MP3 has become the most common audio format for playback, storage and transfer of music. If we need to playback MP3 files with their tag information shown correctly, or to organize a large collection of MP3 files based on their tag information, a good MP3 tag editor will be helpful.
In this category, both standalone and built-in MP3 tag editors are reviewed based on three basic needs which include:
- Support basic tags, embedded cover arts and lyrics.
- Rename files using tag information, and edit tags using file names.
- Lookup online databases and save tags into MP3 files.
Go straight to:
TagScanner is my favorite. It supports basic tags such as artist, album, title, track, year and genre, and extended tags including composer, grouping, BPM (beats per minute), etc. Lyrics are shown below the album cover.
Files can be renamed with Music Renamer and tags can be generated from file names.
TagScanner with its Tag Processor allows you to preview tags and cover arts from online databases before saving them into MP3 files.
However, it does not come with a normal windows menu. You may need to spend some time to get yourself familiarized with its user interface.
Mp3tag is a good choice if you prefer to have a user interface with a normal windows menu. Mp3tag has the advantage of a simple and clean design with a powerful and yet easy-to-use tool to edit tags of MP3 files.
Basic tags are shown in a customizable front panel. Extended tags are shown in a separate window for all existing tags stored in your MP3 files. If a tag for lyrics or other info does not exist, it can be added, or if a tag is repeated, it can be removed easily.
Mp3tag allows you to rename files based on the tag information, import or export tag information and create playlists. It supports online Amazon, freedb, MusicBrainz and other database look-ups, allowing you to auto tag and embed multiple images for album covers.
It also has a powerful Web Sources Framework, allowing you to get album info from additional online databases. The latest web sources are available from Mp3tag Forums at Web Sources Archive. You can download the ones you need, and extract them to your Mp3tag data folder in order to gain access to more online databases for auto tagging.
Kid3 (standing for KDE ID3) audio tag editor runs on multi platforms and supports editing all tags in MP3 files. You can generate tags from file names or vice versa, and import tags from online databases including gnudb.org, TrackType.org, Discogs and MusicBrainz.
The application allows for dragging and dropping a cover art to a file and helps searching album arts and lyrics via a browser from online resources as well. Other features include convert between ID3v1.1, ID3v2.3 and ID3v2.4 tags, edit tags of multiple files, generate playlist files, rename and create directories from tags, case conversion and export tags.
Despite all the features, it lacks a column view available to other editors for glancing at the same tag fields but of different values in multiple files. Due to this, you can only see 'un-equal' signs in tags for different values when multiple files are selected.
MusicBrainz Picard runs on multi platforms and adopts a new tagging concept that is album oriented, as opposed to tracks or files oriented tagging.
It identifies track information by comparing a unique digital thumbprint to the information in the MusicBrainz database. Once the tracks are best matched, you can save their respective tag information into selected MP3 files. How To Tag Files With Picard is a helpful guide for a quick start.
As with Mp3tag, checking the details of a selected file evokes a list of all existing tags, including lyrics, which you can then edit. If a tag doesn't currently exist, you can always add it.
But in the version under review, cover art edits aren't possible except by updating from online databases.
MetatOGGer introduces workspaces to make tagging more user-friendly. The workspaces can be configured, saved and re-loaded.
The program features a collapsible left panel for viewing or editing tags and cover art of a selected file. Another collapsible panel is placed to the right to search for cover arts or retrieve tags from the Database.
Other than tagging from scripts and filenames, tagging from the acoustic fingerprint is supported and found to be quite accurate. Lyrics can be optionally added to the tag if retrieved from Wikia.com successfully.
On the downside, the editor only supports for one cover art per file and its searching tags from the Database is found not quite stable.
MPTagThat is a relatively new OpenSource MP3 tag editor. In addition to tag editing, the program also includes extra functions such as audio playback, ripping, converting and burning music files.
As regards tagging, it allows auto tag from file names or the Internet as well as identifying files. Another very useful feature is auto tagging of lyrics and album art from the Internet, even though retrieving cover art takes a while.
Other features of the program include organizing or renaming files based on tag information, case conversion, removing tags, execute scripts, etc.
The program is still under active development and has the potential to improve in quality. Don't be surprised if you encounter some handling errors in the current version under review.
Unlike the above, The GodFather is a tag editor with a built-in library to organise MP3 files based on tag info. The program will scan your MP3 folders and automatically suggest the files to rename.
Under its library tab, it allows you to edit and show up to 4 pictures per album stored in MP3 files. Moreover, the "Search lyrics using Google" function gets you the results in a Google search page or the web page showing lyrics of the selected file. This expedites the search for lyrics but you need to copy and save them to the tag manually, not so efficient as MPTagThat.
In addition to manual editing of tags, it provides auto tagging via online databases such as freedb, Allmusic and Amazon. However, All Music Guide is disabled due to possible terms of service violation, and the built-in Amazon search seems to retrieve tag info less successfully than other selected tag editors. Another drawback is that this program has no Unicode support.
MusicBee is a music player and organizer with a built-in tagger which is as good as a standalone tag editor.
It allows you to auto tag by albums or tracks, look up album arts, lyrics and other tag info from the web, save tags and embed lyrics and multiple images into the music files in your collection. The tedious tagging work is made so much easier and more intuitive now with this program.
As an alternative, MediaMonkey Standard is also a music player with a built-in tag editor meeting the basic needs. It allows editing basic and detailed tag information, auto tags from filenames, move or rename files based on track tags.
It also supports editing lyrics and multiple images with types and descriptions for album art, and allows fixing of tags in your selected MP3 files with automatic lookup and tagging of album art and other track information from Amazon online database.
AudioShell is not a standard alone application but a Windows Explorer shell extension. Unlike all the above applications, it allows you to view and edit tag information directly in Windows Explorer.
After installing AudioShell, you do not need to run it again. It adds 27 optional additional columns to show tags in Explorer "Details" view.
Editing basic tags and the cover art of an MP3 file is allowed at Editor tab of Properties windows, and editing lyrics is allowed at Summary tab in Advanced mode. Group editing is possible by selecting multiple files.
AudioShell does not offer connection to online databases, but it is a good program to accompany any one of the above applications.
These are other MP3 tag editors which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.
- Mp3nity, a tag editor with a built-in player supports for editing various tag fields including lyrics and pictures, mass tag editing, renaming, etc. Finding album art and lyrics online and other advanced features are restricted to the paid premium version. Tags in unicode encountered errors when tested.
- MP3 Book Helper allows file renaming and tags editing by variables or regular expressions. Pictures and lyrics are to be viewed on separate windows with a search linked to Allmusic or Google on a browser. A lyrics search directs you to a Google search page related to the selected file, but a search on freedb database for tag info gets fewer matches than other short listed tag editors.
- ID3-TagIT supports quite a number of tag info, including lyrics and multiple pictures for album arts. It also supports freedb database but experiences a low rate of getting a successful match and occasionally subjects to 'unhandled exception' errors. Lyrics are shown without line breaks for some MP3 files.
- EasyTag is a cross-platform tag editor for ID3 tags of different audio files, using a GTK+ interface. No support for Lyrics tag is noted.
- Mp3 Tag Tools is a small program allowing you to edit basic tags and lyrics, embed multiple images of album arts into MP3 files, but with regret, it does not support fixing of tags from online databases, one of the basic needs in this review.
- Jaangle (formerly Teen Spirit) is a music player and organizer with a built-in tagger. Its Google Lyrics is powerful in automatically searching the lyrics, but writing them to the file is still buggy as it will white-out the album art in the file as checked from other tag editors. Besides, other tag editing features are not better than MediaMonkey.
- Zortam Mp3 Media Studio is a multi-purpose MP3 organizer with a built-in tag editor. It allows editing tags including lyrics and multiple pictures, and provides online updating of tags via Amazon. However, unlimited online access to Zortam Music Database for lyrics and cover arts, together with some other basic editing features, are only available to the commercial Pro version.
- Abyssmedia ID3 Tag Editor, offers features for editing very basic tags without lyrics and art covers. No online lookups for tags info are supported.
- The Crab searches your music data sources from Amazon or Discogs based on music albums only. You can edit basic tags and art cover, but not lyrics and other tags.
You might want to check out these articles too:
- Best Free Audio Editing Software
- Best Free Software to Cut, Split or Merge Audio Files
- Best Free Media Player
- Best Free Music Players and Organizers
- Open Source Album Art Finder
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