Automatic metadata tagger

Does anyone have recommendations for an auto tagger? I’m interested in loading my library on my NUC ROCk. I ripped most of the CDs many years ago and did dumb things with the artist tags and don’t want to manually fix hundreds of CDs. I’m using a Mac. Free is always nice but would be willing to pay.


One of the advantages of using Roon is you don’t need to worry about metadata, Roon will take care of that for you.

For this task, Picard by MusicBrainz comes to mind. It is a cross-platform and free app, and as long as your albums are present in the MusicBrainz database, it is a simple process. Albums tagged by Picard will be easily recognized by Roon on importing them into your database.

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SongKong can watch a folder and automatically add/correct metadata and artwork. It has presets for Roon. It can be set to ignore previously matched files, so it won’t be scanning everything all the time.

Thanks for the recommendations. I just downloaded and tried Picard on some albums seemed to work…

Discovered another application called AudioRanger that appears to do exactly what I want (and more). I’m going to play with the free version a bit more, but it seems good enough for me to pay for.

I read a comment on this site indicating that Roon was not intended to be a tagger and files loaded should have some reasonable amount of metadata I assume so that roon has something to match with. However this comment was quite old (2016 maybe…) perhaps things have changed?

I have not yet loaded anything on my core, awaiting delivery of a new HD for that purpose.

My advice is not to plan on grooming tags / files after they are loaded and “identified”. The blessing and the curse is that they make it fairly unnecessary to do once they know which recording something is and have attached it to a “known” recording and all their curated metadata. Your OCD may bring you to make edits to the Roon data, there are certainly plenty who do either because they listen to music that is not well covered (bootlegs, band camp, rare pressings, etc) or because they just really really care. I, for one, have never edited the Roon data on an album - I very rarely see something that is wrong, and shrug and figure that maybe it’ll be fixed by the next time I notice it.

The big reason to get reasonable metadata in advance of loading all your files is so that Roon can identify all or at least most of your albums. Unidentified albums are a bugbear. They often are very hard to find again. I should say they are mercifully rare (I have a few African releases from the 1970s and some Costa Rican folclor compilations; but that’s maybe 8 albums out of a few hundred that would sound equally random to you; all my “normal” recordings including some really minor jazz from the 1930’s identified just dandy).

If you use a good ripper, you should be fine. If you use EAC get GDD3 (sp?) the service that it comes with a 10 album trial of. If you use XLD, it only has CDDB built in, but you can pull metadata from any MusicBrainz or Discogs URL, and it’s been incredibly reliable for me, including getting tied into AccurateRip, which is the most important thing for security / quality. If you have an ID in either EAC or XLD, your chances of not being identified are very very very slim.

Ask all the questions you want. You don’t want to do this twice. But it is remarkably simple.

Thank you Johnny, OCD definitely is rearing it’s ugly head here…. Most of my CDs were ripped 20 years ago on Linux using CDParanoia before anyone I knew of was doing this and my choices, in retrospect, for tagging and file naming/layout, were not optimal. After trying AR, I discovered an unexpected benefit in addition to proper tagging: copying my CD data to a very sensible directory tree with sensible file/directory names.

The tests I did today with AudioRanger detected every ripped CD I tried including some obscure Various Artists compilations I did not expect it to recognize.

You may warn me that I am taking on unnecessary effort here, but there is a pernicious and uncontrollable segment of my brain that will ignore you! I have decided that AudioRanger is worth my $20; as a software developer myself I am compelled to support developers of a great and useful product!

I’m not telling you not to give into ocd. Here, we all got it to one degree or another.

But… take a good long look at a workflow you think you can support through however many albums you have now plus a bunch more you are likely to get each year. Pick something you can stick with, and decide what you’re getting out of it.

In mind (and recognize that some here would rate me a philistine for this), the number one thing to worry about is accuracy. If you don’t get an AccurateRip verified rip you’re unlikely to be able to fix it later (though you might give a valiant effort with CUETools). After that, worry about identifiable albums. Then decide how important it is to you to have a Roon escape path. For those who are less concerned (who also tend to be heavier streamers in general) about getting out, they will say “identified is plenty”. Those who care more about optionality / escape, or who are heavy “readers” will keep grooming for credits, compositions, etc… the former outside of Roon in tags, the latter inside Roon because the structure of the data is more sophisticated than just tags.

I’d encourage you to consider what your priorities are, and set a sustainable workflow that matches. Consistency and accuracy trump perfection or final degree of detail.

Good advise. Thank you.

Interestingly, my 19-20 year old rips on Linux with cdparanoia, appear to be accurate rips, at least based on AR very quickly recognizing them. That is comforting. Although if I remember there was only one CD in my collection that was compromised and did not read correctly. And that one exists on Qobuz.

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But if he did “dumb things” with the artist tags, roon may well get confused by it or present it in undesired ways

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Agree with this. I recently found that using “Focus/Inspector/Identified” and then inverting the selection brings all the “bugbears” out so you can work on them.

Did what I could and got it down to only 9 albums that are just not going to get identified, not in my lifetime anyway.

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This thread may be of interest, I’ve been on the verge of getting round to it for an age myself.

I’ve been a Picard user but I’m not in love with it. Tried a few other FOSS tools but nothing stuck. Beets promises better automation once you’ve answered it’s questions. It did seem extremely curious though when I tried a scan. It was late and I cracked under interrogation and went to bed.


Edit Yeah, CUETools doesn’t often (ever) really deliver on that front

I purchased AudioRanger and re-tagged all of my old ripped CDs, about 450 of them.

I pointed AR to the top level folder with all of my music and scanned the directory. In a few moments it showed me a spreadsheet view of all my tracks with the metadata that was currently there. I selected “Automatic” tagger and it started cranking. I left to go do some other things and within 30-40 minutes (don’t really remember) it showed the same spreadsheet highlighting what it had flagged for change.

I then had to do some editing of a couple of CDs that it did not recognize (a couple of local indie bands). I removed some duplicates (I had both Flac and wav files in the same directory, removed the wav). There were several classical discs that it could not recognize that required a bit of touching up.

The interface was a bit sluggish with that many files, for instance if I clicked a column header to sort by artist or any other column it would take several seconds to sort. If you have a slower computer, it may be necessary to process smaller subsets of your collection.

It would also be nice if there was a button that could show me what it could not figure out. As it was I had to sort by each column and look for blank fields which was a bit tedious.

When I was satisfied, I hit the “Copy to” button, which copies all of the source tracks while applying the tags to a new directory. I verified that the old source files were not modified.

I like the directory structure and the format of the file names. I expect that there is a way to customize that, but I didn’t bother.

I don’t know that I’ll ever buy and rip another CD, which makes this application basically a one use affair. That’s OK, for what it just did for me in a relatively short period of time I consider it $20 well spent.

Now, as soon as my new SSD comes, I can install that in my NUC, copy my collection there and see what happens.

EDIT: The free version of AR is useful. The limitations are that it puts an artificial pause between clicking the tag button and doing anything, limits you to processing 20 or fewer tracks at a time and nags you to upgrade.

You’re officially a member of a well-established peer group here - bunch of us with a decades-long history of ripping followed by attempts at correcting the mistakes of our pasts during the intervening years.

The one point I want to add, just in case you don’t already know this, is that any metadata modifications you make in Roon aren’t persisted to the files in the file system. They’re stored only in Roon’s database. This is, in my opinion, one of the reasons that it makes sense to do what you’re doing and fix the underlying files rather than fiddle around with metadata in Roon.

You’re figuring all of this stuff out super quickly. Hope you’re enjoying Roon!

Yes, I did read this. And it’s fine, preferable actually. My goal was to 1. Get a directory structure and file naming convention that did not hurt my 2023 head. 2. Provide to Roon enough sensible metadata that it could effectively do its thing.

I like the fact that my source file layout on my Mac is not modified in any way by roon so I can, if necessary blow everything away in the NUC and re-create it easily.

And I’m enjoying Roon more every day. I’m kicking myself that I did not see the value sooner!


And I hope that my comments in this topic prove to be useful to others in future.


My directory structure/filenaming is:

Roon Library>A>Artist>Album 1
Album 2
Album 3
Roon Library>B>Artist>Album 1


I use SongKong and Yate for metadata tagging and editing, respectively.
369,000 tracks. Small Green Computer SonicTransporter i5/16GB. I would get a more powerful SonicTransporter if I was buying one now. No problems, just not as fast as it could be, for certain things. Overall, this setup works well, with a few unsurprisingly-unidentified albums — rare or weird in some way (promos, strange singles).