Tag Archives: tag

mp3unicode: Possibly important

I’ll just say up front that mp3unicode converts mp3 tags between encodings. And to be clear, we’re talking about text encodings, not audio formats.

If that doesn’t seem to make sense to you, or if encodings are a bit fuzzy for you (as they are for me), then probably you don’t have much use for mp3unicode.


Which doesn’t make it less important, since encodings can be the bane of your existence if you lean toward one and you’re forced to use another. That I can empathize with.

mp3unicode behaves much like you might expect, except that it doesn’t sense the current encoding: You have to supply it.

As you might imagine, that can cause a little stress if you’re not sure what the encoding is to start with. But it will also back off from converting, if it thinks it’s already in Unicode.

I don’t see mp3unicode in Debian-Ubuntu-Mint. So you might have to build it yourself, if you’re not using Arch.

I’ll admit this is an esoteric tool. But you never know how important a tool like this is … until you need it. 😐

mp3info: The details, plus a little

By the looks of it, mp3info hasn’t seen any real updates in about eight years. That, of course, does not mean it is by any stretch unusable.


And if that was all mp3info did, we could call it done and move on to the next program. But take a look at this:


Hey, what’s that? An interactive id3 tag editor? And it’s got some actual visual arrangement to it?! It’s a Christmas miracle!

It is and it isn’t; mp3info’s “interactive mode” is still a bit primitive. Text editing is just arrow keys and space/delete; once you leave a line, you can’t reverse direction; once you leave a file, you can’t move back to it; there’s no mass-paste function, unless you first rely on mp3info’s existing command-line flags. I could go on.

This is a step in the right direction though. I’ve been on a quest for a proper music tag editor for the console for about a decade now — something like an EasyTag console application. And every time I get close with things like audiotag, id3ed, or lltag, or now mp3info.

Of course, if I had started to make one years ago when I first noticed this absence in the universe, it would be done now. And you wouldn’t have to suffer my complaining. 😐

id3tool: Quick tag control

If you’re keeping track, id3tool will be about the fourth or fifth command-line id3 tag tool I’ve seen this year.

Moral of the story? If you’re a budding coder, don’t bother writing a command-line id3 tag tool. 🙄

Just kidding. Here it is, in action.


Fairly straightforward. No flags displays the data currently written. Adding a flag or two lets you change the date, title, genre, etc.

I don’t see any provisions for reading the filename to set a tag, or reading a directory tree, or screening out underscores, and so forth.

I am sure though, that someone with some respectable command-line skills, will be able to pipe up and show how that’s done.

Is id3tool better than any of the other command-line id3 tag tools? It has simplicity on its side, but you decide. 😉

id3fsd: A clever idea, nearly to fruition

I like clever ideas, although it’s nothing unique to say that out loud. Cleverness attaches itself to projects, and sometimes I see it and sometimes I just don’t.

Here’s one I like: id3fsd. The idea is to create a directory tree that has symbolic links drawn by music tag, not file name.

So ideally, you should be able to navigate a directory with a structure like “decade/1970s/OR/prog/” to get to your Rush collection. Everybody has a Rush collection, right? 🙄

Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot to show, because in both Arch and Debian I came only marginally close to getting things set up right.

I admit I had better luck in Arch. The dependencies are listed in the README file in the tarball, and all the ones needed were in AUR if not the regular repos.

Once it was in place I could get most of the configuration working, but for some reason the relationship between id3fsd and fuse was not exactly copacetic.

I had some tag tree structure though, and that was satisfying.

In Debian I had even less luck, even though the home page for id3fsd has a .deb package available. I’m no Debian expert, but a lot of the dependencies for the package relied on the perl structure, which apparently has shifted a lot in Debian.

If you’re more familiar with Debian or maybe if you’re just running Squeeze, it might behave better for you.

I’d love to see this working fully, if only because I think it would be fun to follow the tag trees and see how the tags arrange themselves. If I can find some free time I’ll keep an eye on it; for now, I’ll call it an also-ran. 😉

eyeD3: A CLI music tag editor, plus

Back to audio tools again, and already I can see a dull glaze settling over your vision.

Wait, don’t write this off already. I know we cruised through a whole month of audio tools and programs in July, and still had a few left over recently.

This is different, I swear. This is eyeD3.


Different, because it has a boatload of flag options.

Different, because its default output is nicely formatted and in color.

Different, because it can handle UTF-8.

Different, because it can work with plugins, if I understand it right.

Different, because you can import it into other python applications.

Different, because apparently it can implant lyrics, images and objects in files. 😯

Maybe those things don’t make it too different, but I don’t recall too many of our earlier one-line command apps that could do quite so much.

Otherwise, there’s not a lot that eyeD3 does that some of the others do. I appreciate that lovely output and clean color scheme, because that’s the kind of person I am.

One downside, and for some people it will be a big one: Apparently, eyeD3 only works with mp3 files. I tried one of my standby ogg files and got the “Nothing to do.” message. That’s sad.

But I know most people don’t keep oggs only in their collection, so I think it’s safe.

And in closing … last update was in the summer. Always nice to see software under active management. 🙂

dagger: A quick run over covered ground

It seems like it wasn’t long ago I took a first spin past dagger, but I guess it’s been two and a half years. Either way, I will make this quick and painless.


Suffice to say that dagger is a command-line tool to arrange and rename audio files based on their tags. It’s a clean and clever Python program that does exactly what you ask of it, and keeps your system sparse.

The home page has a prebuilt deb file if you’re using Debian or Ubuntu; what you see in the screenshot there is a Wheezy installation with vorbis-tools added so dagger can get at ogg files.

dagger’s not the console application I’ve been dreaming of for years now, but it will do the job of renaming files according to their tags.

Couple this with something like beets or lltag and you’ve got an entire suite of tools that might actually satisfy your craving for a proper console application.

It almost does for me. 🙄 😐

orpheus: An appealing arrangement

If mp3blaster is too ornate, and if cmus is too domineering, and if cplay is too primitive, and if xcplay is too high maintenance … why not orpheus?

2013-07-25-v5-122p-orpheus-01 2013-07-25-v5-122p-orpheus-02 2013-07-25-v5-122p-orpheus-03

If you’ve ever used centerim, this might look vaguely familiar.

orpheus seems to take the hint from mp3blaster and put its primary controls on the screen. It also seems to take a hint from cplay et alia and add files with an a key.

But it has a few features that are less popular among its brethren. For one, it has a search function, as you can see above.

And orpheus, of all the music players I’ve mentioned this week, seems to be one of very few with an onboard tag editor. (Does cmus do that? I forget.)

That alone should win it some points with me. Add the fact that it has color 🙄 , and you’d think I’d be using orpheus all the time.

But there’s still one more that is a winner for me. Be patient, we’re getting there. 😉

P.S.: This also is a transplant from Debian. The Arch version wouldn’t build for me. …

audiotag: Tagging music files, in its purest form

I remember audiotag as one of the first tools I ever used to manage audio files at the console.

It wasn’t necessarily the best tool for the job, particularly when things like lltag are around to guess the missing information for you. 😐

But it delivers, as you might expect it to.


audiotag can handle renaming tasks, converting tags to file names, batch tag fills and a lot of other menial chores.

And so in that sense, I can’t find much fault.

On the other hand (you knew this was coming), my complaint against audiotag is the same one I have against a lot of similar tools, to include lltag and beets and even id3lib (or whatever it’s called on your system).

There’s no real interface. It’s just a text-based series of flags without any real sense of conveyance.

It works — don’t get me wrong. But after years of hunting down oddball console programs, I have yet to run across something that behaves like audiotag (or lltag or beets or id3lib) but looks like EasyTag.

But with line-drawing characters, of course. 😉

lltag: Cleverer and cleverer

For as many text-based music players as there are, you’d think someone would take pity on us poor text-only proponents and give us a tool to tag all those audio files.

Some applications have tagging tools built in; ncmpcpp, if I remember right, has a smallish tag tool. beets is another, that is smart enough to check online for tag matches, and apply them.

For more convoluted tagging issues, I fall back on lltag.


It’s difficult for me to explain what lltag does, except that I think it tries to reason out the name, artist and album of audio files, and correctly tag them.

You get the chance to be a hero by helping lltag with the format from the file name. lltag can reverse that process too, and rename files from tags.

Of course, it does more than that. The home page can give you tips and examples.

This, in conjunction with beets and maybe even the renameutils in an emergency, should flesh out your need to manage your audio collection.