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Archived - MP3 ID3 Tags: What Are They?

This article defines the ID3 tag (versions 1 and 2) that may be part of an MP3 file, why the tag's information may appear scrambled, and how to change the tag's format with iTunes. 

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

An ID3 tag is used to embed information in an MP3 file. It is not an official specification of the MP3 format.

ID3 version 1 includes simple fields such as album, artist, and title through a 30-character text field embedded at the end of the MP3 file, using 128 bytes of total data.

ID3 version 2 has been totally rewritten to allow variable length fields. It includes lengthier textual information plus other information such as who encoded the file, Web sites, pictures, lyrics, and other information.

The following information is from iTunes Help:

    "If a song's title and information does not appear correctly, the file was probably created using a program that stores information differently than iTunes. You may be able to resolve the problem by converting the song information to or from a different storage format.

    To change the format of the tags: Select the songs you want to convert, then choose Convert ID3 Tags from the Advanced menu. You can choose a version of ID3, and you can convert the character set to other formats. This character set option is useful for songs with information in languages that use non-Roman characters.

    This option is useful if you want to use your MP3 files with another program that uses a different format, or if you have files from the Internet that seem to have scrambled information. If converting the tags does not correct the problem, you'll have to correct the information by hand."

Last Modified: Jan 7, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Jan 7, 2013
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