…with a nod to Marc Bolan for the name.

When looking at problems I was having with the tagging of MP3 files recently, I had the need for something that would unambiguously tell me exactly what tags were in a file and to verify that they were changed when I thought they should be. Although there are a lot of music library programs out there I needed something that would tell it as it was and never attempt to change anything.

So I wrote this program; and very big it turned out to be. Meta data in music files is much more complex than I expected.

Like all my stuff it is a command line program, so no fancy graphical interface and, at the moment, it is compiled for Intel Macs and (since v1.4) Windows. I know that it does work on Sun Sparc Solaris. It is probably good for other platforms too and the source code is supplied for you to port if you want to try. The output is quite voluminous, particularly if verbose mode is specified so be prepared to wade through a lot of information.

Since I first wrote it, it has extended in scope and now reports…

  • mp3—
    • ID3v1 & v1.1 TAG structure.
    • TAG+ extensions (not tested).
    • ID3v2.2 frames [added v1.3].
    • ID3v2.3 and 2.4 frames.
    • APE keys [from v1.1].
    • LYRICS3 blocks v1 & v2 (not tested).
    • embedded JPEG images.
  • wma—
    • ASF v1 objects.
    • some ASF v2 objects when discovered.
  • FLAC native files (not ogg containers yet) [v1.2]
    • embedded JPEG images.
  • jpg—
    • JFIF markers.
    • Exif markers.
    • SOF0 markers.
  • tar [added in v1.3].

I would like to go to other formats if I can get the information, particularly Apple & OGG sound files and GIF & PNG graphics files. I will be adding basic disk file meta data such as permissions and creation & modification dates pretty soon, though I have a feeling that this will be less portable.

I have created a static support page for the program which includes download links and full instructions on how to run it. In a later posting I will be reporting on some of the things I discovered by using it.

Updated: 23 Feb 2010 to v1.2
Updated: 8 Jan 2012 to v1.4

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