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2. Features

Unicode Rewriter inherits features from ID3iconv. Below is adapted from the descriptions of ID3iconv.

Unicode Rewrite is a Java tool to convert ID3 tags in MP3 files from whatever machine encoding you have (GB2312/GBK for Chinese, etc) to Unicode. It converts both ID3v1 tags and ID3v2 tags to Unicode-encoded ID3v2 (v2.3 or v2.4). This is sometimes useful because,

  • ID3v1 or v2 don't really supports multi-byte encoding such as GBK or Big5. Most existing files falsely pretend they are ISO-8859-1 encoded. This means the software handles them in all kinds of weird ways.

  • Even if the user can force the encoding in some players, it is then impossible to display tags of several international languages at the same time if files are so encoded.


The tool updates MP3 files in place. So backup the files if you don't want to lose your precious music...

Unicode Rewriter takes all text fields of ID3 tags and assumes they are in a certain encoding. It then converts them to their Unicode equivalence as supported by ID3 v2.3. If originally the file has only v1 tag, a v2 tag will be added to the beginning of the file. If original the file has a non-Unicode v2 tag, it will be converted to Unicode format. The output encoding is Unicode little endian, which seems to be the most compatible.

Whatever the encoding is supported by the Java virtual machine, the encoding is supported. Please see appendix for the list of supported encoding.

After the conversion, the MP3 files can be handled by:

  • Rhythmbox 0.6.5. Gnome's default music player.

  • iTunes for Mac OS and Windows.

  • Windows explorer's file property dialog for MP3 files.

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