Part of the Software applications glossary:

An ID3 tag is a type of meta data container used to store information about an MP3 file within the audio file itself. An ID3 tag allows the creator of a file to embed relevant information like the name of the artist, track title, album, track number and genre in the file, allowing that information to travel with the file. This capacity is especially useful for media files, like podcast s, that have been syndicated, downloaded or exchanged over the Internet independently from the Web pages that they were originally hosted upon.

The most recent versions of the ID3 standard include support for chapters and enhanced podcasts with embedded hyperlink s and images. Content producers may use ID3 tag editors to add and edit metadata for media files. In Windows XP , for example, ID3 tags can be edited by requesting the properties of a file and selecting the summary tab and accessing basic file parameter s, such as track title, number, artist and year. Both the Mac and Windows versions of iTunes, as well as other media player software, also support editing of more advanced parameters, such as album art.

Eric Kemp created the original ID3 in 1996. ID3v1 tags occur at the end of a media file, to maximize compatibility with older devices and a wider range of software. Character limits in ID3v1 result in long titles or album titles becoming truncated. In ID3v2, which is now more commonly used, tags are embedded at the beginning of a media file. That placement is crucial for streaming media , in which the initial portion of the transmission identifies the streamed content.

ID3 tags are compatible with most software and hardware media players.

This was last updated in January 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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