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I have folders with 1000's of mp3 files. I want to delete some files for certain artists. I am using File Explorer in Windows and it's very slow. Every time I scroll the screen, it refreshes slowly. Is there a tool where I can tell it to delete all mp3's where artist name in the ID tag contains some string?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can use a combination of MP3Tag and the command line for this.

Main features:

Batch Tag Editing Write ID3v1.1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, MP4, WMA, APEv2 Tags and Vorbis Comments to multiple files at once.

Support for Cover Art Download and add album covers to your files and make your library even more shiny.

Import from Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz Save typing and import tags from online databases like Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz, and more.

Replace characters or words Replace strings in tags and filenames (with support for Regular Expressions).

Create Playlists automatically Create and manage playlists automatically while editing.

Rename files from tags - Rename files based on the tag information and import tags from filenames.

Export to HTML, RTF, CSV Generate nice reports and lists of your collection based on user-defined templates.

Full Unicode Support User-interface and tagging are fully Unicode compliant.

with that in mind, rename all files with the specified artist to something like DELETEME+Old_file_name (Where Old_file_name is the original file name, in case that wasn't apparent). Then in command prompt:


although you could just load the files into any mp3 player such as Foobar2000, sort by artist, then select all by that artist and delete.

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In MediaMonkey you can sort by artist name. In fact you can select an artist from the Music Explorer Tree.

You can then select all of the files in the view pane and then either simply hit Del or right click and select Remove from the context menu. Both routes will present you with confirmation dialog containing the option to just remove from the library or remove from the library and the computer. Select the latter option and then "Yes" and your mp3 files will be sent to the recycle bin.

If you need a wild card search, MediaMonkey has a search tool that takes several modifiers. The one for artists is:


So if I type in "artist:Michael" I get all artists with Michael in the name, in my case Michael Nyman, Michael Jackson, Michael Flanders (& Donald Swann), Gary Numan & Michael R Smith. It even saves these searches for future reference.

I suspect that a variation on the above would work for many other music library applications.

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It's possible with Total Commander and the Anytag plug-in.

Once the plug-in is installed (open the zip containing the plug-in with Total Commander, it will recognize it's a plug-in and ask to install it), go to the directory containing the MP3 files.

  • Press the "+" key on the numeric keypad to enter the "Expand selection" window
  • Click on "Define"
  • In the "Define Selection" windows, go to the General tab
  • Type "*.mp3" in the "Search for" field
  • Go to the Plugins tab
  • Check "search in plugins"
  • Select "anytag" as the plugin, "Artist" as property and "contains" as OP. Put the string you want to search in "Value"
  • Click on "Save", enter a template name and, back in the "Define selection", click on OK

It will search all files and select the ones whose artist contains the required string. Press "Delete" (F8) to delete them.

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Here's the easiest way of all...

Do you have iTunes on your PC? If not you can get it at

Drop all of your music files into the main itunes window or you can have itunes search your drive(s) for all music automatically.

itunes is pretty fast, so when it's done loading, Go to File > New Smart Playlist

Choose the tag you want to search and the criteria, ie, Artist contains Abba

Click OK. Select all. Delete.

Totally easy. - Plus, once you get into creating the Smart Playlist, you'll see for yourself how many other options you have to narrow or widen your selection of "goners."

Best of luck...

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