What's a music tagger?

Tags: Keywords to describe digital objects

A music tagger is software that can edit information stored inside digital music files (mp3s, WMAs etc). This information, collectively known as 'tags', categorises each music file. For instance, it states the name of the track contained within, the album it comes from and the name of the artists or performers.

Tags are important because music players, such as iTunes or Winamp, use the tags to display your music collection. For instance, the reason Winamp can show all of your albums in a list is because your tracks have that album name as one of their tags.

A music tagger can change tags and so re-organise your music collection.

Different music file formats, such as MP3, AAC and the like, have different ways of storing tags. MP3 has ID3 tags, OGG files have Vorbis comments and there are many more combinations. Luckily, most tagger software works with all of these formats, so it's not normally something you have to worry about.

What are the best music taggers? Well, the ones I use are:

These are all good taggers and free of charge. They work well for individual tweaks to your music library.

The future of tagging

Taggers are useful tools but they have their limitations. I don't feel they 'scale' well for large music collections. Also, they are at best semi-automated, so they require a little bit of mental effort and discipline to use.

What do I mean by not scaling well? When you have a collection in the hundreds or thousands of albums, if you want to make a cross collection change you are going to have to trudge through the entire library, trying not to get bored and trying not to make any mistakes. Further, whenever you add music, you'd better give it a manual checkover or you will begin to introduce inconsistencies.

This is why I think full automated, rule based music management works best for large music collections. This way, music is assessed and fixed automatically, without the need for manual editing.

Music taggers are a great tool for a specific job.

Thanks to cambodia4kidsorg for the image above.
tags: tags

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.