What ID3v2 tag to use?

Can anyone help, I don't know what ID3v2 tag to use for writing in mp3 files:

ID3v2.4 UTF-8
ID3v2.3 UTF-16
ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1

~ milka

Just keep the standard settings (v2.3 utf-16) if you have no troubles with them.

I was expecting a lot of comments.
Thanks dano for reply.

The problem with answering this question is, that there is no ID3v2 version which is 100% recommended for all cases (that's why Mp3tag has these three options).

ID3v2.4 with UTF-8 is the ID3v2 version which I'd recommend and which I'd like to see supported by all applications and devices dealing with MP3. Unfortunately there are many applications which are not able to read (and write) ID3v2.4 tags although specs are available since late 2000.

ID3v2.3 with UTF-16 is the first step backwards to be compatible with non-ID3v2.4 aware applications and devices. Unfortunately there are still applications which are not able to read Unicode (UTF-16) why I've added the third option.

ID3v2.3 with ISO-8859-1 is the second step backwards to be compatible with non-Unicode aware applications.

So I recommend using ID3v2.4 and if I'd notice any compatibility issues with other programs, I'd ask their developers to add support for ID3v2.4. The good thing with Mp3tag is, that you can go back to ID3v2.3, if you run into unresolvable compatibility issues.

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I use ID3v2.3 UTF-16 because so Winamp makes no problems. When I use ID3v2.4 Winamp cannot read the tags at all. :frowning:
I would prefer to use ID3v2.4 but then no tracks will be submitted to my Last.fm-account. And that would be crap!

So I use the standard.

Doesn't the latest Winamp version have some sort of support for ID3v2.4 tags?

It's not supported in latest version of winamp, totalcommander plugin... :frowning:
So I will use ID3v2.3 UTF-16.

i think its a bit of a joke that the most popular mp3 software player doesnt support v2.4...

good job AOL!

Then lets laugh to the most popular mp3 software player becase it's not a joke. :laughing:
I hate and love Winamp at the same time.
Love it becase of the great things like plugins, nice look...
and hate it becase its VERY slow and bugy.

You people are incorrect, sorry :wink:.

Winamp 5.2 upwards (5.21 is the most recent version)
reads & displays v2.4 UTF-8 Tags just fine (older versions do not of course).

The thing is that it only writes v2.3 UTF-16 tags. When you change a
tag with Winamp it gets "downgraded" (but who uses Winamp for
changing tags, thats what MP3Tag is for :smiley:). So if you use the most
recent Winamp, you are perfectly fine with v2.4 tags as long as you
don't let it touch them.

The Winamp change log says: "preliminary support for 2.4 tags", so there
is hope that they will be adding 2.4 writing too.


It's true. But it's not supported with mp3ext, and Multimedia factory plugin for TC (my favorit TC plugin).

By the way. Windows Media Player also does not accept ID3v2.4 (when I'm not wrong).

The only player I know, that supports ID3v2.4 without any problems is iTunes. And iTunes supports it since 2 or 3 years, I think. But it is kinda uncomfortable. :frowning:

You are wrong. iTunes supports ID3v2.4 with problems (unicode problems). The only player I know that supports ID3v2.4 without problems is foobar2000. :wub:

Just a little summary for people getting confused:

Players / Apps fully supporting v2.4 UTF-8:

  • foobar 2000
  • AmaroK, JuK & KDE's Konqueror
  • Mp3tag :wink:
  • MusicBrainz Picard Tagger
  • MusikCube

Partial support:

  • Winamp (reading only as of v5.2, but this works fine)

  • J.River Media Center (reading only, works fine)

  • iTunes (in theory: yes, but buggy implementation (unicode and other issues),

           leading to serious problems)

No support:

  • Windows Media Player / Windows Explorer

Working Hardware Players (Portables):

some iRiver players
All Rockbox-enabled devices (www.rockbox.org)

Maybe something like this should be made sticky. What do you think Florian / dano?

@ klaasklever:

OK, sorry for the mistake about saying that Winamp doesn't support ID3v2.4. I know the mistake.
I disabled the box "Check for new versions of Winamp at startup" and so I wasn't noticed that Winamp 5.1 isn't up-to-date anymore. :flushed:

Now I have a version higher than 5.2 and yes it really works. And the Audioscrobbler-PlugIn also supports it. :smiley:

Now I can finally use ID3v2.4 without any problems. My hardware player won't make any problems because he only shows ID3v.1 (display is too small) :frowning:

Latest update... not sure about that for Windows 10 now supports id3v2.4 and with the recent release of FB2K for android is a good time to try v2.4.

Think it was an update in May for Win10 that did it reading up a little on it.

So my setup now:
v2.4 tags
iTunes now foobar2000 player on PC and android
Traktor dj software
Tags viewable in Explorer should you need too.

All working seamlessly.

So what happens if I switch from writing only in ID3v2.3 with UTF-16 to only in ID3v2.4 with UTF-8; while at the same time having selected the option for removing ID3v1, ID3v2 and APE?

I do not need the two others [ID3v1 and APE] and my only concern would potentially be with Winamp; aside from of course the main issue of a fear of a possible catastrophic data loss during the transition

Could there be that if I am using some non standard solution like a dot or hashtag sign in TRACK field [in ID3v2.3 with UTF-16] on formats MP3 / FLAC / TTA / WV, that after the change some issues will arise [in ID3v2.4 with UTF-8]? Like in the case of for example M4A format, which [at least with my current Mp3tag settings] does not allow to storage the >>/<< sign in the DISCNUMBER fields [as I can of course write it down but after saving the change, it simply disappears and wipes out everything that was written behind it, leaving only the data written before it]

I want to be up to date, but right now I have everything working [at least in my 4 formats that I use] and so I do not want to have any "thrilling" experiences of data loss

So that gives a context to my question

And as such I surely will not use at it would be for me not possible to remember all the time not to change anything in my tags via Winamp. I do it very rarely but very often during that [in the case of MP3s] I forget to ID3v2 window [and thus write tags in Basic Info window]

It's crazy to think that your comment is 15 years old and this problem still exists.

Mixed in Key (A paid software @ $60) trashes tags back to their ID3v2.1 counterpart.

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