Mystery bad tags (!BAD ID3v2)

I've been working with my library, which is about 15,000 tracks; a mix of MP3 and other stuff. Much of my CD collection was ripped with iTunes v6, which seems to be where the problems began, though as I say, this is still a mystery to me.

Here are the oddly mixed results I get:

MP3Tag reports (!BAD ID3v2), and no info is displayed for the tracks.
MediaMonkey likewise cannot read the track information
MP3Diags reports some detailed information, possibly most relevant: "ID3V2.3.0 tag containing a frame with an invalid name: blah blah blah."
iTunes v11 is unable to read the track info (created by iTunes v6). I no longer have iTunes v6.

Windows File Explorer reads the file info and displays all expected details.
WinAmp is able to read and display the file info.

Most interestingly:
If I select some tracks in File Explorer, go to details, and change the rating of the tracks (stars) a couple of times, it rewrites the tag, and then all the above-named programs are fine with the tracks. This is not really a viable solution, though, for 15,000 tracks, as I have to navigate each folder separately.

Why can Explorer read these invalid tags, but none of the purpose-built programs (including MP3Tag) can? I'm befuddled. Will be happy to provide further data. Thank you, experts!

Some programs are simply more tolerant of malformed structures within files.

Can you load up your whole library in Mp3tag and use its filtering capabilities to find the only the files with !BAD tags? Then fix just the bad files in whatever method is easiest.

I'm not sure if the following is exactly what you'd want, but I'm sure there must be a way to construct a suitable filter.

%_tag% HAS "!BAD ID3v2"

Try what JJ said and drag one of the resulting files into this program...

It fixes the integrity of mp3 files. A great little tool.

Thanks for the ideas, Steve and JJ. I think I could try to load the entire library into MP3Tag, then just sort by Tag to get the bad ones at the top. I'm a little daunted by the prospect of fixing so many files, though.

I tried your idea, Steve, and loaded them into MP3Val. MP3Val thinks they're just fine, at least the sample set I tried. Nevertheless, I tried having MP3Val do a "repair" operation, and reloaded them in MP3Tag--still no dice.

I'll mess around again later tonight.

If I could find a way to batch-modify the tags with Windows, and just change the "rating" field (which I don't care about), thus having Windows rewrite the tag... I'd be set.

Thank you both...


Microsoft and Windows are notorious for damaging metadata. There are warnings in this forum and others, advising against using WMP or Windows for tagging.

Well .... you could start a file search with Windows Explorer for .mp3 files.
For these hits you can set the ratings in Explorer.
Looks like a batch job to me.

BUT: Explorer und WMP destroy any user-defined tags - they only accept the standard ones

Thank you both for the warnings about Windows Explorer. I don't have much invested in user-defined tags (yet). At this point, I'm just trying to recover the basic info: title/track/artist/etc. Everything I try with any of the "good" programs results in losing the entire tag and having to reconstruct everything on an album-by-album basis. I can see that the info is there--if damaged--I just want to get that back and then progress from there.

Thanks again for all the good advice.

Just to append a little more regarding what I'm thinking...

The ID3 tags seem to be corrupted for a majority of my library. Windows Explorer can read (at least the important info from) these corrupted tags, which tells me they aren't beyond repair. I just want to find a method to extract as much data as possible from the tags, and rewrite them.

I'd like to be able to tell MP3Tag (or some other program) "okay, I understand the tag is corrupt, but could you please take whatever data you can extract and rewrite it?"

Can you check how much data this program shows :

If it's enough then it can probably batch fix the tags.

Is the MP3Diags error code for that "fg"? If so you can probably fix them in MP3Diags with "Discard invalid ID3V2 data".

Make copies of a few files to test it out.

I can't recall right now, but I think "Discard Invalid... " left the tags empty. I'll check that out tonight.

Thank you!

Thanks, Dano; I was just reading about Foobar. I'll try that tonight.

Typical errors from MP3Diags:

fa (no ID3V2.3.0 found)
ob (no supported tag found)
ib (broken stream found)
db (invalid frame name in ID3V2)
bc (frame count mismatch)
an (no normalization undo found)

If I do the "Discard invalid data" option, I lose everything--Windows no longer displays any info.

It sounds like these files have either missing or damaged ID3V2 tags but good ID3V1 tags because if Windows Explorer can't read the ID3V2 tag it will display the ID3V1 tag data.

Post some screen shots of some of these files both in Mp3tag and MP3Diags. Include the "Tag" column in Mp3tag.