4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

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.

main tuneup   4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

TuneUp Companion

tuneup   4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

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.

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

music brainz   4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

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

mp3tag   4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & 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

itunes validator   4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library

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.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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23 Comments -

0 votes

SteveW

Check out MP3Gain at mp3gain.sourceforge.net/ to normalize the volume.

0 votes

Stefan Neagu

That looks like an interesting tool, I will check it out! Thanks!

0 votes

jollyrogue

so which would be best to use?

0 votes

Stefan Neagu

I would personally choose TuneUp.

0 votes

Richard

none of them; I’d use JRiver Media Jukebox or Media Center; it’s windows only. Media Jukebox is free and is a fantastic music playback and management program which will lookup tags, allows multiple simultaneous edits; has fingerprint technology based on its own library and will rename your music to match the tags.

It has album art in its library and will add it to a file or into tags. It also allows the use of a URL, or image on the clipboard to be the source of album art… quite simply this is fantastically convenient functionality I haven’t seen anywhere else.

The only reason i’m not using it anymore is because I have chosen to use Ubuntu (GNU/Linux).

R

0 votes

Peter

What about mediamonkey? Tags your album from the album from the web in, from my experience, only a few seconds. It downloads the album art and tags it to the tracks and fixes all the metadata, and all while being a great media player as well. A great program.

0 votes

Stefan Neagu

I’ve tried MediaMonkey before, but it somehow slipped from this article. My impression wasn’t that good however.

0 votes

John

I’m surprised to not see MM on here too. I think if you look at v3.06 (current) Pro/Gold edition, it can’t be beat.

The only real ‘issue’ with MM is that the learning curve can seem steep at first. Once you use some of the advanced library features, like AutoOrganize, Tagging from Web etc, and you put some thought towards how you manage your data, it is a superior solution. The backend DB is very powerful and will allow flexibility on the normal tagging, plus things like Genre, Category, Mood, Tempo, etc.

The difference here is that the tools in the article are basic “tagging” tools. MM is a full library management and music jukebox platform. It is a big jump, but worth checking out if you have a large music collection.

0 votes

Peter

What about mediamonkey? Tags your album from the amazon UK/US/French/etc database online in, from my experience, only a few seconds. It downloads the album art and tags it to the tracks and fixes all the metadata, and all while being a great media player as well. A great program.

0 votes

Mackenzie

On Linux I use Audio Tag Tool. It’s more manual, but I select a directory (w/ subdirs) and tell it “all these are by $artist” then go through the subdirs for the albums. I can tell it to pull the track title from the filename, and then when it’s all done if I want to make the filenames uniform (“1. A Song” or “1 – A Song”), I can tell it to rename all the files based on the tags (that’s the bit I like best).

0 votes

Stefan Neagu

Thanks Mackenzie, I’ll try that out!

0 votes

Impius

Thank you, since switching to songbird and reloading all of my media after building a new rig I’ve needed something to do this exact thing! I’ve done some of it manually and let me just say checking 7,000+ mp3 is a long process.

0 votes

Darth_Indy

Mp3Tag is great… and it IS available for Linux. I don’t remember where I gt it, but I’m using it right now in Ubuntu Linux. It’s one of my favorite tools.

0 votes

Jawabiscuit

Tag&Rename, great program.

0 votes

Morpheus

You should give Helium Music Manager a try. It includes lots of tagging options, including downloading meta data and pictures from online sources through the help of plug-ins. Some of the supported sources are freedb, Amazon.com, Google Image Search, Yahoo Image Search, Last.fm, Discogs.com and some lyrics plug-ins.

0 votes

chris

so I am not super tech savy. I bought Fixtunes and it pretty much blows. In addtion to misnaming the crap out of stuf, it fixes the tags at the “libray” level via Itunes. I want to fix the metadata on the actual mp3 in the folder in windows. DO these programs do that or just at th library level like Fixtunes?

0 votes

Stefan Neagu

TuneUp i know for sure updates the metadata in the file.

0 votes

Duncan

So with these (I’m using Tune-Up)… what’s with all the Chinese?

More importantly, how do I fix it?

They may own us, but I don’t know the language… at least not yet. ;-)

0 votes

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!

0 votes

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?

0 votes

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) :)

0 votes

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

0 votes

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.