in ,

mp3tag arrives on OS X (sort of)

  • 2007. That was the year I switched from a Windows laptop to a Macbook. Just as Windows users began wincing their way through Vista, I jumped from XP to OS X Tiger, foraging Finder for files, surfing Safari across the web (which would quickly be replaced by Mozilla Firefox and, later, Google Chrome) and ingesting images with iPhoto.

    On the audio playback side, iTunes fronted by Audirvana+ or Amarra or PureMusic would ultimately be DAR HQ’s software of choice before switching up and out to an Antipodes server and AURALiC Aries streamer. The Macbook Air on which I type these words occasionally sees Audirvana+ 2.0 fired up for when needs must.

    However, one piece of software from those Windows years for which I’ve yet to find a proper substitute is mp3tag – a God amongst men of tag editors. Despite its name, mp3tag handles a good deal more than MP3s:

    (From the website) “Mp3tag is a powerful and yet easy-to-use tool to edit metadata of common audio formats where it supports ID3v1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, iTunes MP4, WMA, Vorbis Comments and APE Tags. It can rename files based on the tag information, replace characters or words in tags and filenames, import/export tag information, create playlists and more.Mp3tag supports online database lookups from, e.g., Amazon, discogs, or freedb, allowing you to automatically gather proper tags and cover art for your music library.”

    To this day, no OS X substitute comes close to feature set comprehensiveness and ease of use. The standout is mp3tag’s spreadsheet layout where each entry is its own clickable/editable cell.

    mp3tag’s second strongest suit is its ability to sort by file/folder name inside the app so that ‘track number’ re-sequencing can be properly applied. This is especially useful when faced with multi-disc sets whose tracks are subdivided into separate folders but whose ‘album’ tag info remains the same throughout.

    Consider the recent (2014) 3CD reissue of The Wedding Present’s Bizarro stored across three separate folders, one for each disc:

    • The Wedding Present – Bizarro / Disc 1
    • The Wedding Present – Bizarro / Disc 2
    • The Wedding Present – Bizarro / Disc 3

    There is need to burn each ‘disc’ to a separate CD-R but I prefer to store the entire release in ONE folder. Combining the three folders, each containing 17, 16 and 13 tracks, would results in 46 tracks but according to the tag data that determines the folder’s playback order, three track “1”, three track “2” and three track “3” etc. would exist, causing the album to play out of sequence.

    I’ve tried MusicBrainz Picard and Kid3 as substitutes but no dice. I even gave Stephen Booth’s Tag a whirl. Close, but no cigar.

    What to do?


    With mp3tag’s German developer showing no sign of developing a dedicated OS X version, the Mac-bound mp3tag-lover must resort to VMware/Parallels or retag each folder as a separate album using the aforementioned Mac-centric software offerings. In the case of our Wedding Present release this means “Bizarro (Disc 1)”, “Bizarro (Disc 2)” and “Bizarro (Disc 3)” – three folders isn’t really what I’m after; it’s a so-so compromise.

    wine is not an emulator. Enter Vortexbox forum administrator Ron Olsen who has created a Wineskin wrapper so that the mp3tag.exe will run on OS X. Yes, I’m late to a party that kicked off way back in 2012 but I’m here to make amends by spreading the news.

    From the Wineskin website: “Wineskin is a tool used to make ports of Windows software to Mac OS X.  The ports are in the form of normal Mac application bundle wrappers.  It works like a wrapper around the Windows software, and you can share just the wrappers if you choose.”

    You’ll note from Olsen’s opening post that he’s been sharing Wineskinned versions of mp3tag via his Dropbox account for three years with the most recent being December 2014’s Mp3tag-v2.66. Some OS X users have reported various compatibility issues – see the Vortexbox thread for specifics – but I’ve so far experienced zero problems running the v2.65a on OS X Mavericks 10.9.5.

    mp3tag is once again my goto FLAC tag editor.

    Warning! Beware of It isn’t mp3tag at all but Wondershare’s TidyMyMusic rebadged for the web in the hope of extracting US$39 from unsuspecting Internet users.

    Further information: mp3tag on OS X |

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    UPDATED! Testing the PonoPlayer/Kickstarter returns process

    Global feedback: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon vinyl vs. digital