How to make iTunes stop throwing the artist name into the song title tag?
October 22, 2004 7:56 AM   Subscribe

While we're on the topic of iTunes, mine crams the artist name into the song title tag. Like this. [MI]

My mp3s are all well-tagged using Tag & Rename. Every other tag-reading application(winamp, windows explorer) reads the tag as it should.

I've erased my iTunes library, nuked its .xml and .itl files, reloaded the library, and still get the problem.

My searching on ipodlounge forums yields others with the same problem but no solutions.
posted by neilkod to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
If your MP3s have both ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags, which often happens, iTunes will I believe read the ID3v2 tags in preference to the ID3v1 tags. My guess is that the software you used to change the tags changed only the ID3v1 tags. This is why you should do your tag editing in iTunes.

It's easy enough to fix it in iTunes. Here's a little AppleScript called "Extract Artist from Name" that, given a delimiter (e.g. " - " in the case of your N.E.R.D. tracks) will take the artist from the front of the name field of all the selected iTunes tracks and stuff it in the artist field.

tell application "iTunes"
    set d to text returned of (display dialog "Delimiter" default answer "--")
    set s to get the selection
    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to d
    repeat with t in s
        set n to name of t
        if n contains d then
            set artist of t to text item 1 of n
            set name of t to (text items 2 thru -1 of n) as text
        end if
    end repeat
    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {""}
end tell
posted by kindall at 8:39 AM on October 22, 2004

In case I wasn't clear, the script removes the artist from the front of the name field and stuffs it in the artist field. (The first effect is what you actually want, the second is not really necessary in this case but doesn't hurt anything.)
posted by kindall at 8:41 AM on October 22, 2004

I'm using the excellent Tag & Rename which automatically populates id3v1 and id3v2 tags. I have the option to browse id3v1 and id3v2 separately and they look alike.
posted by neilkod at 8:55 AM on October 22, 2004

Obviously some tag somewhere in the files still has the artist and track name in one field. iTunes isn't going to magically concatenate these two fields together and stick a hyphen between them, the information coming from somewhere in the file. It's possible that the files themselves were corrupted in some way that is confusing T&R and/or iTunes. The problem is obviously not in the iTunes library database.

If you fix this in iTunes does it stay fixed?
posted by kindall at 9:25 AM on October 22, 2004

kindall-the tags are perfect according to every other app that reads tags. Interestingly enough, once I play the song in iTunes, the tag fixes itself.
posted by neilkod at 9:30 AM on October 22, 2004

That's weird. Have you had the same problem with other files?
posted by kindall at 9:32 AM on October 22, 2004

FWIW, I prefer The Godfather for tagging.
posted by muckster at 9:43 AM on October 22, 2004

iTunes seems to cache some information and won't update until certain operations on the file (like playing it) happen. The old tags may be cached somewhere and playing them causes it to refresh the cache from the actual file, especially if you edited them outside of iTunes. There are applescripts out there that will visit every file (these were mainly made because it also won't update whether a file still exists or it has lost the location of the file, which it sometimes does, until the same circumstances).
posted by advil at 9:49 AM on October 22, 2004

neilkod: iTunes caches ID3 tag information in its own database so it doesn't have to crawl through umpteen gigabytes of files while you scroll through your library. If you've run Tag & Rename on your files, then the tags are correct; you just need to convince iTunes to update its database, which it does automatically when you play the file.

You might try running "Import" on your iTunes Music folder to get iTunes to rescan all the files and rebuild its database.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:04 AM on October 22, 2004

advil-I think you may be on to something. FWIW, my music collection is stored on a USB 2.0 external HDD. Could this be the problem?
posted by neilkod at 10:06 AM on October 22, 2004

Ah. I had assumed you had edited the tags before bringing them into iTunes. If you edited them afterward, that would explain it.

Yeah, once you've got your music in iTunes, it is best to use iTunes to do tag editing and so forth to keep the internal database in sync with the tag information.
posted by kindall at 11:24 AM on October 22, 2004

kindall-i tag my mp3s prior to importing into iTunes. Have you ever tried to edit a massive amount of tags one at a time in iTunes? That's where T&R comes in handy.
posted by neilkod at 12:02 PM on October 22, 2004

neilkod, you know you can select multiple files at a time (say, a whole album) and edit their tags together in iTunes, right?
posted by soplerfo at 12:42 PM on October 22, 2004

This is very similar to a problem I'm having and hearing your ideas gives me hope that there's a solution.

Whenever I play a certain album in iTunes, the album tag changes from "The Beatles" to either "White Album (disc 1)" or "The white album - 2 of 2". I keep changing it back to "The Beatles" but iTunes keeps flipping it back everytime I play it.
posted by Monk at 12:54 PM on October 22, 2004

...I should note that all tag editing is done in iTunes but the original mp3s were ripped from a third party app.
posted by Monk at 12:57 PM on October 22, 2004

Have you ever tried to edit a massive amount of tags one at a time in iTunes?

Yeah, I do it all the time with scripts like the one above. I have others that extract track numbers from the filename, Title Case the title/artist/album, etc.
posted by kindall at 2:40 PM on October 22, 2004

Dr. Blowfins' Black Storm Stabilizing Spheres has to be the best song title I've heard in a loooong time.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2004

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