Help me edit the metadata in my music files
December 23, 2012 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a good sound-file metadata editor for OS X?

I noticed when I was buying MP3s on Amazon, that some record labels insist on having identifying metadata embedded in files and I really don't want that in my files. In a similar fashion, Apple insist on embedding "explicit" in tracks with explicit lyrics, and even after following instructions online to not display that within iTunes, the explicit label still shows. And it's really irritating.

There seems to be a few metadata editing apps out there for Windows, but I've not found anything that looks good or trustworthy for OS X. I've tried MediaRage, but that only scrubs MP3s not AACs, so that's no good. Is there anything out there that's going to show me all the metadata in my files and allow me to edit it?
posted by TheDonF to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Kid3 claims to edit tags in "MP3, Ogg/Vorbis, FLAC, MPC, MP4/AAC, MP2, Speex, TrueAudio, WavPack, WMA, WAV, AIFF files and tracker modules (MOD, S3M, IT, XM)". You could script this if you want to strip or edit tags en masse. AtomicParsley says it has a "metaEnema" feature. Both have source code available, if trust is an issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on December 23, 2012

AFAIK, nothing will do it for older "protected" iTunes tracks (i.e. .m4p), but Subler will do it for newer unprotected tracks (i.e. .aac, m4a). Look under the "other settings" tab for "content rating". The status in iTunes will update after the next time you play the track.
posted by Pinback at 6:11 PM on December 23, 2012

That's an interesting question! To me it looks like two different types of metadata. iTunes 'explicit' looks like a custom ID3 tag.

To me, the Amazon metadata looks more like watermarking to track usage in cloud accounts, and also perhaps to try and trace DLs. I can't imagine they'd create a bunch of custom ID3 fields to do this. So it could be string in a header, rather than ID3 metadata that's useful for the user.

I googled around and "strip mp3 header mac os x" seemed to find a few things that may help, but I am too tired to go through them now ;)
posted by carter at 6:48 PM on December 23, 2012

Here's something on the Cloud DRM theory from TechCrunch.

Also here: How to remove 'Record Company Required Metadata' from music files. Not a Mac solution but does give further background, and yes it does include ID3 and non-ID3 metadata. The latter is something called Unique Identifier Technology Solution (UITS).
posted by carter at 6:58 PM on December 23, 2012

I've used ID3 Editor from PA-Software for all my tag needs when creating MP3's and podcasts. It's not a great batch editor, but for a handful of files and individual tweaks it's perfect and worth the shareware fee.
posted by ewan at 4:11 AM on December 24, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, this is where I'm at:

The ID3 Editor from PA-Software doesn't support AAC files, so that's out. Kid3 will show me lots of iTunes data, and I've tried editing the iTunes rtng tag to various values, but not it seems to be stuck on "clean". I've even tried removing the tag, but still the rating remains. Kid3 is showing me incomplete metadata for Amazon's files—there doesn't appear to be any of the embedded data Amazon is warning me about. Subler won't edit MP3s, so that's out. AtomicParsley is command line only, which means a lot more fiddling.

posted by TheDonF at 10:02 AM on December 24, 2012

Did you try one of the GUI tag editors that uses AtomicParsley e.g. ID Infiltr8?

Part of the problem is that MP3 ID3 tags & MOV/MP4 'atom-ic' tags are arranged & stored in fundamentally different ways, so require different approaches & libraries to edit.
posted by Pinback at 4:23 PM on December 24, 2012

Response by poster: ID Infiltr8, although listed as > OSX 10.4, won't install on my machine—I guess it's not Intel supported. I've had a look at other AtomicParsley apps and nothing there seems to be suitable, alas.
posted by TheDonF at 9:15 AM on December 28, 2012

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