Tag: Tag Rename

MP3 Tags

MP3 Tags

“You spin me right round baby, right round, like a record baby” … Cue several of my younger readers to ask “what’s a record?”

When I first started ripping CDs to MP3 I was very careful when tagging the information. I used Tag & Rename to make sure they all (ALL) had complete fields. I didn’t bother, back then, with album art as my MP3 player didn’t support it. A few years on Apple release iTunes for Windows and, after a few false starts, I decide to forego my compulsion and let iTunes do what it does best. Take care of my MP3s.

Except it didn’t. Whilst I’m happy that iTunes manages where the files live (within a directory chosen by me) it isn’t really up to the re-tagging of MP3s.

And yes, for those of a nervous disposition, I am talking about illegally downloaded MP3s, and yes, if I like an album I will buy it at a later date. In fact this post is entirely due to the fact that I’m going through my library deleting albums I don’t want and checking what I have purchased.

Where was I? Oh yes.

The problem is one of album art. My older MP3s (mainly those ripped from CD) vary when it comes to the quality of the MP3 tagging. Some have embedded album art, some don’t. Some have track numbering, some don’t. I’m guessing that my switch over iTunes, many years ago now, is to blame but that doesn’t help me at the moment.

Whilst it’s not a big hassle to add album art, one thing that does seem to have gotten out of kilter is the fact that not only does an MP3 tag have an Artist field, it also has an Album Artist field. It seems that, for one or two tracks across most albums, this field is filled in whereas, for the rest of the tracks, it’s blank. So, when playing an album in iTunes (I’m still very album-centric) the track appear out of order as iTunes thinks they are DIFFERENT ALBUMS.

This is a royal pain in the ass and so I’ve been trying to fix it. I have a large library of music so I thought it would be a good idea to find some way of automating this, as much as possible. I’ve tried MediaMonkey on the suggestion of Lifehacker but that only does one album at a time and, I think, has actually introduced the same issue.

So it looks like I’ll be going through all of my music by hand, tagging it properly (although maybe therein lies the real problem, there is no standard to adhere to, just an open set of fields that can be (and are) abused). That’s over 20,000 MP3 individual files.

I’m seriously thinking of hiring a student to do this in the summer.

Coupla quick things

An Advert:

Got iTunes? Get Tag&Rename which now has m4a support (iTunes info in MP3 files). I’ve been using this program for about a year now, keeping my MP3 collection in neat order. Coupled with MusicMatch for ripping it ensures filenames and ID3 tags are the way I want them

I’ve been posting at Troubled Diva over the last week. Today’s post makes me sound like a nasty person, but at least I didn’t kick anyone (remind me to tell you that story if the wife lets me!). Whereas a previous post, loosely centered around gay stereotypes, has prompted some interesting comments.

To be honest, I’m only really linking them from here so I don’t lose them in the future

Paying for stuff
I’ve been on a bit of a spending spree recently. I’ve long been a subscriber to various ‘ezines’ and of course there are a few tools that make publishing this very website possible. I also use, and have used, some pieces of shareware for quite a while now, and all in all the guilt has become too much.

So Tag & Rename, BlogRoll, LangaList, and soon Blogger Pro. I would pay for the Lockergnome newsletter, but it’s free, as is Winamp. I own PaintShop Pro and Homesite (used to create this site) and WindowBlinds. And of course the behemoth that is Microsoft Office. All the other ‘essential’ programs I use are free. Yes I have used pirate software, yes I have installed and used cracked software, but most times I found myself disappointed and went back to the tools I know and love. The best example is the Winamp and Tag&Rename combination. I’ve used them to manage my MP3s for a long time, and Windows Media Player just doesn’t ‘fit’ for me. Ohh yes MP3s…

So, what software/service do you pay for that you feel is worth the money? Am I missing the ‘best’ piece of software?

Buy this software
OK, I don’t plug software very often but this is a must. If you don’t use MP3 files, then skip this ‘cos it won’t make much sense.

I have a few MP3 files (OK around 4000) and I’m a bit of a stickler for conformity. All the files are named the same way (Artist – Track.mp3), and have complete ID2 & ID3 tags (Artist – Title and Album at least). Now on the rare occasion that I download a track from the web, frequently it’s not named the ‘right’ way, or has incomplete or erroneous tags. For a long time I edited tracks by hand, anything to get things ‘proper’. OK I’m obsessed. It’s an affliction, what ya gonna do…

Finally I have a cure for my itch: Tag&Rename – ID3v2 tag editor, mp3 organizer, mp3 tag editor, mp3 renamer, mp3 playlist creator. A snip at £16, and despite the quirky interface it is a god send. A few selections, then one click of a button and you can rename mulitple files, edit tags, create playlists… bliss!

If you have a ‘few’ MP3s on your system I suggest you check it out. You can evaluate it for 30 days. Go on, try it!