Tagging music… No, not like that

I’m thinking it would be great to be able to assign arbitrary tags to my music, like I do to my photos. For instance, I might tag the finale to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony like this:

symphony beethoven loud choir german

I can’t figure out how to Google for this sort of feature because, well, the word “tag” is already taken for something else in the context of music.

I believe Amarok offers it, a bit, but Amarok has too many other serious flaws for me to be able to consider it.

Any ideas?

15 thoughts on “Tagging music… No, not like that

    1. Their privacy policy makes me nervous, so I’d rather have something directly on my machine. I guess I need to learn more about them, esp. if I can somehow tag my collection there.

  1. How is this any different than play lists in iTunes? Of course the ui is a little different, but the functionality is the same.

    1. I’ve tried using playlists; it’s annoying. Sure, you can easily see all tracks with a given “tag” (playlist). But how can you see what tags a given track has?

      Not only that, but you can’t usually just type a list of ’em. It’s cumbersome.

  2. If you’d like to hack a little, I’d suggest you give a look at the Logic_File_System page on wikipedia, then go on for the wiki mentionned in the external links. The tutorial deals with music, so that should give you a good idea wether you’d like it or not.

  3. Hi
    The Picard Tagger form musicbrainz offers to put last.fm tags
    in the gerne filed of the id3-tags (with a pluggin).
    Musicbrainz itself has added tagging (both on a “per user” and “over all” base) some time ago. If you sign up, add tags and then go to http://musicbrainz.org/user/tags/ you will find your “personal” tags. hth.

    1. Ah, now that’s a very interesting idea. I’m already a big MusicBrainz fan and have a pretty solid rule that nothing enters my collection unless it’s been tagged with Picard already. (I only make exceptions for things that aren’t fit to be entered into MusicBrainz at all.)

  4. seems like you really need a tool to utilize the id3 field ‘comment’ instead of raping the genre field as someone suggests.

  5. SqueezeCenter (Squeezebox Server) with a SqueezeBox or Softsqueeze. Then use the Genre tag to include tags. e.g. “Rock;party;dance;loud”. You’ll then be able to browse the tags and also generate random playlists including certain tags. At least that’s what I do and it works fine for me. Also the Genre tag is hardly used for anything and doesn’t mess up browse list on other (portable) players that cannot handle multiple tags in tags.

    1. That’s an interesting idea too. I gather that SqueezeCenter can serve music to a Roku SoundBridge, which we have, and perhaps also to various clients. Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll look into it too.

  6. Funny you mention that. I’m at the moment designing a music player/organizer with support for various “tags”/labels for individual songs, albums, artists, musicians, listeners, etc and relationships between them (“song x is an intro to song y”, “album x is a concept album”, “song x also appears on album y”, “artist x is similar to artist y”, “i like to listen to song x when i’m sad”, “musician x plays instrument y on song z”, “person x doesn’t like artist y”, “i downloaded album x from the net before its release, so don’t submit it to last.fm in the next few weeks”, etc).

    Then you could script the thing in some nice ways (for example, in “intelligent random mode”, it would put the whole concept album rather than just one random song from it on the playlist, unless the song in question is tagged as being fine to listen to even when it’s out of context). You could also tell it your mood and it’d try to not play stuff you wouldn’t like to listen to at the moment, or tell it that your mom is visiting you and it shouldn’t play songs she wouldn’t like, etc.

    I’ve already written some code, but most of the thing still lives only in my head and on paper.

  7. Apev2 tags have support for arbitrary tags which you could use to make a sort of key=value scheme, for instance you would have all the standard tracknumber=1, artist name=prince type things and then you could add mood=somber or whatnot.

    Bonus points for fetching metedata from allmusic.com

  8. I don’t know if it fits, but I think nepomuk [and strigi] should do the job of looking into ID3 and integrate with other tags you give. That’s a more general aproach because it is for every type of file.

  9. most music programs used standard taxonomies: artist, album, etc. It sounds like you are looking for something closes to a folksonomy like flikr has. This is metadata and as other have mentioned, a popular way to store metadata in music files is ID3 fields. So you would have to have a program that could save/retrieve/display/search for a custom field in this file metadata. I dont know as much about music players in FLOSS, as I read from your other comparisons in previouis posts, you have researched the topic. Another thought crossed my mind wrt debtags-like data (Artist::Bob Dylan,Genre::Folk,Tag::protest song,Tag::Uses::harmonica,etc.) So the ID3 tags might be enhanced in this way, just add you own non-standard ones, or have the field contain a UUID to a database with your tag data and then create a mytags program to just deal with this data and then figure out a FLOSS program that might include that functionality and hack or file a wishlist bug.

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