I have a collection of mp3s where each one is described with a series of 1-6 words that describe the characteristics of the song. Currently, I have merely added these words to the end of the file's name like this:

SONG1NAME ( mysterious, ominous, ambient )
SONG2NAME ( scary, dramatic, energetic )

I would like to be able to search these few hundred files by tag so I can get a list of all files tagged mysterious, or all files tagged dramatic AND energetic. In other words, I would like to mimic the system SuperUser and other SE sites use where questions are tagged and then filterable by those tags. I can currently use windows search and get pretty good results, but I can't help but feeling like I'm doing something kind of hackish by just appending these 'tags' to the title. If a song has the tag word somewhere in its title or other attributes it will also show up, and while this isn't a huge inconvenience, I feel like there should be a better solution.

How can I accomplish this? I have a fairly limited understanding of ID3 tags, but they seem to be more for adding specific information to a song in the spirit of 'show me the files where this attribute has this value' as opposed to 'show me all the files that have this attribute', which is more what I want. Am I misunderstanding the general function and idea behind ID3 tags? Could I put these my 'tags' all within a certain ID3 tag like 'mood' and then just search through the mood attributes of those files?

While it wouldn't be preferred, I don't mind using a program that organizes them and allows me to search through them, but it would be nice if I could just move all of the files to another computer and then use a generic search utility and not have to specifically get that same program again. It would also be nice if I could throw in things like a sort by length or bitrate, seeing a list of all the tags I've used and the number of files with that tag, and easy mass renaming, but these are more added bonuses for me than absolute requirements. :D

TL;DR: How can I mimic SuperUser's tag system in my music collection so I can add tags to my files and then filter them by what tags they have?


If you right-click on the mp3 file, click Properties, and navigate to the Details tab, you should be able to add tags to your mp3 file from there. If you're doing this with many mp3's, you might want to download an application to help you batch edit them. Let me know if this is what you're looking for.

  • I've looked in the properties tab, but it uses the property: value system. I can edit the values of existing tags like 'artist' and 'bit-rate', but I can't seem to add my own. Are you suggesting that I create a bunch of new tags somehow from the properties window called 'energetic', 'scary', etc.? Would I just give that tag a dummy value like 1 and then search for all the files with attribute scary=1, breaking away from the property: value model that it forces me to use? Or should I throw all my tags into the value of one of the tags there, such as mood? – Gordon Gustafson May 8 '12 at 23:44

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