I’ve just spend something like seven hours over the past two days adding ID3 tags to all of my old MP3’s.
In case you didn’t know, ID3 tags are little bits of information that are encoded along with your MP3’s that tell your MP3 player of choice (be it Apple, Sandisk, Zune — yeah, right, a “Zune”, HURR) what the current song’s title, artist, album, etc. are.
Neat, ain’t it? Yeah, it just doesn’t know it by magic.
Now, unfortunately, depending upon how you get your MP3’s, this information is not always included along with the files. (Say, for instance, you ripped your own MP3’s from your private CD collection.) Some CD rippers are thoughtful, and ask you to include artist and album information (though this is still a pain in the ass to fill out, since you have to do every song separately). Some programs (oddly enough, ones you usually don’t pay for) are smart enough to go online to several big open-source CD information sites, check the track lengths on the CD you’re trying to rip, and then figure out what CD it is, filling in the ID3 information for you!
Yeah, that’s if you’re lucky. However, if you’re like a lot of people, you have a massive collection of old MP3’s — most of which you have no idea where they’re from — and none of them have appropriate artist/album/track information. Most of them will have correct file names, but that doesn’t mean crap when you put them on your iPod or whatever. They’ll just show up as a bunch of “Unknown — Unknown Artist — Unknown Album” tracks.
Well, half of all my MP3’s were like this, and it was pretty pathetic. I’ve always had the intention to fix them all, but it’s a big, big job to take on, and every time I started I put it off.
So, yesterday, I sat down, and I was all like, “I’m going to do this.” About seven hours later I was done.
What helped me do it? A little program called EasyTag, available free from your favorite Linux repository. Not the most beautiful program in the world (especially on my small laptop screen, as Easy Tag is obviously to be used with three columns of information), but it works!
A little word to the wise, if you’re planning on doing this yourself, to your own MP3 collection — EasyTag doesn’t edit files directly and right away. You have your big list of files there in the middle column, and you edit their ID3 tag information on the right. You can do a bunch of files like this, and then when you’re finally ready for your changes to be applied, then you click on the little “Save” icon (which will forever be a bloody floppy disk, now and until the end of time, even if no one uses them anymore). Only then are your changes applied to your MP3 files.