Unicode MP3 tags bugging out across PCs


wohdin

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So I have a lot of foreign language music in my collection, and I try to keep the tags in their original languages for consistency (and scrobbling). Now, I also have my entire library on a (modded, 256GB) iPod Classic, and while all of my tags work fine on my home Windows 10 PC where all of my library is actually housed, whenever I take my iPod and connect it to other machines (which are also Windows 10), the Unicode will display correctly at first, but when I actually play a track, the Unicode will screw up and become mojibake. This affects SOME of my tracks - not all of them, but it seems like a lot of the ones that are affected are ones that have been in my collection for several years (maybe it's an outdated tag format issue).



Not only that, but when I unplug my iPod, the tags are actually messed up on the iPod as well, although the songs are (usually) still playable. I have had to completely wipe my iPod and re-sync from scratch to fix this issue.

I'm thinking a solution would be to go through these tracks and "update" their tags manually so that they're consistent with current formatting standards, but that would be very time consuming - is there a way to force iTunes to "refresh" the MP3 tags for everything in my library? It's also worth noting that the PCs I typically do this on are campus machines, which have an older version of iTunes (12.3.3 as of right now) that can't be updated because of system permissions, but I can't imagine the version difference being the cause of this.
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

This is a very unique issue, and one that I have not come across previously.

-What exact model iPod Classic?
-What OS is installed on the iPod - 2.0.5?
-You are using iTunes 12.3.3 for syncing, correct?
-Modded, as in you installed a larger 1.8" HD yourself, correct?
-What files types - AAC, MPS, etc?
-Are the songs that maintain the tags purchased or ripped?

I think manually editing the ID3 tags may work, since the more recent files seem to hold the tag information correctly. It cold definitely be that the older songs have an older ID3v2 spec, and may not support the character encoding properly.

C
 

wohdin

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It's the newest "Classic" model, MC297LL.
I don't know what "OS" is on the iPod exactly but it's the newest update according to iTunes.
My home desktop has iTunes 12.5.5 installed (I haven't updated to 12.6 yet b/c laziness)
I bought it pre-modded, but I've never had any problems out of it (and I know exactly what is in it).
Everything is MP3
All of these songs are ripped and not purchased from iTunes.

I really don't want to have to manually re-apply all of my tags, since I have nearly 30,000 songs that's not a realistic solution. Is there some sort of tool that can just do it to my whole library?
 

Cory Cooper

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OK, thanks for the additional information.

From Order Number MC297LL/A, your iPod is a black iPod classic 160GB (Late 2009). The latest version of iOS it will run is 2.0.5.

I do know that there are software apps that are supposed to fix iTunes libraries such as TuneUp, but I have zero experience with them, so I can't recommend or comment on them. In addition, it would definitely be in your best interest to have some form of current Time Machine or other backup before proceeding with this project. AS for the Windows side, I REALLY have no experience with Windows 10 or any Windows software.

Sorry I can't be of much help here,

C
 
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wohdin

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So I was instructed to do a library analysis with MP3 Diags, a free tool that can scan for common problems and corruptions in MP3 tags and streams. I think I've figured out the cause of this problem, but unfortunately it looks like the only real solution is to manually re-tag every track that's affected. :< Also, I just found out that this is actually impacting my own home library as well, but I just hadn't played any of these tracks directly in iTunes from home in a long time.

Apparently, the problem is in how iTunes stores and writes tags. Or more specifically, how older versions of iTunes wrote tags, because this doesn't seem to happen anymore with newer versions. Actually, it seems like something was changed in iTunes with some update that caused this to start happening with a certain range of my music (from what I can tell, it's things that were manually re-tagged within iTunes between roughly 2011 and 2014). But basically, iTunes wasn't properly writing to a file's tags, and instead just use its local database for "creating" Unicode tags (nor would it properly create legitimate IDv3 tags within the files themselves, and since IDv1 doesn't properly support Unicode, it would only overwrite what tags were "unique" within the IDv3. The reason I suspect it has to do with iTunes insisting on storing tags locally instead of reading/writing them directly from/to the files is because they actually show up fine until I play the track. It's kind of complicated to explain, but here's an example of what's happening:



The first row is the IDv3 tag contents, and the third is IDv1. The IDv3 tags have just been copied over from IDv1 instead of overwritten despite the fact that I manually tagged them myself with the Unicode titles. "TIT2" is the song's title, which should read "恋の駆け引き", but it's gibberish here. "TPE1" is Artist and "TPE2" is Album Artist, and as you can see, TPE2 is labeled correctly, because it wasn't transferred from the IDv1 tag, but TPE1 is just the same as the mojibake from Artist tag in the IDv1.

(Here's how the corrupted "Artist" tag actually shows up in iTunes, so there's more going on than just "AWFEAL":
)

I guess the real problem is with Apple, and how they want even something as standardized as MP3 tags to have their own "touch" of stupid nonsense added... But at least now I know what's going on. Kind of.
 

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