How to bulk edit prefix on title in iTunes

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fe30bbb8640>

In iTunes:
Ex/ have smart playlist shw15etc, can change individual titles to shw16etc, but how do I do this for 100 songs so that they all start with shw16etc instead of shw15etc.
P.S I have only just signed on with MusicBrainz

Hello Gordon. :slight_smile:

  • Try to find an iTunes community forum.
  • Try Mp3tag.


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What operating system? In Linux, using fish or zsh, I would do something like “rename shw15etc shw16etc /base/path/to/files/**”. Not sure if bash supports extended globs (**), but if it does, it may work on Mac OS X too, and should work on “Ubuntu on Windows” in Windows 10.

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I am using a Mac computer.
Thanks for the suggestions but they are too technical for me. Swinsian has a sophisticated easy to use Find and Replace function, which works for me, but I don’t use Swinsian because it keeps telling me it cannot find my files, so I am stuck with iTunes, which does not allow me to bulk edit name changes.
So, for now, I change one file from shw15etc to shw16etc, then go to the next file and repeat this, and so on for all 100 songs. I used to use Doug Adams scripts, but have since lost the many I had downloaded when they were free. Now they cost $1 or two for each routine. I may have to go this route again, if I do not learn of another solution.

That’s not really what Picard is optimized for, but you might be able to (mis)use it for that. Given you mentioned iTunes, I assume you’re looking at the song title rather than the file name? Otherwise, I’d recommend searching for “Mac batch rename” – you could technically do that with Picard as well, but it’s even more of a hack, especially when there’s almost certainly plenty of programs designed for that (at a brief look, this seems to do it well enough).

The simplest form of changing the field would be:


That will change every instance, though, so if for whatever reason you have that text later in the title, it would be better to explicitly specify the start of the string (note the second r in the function name, and the ^ in the search string):


Whichever one you want, add the line to a new script in the proper page of the options, import the songs you want to change (100 should be all right, but if it goes slowly, do it in smaller chunks), and then save them. If the files are already matched to releases in the database, then you may want to drag them back to the left pane to avoid unexpected edits of the rest of the data. If you haven’t yet matched them, avoid clicking “Scan” and “Lookup” for the same reason.

Really, though, Picard (and, to a lesser extent, MusicBrainz as a whole) is about adding a broad variety of high-quality data about a particular track, and using it to simply change a single field is actually harder than it would be in most other programs. You might want to look into Mp3Tag on Wine, Puddletag if you can get it installed (for anyone using Linux, it’s an amazing re-implementation), or something else in that vein.


Thanks for your suggestions. So it looks like Picard is not the way to go for me in this situation.
I do have a few apps that could easily change my song names, (Regex, Swinsian, a Better Finder Rename), but I would need to move them out of iTunes, modify the names, and then put them back in iTunes. I know I am going against iTunes metadata of etc, but it is required for my own file system. I seem to be stuck with iTunes, which does not allow modifying song names in bulk, so I will have to continue modifying each song name individually one by one. I must look at Renamer again, as this was suggested.

Thanks for the many suggestions

Found a solution by purchasing the small app:
Search/Replace Tag Text
from Doug Adams for a couple of bucks. For the vast amount of use I get out of this, it was well worth the money.
Thanks for all your help, even though it was not related to MetaBrainz.


Look at @jesus2099 suggestion. MP3TAG ( works brilliantly for bulk renaming files.

It can read your tags and then build fresh filenames for you from those tags. A superb tool.

Take just one album first to experiment with. Once confident i is doing what you need, release it on hundreds of tracks at a time.

Post here if you need help with the syntax.

(Oh - and no matter which way you rename the files, iTunes will complain at you as it now won’t be able to find the files so you’ll need to delete them and re-add them into that bit of junk software.)


Search/Replace Tag Text (from Doug Adams) seems to work just fine for me so far.

In iTunes, despite having Keep and Copy (iTunes Prefs/Adv) clicked, I am not losing files or having them changed by iTunes since I stopped storing any of my songs in iCloud, and unsubscribed from iTunes Match. I also use Swinsian and auto copy all from iTunes, but Swinsian sometimes cannot find all my songs.

It is essential for me to keep all files listed in my own filing system for songs when I perform my shows. I have a show tomorrow. It is show #13. My songs for the show are in format:

shw13-1003 Night and Day

(show 13, 10 indicates accompaniment, 03 is the position of the song in the list. My system works well, as long as iTunes keeps it’s filthy paws off my data:-)

Way off topic, but if anyone is interested, I move the songs for a show to DropBox, and import them to the OnSong app on my iPad. Speaking of ‘way off topic’, perhaps someone could direct me to a forum more applicable to what I am trying to accomplish, if I am way off the subjects discussed about MetaBrainz.