id3v2 genre tagging with numbers

Scott Paul Robertson spr at
Thu Sep 7 01:50:44 CEST 2006

Just a simple question about the genre field (TCON) with id3v2 tags.

I've noticed that TagLib takes advantage of tagging TCON with genres by
id3v1 genres if there is a match. I was confused till I looked at the
standard. To quote the standard: "You may use one or several of the
ID3v1 types as numerical strings."

This presents a difficulty for me since iTunes and the iPod do not
follow id3v2.4. I have written a FLAC -> ogg/mp3 conversion program that
recently started to use TagLib, but now I go to look at genre's on my
iPod and mac and I get numbers.

I realize that this is iTunes' fault for not keeping up with the
standard, but since I can't assume that Apple will fix this anytime soon
I was wondering if there was a reason why TagLib doesn't just write out
the genre name every time. The standard simply says "you may use" not
that you have to.

Is there a benefit for using the id3v1 genres still? Are there
disadvantages for putting the name in the field? By defaulting to names,
or providing a way to turn off the automatic conversion it would make
TagLib a lot handier for those of us who own iPods or use iTunes.


Scott Paul Robertson
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