Tuesday, July 6, 2010

PLEASE READ: Track Tagging

'ello. So I recently received a comment from a poster here that the ID3 track tags on some of the available music are coming up looking a bit haggard. For example, one of my early Who compilations may show up on his media player with the information for the various source CDs instead of displaying the artwork, track numbers, etc. for the new comp.

This is distressing to me because I have sunk a *lot* of time into getting my track tags "just so"; making sure the titles, album art, writers' credits etc. are all in good shape. Rather than using iTunes to do this, which I have found in the past doesn't really work well at all, I have been going with an app that was recommended to me called Stamp ID3 Tag Editor.

What I would love here is feedback from you all regarding the quality of my ID3 track tags on your end. Do they come up looking pretty consistent? What player/ platform are you using? I test everything in both iTunes and WinAmp on my Windows machine before upping it, but that may not help you if you're using Foobar or running Ubantu or OS-X. Anyway, please leave some feedback so I can get this sorted out. My goal is to get my tags looking as good as possible for everyone who visits the site!


  1. I've been quite satisfied with the tags... I'm DLing the The Who stuff now, though - so I'll see if I can come up with a gripe!

    Tags are a pretty personal thing, it seems to me. Kind of how we all organize our collections in a certain way, we all like our tags "just so".

    I learned the hard way, after DLing for a couple years, the importance of clean tagging. I took me a few months, more or less, of off/on work to get things whipped into shape, once I worked out the best system for me.

    Nowadays, as soon as I DL something I plop it into MP3Tag (about the same thing as Stamp, far as I can tell) and make sure things look good... For example, with The Savage Young Who DL, I added "The Who" as Album Artist, which keeps The High Numbers, Pete Townsend, and The Who as their respective Song Artist, but puts all the songs into the same general bowl. Works for me, and it's how I like it, though I realize that others may not like that lumping-together mode.

    One thing I've noticed from your tags, that I change, is that there will be songs tagged "name of the song, the", which I change to get the 'the' to the front of the song title. The Zune software is very good about ignoring those type things and alphabetizing accordingly, so... once again, works for me.

    The only other change I make (to all songs, not just the ones from you) is to make the file name the same as the song title - getting rid of the track number at the beginning of the file name. It creates a small problem when there are two identical named songs on an album, but I get around that by parenthetical (mono), (live), (single version). Again, it just works for me.

    On the whole, though, I'm very much impressed with all aspects of your packages, right down to the id3 tags. Doing what works best for you seems to be working just great!

  2. Awesome, thank you so much for your feedback Matt!

    There's a definite method to my madness with the way I do things. The "name of song, the" formatting dates to the old days of iTunes when any song title starting with "The" would automatically be alphabetized under the letter "T". They've since fixed that, but by the time they did I had already tagged thousands of mp3s, and so I just stuck with that method for consistency's sake.

    Putting the track number into the file name is just a safety thing, so that in case the track numbers in the tags don't show up on somebody's player, they will still know the proper running order of the album.

    I never use the Album Artist tag because it's just been too problematic in the past. For example, I might have, say, 20 songs on the same Weezer album, and say maybe 8 of them have the band's name under the Album Artist, while the rest have that tag blank. When I organize the album by track number (in iTunes at least) the 8 tracks tagged with the Album Artist will jump to the top sequentially, regardless of where they're supposed to appear on the album. Annoying.

    Anyhow, thanks for the feedback. I will now go ahead and post that project you saw over on Ian's board. If anyone else should experience any issues with the tags I do in the future though, please do not hesitate to post about it here!