ID3 Tag Editing

My new Rio Riot, unlike most other portable MP3 players on the market, ignores paths and filenames when determining artist/album/song/genre information. Instead, it relies exclusively on the ID3 identification tags for artist/album/song/genre organization.

So it goes, only a small fraction of my 60 gigs collection has normalized ID3 tags. (For some reason, the folks on Audiogalaxy and Kazaa don’t seem care much about metadata.) Editing them all by hand would’ve taken months, so I started looking around for a good ID3 tag editor. By far, the best I’ve found is Tag&Rename. It’s fast, usable, and feature-rich. One of the more inspired features is the ability to import album information from Allmusic.com (including genres, album reviews and cover art). It can also export your collection to comma-separated values, query CDDB/FreeDB, rename MP3s/paths based on ID3 tag information (and vice-versa), and so on.

That’s hard to beat, but if you’ve found a better ID3 editor, speak up.

27 thoughts on “ID3 Tag Editing

  1. Andy, a friend of mine who downloads probably more than two gigs of music per day, is a die-hard fan of Helium2.

    Of course, I can’t stand any of this software, so I just do the whole job by hand (yes, I even visit the allmusic.com website, download the artists’ bio and the album’s review as .mhtl files, and copy the album’s cover to the album’s folder..).

  2. Helium2 looks impressive, but it doesn’t retrieve album reviews or cover art, so I think I’ll stick with Tag&Rename for now. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I couldn’t help my curiosity and downloaded Tag&Rename.

    I should say that I’m kind of impressed, but the program’s suffering UI problems.

    If they get fixed, expect great things.

    While we’re on the topic, here’s an idea that’s been on my head for more than a year now:

    – you download a whole mp3 album

    – rename the already messed-up filenames to their responding track numbers (e.g. rename “Brittnay_Spears_-_slave_4_u_(hottt_new_single__the_real_one!_no_kidding.mp3” to “01.mp3”)

    – put all these files into a folder called “Artist Name – Album Name”

    – run “the software”

    – enjoy the beautiful result of a proper metadata-ization!

    What does “the software” do? (here’s the tough part):

    – it uses allmusic.com and creates sets of ID3 tags (each set represents an album)

    – when you run “the software”, you choose the folder, whose contents (.mp3 files) you wish to edit, click “GO!” and then

    – “the software” scans the folder’s name, retrieves the appropriate set of ID3 tags, and applies them to the folder’s .mp3 files (it knows which tag goes to each file, because each file carries the track number of the song)

    – done!

    “The software” could screen-scrap the allmusic.com site in order to do this (=create the sets of ID3 tags). The tough part is that AllMusis doesn’t allow this (“The All Media Guide is protected by a unique data fingerprinting process to insure that the data and its format can be identified. This data cannot be distributed in any form without the express written perimission of AEC One Stop Group, Inc.” reads the bottom of each page at the allmusic.com site). I know this sounds a lot like what Tag&Rename is trying to do, but we’re talking about a more automated process here.

    If the allmusic.com license is too expensive, why doesn’t AllMusic does that by itself? And since it owns the database, there’s no need for screen-scraping, so the whole process becomes faster, sharper and more accurate. I would gladly pay a monthly fee to use such a software. And I’m probably the most stingy man on earth, when it comes to paying for webservices (that’s why each post I do at TeOF is killing me).

    Amen.

  4. Great idea. Of course, one of the biggest problems is that Allmusic.com has a terrible search engine and their artist/album categorization is unreliable. But if they ever release an API, look out!

  5. Our company, AgentArts, develops music recommendation software (we drive the search and recommendations behind emusic.com). Anyway, we have a beta program out next week which will go through your collection of tracks and help you create playlists automatically…in addition it automatically clusters your tracks into styles…

    While not totally related to tagging….it makes signifcant use of the ID3 tags and attempts to guess metadata based on the file name.

    It would be very cool to have a retagger not only grab fix up the ID3 tags but also define related artists and autocluster.

  6. I’m going to give Tag&Rename a spin, although I’ve never been able to maintain a sustained effort to actually properly tag files I’ve downloaded.

    I haven’t used Helium2 on principal. I paid for a copy of Helium during the 1.6/1.7 betas and they never released a final version. Instead the Intermedia guys released Helium2 and wanted another, $20/25 for upgrading and completely shut down the old Helium site/support forums.

    For day to day tagging, I’ve been using MP3ext forever. It also has some other nice features, like custom icons (themable) based on bitrate and tooltips in explorer.

  7. I’ve been using Tag and Rename for about 6 months now and I’ve found it’s the best tool out there, especially if you collect full albums.

    It can get your album information from freedb! I mean, how cool is that?!

    And if that automated process doesn’t work, then you can find your album on allmusic and download complete info, including cover art and the review, with like a maximum of 3 clicks!

    Finally, you can have it parse the filename and fill in tags like that, apply bulk tag changes, synchronize V2 and V1 tags – dzang!

    It’s been a godsend in my quest to organize my music. Doing all this manually would take way too much time, and with all the metadata in the mp3, you can put/rename the files anywhere you want, and still organize them with any software that reads ID3 tags (Like Andromeda – which is uber cool. http://www.turnstyle.com/andromeda)

    Frankly I think Konstantinos is on crack, and has way too much free time. Jeez, man, why don’t you just re-write the mp3 encoding engine while you’re at it.

  8. mp3 internetrenamer used to do the trick. but it hasn’t been updated for a while. used to work with cddb, allmusic and freedb

    regards

    tom

  9. Just tried “Tag and Rename” and after 5 minutes of using it I think I’m going to buy it in a few weeks.

    Does anybody know off-hand if “Tag and Rename” or anything else can scan through my folder of various mp3s, id3 them with best guess based upon the file-name, rename in proper format if anything is off and put them in their respective genre folder?

    Otherwise I guess I should change into collecting albums.

  10. I personally have been using Helium 2 for quite a while now, and it works just fine. LOTS of tools for tagging and cataloging. They recently released info of an upcoming version, that seams to be really good.

  11. You might want to try (in addition or in place) Musicmatch Jukebox’s Tagging and renaming. It does have a ‘look up tags’ feature that guesses at the tag information from what it has available (file name and/or ID3 tags). It will use this information and then query a database (not sure where) and give back its 5 best guesses as to the tags (album art and all). Sometimes you need to help it along by adding in an album name tag or the like to get what you are looking for.

  12. I was using MusicMatch at my cataloger until I realized the limitations in the tags (they use tags that no other program seams to be supporting, and there are many tags other ID3v2 taggers support that MMJB doesn’t). I switched to Helium since they seam to think a lot about what kind of information one wants to add to mp3 files. I have had some problems with the program, but the support has always been helpful.

  13. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the info on this Tag Editor. I recently purchased a Rio Riot and uploaded about 15 GB of music to it. I was disappointed to see that through the software that came with the Rio (that Real One software) that I could not edit the ID3 tags that were on the Rio Riot itself. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking, but I know for sure with the Creative Nomad, you can edit tags once they are on the player.

    If anyone has any inputs or ideas of what software to use to edit the ID3 tags of Mp3 that are stored on the Rio Riot, please shoot me an email!

    Thanks!

    Eric ‘phpfreak’ Rosebrock

    http://www.phpfreaks.com

  14. Does anyone have an idea of how I might export mp3’s from my Rio Riot back into my new PC without Re-Re-Recording all of my CDs into MP3’s?

    It takes MONTHS to do that all over again.

    Thanks if you can help please e-mail me

    CDRw@InDepthPerception.com

  15. I purchased myself a 15gb iPod and it turned up yesterday, and i too was a bit annoyed to the fact the the pod displays things incorrectly because of crap ID3 tags.

    Because people have an inability to have a consistant naming convention, im going to check out tag&rename so everything will be as it should!

    I bascially want it to play the album tracks in order of the actual album, not alphabetical which is very annoying! again, im guessing this is because the track isnt specified in the ID tag?

    I’ll let you guys know how i get on.

  16. Another vote for Helium! I purchased it a few days ago and couldn’t be happier. Looks like a new version is on the way also (I got a mail from the developers).

  17. Hm… I tried very large number of any tag editors. Some time ago I found Ultra Tag Editor. Great utility! This tool can do anything: renames files from tags, generates tags from filenames, exports to XLS, HTML, CSV. I like it 🙂

  18. I have tried an infinite number of taggers over the course of the past year (ever since buying an MP3 player for my car), and I have to say that everything I’ve tried to date sucks my arse.

    I even thought it was a stroke of luck when I started using iTunes. It was free. It was jam-packed with features. But the tagging doesn’t seem to work properly. Neither does its ability to burn MP3 disks well enough for me not to get angry.

    I’m going to go with all of your suggestions and try Helium2 and Tag&Rename. Nothing to lose at this point. Just want my player to display the name of the artist and the song title. That’s it. Nothing more.

    🙂

  19. Hey, Helium2 is now Helium Music Manager 2005. Just tried it and it looks great! It comes with a web-style interface which is awesome to browse your music through.

Comments are closed.