MP3 Rage

If your hard drive is clogged with MP3s and you keep meaning to catalogue them – don’t bother. MP3 Rage will sort them and file them like a librarian on speed. MP3 Rage is a suite of MP3 tools not just for downloading or playing, but for filing and cataloguing MP3 files. If you’re using SoundJam to RIP audio CDs, the filing is quite straightforward. Information on the song, album and genre is recorded in special tags automatically with SoundJam. But if the MP3 files are downloaded from a dodgy source, the track information is usually missing. Rage lets this information be added. This is useful, but only the kind of people that alphabetize their record collection will sit down and fill in every detail. Once this is done, files can be organized by artist, album, genre or date. Fortunately, this just takes one click of a button, rather than hours of filing. Files can be renamed or the tags changed by drag-&-dropping folders of MP3s onto the relevant tools. If you really want to get anal about it, Rage can create custom tags, allowing consistent file-naming conventions. MP3 files can be played in Rave, though the player is basic by normal standards. For instance, files must be opened individually, which makes playing an album a chore. If you don’t have any CDs to play, and aren’t bound by strict morals, you can use the Ravester tool. This is basically an adaptation of Napster, the litigation-challenged MP3 search engine. If you’re not already familiar with Napster, or its Mac equivalent, Macster, it allows people a simple way to share their music over the Internet. The Napster server puts you in touch with a user who has the music you want. Then just download it directly from the other user. This theoretically puts Napster in the clear legally, though Metallica, Dr Dre and a long list of record companies disagree. At the moment Napster’s future is on rather shakier than Mr Stevens.

OUR VERDICT

If you have a random collection of MP3 files, but don’t use them because you can’t find them, MP3 Rage is the answer. It is a neat-freaks dream when it comes to filing systems, though it may take some time to get everything catalogued. The alternative is even more long-winded. For the price, $25 gets you a lot of functionality. It’s a really handy tool for anybody that uses a Mac for music playback. It stops short of being a one-stop-shop for all things MP3 though. The player is very basic and there’s no facility for RIPing MP3 files from CD originals.

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