Tagged songs are computer audio files that contain extra data tags about the audio they contain. Most commonly used with MP3 music files, ID3 tags contain information that can be read by computers, MP3 players and some models of CD players. Tags can be used to sort and organize a music library, and to relay information on a song as it plays.
ID3 tags store a wide range of information that can be useful in a large music library. Tags can reference an audio file's artist, title, album, track number, length and other data. When a music file is imported into a music library, the basic information is stored in the database and can be used to quickly organize and search the library.
How to Tag Songs
Most popular music library management applications support song tagging, such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer and Winamp. Users can right-click on the files and choose an option such as "Edit" or "Modify Tags." The changes to the ID3 tags are stored in the library and in the audio files themselves. Many applications are able to identify missing ID3 tags from audio CD's or improperly labeled audio files and apply the proper information.
Compatible Audio Formats
ID3 tags were primarily designed to be used with MP3 files. As the popularity of competing formats increased, tag functionality has been expanded to support additional formats such as AIFF, WAV, ASF and MP4 files. ID3 tags remain a standard throughout the industry. There are no other major competitors to the ID3 format.
Many devices besides computers are able to interpret data stored in ID3 tags. CD players can have a built-in display that displays information for the track currently playing. MP3 players rely on ID3 tags to keep audio files organized. Advanced wireless speakers that support Apple's AirPlay feature can download and display information for audio that is being streamed live. Open-source compatibility allows just about any set of software or hardware to access tag data and use it in a practical manner.
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