A few years ago I spent an insane amount of time using the excellent Tag&Rename program. However, I find that for random, inexplicable reasons, some music tools simply disregard my tags, drop or destroy the album art, or have strange handling around some characters. For example, "AC/DC" is poorly handled by most music players when I use Tag&Rename to write the tags. And if I write the tag in iTunes, Winamp seems to not like it, vice versa, and neither of those work with Amarok.

Is there a piece of software that works like Tag&Rename but is more compatible, or is there a way to ensure Tag&Rename writes more compatible tags?

  • What other tools besides iTunes did you use? I last had these kind of problems more than 5 years ago when the new tag version wasn't well supported. Easytag always worked fine for me btw. – Benjamin Bannier Jun 17 '10 at 23:28
  • @honk: iTunes, Winamp, Amarok, Foobar2k. – Billy ONeal Jun 17 '10 at 23:29
  • Like @msw said below, this is because there is no single standard; it's not necessarily the individual media players doing it "wrong", it's just that they have not agreed on a "correct" way to do it. – Sasha Chedygov Jun 17 '10 at 23:34

Nope, there are too many poorly-defined, inconsistent "standards" for the metadata to be properly interpreted by multiple players. Pick the player you are most likely to use and tag to its standards. You really can't do any better.

See also Tag&Rename tag editor FAQ but don't expect its suggestions to work.


Also, bear in mind that 30+ years ago, AC/DC had the good sense to include in their name an ASCII character commonly used to delineate directory structures in computer filesystems, thereby making it very difficult to properly tag them.

If Meta\\ica had been smart like AC/DC, they never would have had those problems with Napster.

  • 1
    That's a really good point. Although through the magic of Unicode I just made a directory called AC⁄DC (but don't have anything to put in it). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidus_%28punctuation%29 – msw Jun 18 '10 at 0:37
  • @msw: fixed your broken link. parentheses in comments and markdown URLs aren't handled well; use percent-codes instead. – quack quixote Jun 18 '10 at 0:58
  • I just noticed and was reading the meta.stackoverflow discussion about it. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/49201/… Thanks for the fix. – msw Jun 18 '10 at 1:05
  • More recent versions of Tag and Rename simply drop the / when auto-renaming those files. Many music players still choke on the character though. – Billy ONeal Jun 23 '10 at 4:13

One other thing to check for is v1 and v2 tags. I was experiencing the same problem, and couldn't figure out why - it turns out that some software looks at the v1 tags, some the v2, some both, etc.

I ended up removing the tags from all my music, and have a perl script to re-create the tags based on my directory structures (artist/album) and some meta info in each directory for things like genre, etc.

  • Unfortunately that destroys the album art. – Billy ONeal Jun 23 '10 at 3:31

If you're looking for a free app that is solely dedicated to tagging, I suggest trying out MP3Tag (it tags many formats besides MP3). It's tagging conventions are described here.

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