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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. It provides a full-featured audio metadata (“tag”) library supporting
all current versions of Python.
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, in order to e.g. store two artists, several genres, and so on.


pytaglib uses Taglib features that have been added in version 1.8-BETA, so you need at least that
version along with development headers to compile pytaglib. The recent releases of most linux
flavours nowadays ship taglib ≥ 1.8, including:
  • Ubuntu from 12.10
  • Debian jessie (currently testing) or wheezy-packports
  • Linux Mint from 14
  • Arch Linux
  • Gentoo Linux
  • Fedora from 17
The use of taglib ≥ 1.9 is recommended, since that release fixes some bugs that may affect
pytaglib in less common circumstances.
In theory, pytaglib should also compile and run on Windows, though I did not succeed when I last
tried. Any help with that issue is appreciated!


Debian sid and Ubuntu trusty have binary packages for the Python 3 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
  • The easiest way is to use pip or easy_install:

    sudo pip install pytaglib


    sudo easy_install pytaglib
    On systems which use Python 2 by default, this will compile and install the Python 2 version.
    Use something like
    sudo pip3 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 compiler must be able to find headers and dynamic library of TagLib. Usually, they should be
installed at standard places. If not, you can manually specify include and lib directories, e.g.:
python build_ext --include-dirs /usr/local/include --library-dirs /usr/local/lib
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.


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 which maps 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 lists of strings for the values.
  6. Store your changes: retval =
  7. If some tags could not be saved because they are not supported by the underlying format, those will be contained in the list 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
Note: As pytaglib was designed mainly for Python 3, all string values returned are unicode
strings (type str in Python 3 and unicode in Python 2). On the input side, however, the library
is rather permissive and supports both byte- and unicode-strings. Internally, pytaglib converts
all strings to UTF-8 before storing them in the files.


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.


For bug reports or feature requests, please use the
issue tracker on GitHub. For anything else, contact
me by email.

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