Open Source Musings The thoughts, ideas, and opinions of an open source guy

Tagging MP3 files with gmp3info

Side view of a turntable

I have two very distinct sides. On one hand, I like things neat and orderly. And I like them well catalogued and tagged. On the other hand, I’m lazy. There are times when I just don’t want to put in the time and effort to make things neat and orderly, or to properly catalogue and tag them. That includes my music files.

Back in the day, I ripped a number of my CDs on a computer without an internet connection. Which meant that the ripping software I used couldn’t get metadata about the songs I was converting to MP3. Which meant that I couldn’t get album art or properly catalogue my music. I figured I’d do that sometime in the future. That time only came about recently — 14 years or so later. Yes, it’s not pretty …

But I have to reap what I’ve sown. Luckily, there aren’t that many files that I need to tag (add information to). For the ones that I need to tag, the question is how? I looked around and found a decent utility called gmp3info. It makes life quite easy. Let’s take a look at how to use it.

Getting started

To be honest, I found gmp3info in my package manager. But it’s included with the mp3info command line utility. Install that, and you’re ready to go.

To run the software, press ALT + F2 or use your program launcher and type /usr/local/bin/gmp3info. That open a file picker dialog.

Choosing the file to tag

Find the file that you want to tag and then click OK. In this case, I’m adding information to the instrumental “Captain Soul” from the album Fifth Dimension by The Byrds.

Once you click OK, you’re taken to a blank form.

Blank form to enter tagging information

Well, it might not blank. If the file that you chose has been tagged, its information will appear on the form. You can change that information if you want to.

Let’s assume, though, that you have a blank form. What information should you fill in? At the very least, I enter the following information:

  • Title
  • Artist
  • Album
  • Genre

I include the year the album was released if I know what it is. The track number isn’t all that important to me and I generally ignore the comment field. Here’s what the completed form looks like:

Completed tagging information

What next?

If that’s the only file you’re tagging, click OK to exit the program. If, on the other hand, you want to tag another file then select File > Open New. Then, find the next file that you want to tag and repeat the process. Simple, but effective.

But how do you know whether or not gmp3info has done its job? It hasn’t failed me yet. But if you’re paranoid or just want to double check, open your file manager and find the file. Right click on the name of the file and choose Properties. Then, click the Audio tab.

Viewing an MP3 file's properties

gmp3info is a simple but effective tool. It does its job, and does it well. What more do you need?

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