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CD Manufacturing: All About ID3 Tags

First, what is tagging?

The process of including information other than sound into these digital audio files is commonly referred to as “tagging” in which you “tag” the audio file with additional information that describes the audio file.

What is an ID3 Tag?

This is the one that most people are familiar with. ID3 Tags simply means “Identify an MP3”. It is the track information displayed when you playback a digital audio file on your computer or portable device.  It is a data container within an MP3 audio file stored in a prescribed format. This data commonly contains the Artist name, Song title, Year and Genre of the current audio file. it may also contain the artist’s website, lyrics, equalizer presets, pictures, etc.

What Software/Products support ID3 Tags?

ID3 tags are supported in software such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, YME, MusicMatch and hardware players like the iPod, Creative Zen, Toshiba Gigabeat and Sony Walkman.

How can I get ID3 tags?

The track information (song title, artist, album name, year, genre) are not physically stored on the CDs- they are retrieved from the online song database such as Gracenote. Submit your CD information to the database before you sell your CDs so anyone with an internet connection using iTunes can automatically access the information. The tracks could be submitted to the database BEFORE or even AFTER the CDs have been replicated.

Are ID3 tags only available in MP3 audio format?
Yes. ID3 tags were designed with the MP3 file format in mind. ID3v2 tags will break formats which are container-based such as Ogg Vorbis and WMA. Here is some information on specific formats:

  • ID3 tags work in MP3 and MP3pro files
  • WAV has no tags and WMA has its own tagging format, which is specified in the WMA spec, available in the MSDN (which unfortunately, basically does not allow Open Source implementations)
  • Ogg Vorbis uses “Xiph Comments” (same as later versions of FLAC and Speex), which are embedded into the Ogg container. You can find information on these in the comment and container specs on
  • AAC uses yet another tagging format, which does not at present have a published spec as of 3/1/2006

What is ID3v2?
ID3v2 is a chunk of data prepended to the binary audio data. Each ID3v2 tag holds one or more smaller chunks of information, called frames. These frames can contain any kind of information and data you could think of such as title, album, performer, website, lyrics, equalizer presets, pictures etc.


  • Has an ‘unsynchronization scheme’ to prevent ID3v2-incompatible players to attempt to play the tag.
  • Maximum tag size is 256 megabytes and maximum frame size is 16 megabytes.
  • Byte conservative and with the capability to compress data it keeps the files small.
  • Has several new text fields such as composer, conductor, media type, BPM, copyright message, etc. and the possibility to design your own as you see fit.
  • a complete list of all frames and their functions can be found here

For more info, visit

Unified Manufacturing is an L.A. -based one-stop-shop that offers very affordable CD/DVD/USB replication, custom printing, promotional products, warehousing and fulfillment and many more. If you need an Instant Quote on a project and you want FREE SHIPPING, simply CLICK HERE.

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