Need a Solution for Extracting Metadata from MP3 files

I need to extract some metadata from folders of mp3 files. I thought I had the answer but I've hit a stumbling block.

Example: Looking into a typical file folder, by just viewing it in Windows, I see this :

Windows Screen Shot of Contents
I want to extract (is that the right word?) the Titles and the corresponding Contributing Artists  and be able to place those files into a .csv or Excel file  to be placed into two categories, Title of Recording and Featured Artist of Recording.

I've been told that this can be done using Mp3tag, which I have, but I can't quite seem to configure it the way I need to

If there's another relatively uncomplicated solution, I'm open to haring about it.

FYI, I will be using this for about 4000 songs and any new ones added to the batch to comply with licensing and reporting requirements.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
MP3Tag will do this as a batch for everything it finds in the path you select.

It assumes that everything you are looking at has ID3v2 metadata which is very likely but some older files may have ID3v1 and not be picked up correctly.

Let's start with your stumbling block first of all though, where are you getting stuck?  Set up a small folder with maybe an album's worth of tracks and go here for tips

Shout out as soon as you get stuck :)
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering ConsultantCommented:
I use the following utility (on Windows) for things like this.  It is great at extracting metadata from many types of files, including audio.  It can output the result to a number of formats, including CSV.

Grab the Windows stand alone EXE from:

ExifTool by Phil Harvey

and then run a test like:

exiftool c:\temp\*.mp3 -csv > metedata.csv

Open in Excel or view as needed to get an idea of what it can do.  You can then refine this by specifying just what metadata items you want exported, read up on the command line options.

RadioGeorgeOwner/ProgrammerAuthor Commented:
To say "I am not a techie" may be an understatement.

With regards to, I looked at several listings and have to say that they're enough beyond my comprehension to not be readily useful.

The exiftool concept results in so many files, just trying to figure out which is which lost me as well. And the hassle of having to download, install, then remove winzip is annoying. I do not like winzip and have used 7zip as my zip program of choice for years because it is so simple.

I appreciate the quick responses, but I'm still stuck. I admit to being someone who needs an extremely simple explanation for tech stuff. You can't hand me the keys to start the car without saying 'Use THIS key to unlock the door. Then get in and insert THIS key into the lock which is on the side of the pole on which the steering wheel is mounted. Turn it TOWARDS the front of the car to start the engine."

And for the record, my father was a self-taught auto mechanic who devised impromptu solutions for more car problems that you could imagine. He never passed on any of that genius to me.
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Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering ConsultantCommented:
Okay, I get that it needs to be fairly simple, no shame in that.

For what it's worth, you can certainly open a ZIP file with 7Zip rather than WinZip, WinZip is not required to get the exiftool.  And there is no installation needed, you just extract the EXE from the ZIP file and place it in a folder, and you can run it right there.  But I appreciate it's a powerful and therefore complex tool, so it can seem intimidating.

Are you just looking for those two specific columns from all the MP3 files in a folder (or recursive tree of folders)?

RadioGeorgeOwner/ProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Bill, yes--just those two specific columns. Once I get that info, I will send it in .csv or Excel format to the music licensing agency Sound Exchange, which has a free "matching" service for clients that makes monthly reporting MUCH easier and faster than the way I am currently doing it.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
That's how I learn too.

Try this Step-by-Step for mp3tag:

Create a folder and throw in a few MP3 files you know are tagged
Open mp3tag
Click to add the folder (the folder icon with the plus sign)
Browse to it and the contents should appear in the main screen

From the File menu choose Export

NOTE for later: You can build your own export format or grab one that someone has already built (these ate .mte files) - Click the link Export Configuration Advice if you want to look at those and see if there's anything that sounds likely(!)

Just for testing choose csv

And export to the preset file name mp3tag.csv
You should see:

Title;Artist;Album;Track;Year;Length;Size;Last Modified;Path;Filename

for each track found

Now amend the format for the output

Double click on csv

In the .mte file that opens make some changes

Change some of the semi-colons to commas
Choose only the fields you need - so if that's Title of Recording and Featured Artist of Recording

Your .mte now looks like this:
$filename(csv,utf-16)Title of Recording,Featured Artist of Recording;
$loopend()build on %_date% with %_app% - the universal Tag editor -

Open in new window

Close and save, close the Options Window and run the export again
Uncheck "One file per directory" to list everything in your test folder and any subfolders in a single list.

Your output file can now be imported into pretty much any database or spreadsheet from the csv.
(First line contains Fileheaders, commas are separators, semi colons are line feeds)

Is that enough to help you get started?
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering ConsultantCommented:
Using exiftool, I think it would be just the following command, to get all the info into a single CSV file for a folder and it's child folders...

exiftool -title -artist -r m:\adele -ext mp3 -csv+ > adele.csv

Open in new window

-title and -artist identify the metadata fields we want,
-r indicates recursive processing into subfolders
- m:\adele is the base folder to scan
-ext specifies the extension of files to process, in this case MP3
-csv indicates to format the output in a CSV file
> adele.csv saves the output data to that file


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RadioGeorgeOwner/ProgrammerAuthor Commented:
OK, I guess I'm a little more helpless than I thought....

I have tried each of the solutions presented here and have not had any success with either. I think it's safe to say that the problem lies in my simply not understanding the step-by-step process. for either. I have managed to get some of each procedure right but the final results do not work.  I will try again tomorrow in the light of day and report back.

Any more simple suggestions are, of course, most welcome!
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering ConsultantCommented:
If you have tried using exiftool I'm happy to try and help further.  Just detail what you have done, and what the errors / results were, and what problems / questions you have.

RadioGeorgeOwner/ProgrammerAuthor Commented:
OK, guys, I've found the solution that works for me, although it turned out to be one that I sort of doped out myself based on the information you provided.

Bill, I delved into the  exiftool program and while I understood the concept, I was not able to eke out a solution for my particular problem with it. This may be due to the length of time that has passed from my days of using QuickBsic and being able to understand DOS programming to some degree.

MASQ, while your suggestions wound up being  little too complex for me, some of the steps I was able to follow lead me to a solution that is fast, easy, and will work for very well. The manipulation of a CSV file involves way too much information considering I have 3000-4000 files to put into proper submission order for Sound Exchange. But looking at ALL the export configurations in MP3Tag's menu, I was able to reach this solution:

In MP3Tag, I open a folder containing MP3 files. Then I use the Export Configuration choice of html-standard to save the file, say as oldies12.html. I can then open it in Excel and delete all columns except title and artist and re-save it with just that info. A little copy-and-paste and I'll have a master file to submit that will meet the reuirements and make my reporting a LOT easier!

Thank you both for your help.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
You're welcome.  The solution here is whatever works for you.

I'd still recommend playing with MP3Tag when you have time to spare, as given your planned use in this question, I'm sure it will be useful to create other indexes as you need in the future.
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