Synchronizing MP3 ID3v2 Tags with MediaMonkey 3.x

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Greetings and salutations!  So early last year I made the move from iTunes to MediaMonkey 3.x.  As my fairly large music library was imported and cataloged by Media Monkey I was shocked and horrified to find that a fair number of the properties (read tags) I had added to various tracks weren’t maintained.  Why, oh why, were tracks that supposedly been given dates, genres, and even track titles suddenly showing up as “Unknown”? 

Well, as it turns out most music library managers such as iTunes, MediaMonkey, Winamp, and Windows Media Player keep their own copy of track properties but don’t always succeed in transferring those properties to the actual file.  A change to a track’s properties is kept in the manager’s database but isn’t necessarily written to the file.  Let’s say it again:  It’s not written to the file!!!!!

Why would you care?  It’s in the library manager.  You can search on it.  You can make play lists built upon it.  “Meh,” you say.  Well, technology changes.  So does software.  You might even want to use multiple music library programs for whatever reason.  Oh, and let’s not forget database corruption.  There’s a fair number of reasons why you might want your MP3 files to have accurate tag values that are independent of the database you’re using to manage your music library.  And it’s quite shocking to find all the work you’ve done on the most important tags (those held in ID3vX tags) are completely gone when you import your library into another application.

So how do I ensure that my database and files are in perfect synchronization?  Well, if you’re using MediaMonkey, and I really really really recommend it, it’s really easy!  I’m using MediaMonkey 3.06.1190 but I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t matter.  There’s five steps you need to take.

1.        Go to the “Files to Edit” Node and select the “Unsynchronized Tags” node.  You’ll need to wait a while as Media Monkey compares the values in the database against the actual tags.

2.       Once that step has been completed, select all the files and perform a +.  This tells MediaMonkey to synchronize all the tags.  This pass addresses all of the low hanging fruit that haven’t been updated because of lack of time.

3.       Now, you’ll need to select the “Unsynchronized Tags” node again and wait.  This will find all the files that couldn’t be updated for whatever reason.  Usually this is because of ill formed tags that couldn’t be overwritten because they violated the rules to start with.

4.       Highlight all of the files in the “Unsynchronized Tags” node and from the Tools > Advanced Tag Management Menu select “Clean ID3v1 and ID3v2 Tags…”.  Let this process.  This is the last step, by the way.

5.       Select the “Unsynchronized Tags” node one more time to see…  An empty list!  Woo hoo!

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