albums. All music software has them, and they differ from product to product. In Bluesound's case it chooses to group tracks from the same album with differing file formats. For what it's worth, bliss currently does the same thing!

I hope this summary helps you with your Bluesound library!

tags: maildump
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The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.