Google Music splits up albums. Here’s how to fix it in Linux.

If you’ve copied music files to your Android device, you may have noticed that Google Music has an affinity for splitting songs up into separate albums, with the same album name and even the same album art.

The reason it does this is because the song metadata does not match for all of the songs. That means the information stored in the file, such as the artist, album name, or genre, differs in some way across the rest of the files.

The problem is that by the looks of it, there is nothing wrong with the metadata. The album names match up, and obviously the artist names do. This is where the program Ex Falso comes in.

Solution:

  1. Install Ex Falso. Do this through the Ubuntu Software Center, or run apt-get install exfalso in a terminal.
  2. Run Ex Falso. Navigate to the files for the album and highlight all of them.
  3. Examine the tags. The ones that say “title” and “tracknumber” should say “(different across [x] songs)" where x is the number of songs in the album.

    It will look something like this:
    Ex Falso screenshot 
  4. Note above that “genre” says “(different across 8 songs)” as well. Either delete any tags like this or change their value. I will change the value to “Rock”.
  5. Another problem may be that some songs have tags that others don’t. You can see above that Ex Falso labels these as “(missing from [x] songs)”. Remove those tags so that all of the songs have the same number of tags. I will remove the “performer” tag (it’s a bit redundant considering all files have an “artist” tag anyway).

    My files now look like this:Fixed tags
     
  6. Hit Save. Ex Falso will awesomely save all of the files at once.
  7. Copy the files to your Android device again, overwriting the old ones.
  8. Turn off USB Storage and run Google Music. Congratulations! Your files should now all appear in one album.

This is, in my opinion, a pretty serious bug in both Google Music and Google Play Music. I don’t want to have to check for and do this for EVERY album I want to copy to my device. Hopefully Google will fix it, but they seem to be pretty slow on the uptake about this kind of thing.