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A digital music collection isn't complete without accurate tag information. I know I'm not the only one who can't stand separate listings for "The Beatles," "Beatles," and "The Beetles" on my iPod. But for any sizable collection, hand-tagging is simply out of the question. Tag&Rename ($30, 30-day free trial) is a comprehensive solution for organizing your music collection. It automates the entire process, and makes an otherwise impossible task manageable.
Tag&Rename has many methods for tagging music files, so it can tackle almost any scenario. If you are tagging entire albums, Tag&Rename can grab information from either Freedb (an open database of CD information) or Amazon.com. Between the two, you can find listings for all but the most obscure CDs. Both sources have accurate and standardized basic information (title, track number, artist, album, year, and genre), but if you want album art too, you'll have to use Amazon.
If you're tagging singles or CDs not in the databases, Tag&Rename can grab tag information directly from the filename. Of course, this works only if your files are named something like "The Beatles - Abbey Road - Come Together.mp3." But if the information is in the filename, however mangled, you can probably build a mask to extract it. Tag&Rename includes tools to help you do this. The preview option is especially useful for learning by trial and error. In the worst case scenario where the databases and filenames fail to help, you can avail yourself of the simple "Multi File Tag Editor," which lets you apply tags such as artist and album to a whole group of files (but you'll still be stuck entering the title and track number for each song).
Tag&Rename also automates renaming files, letting you create a custom format which works using the tag information (so you'll want to tag your files first). The renaming system lets you specify folders too, so this feature is great for moving files around too. I used Tag&Rename to organize my jumbled music downloads folder into a clean folder structure. Like most features in Tag&Rename, this works even with thousands of files.
Tag&Rename's interface can be overwhelming at first. The bottom of the window is for selecting files, and most of the functionality resides above in a long row of small, cryptic icons. Regardless, it's not too hard to get started, especially since most features are accompanied by clear instructions. And if you have a large music library, the learning curve is nothing compared to the countless hours Tag&Rename will save you compared to tagging manually. The $30 is a bargain for the peace of near-perfect organization.
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