After you download an MP3, it is amazing how many don’t come with everything you need. Like file names and tags that are right. Embedded Album Art and lyrics for each song. So here is how to get your MP3s up to snuff so you can give really use them on your iPhone or give them as a gift with art, lyrics and what not. BTW, lyrics are a great place to put messages to people and art doesn’t have to be album, it can be photos or whatever you want. So they make great digital gifts particularly when played back on an iPhone or iPod Touch (it is too bad iTunes doesn’t have a visualizer that shows the album art and also the lyrics):

Here is how to get them in shape. These are all Windows utilities. The Mac is barren because iTunes sucks up all the oxygen. That is too bad because iTunes doesn’t store the album art in the MP3s themselves, doesn’t have any automated way to find lyrics and doesn’t have a way to automatically take tags and create filenames

# MP3Tag. This is the basic utility to read in an MP3 and then fix the tags and filenames. It is much less buggy than the Mac’s Tritag and has great string matching built in. It also has a search amazon function as well. It uses Freedb to find tags and then uses Amazon to find album art. In the section called Tag sources. So lyrics are the only thing missing
# MediaMonkey. Recommended by Lifehacker, has a function that searches Amazon for art and adds it automatically. I didn’t find this worked too well.

Neither of these automatically finds lyrics though. You can insert them, but it is a pain.

Here is what I finally end up using:

# Harmonizer. This is a desktop widget that finds lyrics only. Seems to do a decent job and will also let you go to Google and then just paste in.
# Cover Version. This is visualizer that let’s you see the album art.
# nLyrics. This tool lets you find LRC files. These let you show synchronized lyrics in this .lrc file format that has time stamps so you can get scrolling. It automatically finds the LRC files and then also has a visualizer which let’s you see the lyrics floating in a window. Pretty cool! It puts the .LRC files net to where the .MP3s are which is perfect because the .LRC format is ugly. So you want to put plain text lyrics embedded into the MP3 files which is what harmonizer does and then separately have .LRC files in the same directory
# Album art is the one thing I haven’t completely figure out yet. I mainly do it manually now.

3 responses to “MP3s need nice tags, album art and lyrics”

  1. Bookoffski Avatar

    Thanks for trying us out @rich! You can follow us on Twitter ( and join on our Facebook fan page ( for updates, giveaways, blog posts, etc.

  2. rich Avatar

    @Bookoffski: Thanks for letting me know about Tuneup. It is so good to find a utility like this. Most Windows utility are easy to find with a google query, but Macs still aren’t that common. I’ll give Tuneup a try. I have a new MacBook (nice screen!), so will get it going.

  3. Bookoffski Avatar

    Hi there!

    I read your post and I wanted to let you know of TuneUp. As far as the other utilities you mentioned – we’ve tried them too and have gotten mixed responses, which is why we created TuneUp in the first place. Such being said, there are definitely other tools out there besides for TuneUp. Try them and make your own decision.
    We offer a pretty robust Free Version (500 cleans, 50 pieces of cover art). We’ve found that’s plenty to clean up most music libraries.
    Also: we’re launching TuneUp for iTunes on Mac in the next couple of weeks…

    If you have any other comments/questions feel free to contact me or put in a question in the forums over at

    Some great reviews:


    Thanks! Keep up the great blog

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