Posted on Leave a comment

Cataloging your music and audio files and adding tags

CD Ripper
Photo: Jonathan Slatter

Maybe I’m nostalgic for my CD collection, maybe I just have an aversion to more and more subscription services, but whilst I ‘get’ the whole music streaming convenience thing, there’s still something quite nice about having your own music library that you control, made up of audio files sourced from purchases, CDs & vinyl and even old cassette mixtapes. I’m showing my age now… But how to organise them and tag them quickly and easily….?


Tags are the metadata saved with your audio file. So in the case of an MP3 file you can imbed all sorts of information into the audio file like album, composer, artist, date, cover art and much more. Having the right tags makes it easy to find your tracks and organise albums and playlists. The same goes for uncompressed audio files like WAV files, although there doesn’t seem to be any way to embed cover art into a WAV file. You can however add all the usual metadata to WAVs, and if you’re working as an audio producer, film editor or anything involving professional audio, tags can be very useful for identifying rights holders. For composers it’s a very important way to embed your name, publisher, copyright information and more into your audio file before you send the files out into the ethernet.

Here are two really excellent free apps I have been using to catalogue and tag audio files.

Kid3 – Audio Tagger

Kid3 is great for batch editing a bunch of audio files. You can create tags from file names, create file names from tags, create directories from tags….and once you get your head around how it works, it’s quick and easy to use. There’s a very useful handbook here.
Video introduction to KID3

Musicbrainz Picard

Picard is an excellent tool for organising your music library. Again you need to spend a bit of time learning how it works, how to modify it to work for you, and then you will have an incredibly useful application for automating much of the work of sorting through your audio file library.
Very helpful article on organising your music library including tips on using Picard.

I tend to use Picard to organise and tag my music library at home and have the excellent free VLC player to create playlists. In the recording studio I usually reach for KID3 to tag commercial audio files.

Happy tagging!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *