Share Experience with Various Music Tagging Software

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Aphex_Twin77
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Share Experience with Various Music Tagging Software

Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:52 am

Firstly I have done a quick search on here and was surprised that I didn't find a similar thread. If one exists sorry for wasting your time.

Anyway I have been collecting digital music on my computer since 2001 and never really paid attention to the tags until I first started using MM about 1.5 years ago. At that stage I realised about 50% of my music wasn't fully or properly tagged. Since then I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to fix this.

What someone sees as a "fully tagged" music file really depends on the individual user. For me I am satisfied when I have the correct artist-title-album-year and the album art is an added bonus, whereas other users are only happy when they also have genre, bpm, lyrics and so on.

Using the criteria that satisfys my taste, my music is now about 85% "fully tagged". So I am always on the lookout for new software to help with my final 15% or something that is an improvement on what I currently use to tag my new files.

If you do an Internet search along the lines of "mp3 tagging software" there are hit's for 100's of different software titles.
I have tested a good 20 to 30 of theses and only about 5 of them have been helpful and the rest did not do what I wanted. However, as I mentioned above different users have different expectations do maybe some of the software I have tested would fulfill the wishes of another user.
Foe example some people say Tag&Rename is a great software but that didn't meet my expectations because the CDDB lookup option only works for full albums and I want a software that does it for individual music files. Which I eventually found.

So, to get to the crux of my post. It would be great if we had a thread on here where all the MM users could share their experiences with different mp3 tagging software. What you needed the software to do and if it achieved this or not. Also the positives and negatives of a software title you have used. Somewhere to ask other users if they know of a software that can carry out a tagging function that you haven't yet found in another software. Also a place where we can inform the other users of the release of a totally new software or an update to a known software.
I'm sure you all get my idea but I'll start it off with a mini-review of a software in my next post.

I really hope this turns into a thread that can help us all on here!

Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:20 am

CDDB is known as one of the most extensive music databases on the net. However I had only found software to do a search and tag with full albums but most of my untagged mp3s are individual files. I finally found a software to do this and it was called MusicLibrary. As the name suggests it's for organising music librarys but I have MM for that and only used it's tagging function.

You can tag individual files with ,among others, Allmusic.com, CDDB and Gracenote.
It has a free 30 day trial.

You can get it here http://www.wensoftware.com/

It hasn't been updated since 2006 and takes a bit of playing around with to use it properly. I recommend using it with a sample set of 10 files which you have the originals saved somewhere else because there are some default options which tag all the files with the same art or album etc. So practice with it a bit before you use it on files you only have one copy of.

I have successfully found tags for files which I couldn't tag with lots of other software.

With this software you have to tag each file individually. Does anyone know of a tagging software that tags files using Allmusic and CDDB/Gracenote in batch mode with files that are not all from the same CD?

nohitter151
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Post by nohitter151 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:19 am

I used iTunes for a while, then started looking for a new app when I got an Archos Pocketdish and wouldn't be able to sync it with iTunes (I also had an iPod mini at the time). I tested a lot of software, (foobar, winamp, WMP) but none seemed as feature-packed and intuitive as Mediamonkey. Mediamonkey also has a great community and there are a ton of scripts and skins to use. I have also heard many people say that MM handles large libraries better than any other media library manager out there. Some users have reported libraries of over 1TB without slowdowns, so MM is a powerful organizer without any bloat.

I have also had good experiences with Jaikoz, which is a batch audio tagger. It makes a fingerprint of each track then compares it to a value in the MusicBrainz database and looks up track info, then tags your m4a, mp4 (audio), m4p (protected audio), mp3 (ID3v1,v11,v22,v23 and v24) and ogg (vorbis Audio) files, flac, and ape (Monkey Audio). For a batch tagger it does very well, I experienced about a 90% success rate. It works on any OS, but the downside of it is that you have to pay for a lifetime license to use it. I think the trial version lets you test it on 50 tracks or so.
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Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:54 am

I agree as an all-round music library organiser I have found nothing better than Media Monkey and can see myself using it for a long time to come.

Basically I'm looking for software to complete my tags so I can fully enjoy MM.

Musicbrainz basic tagger is very good as a batch tagger and pick up a lot of rare stuff too. The only problem is that it fills all my desired fields except for the year. It also automatically suggests a lot of compilation albums or live versions as tag data rather than the original CD and only shows the top result. I know you can change that by clicking on the data and selecting something more suitable from the database (if available). It also has no cover art. Musicbrainz Picard gives years and cover art but I have played around with it a little and just don't like it for some reason, mainly because it tries to organise my files when all I want it to do is find tags for me. Maybe I just need to experiment with it a little more to feel more comfortable with it.

I like Jaikoz a lot and it is an improvement on Musicbrainz and automatically gives you a choice of several possible results for your files and includes the year and some album art. I fixed a lot of files with it before the license ran out. I'm contemplating buying the licence because it's not so expensive for what it offers.

nohitter151
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Post by nohitter151 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:07 pm

Jaikoz is definitely worth the price. I had actually already tagged my whole library the way I wanted it when I bought it. One year I decided as a gift to my dad I would clean up his mp3 collection. Hes got about 5,000 tracks, so I figured I'd spent the money on Jaikoz to get his stuff straightened out. It worked out very well, and its definitely worth it if you have a very large collection of tracks to fix.
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:11 pm

TagRunner http://tagrunner.com/en/tagrunner/index.html is another favorite of mine. It's a batch tagger that uses 10 different Internet sources and also search for lyrics. I set it to do an extensive search and only allow it to find data that is very similar to my files. I turn off the lyrics option as I don't need it.
Usually when I enter a set of files with just the artist name and song title it fully tags about 70% very accurately. The only errors I've seen are sometimes in the year and the cover art is from a different CD from the same artist. Also if the title is a remix it renames it as the original. I can live with this and it saves me a lot of hassle on having to check every file to make sure it is properly tagged. With a DSL connection at the start of an analysis it tags one file every 10 to 20 seconds but after about half of the tracks are tagged it slows down. When it hasn't found a tag for more than 5 minutes I usually stop it although only 70% of the tracks are tagged.

Maybe I would get more results if I let it look for tags that are less similar. Has anyone tried that and compared the results?

DazB
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Post by DazB » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:33 pm

Hi,

Prior to deciding to move my music from CD I developed a number of scripts based around the XMCD (CDDB) files - mainly to support sorting by artist name and export to PDA and phone, etc.

I looked at a fair few before coming across MM and lurked for quite a while until MM3 was announced - the switch to SQLite was the clincher. Whilst I have had anything but bad experiences with MM3 to date, MM2 is fast and can be connected to from the outside world - although learning VBScript and switching between it and PHP/JavaScript makes for much confusion.

The others that I have looked at since include;

Songbird - Initially very promising, but marred by slow development, so I can't make any decision about how limited it is going to be.

FooBar2000 - Very fast and apparently can be set up how you want it to, but the scripting language and database don't really appeal to me.

Of the others that I have tried;

I don't believe you can manage a reasonably large library without some form of database, so those that read the tags on start up don't even figure into the equation - statements such as 'it only takes 6 minutes to load' make me cringe.

One had a password protected database!

One used an abstraction layer and so as appealing, but their statement that libraries with over 20,000 tracks would suffer poor performance (with MySQL) took me aback.

In general many of these applications suffer from poorly documentation especially where they use non-standard scripting/databases. MM is getting better in this respect, but the Wiki has inherited the poor structure of the CHM help file.

I don't think that I will find the perfect solution, so for now I have the least worst.

nohitter151: I am just playing with the PUID generation and am not too sure how best to plug it into MM - I have run out of custom fields and so will probably have to modify the database.

Daz

spacefish
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Post by spacefish » Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:10 pm

Aphex_Twin77 wrote:Musicbrainz Picard gives years and cover art but I have played around with it a little and just don't like it for some reason, mainly because it tries to organise my files when all I want it to do is find tags for me.
You can turn that bit off if you like. I personally like it, especially since it has sortname functionality, something MM is sorely lacking.

Picard is excellent as far as standardizing all your tags, especially if you're a last.fm user, as last.fm imports a lot of data from MusicBrainz. It is also good for initial organization but I find MediaMonkey to be much more robust for long-term file management. In fact, Picard has no long-term file management and of course it doesn't play files. It's just a really good tagger with a few options for file naming and moving. Picard can also make use of plugins which extend its tagging functionality.

For general clean-up, or for those times when stuff isn't in the MB database, I used to use ID3-TagIt. I still have it installed but find I use it a lot less now that I have MM. Like Picard, it also has options for naming and moving files and supports ID3v2.4.
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Post by urlwolf » Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:19 am

Lokking at tagrunner... can it be possible that it doesn't accept a m3u list?
Do they really assume that you have all your untagged files on the same dir?

That cannot be...
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Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:38 am

urlwolf wrote:Lokking at tagrunner... can it be possible that it doesn't accept a m3u list?
Do they really assume that you have all your untagged files on the same dir?

That cannot be...
I don't know. I use MM to keep my untagged files in a separate folder from my tagged files. Then I only submit the files in the "untagged" folder for processing. That's what I've done for all the different applications. Then after the tagging is finished I transfer the tagged files from the untagged folder to the tagged folder. Naturally you can have all your files in your MM library if you monitor both folders.

Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:46 am

Fix Tunes (www.fixtunes.com) is another useful application. It's an automatic batch tagger which displays results based on % similarity to your filename and current tags. It fills artist, title, album, year, genre and cover art.

I've managed to tag some files with it that I couldn't with other applications. IMO it's not as reliable as TagRunner. It has come up with some unusual tags even when it say they are 85% similar. So you really need to check that they are properly tagged before saving them.

Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:18 pm

urlwolf wrote:Lokking at tagrunner... can it be possible that it doesn't accept a m3u list?
Do they really assume that you have all your untagged files on the same dir?

That cannot be...
I've thought a bit more about this and there is possibly a workaround but it depends on what you consider to be "untagged" files.

TagRunner fills: title, artist, album, year, comment, genre and track #.
Under "options > search setup > configuration" you can determine which tags it should look for. Under "options>search setup" you can determine if you want to search for cover art and/or lyrics. On the search (or home) interface you have an option to "search for files with missing tags only". If you check this option then TagRunner will only do a search for the files that are missing the tags which you specified it to look for in the "search setup". So in principal you can add as multiple directories but tag runner will only do a search for the files in each directory which are missing the specified tags. I have only ever used TagRunner for one directory at a time containing all "untagged" files. So I can't tell you how well this feature works but if you know you have tagged files in a particular directory then if the feature works only a percentage of the files should be searched for and not all the files.

Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:25 pm

spacefish wrote:
Aphex_Twin77 wrote:Musicbrainz Picard gives years and cover art but I have played around with it a little and just don't like it for some reason, mainly because it tries to organise my files when all I want it to do is find tags for me.
You can turn that bit off if you like. I personally like it, especially since it has sortname functionality, something MM is sorely lacking.
I just had another look at it and realised that I was using an old version. I downloaded the latest version and find it to be much more user friendly for tagging. It's tagged a few hundred more of my untagged files so I'm pretty happy with that :)

Some files had the album but not the year tag. However, having the album tag made it easier FixTunes to find the year.

Aphex_Twin77
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Post by Aphex_Twin77 » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:30 pm

nohitter151 wrote:Jaikoz is definitely worth the price. I had actually already tagged my whole library the way I wanted it when I bought it. One year I decided as a gift to my dad I would clean up his mp3 collection. Hes got about 5,000 tracks, so I figured I'd spent the money on Jaikoz to get his stuff straightened out. It worked out very well, and its definitely worth it if you have a very large collection of tracks to fix.
Just to let you know the a new version of Jaikoz (v2.2.2 Build 1042) was released about a week and a half ago. I'm just about to download it and try it out. Only 20 files can be fixed during one run this time :(

Mahtee
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Post by Mahtee » Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:53 pm

I would like to jump in and thank you all for the tagging discussion. I am also surprised this isn't a larger topic. I would very much look forward to any reviews of tagging software, as any other credible information seems to be lacking.
So- if I only want to shell $ out for one product, do you recommend Tagrunner or Jaikoz?

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