MP3 Tag Editing in Linux

Posted by admin on July 12, 2008 under Tech Tips | 15 Comments to Read

There’s a number of MP3 tag editors available for the Linux platform, but there are two I use exclusively. EasyTag by far is the easiest and probably the most popular graphical MP3 tag editors available, and I use it a great deal for a majority of my MP3 tagging and renaming functions. For quickly identifying, converting and stripping unwanted tags, I use a python based command line application called eyeD3.

In my experience, EasyTag is the most versatile tag editor available.  Some often wonder why on first launch that all of their tracks are highlighted in red and why it keeps prompting them to save changes that they didn’t make.  This is because by default EasyTag writes both v1.1 and v2.4 tags to files it touches, and will attempt to automatically upgrade all v2.3 tags it has scanned.  This behavior can be adjusted from “Settings… Preferences… ID3 Tag Settings”.  If you have a player that is not compatible with 2.4 tags, then this is the place to change it back to v2.3.  Uncheck the “Automatically convert old ID3v2 tag versions” option if you would like to stop that behavior. Personally, I also remove the option to save ID3v1.x tags.

EasyTag Preferences Window

It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed with all the options EasyTag has to offer, but the defaults are typically safe to use.  Here’s a couple screenshots of the main user interface.

EasyTag Main Window EasyTag Album Art

Other useful features include the ability to perform bulk file and directory renaming based on the tag data, or even set the tags based on the directory and file naming convention.  You can clear all tags (be careful), and automatically populate tags from CDDB sources such as,, and

There are also a slew of command line tag editors each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  The lack of 2.4 support plagues most of them, with the exception of eyeD3.  This application is wicked cool.  Not only does it support v2.4 tags but it also provides a very clean display of current tags using color and bold text.  You can attach album art, add new or modify existing tags, and of course is easily scriptable.

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  • John said,

    Thanks – EasyTag is just what I need for the wife 😉

  • John said,

    Is there a way to get it to go and rewrite all the tags in v2.4 rather than having to do each directory?

  • gmendoza said,

    In EasyTag Settings… Preferences… ID3 Tag Settings… make sure your “Wite ID3v2 tag” option is checked, and the version selected is 2.4, UTF-8.

    Then, if you highlight the top-most parent folder, EasyTag should load all tracks recursively in the track browser to the right. If you highlight all the tracks, You can force save all the tags using “File… Force Saving Files(s)”. This will write the tags, regardless if they already have been tagged previously with v1, 2.3, or 2.4 tags.

  • Charles said,

    Nice tip, thanks! As I’m slowly migrating to Ubuntu, I’m always in search of cross-platform apps, and I loved to see that EasyTag can run under Ubuntu and also under Windows.

    I took a look at its site, IF it was the first MP3 tagger I’ve known, I’d probably stick to it. But MP3Tag is still my option. EasyTag is probably just missing album art gathering (MP3Tag has an excellent solution for this, lets you build and share your own searches) FOR ME…

    So I’ll keep an eye on it, or maybe I’ll switch if I feel like getting the images through the browser and importing into it. Until that, MP3Tag (yes, under Wine) is still a better option.

    This eyeD3 was a very cool hint, too. I was struggling with MP3Info2, it’s a good kit, but eyeD3 is easier and more day-by-day style.

  • gmendoza said,

    I’m real glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate your comments!

  • jbernardis said,

    Easytag sounds great, but it will not let me navigate to my CIFS-mounted directories where I have my music files. I cannot open any of my MP3 files. I can navigate to the directories just fine using the file explorer, but the easytag tree does not show any subdirectories.

  • gmendoza said,

    Thanks for visiting. The file browsing function should completely transparent and act as any file browser should so long as the directory and file permissions are set correctly.

    If you’ve mounted the CIFS share and your user running Easytag has the ability to read/write on the file system, it should just work.

  • audiomuze said,

    Reviving an old post, but nevertheless for the benefit of anyone still looking for a powerful, easy to use audio tag editor that’s native to Linux, you really should give puddletag ( a try.

    puddletag is a tag editor for Linux loosely based on mp3tag. It uses a table layout so that all the tags you want to edit by hand are visible and easily editable. puddletag excels at automating repetitive tasks like extracting tag information from filenames, tagging files from a text file or the clipboard, renaming or moving files and folders based on tags by using patterns, and manipulating tags using actions and regular expressions. Supported formats include id3v1, id3v2 (.mp3), AAC (.m4a), VorbisComments (.ogg, .flac), and APEv2 (.ape), Musepack, Wavpack and WMA. Much of mp3tag’s functionality has been replicated with added enhancements and tweaks. Tag sources include Musicbrainz, Amazon and Freedb.

  • audiomuze said,

    Oh, worth mentioning it runs on OS X too:

  • Espen Krømke said,

    EyeD3 may look like a nice tool at first glance, but IT SERIOUSLY MESSES UP YOUR TAGS. Not on *every* file, but after an uncritical use of eyeD3 in one of my maintainance scripts on my large audio collection (100.000 mp3s) I now am left with an mp3-collection so severly fucked up that I have to manually *erase* ALL id3v2.4 tags, save file, and then apply new. It does not help to use another program to rewrite the tags and clean up the mess after eyeD3, it’s simply too trashed. Broken tags, incomplete tags, wrong references, multiple tags with identical id, the list goes on. If you have anything more than just the basic artist/title/album/year info, eyeD3 will mostlikely not be able to handle them right.

  • gmendoza said,

    @Espen – To the contrary, I’ve been using eyeD3 for quite some time for a number of large retagging projects and have not run into problems. Well, problems that weren’t caused by my own scripts, anyway. 😛

    It would be more helpful if you were to outline exactly what the problem was, rather than just a blanket statement of ‘don’t use it’. And I hope you reach out to the the devloper of eyeD3. He’s actually fairly responsive, and I’m sure if there was a problem, he’d like to know about it.

  • Evan said,

    “In my experience, EasyTag is the most versatile tag editor available. ”

    Spoken like someone who never wanted a tag that wasn’t in EasyTag’s predefined list. I’ve was using it for all of 5 minutes before running into that absolute deal-breaker.

  • gmendoza said,

    Yeah, the statement is a little absolute, isn’t it. :-)

    Honestly, there are some great editors for other platforms, but I still haven’t found a graphical tag editor for the Linux platform that beats the overall functionality of EasyTag. If you know of something better, I’d love to hear about it… since EasyTag hasn’t even been updated in years. Booo! :-)

    eyeD3 is a command line editor however that can manipulate just about any tag data available. I use it to clean up all my tags and remove all the hidden stuff EasyTag knows nothing about.

  • Andrew said,

    I’ve just release a new ID3 tag editor for Linux/OS X. I’d really appreciate any feedback. It’s an alpha release so used it against a set of test mp3s.

    Best Regards,

  • Paul said,

    Reviving an ancient post here, but just for the next Googler who comes along: Puddletag is probably the best I’ve found as a graphical editor (lets you customise which tags to show, etc). It’s a bit clunky in parts but then, so are they all. It’s just the LEAST clunky. :)

    For command-line, eyeD3 is fine. Another option is mid3v2, Mutagen’s reimplementation of id3lib’s id3v2 to add id3v2.4 support. The output’s a little bit more readable (by both human and machine) than eyeD3 IMHO.

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