Date field only showing first four characters

I've been using Mp3Tag to clean up the tags on my music files and ran into something strange. Somewhere along the line, when I was using one of the functions to adjust the dates, something must have gone wrong. For a given file, Mp3Tag is displaying both the date and year as 1956. However, I noticed foobar is displaying the date as 1956-56-19, which doesn't make sense.

I downloaded a tool called ExifTool, which showed me that "Year" in the file is 1956, but the "Date/Time Original" field, which must be what foobar is displaying, is 1956:19:56.

My question is, is it possible to use Mp3Tag to find and fix all files with "Date/Time Original" that have more than four characters? Mp3Tag appears to only display the first four characters.

I should note that the ID3 version in the file appears to be 2.3.

Thank you. Mp3Tag is a great tool that has saved me many hours. This is the first problem I've run into.

But what is your goal?
Do you want to keep both %date% and %year% and for which content do you use these tags?

Mp3tag v2.58 released

Check the extended tags dialogue in MP3tag. There you should see a field called ORIGYEAR in addition to YEAR.
What you see in MP3tag is the field YEAR which is filled (in the example) with 1956.
These are just 4 characters, nothing left out.

What you don't see in the default setup is the field ORIGYEAR.

I would filter for the presence of ORIGYEAR:
%origyear% PRESENT

You should know that Exiftool creates "Date/Time Original" as a member of the "Composite" group.
The Exiftool group name of each tag can be seen by adding -G to the Exiftool command line.

In Exiftool, a composite tag is created from other fields and exists only if the file contains the fields necessary for its creation.
It is very unlikely that any media player would read an Exiftool composite tag.
Foobar is probably reading whatever field Exiftool used to create "Date/Time Original".

Exiftool uses some combination of the ID3 fields "RecordingTime", "Year", "Date" and "Time" to create "Date/Time Original"

If you understand PERL, you can see the logic used by looking in this file:
%TEMP%\par-yourusername\cache-exiftool-yourversion\inc\lib\Image\ExifTool\ID3.pm

Open the file with WordPad and search for: composite.

Also, it is important to be aware of what tags Mp3tag is set to read and write.
For example; Year is limited to 4 characters for ID3v1 but not for ID3v2.3 and ID3v2.4.

Thank you everyone--this is great information that I need to digest and will play with this weekend.

In the meantime, a very basic question about MP3Tag, if I right click on a file and choose Extended Tags, are the tags that show up in the dialog box the only tags in the file with information in them?

If so, then what appears to be happening is that the original files have both DATE and YEAR set to 1956, but after I "fix" the files in Foobar, the DATE field no longer appears in the list of fields in Extended Fields, suggesting, as ryerman says, that Exiftools (and Foobar) must be putting together the DATE and YEAR fields into one field.

And if that's true, and my goal is to have one year in the ID tags--the original year of the recording--then I should short my files in MP3Tag by DATE and delete that field in all my files. The problem is, I can't figure out how to get DATE to show up as a column in the MP3Tag UI so I can find the affected files. Is that easy to do?

You do not have to "see" the DATE field.
You can use a filter like
%data% PRESENT
to get a list of files with that field.
If you still want to see the contents,
right-click on a column header,
open the dialogue "Columns..."
Click the new button
Enter a descriptive name for the column (probably "Date")
enter as value: %date%
enter as field: %date%
Click ok.
The new column should now be visible.

Thank you, ohrenkino! Both suggestions work.

What I've learned:

  • Foobar's DATE field is a combination of MP3Tag's YEAR and DATE fields.
  • At some point when tagging files (which generally live in folders with the original recording year first, like 1956 Ellington at Newport), I must have told MP3Tag to convert the first group of characters in the folder name to %date% instead of %year% without realizing there is a difference, so eventually a bunch of my files had the year duplicated in the DATE and YEAR fields.
  • I didn't notice until foobar started to show strange results in its DATE field like 1956-56-19.
  • Rather than touch all of the thousands of files possibly affected, I can filter (I never even noticed the filter box at the bottom of the UI until ohrenkino pointed it out) on %date% PRESENT and use the Extended Tags dialog to erase the DATE field. (Or, alternatively, create a column and sort on it.)
  • If I ever want to go back and add specific recording month and day, I should re-populate the DATE field in the format DDMM (for instance, the Ellington set was recorded July 7, 1956, so I'd set DATE to 0707; well, OK, that's a stupid example, but if it had been recorded July 8, I'd set the DATE to 0807, so foobar would display it as 1956-07-08. I suppose if I only knew the month, it would have to be 0007.).

Thanks so much everyone for your help and patience.

You might like to have a look at the field RELEASETIME.
Although this is mainly filled for podcasts, you could merge YEAR and DATE to RELEASETIME (and add a little more dummy data for the time of day).
This has the advantage that you do not loose the DATE data and still have a valid YEAR field and the more exact data.