Great free download to help manage your music

Mp3tag is a great way to edit song metadata and perform other maintenance tasks on large music libraries.

It's the law of entropy: as your digital music collection increases, you're bound to run into mislabeled songs, duplicate tracks in multiple file formats, and other problems. Apple's iTunes does a fine job of displaying song data and letting you edit it--as long as the song's in a format that iTunes supports (if you try to import a WMA file, for instance, iTunes will ask if you want to convert it first). Microsoft's Windows Media Player has an advanced tag editor, but it's buried a few menu options down, and it only lists songs in your My Music library. And as I've mentioned before , the new Zune software apparently wasn't designed to help you manage your library--it's hard, and in some cases impossible, to edit song data.

Reading through the Zune forums, I came across a very helpful postfrom user Khu entitled "10 ways to reduce your Zune-related stress." In that post, he suggests using a program called Mp3Tag to edit metadata (such as song order) before you fire up the Zune software (which does a nice job of auto-importing songs from My Music and any other folder you choose into your Zune library).

I downloaded and installed Mp3tag, and it's exceptionally helpful. As you can see in the screenshot, you can point it at any folder on your hard drive and it will list all music files in that folder. You can arrange them any way you like. Arranging them by album title me to see when I had duplicate WMA and AAC (.mp4) files for a particular album--a common occurrence for me, since I rip into WMA and then use iTunes to make the songs playable on my iPod. Since my Zune supports AAC files, and my iPod doesn't support WMA, I could delete the WMAs to save space. It also showed me where the file title didn't match the song title, where song order was missing, and any other flaws. Changing data is easy--use the upper left panel, type what you want, and hit save.

Kudos to Florian Heidenreich, the person behind the program and the site. He's offering it for free, but donations are welcome--if you download it, don't be cheap.

Mmm, metadata. Mp3tag shows it all (more than could fit into this screenshot) and makes it easy to edit. Screenshot

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.

     

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