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ID3v2 tags and mp3 files
captainmidnight
post Dec 6 2005, 05:39
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Guys, I started doing a major ripping project, and naturally filenaming came up. I already have a posting on that (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=38451), but one consequence of how I finally decided to name files is that I am going to have to really rely on having accurate metadata stored in my tags.

Since I am ripping to high quality mp3 files (the usual EAC --> Lame 3.97b at -V 0 --vbr-new), I will be using ID3v2 tags.

I have questions about a lot of tag issues.


First, at this point in time, how well supported are ID3v2 tags by programs like iTunes, WMP, fb2k, as well as hardware like portable CD/mp3 players as well as car CD units? Do they balk entirely at ID3v2? Do they just support the common ID3v2 tags like artist & title? Or do they now support all the standard ID3v2.3 tags like composer, disc number, etc?


Second, is there a good guide anywhere which discusses how some of the tags are to be used?

For instance, consider "Artist" versus "Album Artist"--why are these distinguised? Doing a google search, I found some people who seem to be using "Artist" for whoever is performing the song and they reserve "Album Artist" for compilations; see
http://www.musicbrainz.org/docs/specs/metadata_tags.html
http://forums.slimdevices.com/archive/index.php/t-9032.html
Is this standard?


Third, the HA wiki for EAC & LAME
http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=EAC_and_Lame
has section which recommends these parameters
--id3v2-only --pad-id3v2 --ta "%a" --tt "%t" --tl "%g" --ty "%y" --tn "%n" %s %d
to be passed from EAC to LAME, which is what I have been using in the past.

But I noticed that the LAME ID3 documentation
http://lame.sourceforge.net/doc/html/id3.html
additionally supports these options:
--tg "genre"
--tc "comment"

I think that it makes sense to at least write the genre info as a tag, but how do I specify it in EAC? EAC seems to have poor documentation, but I think that what makes sense is either
--tg "%I"
(where %I is "ID3 music type" according to the EAC options dialog in the Filename tab; is this supposed to be the Genre that is displayed above the freedb drop down in the EAC window?) or
--tg "%B"
(where %B is "freedb music type" according to the EAC options dialog in the Filename tab; this has gotta be what is displayed in the freedb drop down in the EAC window).

Incidentally, these recent postings
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=39255
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=39064
recommend to use
--tg "%m"
but I have never seen the %m option in EAC--it certainly does not appear in the Filename tab--so what is that supposed to refer to?

But if anyone has more info, lemme know.

Also, if anyone has creative uses for the --tc option please post.


Finally, this is tangential, but has anyone figured out how to get Google to do an exact character search? If I type something like "Album Artist" in the field, Google will still find matches with non-exact text like "Album, Artist" or "Album/Artist" etc. This is really annoying when you want the precise characters and nearby matches.
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grommet
post Dec 6 2005, 06:01
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Partial answers/comments:

ID3v2.3 is widely supported now... but the only thing you can bet on working is the common metadata... like Artist, Album, Title... and maybe genre and year... on almost all consumer playback devices. (Heck, some really basic "MP3 on CD" players don't read tags at all.)

Also, the use of "Album Artist" isn't common anywhere... even though it should be. It's just one of the strange things that was ignored in tagging... and continues to be ignored, thanks to many popular products (like iPod/iTunes, WinAmp, etc.) not supporting the concept at all.

The TPE2 tag (Band) is often used for Album Artist. WMP (and Windows Media Center Edition, Windows Media Connect, etc.) uses this... as does Media Monkey, SlimServer, etc. I personally can't live without "Album Artist."

This post has been edited by grommet: Dec 7 2005, 05:12
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captainmidnight
post Dec 6 2005, 14:37
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QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 6 2005, 01:01 AM)
ID3v2.3 is widely supported now... on amost all consumer playback devices.  (Heck, some really basic "MP3 on CD" players don't read tags at al.)


That last one--portable CD players that also claim to play MP3 files--was one of the device types that I was most interested in, since I am thinking of buying 2 of them for friends of mine as christmas gifts. These guys have lots of CDs, but are essentially computer illiterate, so they have never gotten into mp3s etc. So they need a device which can play both.

My question about id3v3 support by these types of devices was motivated when I did a search at Circuit City last night:
http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/catOid/-12...categorylist.do

The typical result in that list, such as the first one (Panasonic SLSX470), claims to be
•MP3 compatible
•CD-R/RW compatible

Fine, I would assume that "MP3 compatible" means that it supports id3v2 tags, but then I see devices--the most expensive ones, naturally--like the last one listed (Panasonic SL-CT810) which not only claims "Plays MP3/WMA CDs" but also lists "ID3 tagging system" as one of its features. Does that mean that the other ones ignore id3 tags? And does this Panasonic SL-CT810 even support id3v2 or just id3v1 tags?

Feel free to recommend a portable CD/mp3 player that you like.
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captainmidnight
post Dec 6 2005, 14:40
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QUOTE (captainmidnight @ Dec 6 2005, 09:37 AM)
QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 6 2005, 01:01 AM)
ID3v2.3 is widely supported now... on amost all consumer playback devices.  (Heck, some really basic "MP3 on CD" players don't read tags at al.)


That last one--portable CD players that also claim to play MP3 files--was one of the device types that I was most interested in.
*



Oh, and one more question about portable CD players that also play MP3: do all your files have to be written into the root directory of the CD-R/RW, or can you put the mp3 files into separate album directories and is the player intelligent enough to drill down and discover them?
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spoon
post Dec 6 2005, 14:42
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The only issue with id3v2 is that some programs will not read unicode entries from the id3v2 tag (ANSI no problems), other than that all modern programs should have no issues with id3v2.3. Some programs support 2.4 but I suspect the majority will not (even in 10 years time).


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captainmidnight
post Dec 6 2005, 14:59
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A question about how LAME writes id3v3 tags: are they always written to the beginning of the file, or are they written at the end?

(I would like it to write at the beginning of the file. Unlike some people on these forums, I strongly feel that any intelligent file format always puts all of its metadata at the beginning of a file, so that you can know info about it before having to parse the entire file. And if id3v2 is used to begin with and padding is present, editing the file takes no extra time.)
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kode54
post Dec 6 2005, 16:00
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QUOTE (spoon @ Dec 6 2005, 06:42 AM)
The only issue with id3v2 is that some programs will not read unicode entries from the id3v2 tag (ANSI no problems), other than that all modern programs should have no issues with id3v2.3. Some programs support 2.4 but I suspect the majority will not (even in 10 years time).
*


iTunes is/was my favorite special case, being the one example I know of that would fail to read ANSI tags. I cannot confirm if this is the case now, but last year, I had to remove automatic lossless ISO-8859-1 writing in foo_id3v2 because someone reported that their iTunes could no longer read the tags. Sounds like an excellent way to avoid the entire mixed codepage SNAFU, seeing as how you never know if you're going to get the correct ISO-8859-1 or some other random encoding.
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Lyx
post Dec 6 2005, 16:10
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QUOTE (captainmidnight @ Dec 6 2005, 02:37 PM)
That last one--portable CD players that also claim to play MP3 files--was one of the device types that I was most interested in, since I am thinking of buying 2 of them for friends of mine as christmas gifts.

(...)

The typical result in that list, such as the first one (Panasonic SLSX470), claims to be
•MP3 compatible

(...)

Be prepared that they may understand something different under "mp3-compatible" than "compatible with the mp3-spec/standard". I dont know how laws are where you live, but if its the case that you can return something you bought within a certain timespan, and get your money back....... then for heavens sake, dont mailorder but instead buy in a local shop instead. Right after buying, rigurously test the player with a variety of MP3s - especially VBR mp3s. If some of them dont work or stutter, return the DAP and get your money back.

- Lyx


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NogginJ
post Dec 6 2005, 16:31
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iRiver has REALLY good mp3/cd players. although they are very good prices, they are still not the cheapest ones out there. but you get a very nice device that reads yer tags and works with directories, is upgradeable, and if need be, can be operated in 'idiot mode' where you just play files.

just my $0.02.

edit: looks like they dont officialy do cd players anymore! however, check the 'outlet' section for some incredible deals!

This post has been edited by NogginJ: Dec 6 2005, 16:33
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Otto42
post Dec 6 2005, 18:01
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QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 6 2005, 12:01 AM)
Also, the use of "Album Artist" isn't common anywhere... even though it should be.  It's just one of the strange things that was ignored in tagging... and continues to be ignored, thanks to many popular products (like iPod/iTunes, WinAmp, etc.) not supporting the concept at all.

iTunes does read the TPE2 tag. It uses it instead of the Artist (the TPE1 tag) if it's present.

This is actually quite annoying, in many cases. I've had to remove TPE2 tags from my library because of this. Of course, I have issues with the concept of an "Album Artist" tag to begin with, but that is best reserved for another discussion. smile.gif


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grommet
post Dec 7 2005, 05:18
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QUOTE (Otto42 @ Dec 6 2005, 09:01 AM)
iTunes does read the TPE2 tag. It uses it instead of the Artist (the TPE1 tag) if it's present.

This is actually quite annoying, in many cases. I've had to remove TPE2 tags from my library because of this. Of course, I have issues with the concept of an "Album Artist" tag to begin with, but that is best reserved for another discussion. smile.gif
*
I don't find this to be the case. I personally would like if this was true. For MP3, I only use ID3v2.3 and find it's completely ignored by iTunes 6 (and iPod.) Maybe only for ID3v2.4? Hmmmm....

Tough if I could get this behavior, iTunes still wouldn't really support the concept of Album Artist and Artist, and I'd lose access to all my individual track artists. Ack.

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Lyx
post Dec 7 2005, 05:27
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QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 7 2005, 05:18 AM)
QUOTE (Otto42 @ Dec 6 2005, 09:01 AM)
iTunes does read the TPE2 tag. It uses it instead of the Artist (the TPE1 tag) if it's present.

This is actually quite annoying, in many cases. I've had to remove TPE2 tags from my library because of this. Of course, I have issues with the concept of an "Album Artist" tag to begin with, but that is best reserved for another discussion. :)
*
I don't find this to be the case. I personally would love if this was true. For MP3, I only use ID3v2.3 and find it's completely ignored by iTunes 6 (and iPod.) Maybe only for ID3v2.4? Hmmmm....
*


It would be VERY interesting to know more about this.


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AutumnRain
post Dec 7 2005, 08:34
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captainmidnight wrote..
QUOTE
..but I have never seen the %m option in EAC--it certainly does not appear in the Filename tab --so what is that supposed to refer to..

it refers to the music mp3 genre
there's should be a list of those variables in the .txt file documentation in your EAC
folder. (the FAQ one i think) ...mentioned there.

-
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spoon
post Dec 7 2005, 10:41
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>Sounds like an excellent way to avoid the entire mixed codepage SNAFU, seeing as how you never know if you're going to get the correct ISO-8859-1

Sounds more like just stupidity...but Apple do have a track record of just supporting part of a standard (how many .m4a files created on different encoders have problems on an ipod)?

Anyhow it should be possible to write both ANSI and Unicode tags to a id3v2 tag, might solve every problem (ie unicode programs should read only the unicode part, ansi programs (?such as winamp) will read the ansi part.


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Otto42
post Dec 7 2005, 17:02
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QUOTE (Lyx @ Dec 6 2005, 11:27 PM)
QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 7 2005, 05:18 AM)
QUOTE (Otto42 @ Dec 6 2005, 09:01 AM)
iTunes does read the TPE2 tag. It uses it instead of the Artist (the TPE1 tag) if it's present.

This is actually quite annoying, in many cases. I've had to remove TPE2 tags from my library because of this. Of course, I have issues with the concept of an "Album Artist" tag to begin with, but that is best reserved for another discussion. smile.gif
*
I don't find this to be the case. I personally would love if this was true. For MP3, I only use ID3v2.3 and find it's completely ignored by iTunes 6 (and iPod.) Maybe only for ID3v2.4? Hmmmm....
*


It would be VERY interesting to know more about this.
*


Okay. I use ID3v2.3 exclusively, along with Tag&Rename to tag my MP3 files.

In Tag&Rename, the Band tag is accessible on an alternate page of the tag editing window. If that is filled in, then when I import the track into iTunes, the "Artist" in iTunes uses whatever is in that Band field and *not* what is in the Artist field (in T&R). Examination of the file shows a TPE2 tag holding the Band info and a TPE1 tag holding the Artist info. iTunes reads the TPE2.

I have encountered other people on the Apple forums who have had this same behavior and after explaining my experiences, they have removed the Band tags and solved their particular problem.

Also, I am unable to reproduce grommet's assertion above. In every case where I insert a TPE2 field into the tag, iTunes picks it up as the Artist. The only thing I can suggest is that he has tags which do not correctly adhere to the ID3v2.3 standards in some way. This would not be surprising, mind you. If the ID3v2.3 tag is bad in some way, iTunes may not read it properly and will read the ID3v1 tag instead (assuming it's present). I've seen this happen before too. Usually I only notice when hitting the string length limitation and it makes itself obvious.

This post has been edited by Otto42: Dec 7 2005, 17:05


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captainmidnight
post Dec 7 2005, 21:41
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QUOTE (Otto42 @ Dec 7 2005, 12:02 PM)
In Tag&Rename...


I downloaded Tag&Rename myself the other day and have started using it. It seems to be decent. Not sure if I am going to shell out the money that they ask for it (probably will, unless someone recommends an equivalent free one).


QUOTE (Otto42 @ Dec 7 2005, 12:02 PM)
...the Band tag is accessible on an alternate page of the tag editing window. If that is filled in, then when I import the track into iTunes, the "Artist" in iTunes uses whatever is in that Band field and *not* what is in the Artist field (in T&R). Examination of the file shows a TPE2 tag holding the Band info and a TPE1 tag holding the Artist info. iTunes reads the TPE2.

I have encountered other people on the Apple forums who have had this same behavior and after explaining my experiences, they have removed the Band tags and solved their particular problem.


What kind of problems were these people encountering when they used the Band tag that removing it solved?

As I understand you, you recommend using both the Artist and Band tags, giving the same value to each, and then most players should recognize at least one of them.

But are there some players which actually crash or something if they encounter an unsupported tag?
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Otto42
post Dec 7 2005, 23:23
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QUOTE (captainmidnight @ Dec 7 2005, 03:41 PM)
What kind of problems were these people encountering when they used the Band tag that removing it solved?

The problem I had was that Tag&Rename has the option to put the words "Various Artists" in the Band tag when tagging compilation albums, like movie soundtracks and such. When I looked at these in T&R, the artist names showed one thing, but when I dragged them into iTunes, the Artist showed Various Artists. This annoyed me, which led to my discovery of the Band tag and it's behavior. So I removed said tag from all files in my library. Problem solved.

QUOTE
As I understand you, you recommend using both the Artist and Band tags, giving the same value to each, and then most players should recognize at least one of them.

No, I simply deleted the Band tag in all my files. I don't set it with anything any more. This gives me a better consistency throughout all the programs I use.

QUOTE
But are there some players which actually crash or something if they encounter an unsupported tag?

No, there really shouldn't be these days. Programs have to deal with unsupported tags all the time.


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grommet
post Dec 7 2005, 23:43
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I don't know what I'm doing different, but my TPE2 metadata is clearly in the ID3v2 tag at the beginning of the MP3 file and all applications can see it. Monkey Audio, SlimServer, WMP/WMC, J. River Media Center (as Band), etc.... but iTunes completely ignores it.

You have a link to a sample file that iTunes reads TPE2 from?

For me, TPE2 contains the "Album Artist" (the name on the CD spine, let's say "Fatboy Slim" or "Various Artists" on a compilation)... and the Artist tag for each track actually contains who performed on the track.

Update: I just used Tag&Rename 3.2 to change Album Artist on one of my MP3 files, added it to iTunes and it still doesn't see it. The normal Artist is seen, as usual.

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Owly
post Dec 8 2005, 05:57
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QUOTE
I downloaded Tag&Rename myself the other day and have started using it.  It seems to be decent.  Not sure if I am going to shell out the money that they ask for it (probably will, unless someone recommends an equivalent free one).


I haven't tried Tag&Rename, but ID3-TagIt (http://www.id3-tagit.de/english/index.htm) is a pretty good tagging utility thats free
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Owly
post Dec 8 2005, 06:06
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QUOTE (captainmidnight @ Dec 6 2005, 11:59 PM)
A question about how LAME writes id3v3 tags: are they always written to the beginning of the file, or are they written at the end?

(I would like it to write at the beginning of the file.  Unlike some people on these forums, I strongly feel that any intelligent file format always puts all of its metadata at the beginning of a file, so that you can know info about it before having to parse the entire file.  And if id3v2 is used to begin with and padding is present, editing the file takes no extra time.)
*


ID3V1 put the tags at the end of the file, but ID3V2 tags are placed at the front, which is much better for streaming. Some useful info on tagging in general can be found at http://id3.org/
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Owly
post Dec 8 2005, 06:29
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QUOTE (spoon @ Dec 7 2005, 07:41 PM)
Anyhow it should be possible to write both ANSI and Unicode tags to a id3v2 tag, might solve every problem (ie unicode programs should read only the unicode part, ansi programs (?such as winamp) will read the ansi part.
*


Im having a problem with tags that may be related to this - anyone come across this before...

I rip CD's with EAC, which generates the tags for me. I then make FLAC's from the wav files for backup, using FlacFrontEnd to add the tags. Finally I use Foobar2000 (0.83) to touch up the tags in both sets of files - I havn't been able to get the auto-tagging in EAC & Flac to work exactly as I want it, particularly withg Various Artists albums. I'm only using the standard tags, nothing fancy.

I have always assumed I was generating ID3V2 tags in all three packages, as the artist and album names are often >30 chars, and I use a 5 char track number (ie 03/12) which aren't supported by ID3V1. But after doing A LOT of tagging, I noticed the tags on the mp3 files were not being displayed correctly in Winamp, nor Windows Media Player. These packages indiacte I only have ID3V1 tags. The flac files all seem fine. DAMN. crying.gif

If this is the case, how does Foobar continue to show the tags in all thier glory, and does anyone know how to convert these correctly into ID3V2tags? The utilities I use show the ID3V1 tags truncatred to 30 characters, as I would have expected them to be.
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Otto42
post Dec 8 2005, 17:05
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QUOTE (grommet @ Dec 7 2005, 05:43 PM)
You have a link to a sample file that iTunes reads TPE2 from?

No, as I have removed all TPE2 tags from my files. However, I will try and create one for you to look at.


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Lyx
post Dec 8 2005, 18:08
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Could a moderator maybe thread-split the TPE2-discussion? I'd like to discuss this more indepth, but am unsure about derailing the thread into offtopic.


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BradPDX
post Dec 8 2005, 18:27
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iTunes has trouble reading ID3V2 tags? That's news to me. I ONLY use ID3V2 whenever possible (the character length restrictions in ID3V1 render it much less useful IMHO) and have no problems with iTunes 6/iPod whatsoever, so I don't know just what the poster means.

I do believe that good tagging is absolutely essential in any library, and that eliminates any need for methodical file naming - because one should hardly ever look at the files. Why on earth use a non-database driven, flat folder/file model like Windows Explorer when a database adds so many dimensions of categorization, search, sub-categorization, and the like? Music has far too many attributes to be well described in a primative schema like Explorer filenames.

Both FB2K and iTunes use database driven models, which I think is far better that file name schemes. I don't care if the files are named 000001.mp3, 000002.mp3..... 342953.mp3, it really shouldn't matter but should instead be an "under the hood" issue only.

My own library is modest, only 13,500 tracks; but I use iTunes for all the organizational chores now due to its database functionality (which is generally more useful than FB2K, IMHO). You can rip how you please, but in the end you have to FIND it and HEAR it. QED.
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saratoga
post Dec 8 2005, 20:21
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QUOTE (BradPDX @ Dec 8 2005, 10:27 AM)
iTunes has trouble reading ID3V2 tags? That's news to me. I ONLY use ID3V2 whenever possible (the character length restrictions in ID3V1 render it much less useful IMHO) and have no problems with iTunes 6/iPod whatsoever, so I don't know just what the poster means.

I do believe that good tagging is absolutely essential in any library, and that eliminates any need for methodical file naming - because one should hardly ever look at the files. Why on earth use a non-database driven, flat folder/file model like Windows Explorer when a database adds so many dimensions of categorization, search, sub-categorization, and the like? Music has far too many attributes to be well described in a primative schema like Explorer filenames.

Both FB2K and iTunes use database driven models, which I think is far better that file name schemes. I don't care if the files are named 000001.mp3, 000002.mp3..... 342953.mp3, it really shouldn't matter but should instead be an "under the hood" issue only.

My own library is modest, only 13,500 tracks; but I use iTunes for all the organizational chores now due to its database functionality (which is generally more useful than FB2K, IMHO). You can rip how you please, but in the end you have to FIND it and HEAR it. QED.
*


I think you probably should have read this thread before posting in it.
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