Software Spotlight – Organize Your Music With PuddleTag For Linux
A long while back in June, I finally settled on a tagging software that could adequately handle my music organizational needs. Back in the XP hey-days, I found a neat little program called Mp3Tag, which let me accurately and quickly tag music. Batch tagging, auto numbering, file to tag, tag to file, you name it! When I fully cut over to Linux, this was one component I had sorely missed. After several months of using Puddletag, I can safely say its the best music tagging software for Linux at the moment. Just how good? Read on …
For the faint of heart, music tagging may not be your “thang,” and I fully understand that. Some people would rather a piece of software, such as iTunes on the Mac, do everything for them, “automagically.” Well, some users can’t users now on Linux may miss their old iTunes, but want their collections organized. For me, I never have trusted programs to handle my entire catalog. They either completely tear the folder structure to shreds, or incorrectly tag dates and other meta data. Why should you care about the meta data you say?
With incorrect meta data, whenever you load up a song on your computer, or in a music player, you’ll see vastly different information than just the song title. See, a program such as VLC or your audio player on your smartphone reads that “meta data” and gives an output of what is “tagged” to that file, rather than what you call the file name. This is in stark contrast if you search the folders themselves, which is comfortably done on various Android applications. Most importantly, it is more than likely your Album Art is missing. So what do you do to fix it?
Getting To Know Puddletag
First thing you want to do is get familiar with the interface:
I will go through a few quick scenarios that I use personally to handle music I put onto my computer digitally, as well as offer some hints that may help you. Some of these you may not use, and others you may want to change or modify. Whichever the case, hopefully some of these give you a start on using Puddletag:
Changing Album Art:
Changing album art is surprisingly easy. Pressing CTRL+E gets you to a handy editor, in which you can drag and drop any common photo format onto the right box area and bam, presto chango. This can also be done to a batch of files, making entire album changes a piece of cake.
Modifying Tag Data Selectively
The semi-automatic tools from the top toolbar give you some quick shortcuts to the most common “all in one” actions. Here is a break down of these main functions:
- Tag -> Filename
Tag to Filename will pull the meta data that shows on the Tag Editor to the filename that appears in your Linux file browser, may it be nemo, nautiflus, the Terminal, whichever.
- Filename -> Tag
Filename to Tag will take what is in your Linux file browser, and apply that to the tag meta data. I rarely use this option, as its typical to rip music from a CD or Digital Purchase and be left with hilarious and unusable filename structures.
This option will format your filename/tag information based on the pre-determined format/code you set (far left in the above info-graphic). This is useful for custom formats that do not apply to all of your music.
- Rename Directories
This option will rename the folders in your file browser according to the meta data, typically with the year. Customizable to your liking.
Modifying Tags In Batches
Under the Actions menu, you can find a one stop shop for batch processing, another feature that I sorely missed from Mp3Tag on windows. The standard pre-set format action will give most people what they need, but for me, I tweaked it a bit to show a “01 – Track Name .mp3″ format”. Also within my setup, is a renaming of the directories to match “(2013) – Album Name.”
Based on my sample file above, you should be able to get most of what you want, and expand from there. Replacing common special characters is something that you can experiment with as you go along. When exporting from programs on your system, you’ll often see appended characters or prefixes.
The autonumbering wizard is a handy generator for when you rip your music, and are missing the track numbers next to your files. I typically pad my tracks with a 0, such as “01, 02, 03” and so on (Max Length option). Once your tracks are numbered , you’ll see this reflected in the tag editor on the left. Make sure you convert Tag -> Filename or use your “Actions Menu” to convert that Meta data tag info to the actual filename.
Starting with a clean slate
Puddletag does contain another handly feature. There are some times where the tag meta data is so invariably messed up, I just want to start with a clean slate. Under Tag Tools, you’ll fine a quick one click action to clean the slate. Be warned though, the “Undo” arrow only can save you so many times!
Puddle tag is a perfect replacement for users of the dutch Mp3Tag software, any also many others. For all you audiophiles out there that have not seen this yet, I highly suggest you give it a go. This also makes preparing EPs, custom mixes, and web downloads easy as pie. No longer will your fan base be aggravated by poorly made tags because your mixing software decided to leave them out.
If you should have any questions of comments, be sure to leave them below.