ID3 Audio Meta Tags Tutorial

Tonight we will discuss what ID3 tags are, why they’re important, and how to insert them into your episode files before uploading and sending them over.

Already know your way around ID3 tags? Skip to our preferred format. 

What are ID3 tags and why are they important?

ID3 tags are metadata, typically found inside of audio mp3 files.
Usually, you see data about an audio mp3 file, such as album cover art, the title of a track, the name of an artist, and any other information associated with the file inside of your favorite audio player, this metadata information is created and “tagged” inside of the file before it reaches you.

The reason we ask for ID3 tags inside of your episode files before you send them over, is twofold:

1.) This helps us quickly identify, organize, and otherwise keep track of your episode inside of our radio automation servers. Handy, especially if your show sees additional airplay outside of your typical time slot.

2.)  When listeners download your episode wherever it’s hosted (in our archive or elsewhere), chances are, they’ll also be getting your episode’s metadata imported into their favorite podcast player. Sometimes, services they use to access your file don’t always encode this meta data, so it’s a good best-practice for your listeners to keep tabs on their favorite episodes, especially if you make your episodes available for direct mp3 download. Without metatags, the only information users have to go by when looking at your files in their file viewers will be the file name itself, and that’s no good.

Let’s Get Started

What you’ll need:

An application for creating ID3 tags in your finished mp3 files.

For Windows, we like to use Mp3tag which can be found here:

For MacOS, we suggest Tag Editor Free. You can find it here in the iOS App Store:

For Linux, we suggest EasyTag. You can read more about its installation here:

For this tutorial, we will show you how to edit ID3 tags in the Windows Mp3Tag application, but the same basic principles apply to any other ID3 tag editor.

Edit the ID3 Tag

1.) In Windows, right click on the file name you want to edit, and select Mp3tag.

2.) Select the file name in the window you wish to edit. This is important, otherwise you might add ID3 information and it will not give you the chance to save. Another way of knowing if the file is selected is that the save icon will be greyed out if it’s not.

(You’ll forget this at some point, and it will be annoying when you have to re-enter all of the information again, but it happens to the best of us.)

Save disk icon is greyed out, which means the file isn’t selected for editing in the right window pane.

The disk icon is blue, which means your file is properly selected and ready to edit.

2.) This is the format you’ll want to enter for your file information before submitting it to us.

Album: MidnightFM
Year: 2020

For example:

3.) Next, if you’d like to add album art for this episode, you can get creative and do something new each time. Just make sure that the dimensions you use are square. iTunes recommends the resolution to be at 3000 x 3000 pixels (huge). What you do here is up to you.

Right click anywhere inside of the album artwork area, and select “Add cover”

4.) When you’re done, hit the blue save icon at the top, and that’s it! You’re done!

ID3 Tag Tutorial Recap

Today you might have learned the importance of ID3 tags, how to format them before you send them over to us, and how to elevate your brand strategy by letting your fans know more about your show while better organizing the episodes they download on their devices.

We covered how to use the Windows app, Mp3tag, and some of its more annoying nuances, like remembering to select the file before we start to do our edits.

Nevertheless, without ID3 tags in our MP3 library, we couldn’t imagine what a pain just sorting through the dozens of episodes we receive and upload each week might quickly become, when everyone has their own file naming conventions. File names like “episode78-final-v2-with-commercials.mp3” or “Production Episode Last Week’s Date.mp3” at first glance, could belong to anyone. While we would love to keep everyone’s full archive in our automation servers, drive space ultimately prevents us from doing that. The first episodes to get removed from our automation are typically the “tag orphans,” or episodes without ID3 meta tags.

Proper tags saves us time and resources, and helps you get the repeat airplay you deserve, whether it’s on our network, or with your own listener base.

Do your part! Save us time, and you lost listens.

Always ID3 tag your episodes!

Questions? Comments? Shoot us a message!

Send us an email: [email protected], reach out to Amy directly on Twitter @engineeringamy, or post a community message to the MidnightFM Creators Facebook Group!



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