Losing Audio Tag information upon exporting

I have recently upgraded to version 2.0 from 1.2.6. I’m using Windows 7 OS.

I have on many occasions recorded several songs from the internet using Roxio Creator via “Capture Audio from Sound Card” and saving them to .mp3 file format; then use Audacity to edit the beginning silence from each of the recordings. In the previous veriosn 1.2.6, and prior to exporting to .mp3, I would open the “edit IDtag” to change the default genre to the correct genre of that song; however, viewing the tag information within Windows Explorer, the beats-per-minute that had previously been analyzed by another program would disappear; forcing me to re-analyze the song. All other information that appears in Windows Explorer regarding song title, year, album artist, length of song, contributing artist would remain. Since upgrading to Audacity 2.0, I not only lose the beats-per-minutes, the album artist name is also being removed.

I have the “Show Metadata Editor prior to export step” checked to verify that all the information pertaining to that song is there.
The Metadata Editor is showing BPM (beats per minutes) and Band, which I assume it has automatically added and collected from the original tag information; however, the names are slightly different than the column names in Windows Explorer. I did not add these lines manually. Windows Explorer lists these names as just Beats-per-minutes and Album Artist.
I have attempted to create a template and saving it as AudioTag.xml, and then clicking “Set Default” so that all the tag lines would appear; however, no matter what I do, the Metadata Editor is always showing the Audacity original default tag lines. The saved template doesn’t contain any of the added lines that I created, and the exported file doesn’t contain the BPM (beats per minute) or the Album Artist.

For each song in an entire album I have to manually add back the name of the Album Artist, and then re-analyze the song so I can see the beats-per-minutes. The beats-per-minutes are very important to me as I use this information to select specific songs for my daily exercise routine. I could wait to analyze each song after exporting as I did with Audacity 1.2.6. Since I can select several songs to be analyzed at one time, analyzing a list of song from an entire album only takes a few seconds.; however, to add back the album artist name to each and every song is a daunting task that has to be done one by one through “Edit song information” via Windows Explorer.

What do I need to do to keep from losing this data when I export the edited song?

Audacity doesn’t remove those tags, as you will see if you quit Audacity then re-import the exported file.

Have you perhaps updated the version of Windows? 1.2.6 and 2.0.0 both write the “TPE1” frame for “Artist Name” (as it is called in the Audacity Metadata Editor). The ID3 standard http://www.id3.org/id3v2.3.0 defines TPE1 thus:

"Lead performer(s)/Soloist(s). The ‘Lead artist(s)/Lead performer(s)/ Soloist(s)/Performing group’ is used for the main artist(s).

However Windows 7 describes TPE1 as “Contributing Artist”, so if you want to see the “Artist Name” field in the Windows 7 Explorer you will have to display “Contributing Artist” instead.

Windows 7’s so-called “Album Artist” field is the “TPE2” frame which in the ID3 standard is defined as:

“Band/orchestra/accompaniment. Used for additional information about the performers in the recording.”

So I regard that problem as with Windows, not Audacity.

The usual frame for a “BPM” field is the “TBPM” frame (you can open your original MP3 in a hex editor like HxD to see what frame is being used for BPM).

Because Audacity does not have BPM as a pre-defined field it will rewrite the “TBPM” frame as a “TXXX” (user-defined text information) frame. Explorer or Windows Media Player won’t see user-defined fields but any sensible media player or tags analyzer will do so (such as Foobar 2000 or Media Info).

Having said all that, if the “Beats-per-minute” column in Explorer is intended to be the TBPM frame it does not display TBPM data for me on Windows 7 x64.

The “Defaults” button in Audacity Metadata Editor only determines the metadata displayed when there is no metadata in the project already. So if you import an MP3 that has metadata the fields and values set as default won’t appear, as described in the Manual ( http://manual.audacityteam.org/help/manual/man/metadata_editor.html#Template ).


I appreciate your reply; however, your explanation does not explain how to retain the beats-per-minutes and band information from disappearing in Windows Explorer. I do a weekly update to Windows 7, as I’m sure most people do. If you are referring to upgrading from a previous version, the answer is no. I’ve been using this version for well over a year now.

Windows Explorer may have different names; however, Windows Explorer also uses “Name” versus “Track Title” in Audacity, it uses “#” instead of “Track Number”, etc., etc… This just tells me it doesn’t make any difference if the names are exactly the same. If it had to do with using the exact name, then why is it Audacity still retains the “length” of the song when it doesn’t have a tag line for it? And, the tag lines may remain when I open the song in Audacity and open the Metadata information; that’s not my problem. My problem is Audacity seems to recognize these tag lines even if they do have different name; so why doesn’t it retain that same data in Windows Explorer? I use Audacity for editing purposes only, not for playing my music, for viewing my list of music with certain beats-per-minutes, or moving my music files from one location to another or downloading to my MP3 player. Also, not every “contributing artist/artist name” is the same as the “album artist/band”; i.e. - Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Steve Perry of Journey, Nancy Wilson of Heart.

This program is suppose to be a Windows 7 compatible program; therefore, I would expect it to recognize and not remove information that Windows 7 supports; not the other way around.

I have explained in detail what happens with the Beats Per Minute field. The best answer as things are now is not to use Windows Explorer for looking at the exported tag information. Then you will be able to see not only the BPM but also the TPE1 Artist Name with a more appropriate name than Windows gives it.

If you are on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 you can also add the BPM in the “Comments” in Audacity Metadata Editor then display the Comments field in Explorer instead. This won’t I think work in Windows 7 without Service Pack 1 (or earlier versions of Windows) because those versions require the language of the comment to be specified. We cannot specify it because we are not an English-only program.

As already explained to you, BPM has the frame type changed after export because BPM is not a predetermined tag field in the Audacity Metadata Editor. By “predetermined” I mean those tags that are always there by default, so you never have to add them. “Track Title” and “Track Number” are already predetermined tags, so their frame types are not changed when exported, and Windows still sees them even if it may call them something else.

The length is stored in the file headers even if the file has no metadata tags.

Then as already explained, one option is to import the exported MP3 back into Audacity, whence you can see the BPM as you can in almost any other metadata viewer or media player (except those supplied by Microsoft).

Once again, the BPM tag is not removed. I am not saying Audacity behaviour is perfect - ideally Audacity would retain the frame type rather than change it - but explaining why it happens. Quite possibly this is a limitation in the tag export library we use.

For most users, more unusual tags like BPM are not a problem, because they can see the exported BPM and other tags in other applications than Explorer or Media Player.


For the sake of completeness I raised a bug about this at http://bugzilla.audacityteam.org/show_bug.cgi?id=541, suggesting that Album Artist, BPM and Composer become default tags, so they will not then have their frame changed when exported. This will prevent the problem occurring with iTunes and Windows Explorer/Media Player. I am sure that is easily doable; whether our current tag library can keep the original frame for tags that are not in Audacity’s default list, I don’t know.


Same Problem. Nearly all of my hardly created id3 metadata is lost after exporting the mp3 file. Only Title, Artis, Year etc. remained, all others are gone. I’m using Metadata (ID3v2) heavily (Composer, Songwriter, Original Release Date, Conductor, Label, Quality, Pictures, Lyrics and some user-defined tags).
I am using Audacity for editing AUDIO data not METADATA. I want to normalize a file, to cut off at the beginning or end of a file, sometimes use effects, but that’s it.
I want my Metadata to be untouched.
10 years ago there was a program called “Cool Edit Pro” (which is now Adobe Audition). It had a simple checkbox at the export dialog “save extra non-audio information”. Checking this left ALL METADATA (eg. ID3v2) untouched. After editing a mp3 file all ID3v2 data was exported correctly and completely.
Is this possible with Audacity too ? If yes, how ?

Situation is as stated above. Text tags that are not Audacity defaults are not discarded, but are converted to TXXX (user-specified). Tag editors that cannot read TXXX will not see the tags. Tag editors that can see TXXX will move the tag to a custom tag.

And yes I’m afraid lyrics and images are discarded.

All we can do is record your vote that we address these matters. The developer we had who was interested in metadata issues is no longer active in the project, so nothing is likely to happen soon.


First of all, thx for your quick answer.
But it seems to me this matter should be easy to do. There’s no need of a ID3v2-specialist. ID3v2 data is located at the beginning of the mp3 file. The exactly length of this metadata is known. Audacity knows that length. Otherwise it would not know where audio data starts.

It really can’t be a problem to read in all this metadata into a buffer, and write it back on export, untouched, at the beginning of the new file - without analyzing, reordering and re-tagging the contents of this metadata.
Audacity is a great tool for editing audio, but ID3-tagging or media-archiving will be done better by other tools - and that’s ok.

Yes, but ID3v1 often appears at the end of the file.

It still needs a developer that is interested in the issue to do it. As you say there are specialist tagging apps, and for this reason Audacity’s approach to tagging has been somewhat half-hearted. We wouldn’t be able to get away with not offering tag editing at all.

Personally I don’t think discarding lyrics and images is good form.


Personally I find audacity’s behavior on this issue REALLY annoying. I am just stating a project where I am going to edit almost 5000 tracks and to then have to go back and re-edit all the ID3 tags is a huge penalty.

Please, please, please, see if you can get somebody to work on this ASAP.


What edits are you going to do and what format are the files? There may be better, quicker tools for trims and altering the volume (including doing fades). Most such tools for MP3 or OGG editing wouldn’t re-encode, but Audacity does, and this will lead to a loss of quality for lossy formats like MP3 or OGG.


Hi Gale,

I have tinnitus and there is a therapy of listening to music with one octave surrounding the tinnitus frequency removed from the spectrum. Audacity, with the bandstop.ny plugin, is by far the best program for accurately creating the desired bandstop filter. I have tried numerous others but they all have problems of one sort or another creating this filter.

I have a large library of music (mp3 mostly at 192kbps) that has been very carefully tagged (with Tag&Rename) to fit my needs (wants) which include such tags as Composer, Conductor, Album Artist, and Grouping. All of these tags are lost when I export from Audacity so after filtering I have to go back and re-tag each and every track. I can copy and paste the tags in Tag&Rename but it is a couple of minutes per album which I would rather spend doing something else.

Thanks, Bob

Hi Bob

You will always have to re-encode the MP3’s to apply a filter to them.

A player with advanced equalizer filters might save the Audacity problem but I guess you have tried that?

Have you tried the filters in CoolEdit or WavePad
http://tinyurl.com/colqje5 ?

I don’t know how well those programs handle MP3 tagging though.


Thanks Gale,

I tried WavePad with very poor filtering results. I haven’t tried CoolEdit yet so I’ll check that out.
And, thanks for the tinnitus link. i hadn’t found that one before and it is very useful.


Windows 10. Audacity 3.1.2 . I also encountered the bug with non-standard tags apparently not being saved. I reverted to 3.0.5 and found that v 3.1.2 had actually saved the tags, but it was not displaying them when loading a saved file. My tags showed up intact when the saved file was loaded into v 3.0.5

This is a known and logged issue:

See also the other metadata issues logged on GitHub:


I have a similar problem and someone with better .xml may be able to help.
I have been using Audicity 3.0.2 and find some non-standard tags get modified when exporting: Discnumber is exported as Part of a set, AlbumArtist exported as Band, and Project and Contributing Artist become project and contributing artists. I’ve checked using MP3tag and can recover these tags using the new names that Audacity has used so the data is not lost, just renamed. I’ve tried “upgrading” to Audacity 3.2.1 but this loses all non-standard tags. Obviously I can recover the tags using MP3tag, but this seems an unnecessary extra step and I will have to manually delete the tags with the names Part of a set and Band.
Can I reset the tag names in Audacity using the tags.xml file? I see I have a tags.xml file that contains

although I don’t know how that happened. Can someone suggest if I can use some variable in place of value= in the tags.xml file to recover the tags that Audacity 3.0.2 is corrupting?

The tags.xml file is created and used by the Metatdata Editor when you save or restore a metadata template. See: Metadata Tags Editor

This note is from the devlopers:

Improving metadata handling is not planned for the moment… There may be a bigger metadata release eventually, follow > Improved metadata handling in Audacity #1464 > for that.

With respect, telling me how the xml file is created and that improved metadata handling is not planned does not really answer my questions

Can I reset the tag names in Audacity using the tags.xml file


Can someone suggest if I can use some variable in place of value= in the tags.xml file to recover the tags that Audacity 3.0.2 is corrupting

Is there anyone out there whose experience of writing xml can help me by suggesting a change to the tags.xml file?
maybe changing
Thanks for any helpful suggestions…

With respect, there is no “magic” in the xml representation. It is simply another way of representing the exact same data that you see in the Edit > Metadata Tags. No more. No less. But for some reason, you seem to think otherwise? Have you tried editing the metadata yourself? You could use notepad or notepad++