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I have a Pi 2 Model B, running Kodi on OSMC with the Confluence skin. I have all my photos, music and videos stored on an external hard drive, formatted with NTFS, plugged directly into a USB port. The files are organised into folders by genre, artist, album, etc. In Kodi I can see all the folders on the external drive, navigate around them, and play all the media. The music files correctly display the metadata tags I have defined when I select them.

This setup all works fine. However, the whole user experience is akin to manually browsing the file system in Windows Explorer, and manually selecting files to play. I was expecting a media centre O/S to offer a user experience more like a media library, e.g. iTunes or Windows Media Player. It would be nice to have all media displayed in a flat list, with custom grouping/searching/sorting based on metadata, not physical folder structure.

Does Kodi support this type of user experience? I have gone through all the settings dialogs that I can find, but I can't see anything useful. There is a "library" checkbox in the view menu on each folder, but it's always disabled. Can anyone either (a) tell me how to achieve this on Kodi, or (b) recommend another O/S that does what I want?

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If you go to the left menu, you can choose to organize your music collection by artist, album, title, duration, etc, you can also set the view from there, like list, big list, thumbnail, etc Take a look at it :)

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This video goes over exactly what you are asking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEUZCURHYrc

EDIT: Changing this to a more formal answer soon.

  • Welcome to Raspberry Pi! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Ghanima May 1 '16 at 17:00
  • Very useful video, thanks! I've answered my own question, but have an upvote anyway. – Christian Hayter May 4 '16 at 19:23
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I have got it working now, courtesy of the Kodi wiki manual. Media library features are only available when you explicitly add a video or music source as described in adding music to the library and adding video sources. What confused me was that Kodi could see my hard disk without me adding it, so it didn't occur to me to search for a way to add things to the library.

A brief summary of the instructions:

  • From the main menu, click "Music", then "Add music...". Select a folder that contains music files. You can add as many different sources as you like.
  • From the main menu, click "Videos", then "Add videos...". Select a folder that contains video files. You can add as many different sources as you like.

As for all the metadata:

  • Kodi will extract most standard metadata tags from music files, if present. I had already comprehensively tagged my music in advance, and it seemed to pick up everything.
  • Any missing music metadata will be automatically downloaded from the internet.
  • All video metadata will be automatically downloaded from the internet. Apparently there are no standard metadata tags for videos. See naming video files for all the file name patterns that Kodi recognises.

Finally, I'd like to share a useful tip. I installed Kodi for Windows on my PC, and plugged in the same external hard disk. This enabled me to quickly experiment with various music tags and video file name patterns to get the results I wanted. Once I was fully satisfied with my files, I transferred the drive over to the Raspberry Pi.

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