Limit Meta Data Editing

I have updated a large number of files and their meta data using Picard. Unfortunately, Apple Music is sorting the music in ways I don’t want. This is due to Album Artist Sort Order and Artist Sort Order.

Picard is right, in that an artist should be [lastname, firstname]. But none of my other files are sorted that way and I am used to looking by first name.

I would like to go through my music files prior to importing them into Apple Music and just delete Album Artist Sort Order and Artist Sort Order. Unfortunately, when I import these files into Picard, Picard automatically updates / changes other meta data that I do not want to change.

Is there any way to just delete Artist Sort Order and Artist Sort Order without changing the other meta data?

The only thing I have come up with is to all all other meta data to the ‘Preserve Tag’ list.

MP3TAG is ideal for this. You can dump a huge heap of files into the app, Select All, then go to the Extended Tags, select Artist Sort Order - and delete the single tag from ALL the files in one hit.

MP3tag is handy in the toolbox to hit precision edits like this without changing anything else.

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To prevent Picard from writing these,


The above is a tagger script, created at Options → Scripting.

If you use $delete instead of $unset, it will also clear these tags in files where they already exist.


You can disable that Picard automatically matches files to releases in Options > General, than the files stay on the left pane with their original metadata. Or you can drag matched files from the right pane back to unmatched files. Then you can delete only the tags you don’t want.

For tagging with MB releases, either unset the sort tags with a script as described above or set them to the unsorted value.



I am still learning. I do want Picard to identify the files. I just do not want the meta tags that have to do with sorting. Or list the sorting value as [firstname lastname] vs. [lastname, firstname].

The scripts listed above seem to work just fine. I now have to re-run my files back through Picard.

Thanks. This works perfectly for the files where the meta data was already identified.

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For cleaning your already-tagged files I would recommend you use MP3Tag as recommended by @IvanDobsky, Picard isn’t really made for huge batch operations on entire libraries at a time.


Thanks. I downloaded a trial of MP3TAG for the Mac. The sort metatags are located in the ‘Extended Tags’ option. I added artistsort, albumartistsort, and composersort with the the action of < blank >. That worked brilliantly.

I then dragged those few test files into Picard and checked, and those sort meta tags were gone. This will allow me to change my files in bulk.

The only odd thing is that Mp3tag apparently did something to ‘originalyear’ and ‘writer’. Picard read those tags as ‘ORIGINALYEAR’ and ‘WRITER’, deleted those and inserted ‘originalyear’ and ‘writer’ in their place.


There are a lot of bulk tricks you can do in MP3TAG that make preparing files for Picard’s more accurate database tagging a lot smoother. As a pair these two apps compliment each other well.

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