No support for reading windows explorer ratings in m4a / mp4?


ok, here's a weird one:

mp3tag will store ratings as 0-100 I believe (the raw data, translates to 5 stars) in m4a as a
%rate% atom, which is what twonky and MM and winamp use and np so far.

however windows explorer in win7 will allow you to rate a m4a as well! this rating is NOT in
the %rate% atom!

so what atom is windows storing the rating to? how do u get mp3tag to read it?

I would guess WMP does the same thing, but I haven't tested it to see.

I saw nothing about any of this here:

or in a search of the forums.

I would like mp3tag to read the win ratings, but continue to write to %rate% and prefer it when
reading if both are present.

actually, i would like two separate columns in mp3tag that allowed R/W, one for %rate% and one for the windows explorer atom.


How to: Convert Windows M4A file rating
[AF] Popularimeter Tag Fails in 2.48c

I have since found out that windows is using a custom Xtra atom. lots more info available here:


i'm just curious if mp3tag can now read/write the windows set rating in a m4a?

the links in the previous post explain the issue well. while most apps use and support %rate% for ratings in a m4a, windows (and WMP too i think) use custom "xtra" atoms of some sort, [which are proper by spec], to put in their WM metadata, including ratings.

anyway, its explained in the links above, i'm just wondering if mp3tag has done anything about this issue yet?


Any updates on this? I too share the need for MP3Tag and File Explorer to share a Rating tag.


On the side note: could someone sell me on the idea of rating music that you are listening too? And with a 5 step scale?

Genres / categories and BPM I get- but differentiating between great [*****] and awful [*]? What for?


Personally, I'm tagging videos not music. I tag videos as soon as possible to keep them identified and organized. I seldom use an individual video file by itself but pull clips from them to create a movie.

I rate videos based on the likelihood that I can pull quality clips for creating movies later. A 5-star means there is some good stuff here, a 3-star means I might be able to get an OK clip with some effort, and a 1-star means I probably don't ever want to see this again.

I just wish this could translate into Windows Details so that I can see it from File Explorer and not have to start up MP3Tag. Once you get past the most basic tags like title, author, and comments, metadata is a free-for-all. So many different formats and every tagger seems to support different tags.



Anybody else?

Now that would be something: to be able to somehow show [at lest some] tag values on files; to imprint in a graphical form a value on a file

In your case to simply add stars [dots] above the file extension, or at the very beginning of it

I for sure would use this to differentiate between my lossless audio files- I have to keep track of those who were changed [edited] by me and so I reserve FLAC file format for them. And for those unchanged [originals] I use TTA, which have some problems with tags. And also I use WV for [let's call it] semi-edited ones. And I was not able to utilize in my system APE or M4A or WMA in the first place, on the account of theirs unacceptable problems issues with tags. And on top of that there is also the inconvenience of using different converters / editors. And so it would much easier and efficient for me to be able to see in FreeCommander [as I do not use Windows Explorer] an indicator [coming out from my own tag value] for all of my FLAC files, thus eradicating a need for other lossless formats


Can't change the extension. Too many apps rely on it. You can build any info you want into the root filename but that gets unwieldy fast.

Windows Details is not going to change. Count on that. Microsoft tends to set standards not follow them. It uses the Windows Property System (, for expressing metadata about any shell object. There is an API for it. I have been able to get at Details using Powershell but not to write.

It's frustrating because a handful of their Details seem to be internally linked to standard MP4 tags but not most so you can't even use the Mapping feature of MP3Tag to get to them. Or at least I can't.


My workaround has been to just use compatible tags that work with Windows Details, like composer and director and producer, for which I personally have no need for their "true" purpose. So for example, I'll use producer to store a date/time to represent the Date Taken (because file timestamps are not reliable). The purist in me hates doing that. It's a string field not a true date. I can change the header in MP3Tag by adding a custom field but not in Windows. There may be quirky rules (date can use dashes but not slashes) and it is not documented. But it accomplishes the end goal for now of reliably storing the date the video was taken and getting it to display in both MP3Tag and Windows file explorer.


I also store some needed information, like a date of a life performance, in a already existing fields completely not related to it

And I had similar problem with M4A format: if I would write something like "1/4" in the DISCNUMBER, everything after the "/" wold get wiped out. And I could not use other field for that information, because it was one of those few that was displayed by Winamp in its File Components Area. And so I had to change to other lossless file format, so that all of the fields would behave exactly the same- save and show everything I put in them [and be shown under certain conditions in Winamp]. I managed to come up with a lossless combo of FLAC, WV and TTA [but there is only this one small problem with TTA: /t/19369/1]

It is a long shoot but maybe you need such revolution in your files, if the current reality does not suit you?


Well, anyone else?


I'll take a stab at it.

I have 85k files or so. I rate songs bc it can be helpful to find what I want to play, esp within given genre[s].

I have a background in radio so I settled on this:

1 star = crap, shit, I hate it.
2 stars = neutral, not worth playing.
3 stars = i kinda like it, want to hear it 25% of the time.
4 stars = I like it, want to hear it 33% of the time.
5 stars = I love it, want to hear it 42% of the time.

Think of the percents as representative of a given hour.

Ratings are very useful for reminding u and letting u find things quickly. In apps like winamp u can sort by ratings and make playlists based on them, and even use math equations to create playlists based on the percents I mentioned above, (a user can set any percent, those are just the ones I use)

Does your music taste changes with time?
split this topic #13

A post was merged into an existing topic: Does your music taste changes with time?

Does your music taste changes with time?

Can we get back on topic now? We can further discuss ratings in general at the winamp forums.

Mp3tag handles %rate% atoms afaict, but does not read or write whatever atom Windows wmp and explorer are using.

Will mp3tag ever address this issue?


Has there been any attention paid to this issue at all?

Seems like a straightforward thing to fix, no?


So it's been 4.5 years since I first reported this issue. At this time, it seems that mp3tag can neither write nor read the custom m4a xtra atom that windows / wmp is using to store ratings.

My first two posts in this thread cover the issue thoroughly.

Hopefully having one column for the rate atom, and one column for whatever the window's xtra atom is, will be a workaround that mp3tag can implement. It's similar to this issue:

What I would do with my mp4/m4a files, is use mp3tag to first delete any ratings that may be in the window's xtra atom, and then use mp3tag to copy all my rate atom ratings to that xtra atom. (Redundant but necessary to show the same rating value in both windows, and various apps)

I think it would be smart for mp3tag to include an option for users where mp3tag automatically keeps the two fields in sync on any given writes, and allows the user to pick which atom should be given higher priority. I would suggest the rate atom be the default.


How to: Convert Windows M4A file rating

So assuming you are not a [radio] DJ that has to play also such crap, shit for the masses / clients , why would you want to indulge yourself with it?

After year of hoarding music, when trying to apply genres* to it, I gradually came to a conclusion, that I have so much crap, shit, that it holds me back from listening to the Really Good Stuff [which I also have a lot]

[* What I really do is adding tags / markers and some quasi ratings, and not some rock or undeground hip-hop labels]

Does your music taste changes with time?

What about switching to some other format?

Or is it unthinkable because of the numbers of files you would have to process?

Or because only M4A/MP4 allows you do use those files in some audio player or integrate them with some other software?


I don't really understand ur question, bc the issue is not unique to me.

The point of mp3tag is to give a user total control over one's tags, right?

Well right now, it does allow a user to edit %rate% atoms, which is great, so np there. Lots of apps use it.

But it does not expose the different atom windows uses, which means a rating in a m4a can diverge. This is tag information that mp3tag just does not see or use or edit or anything.

That is intrinsically problematic imo.

I use m4a ALAC as my lossless format, and I do not plan to change it. I also have some lossy m4a's and don't want to degrade them further by format re-encoding.


This pretty much answers my question

But coming back to

There is a saying: if it ain't broken, do not fix it

But what if it is? And what if that it is the file format? You fix it? Or change it? That is what I did when I had problems with my audio formats. I looked for plugins for Winamp and reported problems on forums. But when I was clear that that all the possible fixing was done [or was out of foreseeable reach] I switched to other formats. Harsh but what else was I suppose to do?