Commercial MP3s and other digital music files provide a wealth of information about the songs in addition to the audio-playback itself. This metadata makes it easy to display the track name, artist, album, and other facts about the songs in your playback device or program.
When you use an application such as the free Audacity audio-editing utility to convert music from LPs, cassettes, or another analog source, the only metadata accompanying the tracks is whatever information you provide when you create the digital file. There’s the rub.
In July 2011 I described how to use Audacity to convert LPs and audio cassettes to digital. A follow-up post from last September explained how Audacity helps ensure that contiguous tracks always play in the correct sequence.
Over the years I’ve used Audacity to convert about 2,000 songs from analog LPs and cassettes to MP3s and other digital formats. Most of the cassettes were recorded manually (as opposed to being store-bought) and date back to the 1970s and 1980s.
Alas, my friends and I weren’t always thorough when we made the tapes. Many lacked any information about the tracks or artists other than a generic label such as “Blues” or “Cajun.” Of the 5,000 or so files in my
iTunes library, about 175 are named something like “Unknown,” “Instrumental,” or “Irish,” usually without an artist name.
Other nameless cuts provide some hints as to their identity, such as “Grisman 5” or “De Dannan Ballroom.” I combined three different programs — one free and two fee-based — with some Web searching to reduce the number of mystery tracks in my 5,000-track iTunes library to fewer than two dozen.
TuneUp tops SongGenie as a music identifier
For songs you imported from iTunes, you can find song titles by right-clicking the