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How To Read MP3 Tags in Shell

Ubuntu 7

MP3 tags, also known as metadata, contain important information about a song such as the title, artist, album, and more. They are essential for organizing and managing your music library. In this article, we will explore several ways to read MP3 tags from the shell using various tools and commands.

Quick Answer

To read MP3 tags in the shell, you can use tools like ffprobe, mp3info, eyed3, id3v2, exiftool, lltag, and tinytag. These tools allow you to extract and display specific tags such as artist, album, title, and more.

Using ffprobe

ffprobe is a powerful tool that comes with the ffmpeg package. It can extract a wide range of metadata from media files, including MP3 tags.

To install ffmpeg, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

After installation, you can use ffprobe to read MP3 tags with this command:

ffprobe file.mp3

This command will display a lot of information. To extract specific tags, you can combine ffprobe with grep. For example, to display only the metadata section, use:

ffprobe file.mp3 2>&1 | grep -A90 'Metadata:'

In this command, 2>&1 redirects all output (including errors) to standard output, grep filters the output, and -A90 tells grep to print 90 lines following the ‘Metadata:’ line.

Using mp3info

mp3info is a simple command-line utility that can read and modify id3v1 tags in MP3 files.

To install mp3info, use:

sudo apt-get install mp3info

You can then read MP3 tags using:

mp3info -p %a file.mp3

In this command, -p stands for print, and %a represents the artist tag. You can replace %a with other keys like %t for title, %l for album, etc.

Using eyed3

eyed3 is a Python tool and library for manipulating ID3 tags. It supports both ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags.

To install eyed3, use:

sudo apt-get install eyed3

You can then display all the tags using:

eyeD3 song.mp3

To filter specific tags, use grep:

eyeD3 song.mp3 | grep artist

Using id3v2

id3v2 is a command-line id3v2 tag editor. You can use it to view, edit, or delete tags in an MP3 file.

To view all the ID3 tags of an MP3 file, use:

id3v2 -l somefile.mp3

To view a specific tag, use:

id3v2 -l somefile.mp3 | grep artist

Using exiftool

exiftool is a Perl library and command-line application for reading, writing, and editing meta information in a wide variety of files, including MP3 files.

To install exiftool, use:

sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl

You can then display all the metadata, including the MP3 tags, using:

exiftool file.mp3

Using lltag

lltag is a command-line tool that can automatically set tags in MP3 files. It supports various tag standards, including ID3v1 and ID3v2.

To install lltag, use:

sudo apt-get install lltag

You can then view all the tags using:

lltag -S somefile.mp3

To specify certain tags, use:

lltag --show-tags artist,album,title,number somefile.mp3

In this command, --show-tags specifies which tags to display.

Using tinytag

tinytag is a Python library for reading music meta data of MP3, OGG, FLAC and Wave files.

To install tinytag, use:

pip install tinytag

You can then use the TinyTag class in Python to read MP3 tags programmatically.

In conclusion, there are various ways to read MP3 tags from the shell. The method you choose depends on your specific needs and the tools available on your system. With these commands and tools at your disposal, you can easily manage and organize your music library.

What is metadata in MP3 files?

Metadata in MP3 files refers to the information embedded within the file itself that provides details about the audio content, such as the title, artist, album, track number, genre, and more.

Why is it important to read MP3 tags?

Reading MP3 tags is important because it helps in organizing and managing your music library. It allows you to easily search and filter songs based on specific criteria, such as artist, album, or genre.

Can I read MP3 tags directly from the command line?

Yes, you can read MP3 tags directly from the command line using various tools and commands like ffprobe, mp3info, eyed3, id3v2, exiftool, lltag, or tinytag.

How can I install the required tools for reading MP3 tags?

You can install the required tools by using package managers like apt-get for Ubuntu or brew for macOS. For example, to install ffmpeg, you can use sudo apt-get install ffmpeg.

Can I extract specific MP3 tags using these tools?

Yes, you can extract specific MP3 tags using these tools. For example, with ffprobe, you can combine it with grep to filter the output and display only the desired tags.

Are there any programming libraries available for reading MP3 tags?

Yes, there are programming libraries like tinytag available in Python that allow you to read MP3 tags programmatically. These libraries provide an easy way to access and manipulate metadata in your code.

Can I edit or modify MP3 tags using these tools?

Yes, some of these tools like mp3info, eyed3, id3v2, and exiftool also provide functionality to edit or modify MP3 tags. However, be cautious while modifying tags as it can alter the original metadata of the file.

Which tool should I choose for reading MP3 tags?

The choice of tool depends on your specific requirements and the tools available on your system. If you prefer a simple command-line utility, you can use tools like mp3info or id3v2. If you need more advanced features, ffprobe or exiftool can be a good choice.

Can I read MP3 tags on Windows or other operating systems?

Yes, most of these tools and commands are available on multiple operating systems, including Windows. However, the installation process and package managers may differ. You can check the documentation of the respective tools for instructions on how to install them on your operating system.

Are there any graphical user interface (GUI) tools available for reading MP3 tags?

Yes, there are several GUI tools available for reading and managing MP3 tags. Some popular ones include MusicBrainz Picard, Mp3tag, and Kid3. These tools provide a more user-friendly interface for viewing and editing MP3 tags.

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