Wierd problem with tags during file copies

Not strictly speaking an MP3tag problem, but maybe somebody can help...

I'm copying files between NTFS formatted drives on two Windows 7 PCs. On the source system, the albums have the "Album Artist" tag set, but when I copy them to the other PC, the tag disappears (sort of)

  1. If I look at the directory with MP3tag from the source system by opening a folder on the network share, the tags appear to be there.

  2. WMP and MP3tag on the destination system don't see the tags

I've tried other methods of copy the files, for example I copied them into a local VHD, checked the tags and everything was fine, then I copied the VHD file to the remote system and mounted it, and hey presto the tags had disappeared.

PS, I'm using MP3tag 2.5 and both systems are running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

It's extremely unlikely that the files aren't being copied exactly. Your problem isn't with the copy operation.

There's no reason Mp3tag should not be able to see exactly the same fields when run on any system. My guess would be that you don't have the two Mp3tag installation configured exactly the same, and you're not correctly interpreting what you see. Using the Extended Tags dialog to view the fields within the tags should allow you to see all fields.

Agree with everything you say, but I do have the two versions of MP3tag configured the same (first thing I checked) and I'm not misinterpreting things, the results are unmistakable, on the source system, WMP sees the Album Artist tag and organizes the songs from the different artists on the same album into a single album entry using the album artist, on the destination system WMP doesn't see the album artist tag and creates multiple albums for each artist. I said it was a weird problem, and I've been around the block a few times and I have absolutely no clue what's going on here.

BTW, the files are actually FLAC format not MP3 if that makes a difference (which I doubt)

And one other thing, if I point WMP on the target system to the file share on the source system and use that as the "Music library location" WMP sees the Album Artist tags and organizes the music correctly

Do you use 2 different installation on the source and on the destination system?
Then check in both installations for

whether you read the same kind of tags (e.g. no APE, but V2 and V1 or something similar).
If not, set them to the same settings and try again.

Tag read/write settings are the same.

I don't think this is the place to troubleshoot problems in WMP. Sticking with Mp3tag, have you viewed tags using the Extended Tags dialog? Do they show different sets of tags when run from the two systems?

If you have FLAC installed on the system where you see 'missing' fields (if not, install it), run metaflac.exe to view the actual vorbis comment fields:

metaflac --list --block-type=VORBIS_COMMENT "Some flac file.flac"

You can do binary file comparisons to confirm that the copied files are identical:

fc /b "D:\Music\Some flac file.flac" "\\RemoteMachine\music share\Some flac file.flac"

fc says there is no difference between the files.

Here's the output...

C:\Users\nik\bin>metaflac --list --block-type=VORBIS_COMMENT "01-Give Me Back My
METADATA block #1
is last: false
length: 370
vendor string: reference libFLAC 1.1.2 20050205
comments: 11

comment[0]: ASIN=B0000009ww
comment[1]: ALBUMARTISTSORT=Various Artists
comment[2]: Artistsort=Taylor, Hound Dog & Houserockers, The
comment[3]: Title=Give Me Back My Wig
comment[4]: Album=20th Anniversary Collection
comment[5]: ALBUMARTIST=Alligator Records
comment[6]: Artist=Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers
comment[7]: Genre=Blues
comment[8]: DATE=1991
comment[9]: ORGANIZATION=Alligator Records
comment[10]: TRACKNUMBER=1

I've also attached a screenshot of the MP3tag display for the same file

'Album Artist' should also be viewable in the Tag Panel on the left. Is it empty there as well?

I'd start by checking the definition for that column in the settings. Right-click the column headers, then 'Customize columns...', find 'Album Artist' and click on it.

Name: Album Artist
Value: ?
Field: ?
Sort by: ?

For what it's worth, mine looks like the following, but I've been running Mp3tag for years, so probably defined it myself rather than it being the default definition:

Name: Album Artist
Value: $meta_sep(albumartist,\\)
Field: %albumartist%
Sort by:

I put your column definition in and the Album Artist showed up in the column, but it doesn't show in the Tag panel. Interestingly it was different from the entry on the source machine for that column (though I've never changed the configuration for columns on either system). However, the missing year and track number info have the same column definitions on both systems, but those fields don't show on the destination system.

You could copy the first machine's Mp3tag configuration to the one that isn't behaving. On my (Win XP) machine the Mp3tag configuration, including custom action groups and export definitions, is located at

C:\Documents and Settings\Jim\Application Data\Mp3tag

If you copy that folder to the appropriate location on the machine with 'missing' data, it should then be configured identically.

If that doesn't work, you might try uninstalling Mp3tag (including all settings) and reinstalling it from scratch.