MP3 Tag FAQ: How Does an MP3 Tag Work?

The ID3 tag is useful for listeners and crucial for artists

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An MP3 tag is a generic term that describes a metadata container in an MP3 file. This information is embedded in the file structure and contains data for tags like artist, track number, album, genre, etc. This information can be used by MP3 players, media players, software players, and can also be edited using MP3 tag editors

The ID3 tag is very important for artists to include in their MP3 files, as without it, listeners may not know who they are listening to and tracking services may not be able to record how may plays a song is getting.

The ID3V1 Tag

The older ID3v1 tag which is located at the end of an MP3 file takes up 128 bytes of space. This metadata container supports up to 30 bytes for tags such as artist, album, etc.; shorter tags such as genre have a 1-byte allocation. The updated ID3v1.1 tag has an additional track number tag that the original ID3V1 doesn't.

The ID3V2 Tag

The ID3V2 specification which was released in 1998, is a frame-based container that is located at the beginning of an MP3 file. So far, there have been 3 revisions of this specification (ID3V2.2 / ID3V2.3 / ID3V2.4). Compared to the old ID3V1 and ID3V1.1, this format is very flexible and can contain up to 256Mb of metadata (max. 16Mb per frame). Currently, there are 84 different frame types - you can use some of these to embed album art, lyrics, Website addresses, and more.

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