id3 tags

Post tags: | id3_tags |

Q: Where is an ID3v2 tag located in an MP3 file?

It is most likely located at the beginning of the file. Look for the marker “ID3” in the first 3 bytes of the file. If it’s not there, it could be at the end of the file (if the tag is ID3v2.4). Look for the marker “3DI” 10 bytes from the end of the file, or 10 bytes before the beginning of an ID3v1 tag. Finally it is possible to embed ID3v2 tags in the actual MPEG stream, on an MPEG frame boundry. Almost nobody does this.

Q: Where is an ID3v1 tag located in an MP3 file?

An ID3v1 tag is in the last 128 bytes of an MP3 file. Look for the marker “TAG” 128 bytes from the end of the file.

Q: Are ID3 tags only available in MP3 audio format?

Yes. ID3 tags were designed with the MP3 file format in mind. ID3v2 tags will break formats which are container-based such as Ogg Vorbis and WMA. Here is some information on specific formats:

ID3 tags work in MP3 and MP3pro files

WAV has no tags and WMA has its own tagging format, which is specified in the WMA spec, available in the MSDN (which unfortunately, basically does not allow Open Source implementations)

Ogg Vorbis uses “Xiph Comments” (same as later versions of FLAC and Speex), which are embedded into the Ogg container. You can find information on these in the comment and container specs on

AAC uses yet another tagging format, which does not at present have a published spec as of 3/1/2006.

mp3 tag editing - linux mp3 tag tool

For GUI, I suggest easytag, and you can lookup more alternatives here. For the command line check out id3v2, but the alternatives are endless.

I would also suggest lltag. Works on the command line, rather easy and fast. It also supports CDDB.

I like TagTool and id3tool. Both are for the command line. I also find Picard useful for music files that exist in the MusicBrainz database.

id3v2 A command line editor for id3v2 tags


ID3 tags provide the Title, Artist, Year, Genre and other great information when you’re listening to music. Here you will find the current standards documents; pointers to software libraries in just about every language and other information you can use to enhance your MP3 audio library.

ID3 tags are the audio file data standard for MP3 files in active use by software and hardware developers around the world. ID3 tags are supported in software such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, VLC, and hardware players like the iPod, Creative Zen, Samsung Galaxy, and Sony Walkman.

An ID3 tag is a data container within an MP3 audio file stored in a prescribed format. This data commonly contains the Artist name, Song title, Year and Genre of the current audio file. This website contains the format standards information for the ID3 tagging data container. If you’ve read this far and are confused, check the ID3v2Easy page for a short, low-tech introduction.

While there are legacy and future standards for ID3 tags, the most popular version implemented today is ID3 version 2.3. A follow on version, 2.4, is documented on this website but has not achieved popular status due to some disagreements on some of the revisions and the tremendous inertia present in the software and hardware marketplace.

Consumers should read the Introduction where the basics of the ID3 tagging format and its history are covered. On that page are links to basic technical information about how ID3 tags work. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page contains some additional items of interest.

chapter comments


BBC page for chapter tool

ID3v2ChapterTool is an application which allows you to author and embed chapter information in your MP3 files. It is part of the BBC open source initiative and is maintained as a Sourceforge project. The application uses a new signalling specification that has been developed by

Warning: ID3v2 Chapter signalling is not currently supported by most media players. Although the signalling is unlikely to cause problems it may be some time before you will be able to see a benefit. However, if you are developing a media player which supports chapters you should find this application useful.

Chapters in this context could be any of the following:

  • chapters within an audiobook
  • articles within a podcast
  • individual tracks within a multi-track audio file

The application is based on a Chapter Signalling API which is an extension of the Java ID3 API developed by Jens Vonderheide.