4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

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Listening to music is a pretty important part of anyone’s life. With the advent of even more features in media players to recommend music, create playlists, and display large, beautiful album art – everyone wants their collection to be as beautiful as this one: artist names, tracks, year, genre and other tags. In this article we take a look at the best tools to fix music tags and organizing and “˜cleaning’ your songs.

fix music tags

TuneUp Companion

fix music library with TuneUp

TuneUp Companion has one major advantage over all the other solutions: it uses Gracenote CDDB database – which is considered to be one of the largest and most comprehensive out there.

TuneUp uses a technology similar to MusicBrainz, “˜FileID’ to fingerprint the song even without the proper filename – retrieving accurate metadata. Depending on the server-load, an album doesn’t take more than 15-30 seconds to fix. My experience with TuneUp was extremely positive – it only failed on an old classical compilation out of 253 albums.

In addition to fixing your music tags and songs, TuneUp also downloads high-resolution album art and integrates with YouTube to provide related videos to the song you’re listening; eBay and Amazon for merchandise and Ticketmaster/StubHub for concert tickets.

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The “˜Never miss another show’ tab provides concert dates and prices for artists in your library, a very useful feature for any music fan.

It’s definitely the most comprehensive solution – and easy to use. TuneUp is available for Mac and Windows and works by interfacing with your iTunes Music Library. Even if you don’t use iTunes to manage your music day-to-day, you can download it, fix your music then import it in your preferred application.

MusicBrainz Picard

organize music collection

MusicBrainz, a non-profit corporation, picks up where Gracenote left off, as an open-source, freely available database of CD information or metadata. Picard takes advantage of this database with an intuitive barebones interface and a similar fingerprinting technology that aims to match the tracks as best as possible from the acoustic scan rather than on file sizes or names. The Scan takes a little more time than TuneUp but not significantly.

Picard supports plugins – although I had a hard time finding any notable ones – and does automatically download and save album art if it’s in the database. However, don’t expect album art on anything other than popular titles.

At heart I am an open source fan – and I always try to use it when I have a choice. That being said, I encountered a bug that undermined the functionality of the program for some albums. For example a ‘Jet’ album, properly tagged, had tracks indentified from two separate albums with the same correct name. Saving the information would split the tracks into different folders appearing twice in iTunes. This happened multiple times for quite popular recordings from Coldplay and The Killers.

MusicBrainz is a very exciting project and definitely deserves a second chance from users after this weird bug is corrected. If you’re willing to spend some time manually assigning names for misbehaving albums, it’s a good application. You can get MusicBrainz for Linux, Mac and Windows.

Mp3Tag

organize music library

Mp3Tag is free, although it’s not open source. It uses the FreeDB database as its primary solution which is noticeably lower quality than MusicBrainz, but it also integrates with the Amazon catalog, which is quite large and boasts largely high quality album art. It’s a bit of work to get everything right but it’s worth it considering the price – free.

A nice feature I found in Mp3Tag allows you to automatically rename the filenames according to tags, useful when browsing the library directly from the file system.

Unfortunately, Mp3Tag is only available for Windows.

iTunes Store File Validator

organize music on computer with Itunes Store Validator

Skip past the messy interface and you’ve got a marvelous little tool with features like Reverse Scrobble to update the play count within iTunes from Last.fm, embed album art in songs, automatically clean empty folders, set EQ automatically based on genre, and more nifty actions.

Additionally it scans your library and assesses whether your songs are iTunes Store quality – checks for all the important indicators and then creates and easy to use report. Download it from here.

I also approached FixTunes, an application similar to TuneUp, that instead of using Gracenote, piggy backs on multiple free databases like freeDB, Amazon and MusicBrainz to create its own database and then charge for its software. The worst part is that it doesn’t seem to have a fingerprinting technology and instead relies on the tags you already have – which is inherently prone to mistakes. I dropped FixTunes from this article because numerous comments were unfavorable and I personally had  my share of weird Chinese song titles, frequent crashes and fairly popular albums poorly recognized.

Conclusion

Using features from all the software above, you can manage to have a true collector quality music library: complete with correct metadata, album art and normalized filenames.

If you’ve got any suggestions for other great software that I missed – let me know in the comments; I’ll take a look at it and include it for the readers.

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Comments (23)
  • DocMo

    Im using MusicBrainz Picard in lunix (linux/unix). Basically I had 10 gigs of music all in one music folder that I riped from my ipod because somehow all my music was erased and it was backed up on the ipod. Anyway Picard is GREAT! You click the ‘cluster’ button and it scans the music and clusters all them by artist. Okay after this It did not cluster about 437 songs because they were tagged horribly from the program that ripped them from my ipod. Next I clicked on the unmatched files and go ‘scan’ this then scans the files individually and looks up the album info then categorizing them in an album. You might have to click on options then check the box that says ‘rename files’ and ‘move files’ if you want this.. worked amazing for my music collection. Now my music folder has subdirs of artists and inside are the albums. I have a super sluggish internet connection and It worked in no time at all looking up the album information from the internet. Reorganized my whole music folder in about ten minutes including installing Picard from synaptic.. Picard is super lightweight download on 56k connections. 2 thumbs up.

  • Morpheus

    I believe that as of version 7 of Helium Music Manager THAT’S the best music manager out there since it has also become FREE. It has a much better looking interface and cooler faetures, like the tag editor that is designed as a spread sheet (rocket-fast tagging). They also have a really cool web application now that lets you stream your music to any computer.

    http://www.music-streamer.com

  • TechHelpSite

    Yes MediaMonkey does the tagging for free that these others charge for. Plus all sorts of extra features. It is THE best music management app (free or paid) available. The only other PLAYER that might be better for the very fussy is Foobar but Media Monkey has more management and tagging features and all for Free (though support through the cheap Gold upgrade is recommended) :)

  • Rohaana

    Hi, i’ve been using SongGenie (fixes titles) & CoverScout (finds covers) and find them a great help in making my music library complete on my MacBook- just thought I’d let you know since you asked for suggestions.. have you tried them?

  • Fix Your iTunes

    Hi I’ve been using Fix Your iTunes and it works awesomely. I hated having missing album artwork songs with missing info like genres, song names or artist names. I love it even more that I’ve synced my music that was fixed on to my 160GB iPod and all the mp3s have the correct information and especially the album artwork is there. I hated having blank album artwork and now I have all the cool graphics that come with the music. It rocks!

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.