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Python (2.6+/3.1+) bindings for the TagLib audio metadata library

Project description


pytaglib is a package of Python (2.6+/3.1+) bindings for Taglib. To my knowledge this so far is the only full-featured audio metadata library that supports Python 3.x.

Also, the package gives you complete freedom over the tag names – you are not limited to common tags like ARTIST, ALBUM etc.; instead you may use any string as key as long as the underlying metadata format supports it (most of them do, including mp3, ogg, and FLAC). Moreover, you can even use multiple values of the same tag, to e.g. store two artists, several genres, and so on.


Pytaglib uses Taglib features that have been added only in version 1.8-BETA, so you need at least that version along with development headers. The recent releases of most linux flavours nowadays ship taglib-1.8, including:

  • Ubuntu 12.10
  • Debian jessie (currently testing)
  • Linux Mint 14
  • Up-to-date Arch Linux
  • Up-to-date Gentoo Linux
  • Fedora 17

The use of taglib >= 1.9 is recommended, since that release fixes some bugs that may affect pytaglib in less common circumstances.


Debian sid and Ubuntu trusty have binary packages for the python3 version, called python3-taglib. For Arch users, there is a package in the user repository (AUR).

If your distribution does not ship pytaglib, it can easily be installed by one of the following methods.

  • The easiest way is to use pip or easy_install:

    sudo pip pytaglib


    sudo easy_install pytaglib

    On systems which use Python 2 by default, this will compile and instal the Python 2 version. Use something like

    sudo easy_install3 pytaglib

    to build the package for Python 3 (the exact command depends on your distribution). Both commands can be run with the --user option (and without sudo) which will install everything into your home directory.

  • Alternatively, you can download the source tarball and compile manually:

    python3 build python3 test # optional sudo python3 install

    Replace python3 by the interpreter executable of the desired Python version.

The taglib Python extension is built from the file taglib.cpp which is, in turn, auto-generated with Cython from taglib.pyx. To re-cythonize this file instead of using the shipped taglib.cpp, invoke with the --cython option.

Basic Usage

The use of the library is pretty straightforward:

  1. Load the library: import taglib
  2. Open a file: f = taglib.File("/path/to/file.mp3")
  3. Read tags from the dict f.tags, mapping uppercase tag names to lists of tag values (note that even single values are stored as list in order to be consistent).
  4. Some other information about the file is available as well: f.length, f.sampleRate, f.channels, f.bitrate, and f.readOnly.
  5. Alter the tags by manipulating the dictionary f.tags. You should always use uppercase tag names and the values must be strings.
  6. Save everything: retval =
  7. If some tags could not be saved because they are not supported by the underlying format, those will be contained in the value returned from

The following snippet should show the most relevant features. For a complete reference confer the online help via help(taglib.File).

$ python
Python 3.3.0 (default, Sep 29 2012, 15:50:43)
[GCC 4.7.1 20120721 (prerelease)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import taglib
>>> f = taglib.File("x.flac")
>>> f
>>> f.tags
{'ARTIST': ['piman', 'jzig'], 'ALBUM': ['Quod Libet Test Data'], 'TITLE': ['Silence'], 'GENRE': ['Silence'], 'TRACKNUMBER': ['02/10'], 'DATE': ['2004']}
>>> f.tags["ALBUM"] = ["Always use lists even for single values"]
>>> del f.tags["GENRE"]
>>> f.tags["ARTIST"].remove("jzig")
>>> retval =
>>> retval


This package also installs the small script pyprinttags. It takes one or more files as command-line parameters and will display all known metadata of that files on the terminal. If unsupported tags (a.k.a. non-textual information) are found, they can optionally be removed from the file.

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