Multiple id3 tags issue when exporting to mp3

macOS Big Sur 11.2.3 / Audacity 3.0.0
NB : I also reproduced this with Audacity 2.4.4 on Big Sur, and on another computer running Audacity 2.4.4 & macOS Mojave

- Bug description :

When I edit a file with Audacity, some id3 tags are messed up after exporting to mp3.

  1. the COMMENT frame is duplicated, and the new one added by Audacity has ‘XXX’ as its language instead of ‘eng’.
  2. the DATE frame is duplicated.
  3. the value for “ALBUM ARTIST” frame is stored in a new frame called “BAND”
  4. the value for “COMPILATION” frame is stored in a new frame called “unknown text information”
  5. the artwork is deleted

I initially noticed issues 3) and 4) because I always had to fill ALBUM ARTIST and COMPILATION again when importing to iTunes the new file exported by Audacity.
I later realized that in the “Edit Metadata Tags” window, the new frames are listed, but if I try to change them back to the original frame (e.g. ALBUM ARTIST and COMPILATION) it doesn’t work (Album Artist will be empty, and Compilation will be duplicated)

Issue 1) gave me the most problems because I couldn’t understand why the COMMENT value displayed by iTunes/Music and Finder were different, and editing it in iTunes/Music would not allow me to fix it.
I eventually figured it out by using various software to clean up my library. Yate for instance displayed the list of tags and you could see there were 2 COMMENT with different languages. Now I’m using “kid3” which doesn’t display the language in the table, but if you click the “Edit…” button, then you see the language for each one. Somehow, iTunes/Music are displaying and editing one of the two, but the Finder is displaying the other one, causing a lot of confusion.

Issue 2) was not visible to me until I started using kid3 and it was displaying a warning for the duplicated frame. I found a bug already listed for this one : and it seems it’s a recent regression caused to other related bugs (so maybe I actually didn’t encounter this bug before)

Issue 5) is listed here for reference, but it’s not as bad as the others. I can understand that an audio editor will not keep its artwork (even though I guess it’s just a tag as any other and it could be kept ?)

NB : most of my itunes library was converted to id3v2.3.0 and the example below is with this format, but I’m not sure if it’s limited to this format.

- Steps to reproduce / Actual behavior

Here are some screenshots to illustrate the issue and steps to reproduce (I’m using kid3 to check the mp3 tags - it’s a freeware)
audacity tags issue 1 original file infos.png
Opening the original file with kid3 to check the COMMENT, DATE, ALBUM ARTIST, COMPILATION frames
audacity tags issue 2 audacity exporting tags to file (1).png
Importing and then exporting this file from Audacity, without changing any of the suggested tags.
Notice that the ALBUM ARTIST and COMPILATION values are now set for BAND and UNKNOWN TEXT INFORMATION
audacity tags issue 3 exported file (1) infos.png
Opening the exported file with kid3, you can see that

  • the album artist tag is empty (but its original value has been stored in a new “band” tag)
  • the date tag is duplicated
  • the comment tag is duplicated (not visible in the screenshot : one has the ‘eng’ language, the other has a ‘xxx’ language)
  • the compilation tag is empty (but its original value has been stored in a new “unknown text information”)
    audacity tags issue 4 audacity exporting tags with modifications to file (2).png
    Reopening the original file with audacity, and trying to edit tags during export to keep the original values at their place : it doesn’t work.
    I can only attach 4 files, but I’ll try to add the 5th screenshot in comments. On this screenshot from kid3, you could see that the Album Artist tag is still empty (but the BAND tag has not been created) and the original compilation tag is also empty (but the value is stored in a new tag also called compilation)
    Note that even if it worked like this, it would not be user-friendly to have to edit both tags name each time you export a file.

- Expected Behavior :

When editing and exporting a file with Audacity, I would expect to keep the same tags as they were before, and not have to fix them before I reimport it to iTunes/Music.
As of now I have to delete the duplicate tags (date/comment), fix the language for the remaining comment tag, and copy the values from “band” / “unknonw text information” to “album artist” / “compilation” + delete these 2 useless fields.
I also have to copy the artwork back to the exported file, which is a smaller issue IMO.
Note that there may be issues with other tags that I didn’t notice if I don’t use them

Now that I know about these issues, I know how to work around them after export (using a separate software) but it would be nice to be able to skip that extra step.

Adding 5th screenshot that I couldn’t attach in the initial post, showing the resulting tags when trying to fix them before the export in the “Edit Metadata Tags” window
audacity tags issue 5 exported file (2) infos.png

Thanks for taking the time to document all of these issues. Perhaps we can add a link from the bugzilla bug you mentioned to this post. :slight_smile:

Hi I saw elsewhere that the bug about the DATE being duplicated had been closed, so I installed 3.0.4, and checked if the issue was - at least partially - fixed, but it doesn’t seem like the double date is still here, I haven’t checked the rest yet.

Am I supposed to see some improvements (I can run more tests if needed) or do you know if this will be addressed in a future release ?

It looks as though there were two reports and each was closed as a duplicate of the other. I have advised the appropriate parties, so hopefully we can get back on track during the next few days.

OK - so following this “nudge” I retested and this time I can reproduce this - so I logged it as a fresh GitHub Issue:

Audacity writes double Year and Comment metadata (but only for other apps) #1620


Thanks !

There are a few more issues that I noticed compared to what is listed in the new github ticket

  • ‘Album Artist’ moved to ‘Band’
  • ‘Compilation’ moved to ‘Unkown text information’
  • ‘Composer’ also duplicated
  • The ‘Comment’ field is not only duplicated but its language is also changed to ‘XXX’ instead of ‘eng’ which leads to itunes or apple’s music app not recognizing it and further edit on this song being done on the ‘eng’ field leading to both field being out of sync (and confusion when using your files in another device)

See my original post for more details.
Not sure if you are able to reproduce this as well, and if this should be logged in the same github ticket, but I assume whoever will work on this should be aware of these other issues to try and fix them all at once ?


Created and cross-linked new Github issue Additional Metadata Issues #1696

Hi guys, any update on this ?
I went to the github link and saw several comments or similar reports, but didn’t see if there were some progress on this topic ?

It’s very annoying to have to fix all the tags after editing tracks in audacity, so I’m still hoping for a fix soon ?

Thanks !

Unfortunately, often it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. :wink:

Let me suggest that you log into github and post a comment there. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up. :smiley: