Category Archives: Music

Rename audio files to just their titles

Another exiftool operation: suppose you have a bunch of files named something like this:

01 - String Quartet in B flat Major, 1st movement "Allegro".ogg
02 - Sonata, K. 310, 1st Movement (Mozart - Alfred Brendel).ogg
03 - Asturias_Leyenda (Albeniz - Alirio Diaz).ogg
04 - Massenet: Meditation from Thais (Mischa Elman).ogg
05 - La Coulicam - Rondement (Rameau - Harnoncourt, Lars Fryden).ogg

11 - Sonatine en trio "Modere" (Ravel - Orpheus Trio).ogg
12 - Preludes - La cathedral engloutie (Debussy - Sviatoslav Richter).ogg
13 - Eili, Eili (Mischa Elman).ogg
14 - Simple Fugue (Gr. 1, D. 1) (Bach - Gustav Leonhardt).ogg
15 - A Felicidade from Black Orpheus (Paula Robison).ogg

But really, you want the files to just be named after the Title of the song. You don’t want the leading track number, and if there are any characters in the file name that would cause Windows heartburn (like slashes, colon, asterisk, question mark, etc.), you would like those stripped out too. For example: Massenet Meditation from Thais (Mischa Elman).ogg

Here’s a handy command:

exiftool '-Filename<${Title;}.%le' *.ogg

So we have exiftool which is the utility that does the work. Thank you to Phil Harvey for doing the work to make this easy.

Then we have two parameters:



The second parameter says to work on files with the filename extension of .ogg

The first parameter breaks down like this:


Note that the non-change-making version is -Testname< (for testing, obviously)

-Filename tells exiftool that it will be updating the file name. The < symbol says that the replacement for the file name will be incoming from the rest of the parameter.

What follows after the < has two pieces: ${Title;} and .%le

${Title;} is the processed text from the metadata variable Title. The leading $ and the { and } with the ; before the closing curly brace serve to strip out any invalid characters found in the title that wouldn’t work as a file name.

.%le appends a file name extension. Technically, .%e is the file name extension, but adding the l makes it lowercase. So we get the Title as the first part of the file name, and the last part of the file name is .ogg (because we told exiftool only to look at .ogg files).

Three Dog Night concert February 10, 2023 Visalia Fox Theater

So much fun. I am glad I went. Three Dog Night was popular when I was in elementary school: they had 21 hits in the top 40 in six years (beginning in 1969). I don’t remember the words too many of their songs, but I do remember singing along to them as a kid.

Some of the songs they did were An Old Fashioned Love Song, One (is the loneliest number), Black and White, Celebrate (dance to the music), Mama Told Me (not to come), Never Been To Spain, Liar, and of course my favorite song of theirs: Joy To The World.

The guys in the band are getting pretty old, but they did seem to be having a lot of fun.

On the one hand, I want to say it was a great show. But on the other hand, I cannot ignore that the mixing was poor. Did I have fun? Yes, definitely. Would I have enjoyed it more if I could have heard the vocals clearly? Definitely.

The band did say they are working on their first new album in twenty years; they sang a song from it. It started out a cappella, and the sound was perfect. The song was beautiful in both lyrics and sound. I’m looking forward to buying the album when it comes out.

But the fact that the vocals were perfect when the mix was a cappella, and indiscernible when instruments were mixed in makes me think it was the mixing that was the problem.

The Visalia Fox Theatre has good acoustics. It is a small enough venue that booming big box echoes aren’t a problem. The theater was packed, so nice absorption. The opening act was one guy and his acoustic guitar: he sounded great. Great singer too.

So it was pretty disappointing that during the first song, I could instantly tell that the vocals were being drowned out by the background instruments.

I enjoyed the show, and I am glad that I went. But I suspect that they would have gotten a warmer reception if we could have heard them well. I’m not trying to say they got a cool reception; they did not. But I do think everyone was hoping for better sound.

exiftool to playlist file

Assuming that you are currently in the subdirectory with music files, and those files are of type .ogg and you want to create a playlist file named _great.m3u which contains the names of the songs with “World of Warcraft” in the album name, this one liner creates such a file:

exiftool -p '$filename' -if '$album =~ /World of Warcraft/' *.ogg 2> /dev/null > _great.m3u

Assuming that you then wanted to add the files of type mp3 from the artist E.S. Posthumus, this one liner adds to that file:

exiftool -p '$filename' -if '$artist =~ /E.S. Posthumus/' *.mp3 2> /dev/null >> _great.m3u

Assuming that you then wanted to add files of type mp3 with the Genre of “Classical”, this one liner adds these to that file:

exiftool -p '$filename' -if '$genre =~ /Classical/' *.mp3 2> /dev/null >> _great.m3u

Assuming that you then wanted to add files of type mp3 with the Comment of “VIVA EL PRESIDENTE!”, this one liner adds these to that file:

exiftool -p '$filename' -if '$comment =~ /VIVA EL PRESIDENTE!/' *.mp3 2> /dev/null >> _great.m3u

exiftool is the wonderful utility written and maintained by Phil Harvey

-p '$filename' prints the file name. We later strip off the other stuff by redirecting stderr to null. That’s the 2> /dev/null part.

-if '$album =~ /World of Warcraft/' and -if '$artist =~ /E.S. Posthumus/' are matches against a regular expression. =~ says we are doing a match and the text between the slashes are what need to be present for the match to report true.

> _great.m3u overwrites the existing file, but then >> _great.m3u appends to it.

Care to guess who purchased the collector’s editions of some of the games so I could get a CD of the game music (or files from Steam)?

One thing (I don’t know that it’s a problem, really) is that Artist =~ /E.S. Posthumus/ will find the same file as Genre =~ /Classical/ so the same songs end up in the playlist twice. Maybe I just like E.S. Posthumus so much that I want their chance of being picked by the shuffler better than average. 😉

But if that’s not your bag, this will make a new file (with a new name) which contains only unique song file names:

sort _great.m3u --unique --output=_great-unique.m3u

If you happen to have your own NextCloud with the Music Player app, you can import this _great-unique.m3u file directly into a new playlist.