Mac Music Management – MusicBox 1.11

Music BoxIt didn’t bode well from the start when I launched Music Box, asked it to scan a folder of 300 or so mp3 files and it promptly fell over, and I mean fell over.

The application MusicBox quit unexpectedly

After relaunching the application I found that It had in fact scanned the folder in question, plus several other folders I hadn’t asked it. What was also a bit worrying is that it was mis-reporting the bitrate on many of the files as 96kbps when I know they are much higher. But initial problems aside, where is MusicBox at?

Essentially it presents you with an explorer style view of the files it has scanned, which can be grouped in one of five ways, the most useful for me being ‘Group by Artist’ which then subdivides your files by album. Double-clicking a track lets you edit selected ID3 tags, although the selection of tags you can access is somewhat limited being just 9 fields plus the lyrics. The main ones are there (Artist, Album, Title, etc.) but many others including Album Artwork are conspicuous by their absence, so your tagging won’t be extensive. One thing you can do is to define your own custom categories, assign tracks to categories and then view your collection filtering by those categories. All very nice but it’s unclear whether or not that data exists solely in the MusicBox database or is written back to the ID3 tag itself – I suspect it’s the former so if you move on from Music Box that data is lost.

Moving on, you can search four Amazon sites (US, UK, DE and FR) plus Gracenote (CDDB) using either the Artist, Album or Track Title pulled from the file, although there’s no way to then automatically choose the correct selection and import it into your tags. This means it’s handy as a reference tool and saves you some typing, but any resulting data you find has to be manually typed in to your tags. That said, the program supports multiple file selection so you could select all the tracks in an album and set the year or the genre for example. You can also search your database based on values found in the 9 tag fields supported, useful for finding tracks that meet certain criteria.

MusicBrainz support is included and you can click an ‘Identify’ button for any chosen track and have MusicBrainz try to identify it. Giving it an obvious one like “I’m not in love” by 10cc returned four obscure suggestions, none of which was even close, however that’s potentially the fault of the MusicBrainz engine rather than Music Box. One more feature that’s good to see is the ability to rename files based on tag values, in this case eight of the tags that MusicBox supports. Following that there’s a handful of options for tidying up tag data, e.g. changing %20 to a space, or capitalizing words, and that pretty much wraps it up.

Credit to Simone Tellini for putting in the effort to write Music Box and if you just want to do the basics of tag editing then his program can do this and has a couple of extra features beyond what iTunes can do. However if I’m looking for a Mac replacement for Tag&Rename under Windows then I need a lot more functionality and Music Box came up well short I’m afraid.


The round up so far:

  • MP3 Rage – No longer being developed. Zero
  • ID Tunes – No longer being developed. Zero
  • Music Box 1.11 – Nice but not enough features. Two

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: