Sorting tags in iTunes

I would like to be able to set the artist and album sort tags to work with iTunes. But, I am encountering difficulty. I have set mp3tag to write id3 v2.4 tags (which it is my understanding I must as iTunes will not otherwise see the tags) and set the ALBUMSORTORDER and PERFORMERSORTORDER tags (as described in the table on id3 tag mappings in the mp3tag documentation). What I've found is that in some cases it appears that iTunes can't read the tags at all as they come up blank in iTunes. I have read that iTunes has some id3 v2.4 compatibility problems, so I am presuming this is an example of this. Is there another way to get the sorting information into the tags such that I can avoid these problems? For example, can I somehow write out id3 v2.3 tags?

Thank you very much for your help!

Actually, you should better use ID3v2.3 tags together with iTunes. Simply change that in the Mp3tag options under Tags, Mpeg.

Agreed. I have also found that id3 v2.3 is more stable with iTunes. But, when I do this and create the sorting tags they are ignored by iTunes. It appears that the sorting tags iTunes uses are in id3 v2.4 only. And, I think this is also what is indicated in the mp3tag help file "Names and mapping of ID2v2/WMA tag fields", where it appears the non-standard iTunes sorting frames are in v2.4 only. Am I missing something?

Strange, iTunes seems to be able to write the sorting related fields to ID3v2.3 tags, but it isn't capabile of reading them when importing files that already have those fields filled. I would say it's an iTunes bug / quirk.

Edit: Mp3tag seems to write TXXX frames while iTunes illegally writes TSOA, TSOT or TSOP frames that are only supported by ID3v2.4.

Interesting. I did not know this. I had assumed from the mp3tag documentation that setting the PERFORMERSORTORDER tag only resulted in setting the TSOP frame if using ID3v2.4. Not sure what the tag PERFORMERSORTORDER results in for ID3v2.3. Any ideas?

Thanks for your help! I'd really like to use mp3tag to automatically set the performer and album sort tags since I want to use a script to do so.

I updated my post above your last one. Also, when setting Mp3tag to write ID3v2.4 tags, iTunes has no problem reading the sorting fields. However, you might experience problems like squares appearing because iTunes has some problems with ID3v2.4 and Unicode.

Excellent! Thank you for looking into this. I wonder why I am occasionally seeing problems in iTunes. The only thing I can think of is if it has problems with a mix of v2.3 and v2.4 tags (not sure if that makes sense). I have some files previously tagged v2.3 and then I added the new sorting tags as v2.4. Does this make any sense? And, if it makes sense, is there an easy way to convert all the tags in a file to v2.4?

Thanks again

Well, you can convert with Mp3tag by selecting all files and hitting the save button after you changed the write settings to ID3v2.4. Mp3tag will also convert the TXXX frames to TSOA, etc. I still have to find out how to force iTunes to re-read tags...

Well, I ran into the problem again. Seems to happen with many of my albums. What I see is that the song title seems to have the form " - " when viewed in iTunes. Also, several other fields like the comment field and album artwork are missing completely (only in iTunes - they appear fine in mp3tag). If I switch back to ID3 v2.3 tags in mp3tag and reload the library in iTunes, everything is fine in iTunes. This implies to me iTunes has problems with ID3 v2.4 tags (as I have seen others indicate in separate posts on the subject of iTunes ID3 v2.4 compatibility). Unfortunately, with ID3 v2.3 tags I still don't know how to set the Performer and ALBUM sort tags. Sebastian, you said that iTunes will set these tags in a file usiing ID3 v2.3 tags but you are unable to set the tags externally such that iTunes will see it. Any more ideas?

Thank you!

I tried another expeeriment. Using ID3 v2.3 tags I set the sort artist tag using iTunes. Then, I brought up mp3tag, saw the tag "PERFORMERSORTORDER" set properly. At this point, I modified the value of PERFORMERSORTORDER, and I went back into iTunes to see if the change was visible there. In iTunes, I found the sort album value gone completely. It seems as though mp3tag writes the tag out to a different frame that iTunes does not recognize.

As a note, if I set the sort album tag in iTunes and go back into mp3tag I will see 2 tags with the same name of PERFORMERSORTORDER, which implies mp3tag and iTunes write these out to different tags but mp3tag reports them as the same.

iTunes created new frames for these sort fields or it uses v2.4 frames also in v2.3
Both things does Mp3tag not do therefore you can't create/edit these fields in v2.3 and only some in v2.4

Dano: Thank you for clarifying. Would this also explain why I am seeing iTunes having trouble with a number of the ID3v2.4 tags I set in mp3tag (i.e. title, comment, album artwork)? Or, is this a separate issue?



As I said, iTunes will always write TSOA, TSOT or TSOP frames no matter what ID3v2 version is present. This is illegal, though, since those three frames are supported by ID3v2.4 only. If you load an iTunes tagged file in Mp3tag, Mp3tag will map those frames to PERFORMERSORTORDER, etc, but when saving back, it will delete the old TSOA, TSOT or TSOP frames from the ID3v2.3 tag and write them as custom TXXX frames instead. iTunes however expects TSOA... and will therefore ignore the TXXX frames written by Mp3tag. When you add the information again using iTunes, you will have TXXX and TSOA, TSOT... frames which Mp3tag will display as "double entries" (since it understand both its TXXX frames and the frames written by iTunes).

Now I understand. Sorry I was so dense. The one remaining issue I see is whether id3 v2.4 tags generated via mp3tag but are messed up in iTunes is an iTunes issue (I am guessing it is) or some problem in mp3tag (doubt it).

Thanks for helping me understand this better.

Ok, all sorting fields should now be available, also with 2.3

hi guys, I'm here because I've the same problem.
Right now I'm using the last beta version of mp3tag and I have read this post more times...
but i can't understand how to tag correctly with mp3tag "PERFORMERSORTORDER" or "ALBUMSORTORDER" for works in itunes.

Sorry for my bad English I'm writing from Italy.

Thanx for your support and your usefully programs!!!

Just use these fields within the extended tag dialog [Alt+T].

Kind regards,

In 2.39c, setting PERFORMERSORTORDER only works (and by "works" I mean changes are picked up in iTunes 7.4) if you change or add PERFORMERSORTORDER in mp3Tag. If you delete/blank PERFORMERSORTORDER in mp3Tag, it doesn't pick this up in iTunes.

So, you probably have to re-add them to your iTunes library for the changes to be recognized.

Nevermind original post.
I just realized that the fix is not in a final release yet. I was still using v2.39 but apparently needed at least v2.39c. I now downloaded the latest beta and it seems to be working now!