You are strongly encouraged to add tags (also known as FlacMetadata
) to the flac files for new seeds.
Unlike shn, but like most other modern compression formats, flac has a section of the file which stores information about the file - such as Artist, Album (or show), and so on. The Comment field allows you to identify lots of information about the show, gear, encoder, etc. That means no more mystery files or versions! The track name and number is used in many flac players (both hardware and software players). So empty or incorrect tags will be noticed, and do matter.
One easy way for Windows users to add tags to their new flac files is to use the tag features in flac frontend. You can add tags which are either the same for all files (such as date, source and gear comments, etc.); or have tags generated from the filename (useful for track number and track title).
flac frontend uses a program called Tag.exe to actually write the tags; Tag is installed on your hard drive by the flacfrontend installer. There's a file with an explanation of how Tag works (tag.txt, in the flac folder) - it's easier than it looks, especially if the files are named in a way Tag can interpret.
To make it easy, you may want to add tags by doing the following as you encode from wav to flac:
- put the files for each disc into a separate folder;
- rename the files (see tools below) with just the track number and the title, such as 06 Sugar Magnolia;
- in flacfrontend Tag Conf(iguration) screen, click on Custom and enter N T (for Number, Track - hover your mouse over custom for some of the abbreviations).
- fill in all the other fields, to add the items that don't change
As the files are encoded, it will report on the tags that were used. You can also view the tags in players like foobar and WinAmp
Also, with the increasing and now widespread popularity of flac, many tag editors have added the ability to modify flac file tags. Two key features make them especially useful:
- Tags can be generated from the filenames, or vice versa. This can be useful for getting the track number and track title right
- You can apply a fixed tag to all files (show date, etc.)
(Please add other tag editors that are particularly useful!)
By the way, some handy tools for renaming files. Be careful not to accidentally rename all the files on your hard drive, though!
Some technical details:
In FLAC files, the VORBIS_COMMENT metadata block is for storing a list of human-readable name/value pairs. Values are encoded using [UTF-8]
. It is an implementation of the [Vorbis comment specification]
. This is the only officially supported tagging mechanism in FLAC.
There's a LOCATION field where you can enter venue, city, state and country. This should not go in the ALBUM field.
The PERFORMER field should only be used for classical music.
The DATE field should follow the ISO standard, YYYY-MM-DD.
One taper/seeder has argued that seeders should have full say over field content and therefore users should never edit the metadata in the files they download- apparently even when the information is incorrect or incomplete. However, most sane people would encourage end users to edit/correct metadata info, since it won't change the audio, nor will it change the FLAC Fingerprint (FFP). Edit the meta data as you please, it won't change the audio at all.
Note: Winamp and XMMS are very limited to what fields you may edit/view.
foobar2000 supports unlimited and comfortable editing of metadata and the [Trader's friend (foo_tradersfriend) plugin]
helps tagging etree filesets.
For the Title field, I put the track title.
For the Artist field, I put the artist's name.
For the Album field, I put the Venue - City, State
For the Year/Date field, I put the show date (YYYY-MM-DD)
For the Track Number field, I put the track number (zero filled?)
For the Genre field, I usually put Polka, but that's just because of my love for om-paaa om-paaa music.
For the Comments field, I usually enter in the source and other lineage information (taping rig, conversion, terror threat level).