ID3 tag editing and file renaming

Getting your hands dirty

In the previous article we looked at the capabilities and applications of ID3 tags in MP3 files. That's the theory covered; now, it's time for the practical. For starters, we'll take a quick look at the ID3 tag editing capabilities of Winamp. Then we'll explore other applications that provide batch ID3 tagging, CDDB support, and file renaming based on ID3 tags. We'll also take a look at some applications that provide access to some of the more esoteric possibilities of ID3v2 tags.

Winamp - the hard way

First up, to be fair to Winamp, we should state that this program is not intended to be a fully-featured ID3 tag editor. Instead, it is best described as a fully-featured MP3 player with ID3 support. That said, however, Winamp is still pretty good for basic tag editing. It has 13 fields to store as much text info as you want in your MP3 files. Plus, you can easily copy from an ID3v1 tag to a v2 tag or vice versa, without needing to retype everything. You even get an undo if you mess things up. See Figure 1 for the Winamp ID3 tag dialogue box, which you can view by hitting -3 or right-clicking a file and selecting File Info.

CDDB MP3 Tagger - the easy way

With this freeware program -- you can download it from http://www.batsanyi-tapolca.sulinet.hu/tagger -- you can retrieve song, artist and track information from the Internet using CDDB. You can then use this information to automatically write ID3 tags as well as rename all the files to a naming convention of your choice. The main screen is shown in Figure 2.

To retrieve song data from the Net, select all the tracks in the album and click the 'freedb' button (Figure 3). In the freedb window, enter an e-mail address and click Query Album. You should then be presented with a list of possibilities, from which you can select the correct one. The options button will let you configure any file naming or tagging options to use for the selected files. Click Save and it's all done in a moment!

You can also standardise your MP3 files by batch renaming them from their ID3 tags. To do this, select the MP3 files in the file window and click ID3 -> Filename. If your filenames are already well formatted, you can use them to generate ID3 tags by clicking the FileName -> ID3 button.

Another feature that will save you from creating playlists by hand in Winamp is the export button. Not only will this create M3U files, it will generate HTML pages for your MP3 files! (see Figure 4).

ID3v2 Tag Editor - the deluxe way

This program, available freely from http://www.audioxl.com/oldtagger.html, has many extended ID3 tag options including support for album covers. It also has a Winamp player built in that lets you preview and play your MP3s using Winamp within the program itself (see Figure 5).

Bear in mind that this program is a little long in the tooth, and doesn't support the latest ID3v2.4 version, although it is still the most versatile v2 editor available. You can add as many images to your MP3 files as you like, and there are dozens of data fields for text information. For example, there are categories for artist and album details including remix information and cover art credits. You can also include multiple URLs, song information such as original album, lyricist and artist, as well as add multiple comments.

Unfortunately, unlike CDDB MP3 Tagger, there are no batch options or file renaming, so this is an app for the serious perfectionist!

EAC - the all-in-one approach

An MP3 feature would be incomplete without a single mention of EAC, so here it is. Unfortunately, this is probably the one feature of EAC that we can't sing praises about. Its ID3 tag editing makes Winamp look like a tag word processor. Basically, you get a very simple ID3v1 edit capability without any batch processing -- although you can batch rename files from ID3 tags (see Figure 6). To its credit, though, EAC will write ID3 tags on the fly when you are ripping from CD, but that's another story… (see the previous three-part series on CD ripping by doing a search on the PC World Web site).

Got a digital music question? Ask HelpScreen

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Potts

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Roam freely in the digital world. Critically acclaimed performance and security at your fingertips.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?