[Solved] My Tags are being "Edited" secretly (and breaking the files)... Anyone seen this before?

So, I’ve discovered most of my Tracks “Tags” were changed and this actually broke my files, Mp3Tag was showing a !Bad whatever on many files so I investigated and then got MP3Val to fix all my MP3’s, removing the error.
I also noticed the 320kpbs was missing in Windows Explorer the Column I have set, and then the tags that changed, “Album” and for some the Title tag text was “cut-off”, i.e. shortened when I know the full and proper tag was there originally.

Well, I downloaded some music, had the folder open looking at it, and right before my eyes the Album Tag of those downloaded MP3’s was cut shorter, the 320kbs disappeared, and the Genre was changed to Other I think. It did this to like 7 of the files, it didn’t change 2. Then I look at the folder again in like 10 minutes and the last 2 files were also changed. (yes I refreshed the folder previously to make sure they hadn’t also changed when the others did).

Anyone seen this before…? There is literally almost like nothing online about this. Though, I did find one about a “file converter” having a possible setting that might change it, or Windows Media Player. I checked WMP and for sure all of its settings are disabled to change tags. And the one converter I have doesn’t have settings like this.

I’ve also checked other audio-related programs I have installed,
Album Art Downloader,
Wondershare Uniconverter
and Duplicate Audio Finder…

I think that’s it that might relate… but not seeing any settings which could do this. Also, most of them I didn’t even have until recently well after most of the files had been corrupted already. The ONLY programs I’ve had historically are WMP, Audacity, and I think Wondershare Uniconverter?

Anyone have any ideas, this is crazy…? Thanks

BTW, it seems this ONLY occurs when the file is initially on the system… It isn’t changed/edited after. Everything I’ve edited manually myself going through my files with Picard adding all the tags I want hasn’t been touched again.

  1. Picard will change tags displayed in Picard “before your eyes” - unlike manual taggers, Picard automatically downloads metadata from Musicbrainz and adds it to your files replacing what is there. This is Picard’s purpose. However Picard should not save those changes to the files until you explicitly save the data.

  2. There is generally agreement between taggers and players on how to use and interpret different tags, but you cannot assume this is true in every case. You do not say which tag you were showing in Windows Explorer that no longer contains 320kbps.

Most Picard users only use Picard to tag their files - because it is by far the quickest way to tag them for the first time, and if you don’t change them manually then you can use Picard to update them every so often as the data in Musicbrainz gets enhanced over time. If you want to tailor how Picard tags your files, then the Picard scripting system allows you a huge amount of opportunity to tweak them as you wish.

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It sounds like you are describing Windows Media Player automatically changing ID3v1/ID3v2 tags inside MP3 files inside the Music folder on an old version of Windows. I would try putting MP3 files outside the Music folder.


Stories about WMP have come up a few times over the years (iTunes too). I personally wouldn’t risk using a program that has any history of changing things without explicitly being told to.

Players that have been recommended in the forums are Foobar2000, Kodi, MusicBee and any that I forget :smiley:


I have the latest and I’m not using the Windows Music folder, though I of course point WMP to my music folder.

Lord, I also saw an issue on one website on WMP downgrading Images, though I don’t know if that still occurs on the latest version. But I don’t think WMP has been “updated” in years I think? But, I’m not seeing any 200 kb files, so not sure if the issue is occurring, or maybe it just occurs with really high res images.

Great, I really didn’t want to have to switch, but guess I’m going to have to.
Though, I haven’t seen this particular issue reported save as what I mentioned above. Ugh.

I’ve had WMP change stuff in my music library when I used it to watch a video. It’s best not to use it for anything.

So, I’ve just went ahead and Uninstalled WMP…

Such a disappointment that they didn’t continue working on this program, it really IS the best of them all, or would have been if they had kept it updated. Oh well, guess I’ll use MediaMonkey instead… Seems likely the best.

An alternative theory: When tagging you tagged the files as ID3 v2.4, where they before that had been tagged as ID3 v2.3. Windows until some of the major updates to Windows 10* did not support ID3 v2.4 properly and hence might fail to read the tags (the major reason why we stuck with ID3v2.3 by default in Picard for so long). Maybe it fell back to showing the ID3v1 tags, which would explain the very limited data and the truncation of tag values.

So maybe what you saw “live” was not being the tags being changed at that exact moment, but just Windows updating the cached display because it could no longer read the file tags.

If the above is actually the cause then saving the tags with ID3v2.3 would be the solution.

*) I don’t know exactly what is and what isn’t supported, but according to ID3 - Wikipedia initial ID3v2.4 support was added with Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703). It does still seem to have some issue.

For many years Windows Explorer and Windows Media Player did not interpret ID3v2.4 tags correctly,[19] until the 2017 Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703). As of the Windows October 2020 Update, they still cannot correctly interpret some of the non-English and Asian characters in the ID3v2.4 tag.


You might also look at MusicBee. It may depend on which features are most important to you.

Ya, MusicBee seems like it was the other “best” one… but there seemed to be “more” in MediaMonkey and is the most preferred, so likely going with that one. Though, I will likely try MusicBee too, just to be sure which I like.


(BTW, it seems my files are no longer being edited after being downloaded, so it was DEFINATELY Windows Media Player causing the problems.)


Oh man, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve gone through with MediaMonkey… What a nightmare for such a long/well-developed program.

I simply tried to use Auto-Tag to update ONLY all my Lyrics, there’s a section in Options etc. in which seems clearly designed/stated to designate what Tags you want to touch or not touch.
So, set everything, and then run auto-tag.

Turns out the program “automatically UPDATES” ALL Tags according to their database upon save, doesn’t matter what you’ve chosen, and they still won’t say what that section is for, even though it clearly indicates it should be for selecting what you want and don’t want.
So what ends up happening is most of my Tags end up corrupted and changed, after I had spend a couple 100 hours making them perfect.

Fortunately I had a backup which hadn’t fully updated all the changes that were done by MediaMonkey, but I still have to fix a lot of stuff and check every single file.
Anyway, what a NIGHTMARE…

Needless to say I’ve been testing MusicBee, and it does far more than I thought, and exactly how I was actually wanting. The only thing it’s missing are the “Date to Year” and “Clean Multi-Value Fields” plugins. Had to use MM to edit those.

Anyway, I’m in love with MusicBee now, it’s definitely FAR BETTER than MediaMonkey, even though MediaMonkey could have been and is close.
What a cluster ****…! :frowning:


I went the same way, MediaMonkey → MusicBee. I can’t remember what it was that annoyed me about Monkey, but I love MusicBee. I use it for everything music related now, including ripping CDs.


I haven’t tried Monkey or Bee (maybe I should?) but I really like Foobar2000. Light weight but customizable. Automatically processes tag updates or new additions to a 1tb+ collections almost immediately! But maybe I’ll try out the others when I have some time.

So… In conclusion, all the issues I was talking about were caused by:

  • Windows Media Player (uninstalling it fixed the problem)
  • Switching between ID3 2.3 and 2.4
  • And MediaMonkey

So after fixing everything, using 2.3, everything is working right.
Now the only problem is the MusicBee developer refuses to stop forcing Null (double backslashes) replacing your existing tag separators on Save of files after editing Tags for those who use ID3 2.3.

After fixing and figuring out everything, figuring that the Semi-Colon and Space is best for at least Multi-Genre and Artists, semi-colon only for everything else, that this works in EVERYTHING (Mp3tag, Picard, etc.), displays correctly, edits correctly etc.

I now have MusicBee doing an unsupported action with the 2.3 standards, and it’s entirely ruining everything. In other words, they’ve made it so I can’t use MusicBee’s Editor…

  • Can’t edit tags.
  • Can’t edit images
  • Can’t edit Lyrics
    Because on Save they replace my semi-colons with the Null backslashes. Them doing this screws up displaying the tags in everything else and editing the tags in everything else.
    Very disappointing…