Using Regular Expressions to correct mistagged MP3



Two months have passed since I last posted something here. These were 2 busy months in my life. Hooray, I bought a brand new car and got my driver license, not necessarily in this order.

This post is about something I had planned to write sometime ago… the two screenshots shown here I got maybe 3 months ago. :D So let’s get to it.

As a big and eclectic fan of music that I’m, every now and then I see mistagged MP3 files like the ones with title tags that contain both the artist name and the song name. The following picture shows what I mean:

Mistagged MP3 files (Title field has both the Artist and Song names) Picture 1 - Mistagged MP3 files (Title field has both the Artist and Song names)

Here’s where Mp3tag comes to the rescue. As you see in Picture 1, I’m using the dialog “Replace with regular expression”. Read my previous post about this great piece of software called Mp3tag to see how to get to this dialog. It has 3 fields that you must fill to make some magic happen allowing you to correct those wrongly tagged/mistagged MP3 titles all at once. Ha! You won’t lose your precious time correcting MP3 by MP3. I know that this is boring and that’s why I desperately searched for a solution. I know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably in the same situation and you just found a solution. :)

I’ve chosen the Field TITLE since it’s the problematic field in this particular case. Now the most important part, the so called Regex or Regular expression: (.*) - (.*). This thing means that we’re gonna separate the MP3 Title field in two parts. One part will have everything (.*) before the hyphen - and the other part will contain everything after the hyphen (.*).

Example:

Dru Hill - Away (Prod. by B.Cox) (Full + NoShout) (2010)

The regex (.*) - (.*) will separate the MP3 title above in two parts…

$1 = Dru Hill
$2 = Away (Prod. by B.Cox) (Full + NoShout) (2010)

The Replace matches with field has the value $2 because in this case I want to replace/substitute the MP3 Title with only the Song/Track name (the 2nd part/match of the regex above). If instead I wanted to keep the Artist name in the Title tag (D'oh!, not something I’d want to do), I’d write $1 in this field.

Now, take a look at Picture 2. When you click OK, this is the end result/magic you get. Nice and correctly titled/tagged MP3 files. The way I wanted them to be.

Correctly tagged MP3 filesPicture 2 - Correctly tagged MP3 files

To make things last forever, do not forget to click the Save button present in Mp3tag’s toolbar or in the Save tag option present in the File menu. I like to press Ctrl+S as a shortcut.

If you want to learn the basics about regular expressions to use with Mp3tag, check this out: http://help.mp3tag.de/options_format.html#regexp

As you see, using regexes (one of the most powerful features of computers) you can make any kind of change to your MP3 tags like for example removing that (2010) present in each MP3 Title field above. That 2010 should be in its proper MP3 tag, namely the Year tag. Don’t ya think?

Hope this simple process helps someone out there keep an organized MP3 library as I do like to keep mine.

Note
Mp3tag is a Windows only application as is Windows Live Writer that I use to write these blog posts. I use/run it through Parallels Desktop on my Mac mini. Read this post to get more info about how to run Windows side by side with your Mac OS.