How to Fix Broken mp3 Tags in Mac OSX

I listen to a lot of K-pop songs on my macbook. One of the biggest annoyances of playing non-English songs on OSX is every mp3 tag gets broken when using iTunes or other music players. 

Why does this happen?

There are couple reasons:

1. id3tag was written in version 1, not version 2

2. On Windows, id3tag is encoded in EUC_KR (in this case, Korean, for other languages refer to this). On OSX, it needs to be written in Unicode.

There are lot of articles on the Internet, but most of the fixes solve the first problem, which can be fixed using the iTunes import converter. The real problem is the second one. There are different ways to fix this but the one I'm about to show is the easiest.  

Things you need

1. id3conversion tool (ID3icov)
Download it right here. If the website is down, download it from here. This nifity software is made by a Berkley student, Feng Zhou. The software is based on Java so you'll need to install JRE if you don't have installed. 

ID3conv does 2 things.
a. Converts mp3 tags into Unicode
b. Upgrades version 1 tags to version 2.

2. A Windows PC
I can see you saying "Why use Windows? Can't I just use Mac OSX since the program is written in Java?" After countless tries on OSX, I've concluded that this software simply refuses to work on OSX. If you don't have a Windows PC use a VM or borrow your friend's PC.

3.Java VM - Java Runtime Environment : JRE

Make sure to install JRE on your windows PC from here.


How to

I'll write this section as beginner friendly as possible. If you have any questions, post it on the comment section below. This whole process was done on Windows 7 SP1 x64. 

  • Step 1: Create a folder named 'convMP3' on C:\ root folder
  • Step 2: Move the need-to-be-converted MP3 files to the 'convMP3' folder
  • Step 3: Move the downloaded 'id3iconv-0.2.1.jar' file to the 'convMP3' folder
  • Step 4: Open the command prompt (Start > Run > type 'cmd' and press Enter)
  • Step 5: Type 'cd c:\ convMP3' on the command window on press Enter. You should be in the folder directory
  • Step 6: Type 'java -jar id3iconv-0.2.1.jar *.mp3 -e EUC_KR (?) and press Enter. If everything was done correctly, you'll see the whole conversion process on the command window.
  • Step 7: After the process is done, close the command window.
  • Step 8: Move the converted mp3 file to OSX and open it up on iTunes. Your tags will show up correctly.

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