iTunes automatically replaceing custom tags with ID3 tags.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Marlon-, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Marlon- macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    #1
    I recently ran into a big problem where I had to completely erase every ID3 tag in my library to restore aobut 5% of my library (confusing, I know). This was no big deal because my iTunes XML file contained all song information.

    Everytime I click a song to play it, my custom iTunes song tags for that song are replaced with the "updated" ID3 tags. I am losing all of my song information each and every time I play a different song in iTunes.

    I've already tried deleting all songs in my library and re-importing using my backed-up XML file, but to no avail. The songs are imported with their correct custom tags, but they change when I go to play the song.

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Extra info: Using a Windows box with the latest version of iTunes.
     
  2. DLH macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    #2
    Can you explain more about what you did to "erase every ID3 tag"?

    What you describe is how iTunes works. When you are browsing your library through iTunes, it displays the song information (Artists, Title, Genre, etc.) from it's internal database (which is backed-up up to the XML file). This allows it to display that information without constantly re-reading the actual data from the files. It also makes searching much faster.

    When you play a file or do "Get Info" on a file, it reads the ID3 tags from the actual file.

    When you edit the song information though iTunes, it updates the ID3 tags stored in the files, so under normal circumstance this poses no problems.
     
  3. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #3
    I can't speak for the OP, but I'm almost positive iTunes grabs some info on it's own.

    I had a recurring problem with iTunes and I abandoned its use for music in my network partly because of this problem. (the bigger problem is that it's a bit Fisher-Price if you want control over what you're doing, like many things Apple - but that's beside the point)

    It goes like this:
    All of my music is stored on a Windows 2003 server box. I rip it in FLAC using j.River Media Center, and that gets stored into the FLAC library. There's a custom-developed piece of middleware sitting on the 2003 server which looks at the FLAC library and automatically trancodes any new songs into a shadow MP3 library. It also looks at changes in the MP3 library in terms of deletes and tag changes, and syncs those to the FLAC library. I do a lot of pruning / organisation / changes on my laptops when I'm listening somewhere and what this allows me to do is to take the shadow MP3 music folder offline on a laptop, make changes, and have those changes synced back to the server when I'm back - and those changes automatically propagate across to the FLAC library. Similarly if I should make tag changes on my main listening PC in the living room which uses the FLAC library, that propagates across to the MP3 library.

    So I was using this with j.River Media Center on Windows machines, but when I switched to the Mac I started putting iTunes into the mix, with all of my syncing machines (Win/Mac) running iTunes. It was quite inconvenient as I had to re-import the library into iTunes whenever I added new tracks, but that wasn't all. I'm thankful for Shadow Copy & regular backups because I've had to use both quite often where iTunes has shuffled away ID3 tag info and those changes have propagated to the FLAC library. I'd find many FLAC songs with almost blank tags, which were properly tagged before. And in iTunes it's still showing up fine. I don't know when it happened or in what sequence it happened - but what's clear is that it happened.

    Eventually I took the step of removing iTunes from all of my Windows machines, relying solely on the vastly superior (but Touch/iPhone-reluctant) j.River Media Center, and have music sitting on Windows and Video / Podcasts in Mac, and I use separate iPods for either. In addition, the iPods I have which reliably syncs with only iTunes - that's the iPhones and the Touches - now are synced only with video and podcasts on the Mac, which means that if I want to listen to music I always have to carry another iPod. But this compromise works for me.
     
  4. DLH macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    #4
    Hate to stray from the OP's issue, but with MP3 files there can be two sets of ID3 tags (ID3v1 & ID3v2). Perhaps, iTues wasn't updating both and your middleware was syncing the wrong one back. I haven't seen iTunes not update the ID3 tags in the files themselves.

    BTW, I like how you have things setup. I really wish Apple would allow a similar thing from within iTunes. I'd like to have my library in Lossless and a shadow set of music files in another format & bitrate to use for iPods, etc. iTues would handle making tag change to it's DB and both sets of files with one set of play counts, etc.
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #5
    The middleware is V1 & V2 aware in that it will faithfully reflect all changes in the tag. It's also not quite a matter of 'not update'. It seems more to be a matter of overwriting the entire ID3 tag with whatever iTunes feels is the most appropriate, kicking out the other info. And I'm fairly certain what the OP is coming across - although he isn't very clear about this - is a variation on this problem.

    Personally I really liked Sony's approach to this problem, which which was super-smart. Unfortunately it was hogtied to such unbelievably awful software that it was practically unusable and got zero traction. The idea behind it was great though: ATRAC Advanced Lossless stores both the lossy data and the additional data needed to make it lossless encapsulated in a single file. Going portable? The software extracts lossy data, and playback through the computer is conducted at the highest encapsulated bitrate.
     

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