Help retag my mp3s
December 20, 2004 12:15 AM   Subscribe

Concerning a large batch of mp3s and their id3 tags: I have about 5 GB of music that I downloaded from Emusic about a year ago. Due to an exceedingly stupid maneuver on my part, I accidentally stripped all the id3 tags from the files, which ended up physically renamed to something like "Untitled Album - Untitled Track 1," etc. -- so I now have about 500 songs like this.

They're organized in folders by artist and album name, so that much information I have -- I'm now in search of a utility that will allow me to get the appropriate information from CDDB or something, and then batch rename the files so I don't have to manually, and painstakingly, do so 500 times. I have both Windows and OS X, so platform's not much of an issue. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
posted by ticopelp to Media & Arts (18 answers total)
posted by kindall at 12:18 AM on December 20, 2004

iTunes will do this, I should think. Certainly you can go onto CDDB long after you've ripped the CD, as it recognises CDs by patterns of file lengths, or something.
posted by Grangousier at 12:49 AM on December 20, 2004

iTunes will do this, I should think.
No, it does not. CDDB does not recognize compressed music by any kind of pattern since the variations are potentially unlimited. CDDB only recognizes audio CDs.
posted by sequential at 1:02 AM on December 20, 2004

It's all about the Brainz. There's a version for OS X called iEatBrainz that is closely tied in to iTunes.
posted by blasdelf at 1:37 AM on December 20, 2004

I used a program recently that let you, very quickly, rename and retag files based on things like folder name etc. Called Tag&Rename or something similar. I will try and dig it up but found it extremely useful.
posted by figment at 2:28 AM on December 20, 2004

Tag & Rename. Works great.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 2:54 AM on December 20, 2004

I've been going through my "unsorted" collection of misnamed MP3s since I posted. I've been using MusicBrainz and it's by far the best utility at recognizing songs given no useful filename or ID3 tag info. It's not automatic and it is still time consuming. Of 300 songs I've tried so far, I've been able to identify slightly more than 200 of them. The rest are going to take more work, but I have not exhausted all of my options with MusicBrainz yet.

I'm trying a much larger batch at the moment - about 1000 files. Most of them have reasonable ID3 data and file names, but are not uniformly formatted. MusicBrainz recognizes 50% of them automatically and a vast majority of the rest are recognized but have conflicts that need to be sorted manually.

Thanks for the heads up kindall!
posted by sequential at 2:58 AM on December 20, 2004

One of the nice things about the Windows version of MusicBrainz is that if it doesn't recognise an album, you can lookup the first song, tag it and then with the details of the rest of the album on the screen, quickly tag the rest of the tracks just by going down the list of songs and hitting the appropriate tag icon.

This is substantially faster than hitting "lookup" for every single song in an album, but should only be used when you are positive that the tracks are labelled correctly. If you aren't, then you should use the "lookup" function as otherwise you could end up populating the MusicBrainz database with junk.
posted by ralawrence at 3:21 AM on December 20, 2004

Have I done something wrong, or does MusicBrainz take about three years to identify a song?
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:11 AM on December 20, 2004

For OS X:

If you already have your mp3s organized into folders according to artist and album then Media Rage can fill in the appropriate tag information. Alternately it can also do the opposite, which is move and organize your mp3 files into folders based on tag information, just like iTunes, except it's flexible.
posted by sammich at 5:59 AM on December 20, 2004

Be careful about importing these into iTunes with the "organize my files and folders" pref set -- it will rename every song file to "unknown song" and put them all in a single folder called "unknown album." Disastrous given your situation.

Another vote for MusicBrainz. Curley, sometimes's it's dead slow for me, too, but other times -- early, early, a.m. -- it's pretty fast. It's a walkaway kind of thing, anyway.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2004

I'm going to be trying this on my own collection right away here, in part to add the 8000+ anal-retentively-tagged existing collection, and in part to attempt to sort the 14,000 untagged songs I got from a friend. From what I can tell of MB, thought, it relies on acoustic signatures from songs that other members have added. I fear that my friend's esoteric tastes (and old-fashioned distaste for ID3 tags, the fool!) are going to screw me over here.

Does anyone by chance know of a tool that can use a site like to update track/album info automagically? Most of what I need to categorize can be found in there, but obviously 14k is a LOT of songs to fix tags on manually, even with the naming scheme that I can exploit with Tag&Rename
posted by ChrisR at 6:13 AM on December 20, 2004

The Godfather tags like a champ.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2004

Another vote for the Godfather.
posted by muckster at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2004

From what I can tell of MB, thought, it relies on acoustic signatures from songs that other members have added. I fear that my friend's esoteric tastes (and old-fashioned distaste for ID3 tags, the fool!) are going to screw me over here.

To give MB some credit, it will come back with a confidence level and you can decide whether or not you would like it to write the tags when the confidence is below your pre-set level. So it won't just go off and completely trash your music collection unless you set the limit stupidly low (it's at the way too high default value of 90% - I set it to about 60%)
posted by ralawrence at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2004

I tried using iEatBrainz on an album (poorly tagged in CDDB) and it came back with something completely wrong--a bossa nova compilation wound up tagged as a punk album. No "does this look correct?" reality-check and very slow.
posted by adamrice at 8:05 AM on December 20, 2004

I second Tag&Rename. I've got a relatively large mp3 collection (120+GB), and I had tried a few tagging programs - Tag&Rename was by far the most powerful and most straightforward to operate. MusicBrainz was terrible - most of what I've got is somewhat obscure, so it rarely came back with the proper match...
posted by skwm at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2004

Any idea if Tag&Rename is able to automatically get the FreeDB info for multiple albums?

Rather than clicking into a directory, selecting all and updating... clicking into a directory, selecting all and updating... etc.

I actually bought Tag & Rename, but have only made it up to artists starting with the letter E because the process (as far as I can tell) is so painfully manual.

The God Father looks interesting as well, but appears to have limited documentation, in English at least.
posted by o0o0o at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2004

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