Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging

title says it all

Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging

Postby a06lp on Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:25 pm

Hi all,

Now that Steven has graciously added the option for database filling using ONLY ID3 tags (see here for more info), I figured I'd share a small guide of how to easily and properly tag all those mp3 files.

Firstly, I should mention that the first time you go through all your songs it is hard. However, once it's done you have more power over your music than you could have ever imagined. Want to only play country songs? No problem. Want to only play songs released after 2005? No problem. Want to only play songs off the Charlie's Angels soundtrack (you know who you are..) ? No problem. You get full control, and it's easy to maintain.

Here's what I do:
Step 1: Get Your Songs/mp3's Onto Your Computer
How? There are a number of ways:
a) Rip your CD collection (I suggest Exact Audio Copy (EAC) for that)
b) Buy from iTunes
c) Other illegal methods (I won't discuss here, but a google search for P2P Clients may help...)


Step 2: Tagging
Ok, so now you have your songs on your computer. The next part is the hard part - tagging them properly. If you ripped your CD's using EAC, some of the ID3 tags will already be filled for you, automatically.

I highly recommend MediaMonkey for your tagging needs. It's real easy to use, and also has some cool features, like sorting your music based on missing tags (so helpful when you can't remember if you've correctly tagged all your thousands of mp3s). There are lots of tagger programs out there, so you can also give TagRename, MusicBrainz, The Godfather, Album Cover Art Downloader, and many others a try.

I should note here that MediaMonkey is one of the few programs that give you the option (and are actually telling the truth) to save album art into the actual mp3's ID3 tag. This is a GREAT feature, and it cannot be overstated how important this is. What it means is that if you save the album art to the tag of the audio file, if/when you move your file to another computer, all the tag info (including the album art) stays with it. (Ever see someone with an iPod Nano showing cover art? That's because of this feature.)

Since I am a tag-a-holic, I continue past #2, and do a few more things to all my audio files:


Step 3: BPM
The next thing I do is run MixMeister's BPM Analyzer, a free tool that automatically calculates the BPM (beats per minute) of your music, and saves it to the ID3 BPM Tag. This is obviously an optional step, but if you like to mess around with mash-ups and remixes, this tool is invaluable.


Step 4: Normalize
The final step I run on all my music is a volume normalizer.

There is nothing more annoying that listening to a great song on your headphones, only to have the next song come on, and it's so loud you nearly pop your eardrums. These programs automatically adjust the volume of your songs, so they are all at the same level.

Now, here I must warn you: Many programs have 'volume normalizers', but they don't do it properly. (For more info on why, see here.)

MP3 Gain is a great tool. It does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear.
Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.
So, just use MP3 Gain. Hey, it's free, and you can't beat that. :)



Now you've properly tagged your files. From now on, each time you get anew song, run through steps 1-4, and your new song will be ready (& properly tagged) to add to your collection.


So, you've reached the end of this tutorial. If you've come all the way through, I congratulate you. Properly tagging your files is hard work, but it's really worth it in the end. Enjoy your properly tagged music!
Last edited by a06lp on Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
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Postby C-moi on Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:00 pm

Thanks for this tutorial a06lp
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I use to rip my audio cd with Exact Audio Copy but i didn't know BPM neither MP3 Gain ! All my files are now tagged : i will try BMP and MP3 GAIN on them.
Thanks :wink:
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Postby defrag on Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:12 pm

I can also give a massive thumbs up to The Godfather as an mp3 tagger. Does batch tags, tag compare, freedb lookup etc. I use this in conjunction with Album Cover Art Downloader for artwork. Both apps are free which is even better!!!

Useful tutorial though :D
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Postby jowaldo on Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:14 pm

Most of my mp3s are tagged correctly, except for the year and genre tags. What would be the best way to fix this? I reallllly don't want to manually go through all my albums and look up and enter all that info...
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Postby a06lp on Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:33 pm

defrag wrote:I can also give a massive thumbs up to The Godfather as an mp3 tagger. Does batch tags, tag compare, freedb lookup etc. I use this in conjunction with Album Cover Art Downloader for artwork. Both apps are free which is even better!!!

I knew I was forgetting one major tagging program. :)
I added it in.


jowaldo wrote:Most of my mp3s are tagged correctly, except for the year and genre tags. What would be the best way to fix this? I reallllly don't want to manually go through all my albums and look up and enter all that info...


For Year, what I did was search for the album in MediaMonkey to get the year for one of the songs of the album. Then I mass-tagged all the files from that album at once with that info.

For Genre, I use http://dir.yahoo.com/ . I type in the Artist name, and se what they are categorized under:
(ex: search for 'Mariah Carey', and you see:
'R&B and Soul > Mariah Carey')
I then select all her songs, and enter 'R&B' for her Genre.
It's not perfect, but it's pretty close.

Maybe there's a better way...
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Postby S Pittaway on Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:44 pm

anyone know any normalisation progs that work on flac files?
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Postby bfauska on Sun May 07, 2006 1:58 am

I ripped all of my cds using itunes and then added album art. When imported my files into mediamonkey I see the album art, but when I import my collection into xlobby I don't have any art... WTF. Any ideas? I am using the most current test release.

Help please.


Thanks,
Brian
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Postby m_masta on Sun May 07, 2006 2:17 am

bfauska wrote:I ripped all of my cds using itunes and then added album art. When imported my files into mediamonkey I see the album art, but when I import my collection into xlobby I don't have any art... WTF. Any ideas? I am using the most current test release.

Help please.


Thanks,
Brian

Are they MP3s or WMAs? I think Xlobby gets album art tag only from MP3 file. Also, how are you importing the files, double check that id3 is selected (more than likely it is, but it's always good to check).
I did all my tracks today, and they imported perfectly with the album art. I used Mediamonkey to tag them though.
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Postby bfauska on Sun May 07, 2006 2:52 am

They are mp3 and I have the mp3 box checked in the import section when I import them. I have one album that works, when I look at it in the DB Editor the coverart location is pointing directly to the mp3 files. As far as I can tell all of my songs are tagged with the art imbeded, but it doesn't seem to be working with xlobby.

HELP, please.

Thanks in advance,
Brian
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Postby m_masta on Sun May 07, 2006 2:55 am

bfauska wrote:They are mp3 and I have the mp3 box checked in the import section when I import them. I have one album that works, when I look at it in the DB Editor the coverart location is pointing directly to the mp3 files. As far as I can tell all of my songs are tagged with the art imbeded, but it doesn't seem to be working with xlobby.

HELP, please.

Thanks in advance,
Brian

I don't know man,
All I can tell you is that I downloaded using :
"id3", "Album" and "Ignore Folder" and it worked, but any setup should work.
Give us an update if you find a solution.
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Postby bfauska on Tue May 09, 2006 3:29 am

Well, I don't know where iTunes hides the artwork, but I don't think that it is in the mp3 and it definately isn't in the directory of the songs. I figured out that if I edited the artwork in MediaMonkey, either by getting new artwork from amazon, or by saving the artwork that was already associated with the files and then re-associating it, or simply going into the track properties and changing the artwork from type: "not specified" to "cover" then MediaMonkey would save the art IN the mp3 and it would then work with XLobby. It sucks to have to go and re-associate the art for all of my albums but I am glad it is working now.

The only other issue I am having is that I think if an album is allready cached then it doesn't update the artwork when you re-import. I have had to delete my DB and then import to make it work. I think Steven just fixed this for movie covers I will have to varify it and then post it in bugs if it is the case.

I don't know if this will help anybody else but it was an odd problem that took a while to hunt down so I figured it was worth sharing.

Later,
Brian
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Re: Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging

Postby Arthur on Sat May 20, 2006 8:45 am

a06lp wrote:Hi all,

I highly recommend MediaMonkey for your tagging needs. It's real easy to use, and also has some cool features, like sorting your music based on missing tags


Thanks for this tutorial. Now I know what I'm doing and why when I'm tagging :-)
One question, how do you sort music on missing tags.
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Re: Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging

Postby a06lp on Sun May 21, 2006 1:04 am

Arthur wrote:
a06lp wrote:One question, how do you sort music on missing tags.


Add your music to the mediamonkey library, then click on 'missing'.
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
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Re:

Postby Zibia on Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:58 am

S Pittaway wrote:anyone know any normalisation progs that work on flac files?


Try to use mp3Tag Pro. It supports tags in MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, FLAC, APE, WV, M4A, AAC, MPC files.
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