Tagging - Metadata or Database?

Hi everyone,

Thought it might be best to start a new thread on this…

We’ve got around 6,500 MP3’s to tag over the coming weeks (or months) - however, I’d like to be 100% sure on whether to use a database or MMD files (having read through the forum am shying away from IDv3 tags). The guide on the Wiki is excellent, but I’m still undecided on storing the information.

There is a main studio where all of the music and programmes are stored, but will be adding a second soon, and presenters really like setting up their playlists in the office whilst another programme is on air. However, some have used Myriad and really like the database search.

Are there any advantages either way here? What do you use?

Many thanks,


You can have both! An OnTheFly Database and use MMD files for song/cue. Simply point the MMD folder (in mAirListConfig) to a network drive that all your workstations can access* and they’ll all work off that folder. Same goes for your music/jingles etc. The OnTheFly Database is refreshed on startup and you will need to add 1 per folder of searchable files (ie: 1 for Currents, 1 for Eighties etc). The only drawback is the 10-30sec startup that mAirList will take to re-cache the database/s each time to re-load mAirList.

  • If you’re sharing MMD data and/or audio files across a LAN - Set up your chosen hard-drive under Control Panel-Administrative Tools-Computer Management-Disk Management and assign a new drive letter to it (this drive should not have any C:\ critical applications!) I suggest L: (for Library) or maybe even Z: Then, right-click the drive in My Computer and enable read/write sharing and give it a share name (data or server is a starter). You can then go onto the workstations and open any My Computer/Documents windows and select Tools-Map A Network Drive.

Select the drive-letter you assigned to the main storage drive and then browse the network for the machine+hard disk. You can, however, just type in the the PC’s net-name and drive share: \server\library Net names are preferable to IP Addresses if you’re not using static IPs (ie: you get a new ip each time your PC logs on, plus, it’s easier to ping/trace/find etc).

Also, remember that if you store your songs and playlists here, every single workstation can load playlists and see what’s going on as per the on-air studio/s. The joy of that share is that Z:\ points to the library server on every PC that you’ve set a mapped drive for :slight_smile:

This is actually quite straight-forward despite my rather long-winded example! There doesn’t seem to be anything like this in the Wiki - so I’ll update that at some point and include some screenshots of each stage.

I prefer to store all tagging information in MMD files.

Internally, MMD files contain XML which is relatively easy to read in Notepad, any text editor, or any XML viewer/editor program. It’s also easy to transfer a library en masse to a new location without needing to worry about anything stored internally in a database: just copy/move the MP3 files and the associated MMDs. (Also easy to spot if any MMDs are missing! ;))


Hi Charlie, CAD,

Sorry for the delay in reply - having spent a long time on sorting through and organising the music library, we’re now making some progress with this.

There is one thing though (and maybe I’ve misunderstood along the way). If I search for a song in the database, then do something like adding a comment, save to metadata file and reload the database, the comment doesn’t appear. I was rather hoping that when mAirList scanned the folder for changes, it might pick those up and add them to the database?

Looking at the OnTheFlyCache.mlp file, the tagging information (Cue In, Hook etc) appears to be stored there, as well as having a .mmd - is this correct?

Many thanks!


I had the same issue with a small folder of songs - It appears that you have to delete the OnTheFlyCache file and re-start mAirList. Even enabling the “Save to Database” button, you’d still have to restart the program (but not delete the cache).

Jim: until Torben has a pukka database built in to mAirList, I’d recommend you use an external program for searches etc., and the program I’d recommend is MediaMonkey (http://www.mediamonkey.com). The standard version of MM is free; for US$18 you get the Gold version key which among other goodies gives you ‘folder monitoring’ which picks up changes and moved files etc. about 99% of the time (you CAN confuse it!). MM can also write M3U files which you can load straight into mAirList.

Most of the time, I don’t use the mAirList Browser, I use MM to search for files, and also to build initial playlists for shows. MM is IMHO excellent value for money, and an enormously useful addition to on-air and production office alike.

PS: As I think we tentatively arranged, you are still welcome to drive up and ‘grab’ my MMD files if that would be any help? If so, please send me a PM and we’ll get that arranged.