General questions

Hi all,

New to the forums, and just recently downloaded mp3tag.

The reason that I downloaded mp3tag, is that, like many, I have digital music files from any number of sources, collected over the past 10-12 years. My mission is to streamline everything with one tag and one tag only. I'm tired of music showing up one way in iTunes, another in Spotify, and, when looking at the file itself in Windows, seeing other info still attached to the file.

I followed the advice in this post from moonbase:

  1. Changing tag info and clicking "save" didn't cause the album information (for example) to go away when looking at the file in Windows (right click - properties). Do I also have to click "Remove Tag" for the tags slated for deletion in moonbase's post to actually delete?

  2. If I save everything to ID3v2.3 (as I'm doing per moonbase's post), will every media player recognize these tags? For example, I edited a few songs in mp3tag, and Spotify continues to show album name, which I deleted. I'd, at the end of this process, like to have one standard tag and only one standard tag for all of my music, for all old incorrect/misc. tag info to be deleted, and for my music to be as organized in any player as that player will let it be.

Thanks in advance!

If you have audio files from various sources you should check the following:

  • are the tags really mp3 only or have APE tags crept in? - If so: get rid of APE.
  • are the mp3 tags of one version only. The best compatible version is still 2.3.

Finally, check the data keeping your players. If they use a library in the background this has to be updated with an appropriate mechanism before you see changes.


Just wanted to elaborate a bit, because I think this causes a lot of confusion. Many music players & library "front-ends" do not read the all tags anew every time you open the program. Rather, they have a separate file where all the tag information is stored, and they use that file as the tag source. The tags are written to this file when the music is first added to the library, but many players won't automatically update this info when you edit the tags in an external program like mp3tag.

So, ohrenkino is just telling you to make sure that the players you're using are updating their library files to reflect your tag edits. How you do this will vary by program, but it's a necessary step because you may well have made the changes but your players simply don't know it yet.

Thanks for the replies. This helps greatly. Any idea how iTunes and Spotify update tags? I have a feeling that Spotify is dumping everything into a folder, as you said. If that is the case with Spotify, any clue how to update the tags, aside from deleting and reinstalling the program?

@progprog: thanks for elaborating.
Spotify uses a library - or at least that is what I read from
(external link - no guarantee taken that this is a legal one)
In iTunes it sometimes helps to open the Information dialogue - or use a java-script which is available in the internet.
WMP 12 also uses a library and needs the trigger of actually being open while a file is modified - otherwise it takes ages. Or you play the file. Just as tedious.

The only proof you will have is the Windows Explorer which does not show V2.4 tags ...

I don't use Spotify, so I can't answer that. In iTunes, using the "Get Info" function would update the info. (That's slightly imperfect, though, as some users have reported that they can't get an update unless they actually perform an edit. ) You can also remove a song/album from the library and then re-add it. Because this is a common problem and frustration for iTunes users, there are also external utilities specifically for this purpose. I have found this one works well: UpdateTagInfo.

Thanks again for the replies.

What is the best way to handle m4a files that have m4p tags? It doesn't seem that I can write ID3 tags to them.

Those are iTunes' protected files, right? The Apple formats use their own tag format, so you can't write ID3 tags to them. If I'm not mistaken, you can't write much (if anything) to protected files anyway.

I've heard of hacks that can convert them to mp3 files, but I've never used anything like that. (I hate protected files because they don;t play nice with my obsessive organizational scheme! :stuck_out_tongue: ) Presumably, they would then take ID3 tags....but again, I haven't done that myself so I don't really know. Bottom line, though, is that Apple's protected files are pretty much purchased "as is."

They are from iTunes. I've converted all of the ones that were protected (Apple doesn't lock 'em down anymore). The annoying part is that I spent a great deal of time a couple of years ago ripping a bunch of stuff via iTunes, and those files are all m4a/m4p. It seems, through mp3tag, that I'm able to change tags just as I would ID3 tags, but I can't write an ID3 tag into it (which is annoying).

Well, as I mentioned, Apple's formats use Apple's tag format, which isn't ID3. So that's why you're not going to be able to write another kind of tag to them...mp3tag is smart enough to recognize the codec and write the appropriate tag format. If you simply don't want to use the m4a format, then I'd suggest you use a program like dBpoweramp to convert them all to your preferred format. (If you still use iTunes, that'll probably be mp3.)

Did you rip those original files to lossy (ACC) or lossless (ALAC) files? If your files are lossless, making lossless-to-lossless conversions doesn't impact their quality. That's not the case with conversions on lossy files.....every subsequent lossy conversion throws out some audio data and diminishes their quality.

What specific tagging limitations are you running into? I use Apple formats, and while I find some of the tagging limitations annoying, I've never run into any that really cripple my ability to tag my music sufficiently.