Unfortunately, Google Music does weird things with how it interprets my music. I'm really kind of crazy with how I tag and manage my music collection; I spent a long time last year going through every artist and album of 20 gigs of music, adding pictures, correcting metadata, etc.

When I upload things to Google Music, it botches things pretty terribly. For example, I use EasyTag to manage my library, and unfortunately, it doesn't support the Album Artist ID3 tag, only the Artist one. Google Music cues off of the Album Artist more than the Artist, so this often splits up albums.

And so, it's come to this. I could write a Python script that would traverse my music library, wiping my songs of ID3v1 tags and all other tags I'm not primarily interested in. Would there be any side-effects to this? Is ID3v2 pretty well supported?

  • 1
    id3v2 has been around for a while. unless you're using a really old software shouldn't be any problems – Sathyajith Bhat Nov 17 '11 at 4:29
  • Old thread but adding info: on Linux, I'm a big fan of Kid3 which has a nice GUI but also a command line option which would allow you to convert 2.3 to 2.4 AND strip out v1 tags all in one. Handbook here: kid3.sourceforge.net/kid3_en.html#kid3-cli – dez93_2000 Aug 27 '14 at 22:32

Removing ID3v1 should not cause any problems; it solves many of them. (Non-Latin character support, for example.)


  • v2.3 is very widely supported, v2.4 as well, but some programs will just refuse to read v2.4 tags – for example, Windows Explorer.
  • On the other hand, the v2.3 specification for "multiple values" uses / as the separator, making it impossible to enter such artists as "AC/DC".
  • ID3v2 allows several encodings – ISO-8859-1, UCS-2/UTF-16, and UTF-8.
    • Some programs read UTF-8 but not UCS-2/UTF-16.
    • Some programs read UCS-2/UTF-16 but not UTF-8.
    • Some programs write UTF-8 but mark it as ISO-8859-1, causing properly written programs to display garbage.
  • There are disagreements on some ID3 frame names.
    • foobar2000 uses TXXX:replaygain_track_gain, while other programs use RVA2.
    • QuodLibet/ExFalso uses TXXX:QuodLibet::albumartist, while other programs use TPE2.

Still, I always recommend removing v1 tags, since they can cause a lot of confusion – especially when one program writes v2 and another tries to read v1.

Unfortunately, some players will re-add v1 when editing tags; avoid these. I usually do all retagging using foobar2000 or mid3v2; other good tools are eyeD3 and Ex Falso (they do not support the standard "album artist" frame, though).

For the v2 version, convert to v2.4 and see if it works. If it doesn't work, file bug reports and play around with encodings (eyeD3 --force-update --set-encoding=utf16-BE or utf8 or utf16-LE) and/or convert to v2.3 (eyeD3 --to-v2.3).

(Also, ID3v2.2 is just as obsolete. Don't bother with it.)

  • The best mp3 tagging software I've ever come across is mp3tag. :D I'm fairly meticulous with my tags, as well. It's windows only, though. – Rob Nov 21 '11 at 14:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.