Incorrectly tagged files

I have recently tagged my entire 15k song library using this utility. Mostly it worked well but as I’m listening to my music on shuffle or by genre, I’m finding quite a few songs that are incorrectly identified. There also seem to be a lot of album cover errors. I also had problems putting all music by the same artist into one folder instead of different one when there is a featured artist, and stopping it from putting my showtunes tracks into ONE folder instead of separating the songs by artists, and putting my one-off songs under an artists album instead of a random compilation. I’ve searched for answers within the message boards for all of these issues and played along with different settings and now I’m just over it and want to know the best way to strip the metadata and start fresh, possibly with a different application. I’m so frustrated as I’ve been working on this off and on for 2 months. So, how do i delete the metadata from all 15,000 songs and start new?

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With any program, you should not take the risk to process tons of files at once.
Always try on a copy and why not release per release, small sets at a time.
If you want to remove tags, you can use foobar2000, MP3Tag or other.


I think your issues could have been fixed, but hard to give concrete advise with the given information. I assume with “this utility” you mean Picard?

Anyway, deleting the tags shod be possible with most tag editors, including Picard. In Picard select all files, delete the tags in the tag editor at the bottom and save. You probably want to enable “clear existing tags” in options.

But I seriously would only delete the tags for wrongly tagged files. Doing this for all 15000 files will make it hard for you and whatever software you use to identify the music and tag it correctly

Edit: And some advise: The next time you hit “save” in any software check the results before. Once wrong tags have been written it makes it harder to correct.


I feel for you! I too have a lot of music files to tag, and it takes so. long. to do it right! Let me see if I can offer any other helpful suggestions, beyond the ones others have already given you.

As @outsidecontext asked, let’s confirm: is “this utility” you are using in fact MusicBrainz Picard? And is it version 1.4, or the freshly-baked and still-warm version 2.0?

Do you want to express your frustration, or get your music correctly tagged? If you want to express your frustration, certainly deleting all the metadata and starting over is a way to do that. If you want to get your music correctly tagged, then it might be better to fix what you have.

I see you identifying several different problems. You will need to take different actions to fix them.

First, be aware that if you are in fact using MusicBrainz Picard to tag your files, then in addition to writing artist names and album names to your files, it is also adding MusicBrainz ID numbers for artists, and albums, and tracks, and recordings to your files. This is critically important. The ID number lets Picard instantly locate the exact same entry in MusicBrainz when you come back to re-tag a music file. MusicBrainz entries improve over time, as many contributors fix this and add that. If you re-tag your music files every few months, you may find that the metadata gets better and better.

So, if Picard identified the music file correctly, then don’t delete those MusicBrainz ID numbers from the music file! By all means, open the music files in Picard, and have Picard update the tags. It will delete the artist names and album names and other metadata that are incorrect, and will write newer, currently correct entries. Re-tagging in Picard is the best way to fix a number of problems with metadata.

But, if Picard did not identify the music file correctly, then open the music file in Picard, use Picard’s controls to find the correct MusicBrainz entry, and have Picard write the metadata from that entry. Picard will also update the MusicBrainz IDs to match the correct entry. Your future re-tagging will go more smoothly.

How to fix other kinds of problems:

The way to fix this with Picard is to open the music file in Picard, identify the correct entry in MusicBrainz, and have Picard update the metadata in the music file based on that entry. You can do this incrementally, a file at a time or an album at a time, as you discover problems in your collection.

Yes, I have some of those, and it is frustrating! How to fix it depends on what you mean by “album cover errors”. If you mean, the album cover is wrong because the music file was attached to the wrong MusicBrainz entry, then find the correct MusicBrainz entry. If you mean, the correct MusicBrainz entry has no album artwork, then improve the MusicBrainz entry. Do you have the physical Release? Then follow the instructions for how to add cover art. If not, then maybe you can add a relation from the Release to the Amazon entry for the Release, which gives MusicBrainz access to Amazon’s copy of the cover art. If you mean some other cover art problem, then post about it to this forum, and we’ll help you figure it out. In any case, once the MusicBrainz entry is improved, then use MusicBrainz Picard to re-tag the corresponding music files, and that should fix the album art problems.

These sound like problems with how you instruct the tagger to move your music files to their correct directory after tagging. If you are using MusicBrainz Picard, you can use a very powerful scripting language to express how you want your files organised. But it takes trial and error to get the script right. Post questions about parts of your script here, and people will try to help. The good news is that you can fix problems like this incrementally. If you find a file or a directory of files in the wrong place, then fix your file renaming script in Picard, open the files in Picard, and save them again. Picard will move the files as it saves them, and they will move to the right place.

I appreciate that it is frustrating. There are so many possibilities, and some of them are hard to figure out. There is one further thing you could try: don’t just search for answers, also try asking some questions. Bring your problems to these forums one by one, and see if you can get help that way.

I would like to repeat @jesus2099’s caution:


I think that is often an unwise choice, as I’ve mentioned before. But when I want to do something like that to my FLAC-format music files, the tool I turn to is the command-line metadata editor metaflac. That only helps if you are comfortable with command-line tools, and are using the FLAC format, however.

Good luck with your tagging!