[WARNING: This is going to be a very rant-infested post ultimately leading to instructions on how to rename/edit information about individual tracks on custom mix CDs in Windows Media Player. If you’re lazy like me or you get sick of hearing me complain at any point, the actual instructions are down below, under the three little dots (• • •). Oh, and you can also click pictures to make them bigger. ]
[Or, if you’re here just to listen to my awesome ranting skills, read on.]
I was very fed up with technology yesterday morning. In fact, I was about ready to throw my laptop out the window. But of course, I didn’t, because a) I need this for writing and blogging and all that good stuff and b) my family would think I’m crazy. Again.
It all started months ago when I was attempting to organize my tangled, monster of a mess of a music collection. Seriously, almost every other track was titled Track_04, and it was driving me insane. Anyway, I had this custom mix CD kept very nicely in one very nice folder and each song was very nicely labeled. Organized, set aside, perfect.
Now, this CD was actually a CD my cousin had given me and my sister, consisting of an amalgamation of different songs from different artists who would normally never be on a CD together.
Think Demi Lovato+Blink-182+Jason Mraz+Foo Fighters.
Nice. Neat. Labeled. Ish.
Yeah, say goodbye to that.
I use Windows Media Player (yes, I know what you’re thinking. There’s such a thing as iTunes, you want to scream at me. I know it. You know it. I don’t care) for the sorting and keeping of music. Usually works very well for me. I like it, I’m totally fine with how it works. I’ve never really had to pull out my hair while using it (except this one time I accidentally synced my mp3 player, a story for another time.)
But then I got this idea into my head that I wanted to update the info on my songs. You know, so they don’t say Unknown Artist or Unknown Album or (my favorite) Track_04.
If you use Windows Media Player you may or may not know about its ability to look up this sort of information about songs. If the information is incomplete, all you have to do is right click on the song/album/whatever and select Find Album Info. Easy right? Looks like this:
Well, it says Find ALBUM Info for a reason. Custom mix CD=not a real album, so you see the problem.
But I thought hey, maybe I can find the album info for this one tiny little song on this one tiny little custom mix CD.
*right-clicks on song*
*Find Album Info*
*Slams head against wall*
If you only get one thing out of this whole entire post, let it be this: DO NOT CLICK FIND ALBUM INFO UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SURE ABOUT THE SONG OR YOU ARE CERTIFIABLY NUTS OR YOU WANT A HOLE IN YOUR WALL.
Now, what happens is that it matches the song to its proper album, artist, title, etc. Done. Okay. Yay. But wait, there’s MORE. You see, every other song on that CD is then matched with other songs from the album of the song you so foolishly clicked Find Album Info for.
Suddenly Help I’m Alive by Metric had become Gift of a Friend by Demi Lovato, and I was helpless. Useless. Because no matter how many times I tried to change the artists, the albums, the titles, I just couldn’t do it. They were all lumped together under a very wrong album title with very wrong artists listed.
Okay, music is still music and I very well could’ve just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh, fine, whatever. You win, Track_04. I’m going to go eat a snack.” But of course, being provoked like a bull being shown a red cape, I kept looking for ways to change the information of the individual tracks to essentially break apart the CD. (That is, besides snapping the physical CD in half and throwing it in the food processor *cackles maniacally*.)
Do not click Find Album Info again, no matter how tempting. If you do click it, and then scroll down through the disappointing match options until you find something that says Edit the information manually, just know that it is very limited in terms of what you are actually changing.
I wanted to actually be able to change the information (manually) of each individual track, but it just wasn’t happening.
Eventually I gave up and stuck exclusively to radio and Pandora and sometimes I’d listen to my own music collection with a stress ball in one hand and a mug of scalding-hot green tea in the other–to drink when I needed relaxing and to splash into my eyes when it didn’t work.
…I’m kidding about the green tea.
Anyway, the point is I quit on trying to fix what really was broken for a good while. That is, until yesterday, when I tried to fix it again.
And after an angry morning of failure, I was finally able to do it.
TAKE THAT, TRACK_04.
Because the internet was essentially no help (really, what do you even put in the search engine for something like this?), I decided to put the instructions on how to fix this very specific problem into this post. Enjoy.
• • •
How to rename/edit information manually on individual tracks in a custom mix CD in Windows Media Player.
- Find the song you wish to edit the information of and right-click it. (Usually when I do this my Library is in the Songs view.) DO NOT RIGHT-CLICK THE ALBUM. It’s bad news all over again.
- Click Advanced Tag Editor.
- This is where the magic happens. In the new window that pops up, you are now able to edit things like the Title (TAKE THAT, TRACK_04), the Genre, and, very importantly, the Album Title.
However, even if you change all the album titles of all the songs on your CD so that they’re all different, they will still stick together in one album glob/group. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably tried to change the Artist by changing the Contributing Artist, like so:
This is WRONG. It solves nothing. So what do you do?
- Still in the Advanced Tag Editor Window, click the tab that says Artist Info
- This is the most important part. You can change the Artist, but that does just about as much as changing the Contributing Artist. You must change the Album Artist in order for the song to be grouped right. As soon as you do this, the song will probably move to its proper place, according to what you changed the artist’s name to.
- Now the information should be correct. However, the picture on the album will probably be wrong, or missing (unless the song joins an already existing album in your Library when you change it).
To fix this, all you have to do is find a picture online of the album cover, right-click it, and select Copy Image.
- Now, back in Windows Media Player, find your song and right-click on the album cover.
Select Paste Album Art, and the picture should appear.
And that’s all there is to it! You must repeat this process for every single song on that CD. Tedious? Yes. But at least there’s no hole in the wall this time.
So, good luck to you lovers of correctly-identified songs. I hope this helps.