How to copy MP3 metadata/tags created in iTunes?

I know a similar question has been asked before but I haven't found a solution for MP3 files:

This has been a big problem for ages - text I enter in the comments field for MP3 files in iTunes is often missing in the Windows folder where my iTunes music is stored.

Sometimes, it also vanishes completely or appears as garbled code (just a series of numbers and letters, each 8 digits long) when the file is backed up.
for example, I just typed "balloons are wonderful toys" into the comments field of 10 MP3 files within iTunes - then I copied and pasted those files from within iTunes to a Windows folder. One file reproduced the text accurately - the other 9 all ended up with 9 different codes, one example: 00000405 000005C2 00001675 000029F8 00024AF0 00024AF0 0000637C 000071E7 0001B75D 000016C4

This is strange because I have a program that backs up my entire iTunes library (not individual tracks though) - and it always reproduces all the metadata every time - so I suspect this is an iTunes or Windows problem.

I'd really appreciate an answer to how to get around this so I can rest easy that all the metadata/tags are also backed up. The text in the comments field is very important for me.


Perhaps this thread deals with one of your problems.
Info in the "Comment" field not showing in iTunes
It has to do with iTunes expecting a comment field set to English language.

thanks but that cannot be the problem - I always type in English! I am not Spanish, like the other guy.
From what I've seen on the net, this is a common problem with no solution, so I'd like to avoid the comments field altogether.

Now I want to transfer all my text there to another field, maybe grouping or composer.

Can MP3 Tag do this? I've seen an old post that offered a solution (
but this might relate to an old version of MP3tag cos I can't see how it can work now.

please help - I need to change thousands of files!

iTunes mp3 files usually have additional comment tags that store some technical information (loudness, ...)
Check "View > Extended Tags" in Mp3tag to see these comments.
These comments might confuse other programs and "hide" the main comment.

You should also know the Windows explorer ID3v2 tag support in general is not good, it has several flaws and it is not a reliable way to verify tags.

If you want to copy one field to another:

yes, it appears you are seeing the "soundcheck" value placed in the comment tag (looks like a string of odd numbers/letters" You can see the comment separate from the soundcheck value.

In mp3tag, right click on column headings, and select customize and create a column with the following as the "value"

%comment itunnorm%

Then create another column, if you don't already have it with the value:


For my mp3 files, this shows the comments separate from the itunes added soundcheck value. MS explorer doesn't show them separately as I recall....

thanks but that doesn't work - for a start, my comments are completely replaced by that "soundcheck" code as you call it - there is no separation from the code to my comments ... because my text is entirely missing. I've created the iTunnorm comment as you suggested but it only reproduces the same code and none of the comment, cheers Alan

sorry but if one of the mods here can answer this for me, I'll make a small donation to the site -
I'd like to

  1. copy my composer field (it's full of numerical values, all different) to Disc Number
  2. copy my comments field (full of text and numbers, all different), to Composer

would my changes automatically show up in iTunes?

I don't understand much geek language but if you could explain this to a newcomer like me in plain English, it would be useful for many other people, too, judging by the number of Internet postings on this subject - and I think your program is the one that can beat this problem and help people copy their comments fields.

I'm out of work now but would promise to donate $10 if you can help me with this
thanks again

You could have saved the money if you had read the FAQs ...
If you want to copy the values of one field into another, please refer to
This will replace the existing contents of the target field with the data from the other field.
If you want to append e.g. DISCNUMBER with the contents from COMPOSER then have a look at the FAQ
Only enter %discnumber% instead of "xyz".

And as a reminder: this is the MP3tag forum - iTunes functions should be discussed in an iTunes forum, I guess.
I can only report you my experience: no, of course not, your changes will not show up "automatically" in iTunes. The changes will be in the files, allright, but iTunes has a mind of its own on when it reads the track data anew. There are various tools and scripts on the market that will iTunes force to update the data but none of them works "automatically".
Actually, the easiest way would be to delete the entries from iTunes and reread the folder(s). Rereading without deleting does change a lot.

thanks but

  1. Of course, I'd already read that link you mentioned - it seems to apply when the values/text in the original field are all the same - mine are all different
  2. it is the tags I'm trying to change, whether or not they appear in iTunes - that's why I came to a tag website
    I'll re-read the other suggestion in your entry and see if it can help me

No, let him pay. I think Florian needs even more motivation nowadays ;-).

But I am afraid of using the tag-field DISCNUMBER to store other values than a disc number.
The ID3 tag-field TPOS, in Mp3tag called DISCNUMBER, is defined as
The 'Part of a set' frame is a numeric string that describes which
part of a set the audio came from. This frame is used if the source
described in the "TALB" frame is divided into several mediums, e.g. a
double CD. The value MAY be extended with a "/" character and a
numeric string containing the total number of parts in the set. E.g. "1/2".

Such a tag-field should not be misused to store any other content as intended.
How much characters will be the maximal length of DISNUMBER?

Simply create some new user defined text information tag-field with a useful name and fill it with data of your wish.


You are quite right. :wink:
But I have given up on arguing upon whether it is sensible to pack particular data into a specific field.
What I did not consider: what happens if you write apparentyl illegal data into a field? Will that be concatenated or discarded? If so, your word of warning was ever so valuable.

thanks to those who replied: I only ask that you be a little more tolerant of those of us who aren't as IT-savvy as you are.
to DD: the data I am copying into the disc number field is 2-digit and 3-digit numbers

now please don't shoot me down - but your last suggestion raises an interesting question -
you suggest simply creating a new text formation tag field
how to create this field
where will this field appear - in the Windows file itself, or iTunes?
how to "fill it with data of your wish" as you suggest, when all the data is different in each of my many thousands of songs

sorry to be so ignorant of these matters. I've read so many postings but still very much a newbie

Aaah! You see, that is a question that is not asked so frequently :wink:

To create a custom field there are several ways, depending on the frequency that you have to edit the data.
Low frequency: open the "Extended Tags" dialogue (Alt-T), press the "New" button and enter the name of the new field e.g. MyCommentData, then enter the data.
To save press the OK buttons.

If you want to see that data in the files list, then create a column and enter as value the name of the new field enclosed in %: %MyCommentData%. If you want to edit the data in the files list, then enter %MyCommentData% also as (target) field.
If you want to apply the same data for all selected files, then create a user-defined inputfield in the tag panel (File>Options>Tag panel).

Edit: I forgot to answer the question: "Where will it appear":
The sobering answer is: probably only in MP3tag. Hardly any player shows all tags (foobar, I think allows customization). e.g. iTunes leaves out the language tag (which is a standard tag) and WMP refuses to show the BPMs ...

thanks very much - I'll read everything and try to get this done

  • if only Windows didn't corrupt the Comments field, none of these problems would arise :wink:

I use a tag field in mp3tag to hold some short text info. it is called:

This shows up in itunes as GROUPING.

You do need to select the dropdown menu in itunes to select that this column is shown (the column for grouping)

thanks very much Gary - that's an excellent suggestion - sadly, I'm already using the Grouping field for something else

I'd look at some of the other tags in itunes that you're not using and then figure out the name for mp3tag purposes. But I'm still a bit confused as to why you can't get the comment things working. I use itunes (for my ipods) and Squeezebox, and foobar2000, etc. and see all my comments just fine, even though itunes has added soundcheck values.

I guess the one thing I don't try to do is look at my music file metadata with windows explorer because there are lots of things it won't show me correctly (or at all). For looking at metadata I typically use either mp3tag or foobar2000. I guess that is your issue.....

yes - there are 2 reasons I need to be sure the tags are being copies in Windows:

  1. a friend wants to see some of my songs (and the tags I've added) - the easiest thing to do is copy/paste from within iTunes but that's when I discovered the comments field wasn't being copied

  2. I've bought a great program called CopyTrans which backs up my library and always backs up all the tags too - but you can only back up the entire library, not just part of it

re the other tags, I've pretty much used them all up - I'm now emptying my composer field and I intend copying my comments field into it - the only troubling issue remains how to copy a field which is different from file to file - Excel can do it in one second! but I don't know how to export into Excel and then recreate my library with the Excel modifications
thanks for your email, I love MP3Tag and hope it can do it for me

first, thanks very much to all those who replied before. I've now made my donation as promised to the site :smiley:
I've now spent more than a week repairing my MP3 files, all because of Windows' problem reproducing the comment field. for what it's worth...

  1. If you delete/replace unwanted text within the comment field of your MP3 files, the deleted text does NOT always vanish. As Dano mentioned, it seems you’ve deleted and/or replaced the text (e.g. within iTunes) but when you open those files within MP3tag’s extended fields, you discover the files now have 2 identical “comment” fields, sitting there side by side (not “comment” and “comment itunnorm” as someone suggested). As soon as you delete the original (unwanted) comment field, the desired one appears properly within iTunes. Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered a way to delete the unwanted comment field en masse.
  2. Someone laughed me down before for asking whether MP3tag changes are automatically updated within iTunes – in fact they are! You don’t have to reimport all the changed files – you only have to double-click or right-click/get info on them and the updated information changes before your eyes.
  3. MP3tag does a wonderful of job of changing field values but it doesn’t always work. Just when I thought it had done the trick for thousands of files en masse, I discovered several hundred which remained unaltered and needed to be changed one by one. I had been changing/moving several field values and strangely, Mp3tag either did the job accurately for all the desired changes, or none at all.
  4. GaryM once pointed out that %contentgroup% in MP3tag shows up in itunes as GROUPING – is there somewhere I can find a complete list of the way MP3tag described all iTunes fields? I’d really like to know the MP3tag equivalents for all the fields on the main iTunes info page, plus the ratings field. I found one page but it seemed to only include the main ones.
  5. The question remains: why does Windows fail to reproduce iTunes “comment” field changes? I suspect it isn’t random and has something to do with the way the original file was created. Meanwhile, I am avoiding the comment field altogether.

Does anyone know whether the Apple or other operating systems have the same problem with the comment field?
thanks again

As I am the only one who said something about automatic updates, I honestly did not want that to appear as derogative.
But perhaps we only have different opinions on what is "automatical" and what is not.
My experience with iTunes is that it has to be forced to update data it once read.
For some inexplicable reason it is not enough to tell iTunes to read a whole bunch of folders and see what is stored in the files. iTunes simply would not recognize any changes and leave the database as it is.
As you have observed iTUnes does update the database when you force iTunes to show the information. But that is not quite my idea of "automatic" but looks to me like "manual".
(e.g. WMP "watches" folders and updates its database in the background. So if you wait long enough, you see the updated information in WMP. In iTunes you can wait for such an automatism to work til hell freezes over.)
In short: there are no mechanisms within iTunes to automatically bulk-update data. So I still consider the answer to "automatic?" must be "no".