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Editing ID3 Tags in iTunes

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I Love iTunes. And am feverishly awaiting the release of iTunes for Windows. I am really getting tired of using WimAmp to play my MP3’s. iTunes is great for Internet Radio, It is great for playlists and dynamic playlists. The one thing I cannot stand stand about iTunes is editing ID3 tags.

Sometimes it take iTunes a while to move through the MP3 files using the Next or Previous buttons (see image) in the Get Info window. For example if I need to add an album title or a genre to an entire album you can paste, click next, paste, click next, paste… you get the idea. This setup is very good and easy to use – something I have not found in any other ID3 tag editor for OS X. It seems to take a while to save the ID3 tag info to file then go on to the next MP3. This does not happen ALL the time, but it happens enough to be very annoying. It takes anywhere from just a second to go to the next MP3 to 10, 30, or 60 seconds to save the ID3 data and move to the next file.

This happened on my 500 Mhz TiBook and now happens on my 1 Ghz TiBook as well. It happened in iTunes 3 and now happens in iTunes 4. It does not seem to matter how big the MP3 (or AAC for that matter) file is. It does not matter if the files are on my internal HD or on a portable FireWire HD.

This spotty behavior has me perplexed. There is no rhyme or reason to when this slow down happens but it is annoying. Most the time it works like it should, you can cycle through any number of files adding or changing ID3 info.

Its just plain frustrating to go through 6 or 7 files and then have to wait half a minute to get to the 8th file. iTunes is such a great app, it is a shame it has such a flaw. And as I said I have found no alternatives that do the job of editing ID3 info as well as iTunes. Oh well.

Every great application has its faults, and ID3 editing in iTunes is a spotty mess. Maybe the PC version if iTunes will have smooth ID3 editing. I am hoping anyway.

Originally written for Breaking Windows.

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About Ken Edwards

  • jayson

    you can change a whole set of files at once, shift-select the files you want, and then right click or hit open apple+i. it will then pull up the ID3 info for all the files, you can then add genre/album name/artist for a batch of files at once.

  • Hey what do ya know! That rocks! Thanks a lot.

  • Iain

    One thing that can dramatically change the time to write ID3 tags, is if there is a format change. ID3 v1 tags are or fixed length, so if you alter the data you only have to rewrite the tag. However, if you start adding additional info such as in V1.1 tags or V2.3 tags (not sure what itunes uses) – then the tag suddenly becomes longer. At this point instead of just rewriting the tag the program has to rewrite the whole file to disc – this takes more time. This may account for the difference in write times you are experiencing. I suspect that Itunes is converting the tags.

  • Iain, you are correct. iTunes displayed the ID3 tag version on the first tab, so you can clearly see when the tag format has changed. The songs that did this to me were songs I had ripped back when I used AudioCatalyst shortly after it hit the market. Songs I had ripped more recently with MusicMatch didn’t have long delays, because they were already 2.x version tags.

  • Iain, thanks for the info.