Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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ID3 Metadata for MP3, Version 1

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name ID3 Metadata for MP3, Version 1
Description Structured data chunk containing descriptive metadata about the file to which it is post-pended, virtually always an MP3_FF (MP3 sound file). Referred to by its creators as an "informal standard," ID3v1 permits the identification of title, artist, date, genre, etc. See Notes for more information.
Production phase Generally used for final-state, end-user delivery.
Relationship to other formats
    Subtype of ID3, ID3 Metadata for MP3
    Used by MP3_FF, MP3 file format

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings See ID3
LC preference See ID3

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Version 1 partially documented. Developed by Martin Nilsson and colleagues, whose web site is now strongly oriented to ID3v2, version 2.
    Documentation Documentation for version 1 available at and Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes.
Adoption Very widely adopted for World Wide Web dissemination and playback on specialized devices.
    Licensing and patents None
Transparency See ID3
Self-documentation See ID3
External dependencies None
Technical protection considerations None

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Normal rendering Not applicable
Fidelity (high audio resolution) Not applicable
Multiple channels Not applicable
Support for user-defined sounds, samples, and patches Not applicable
Functionality beyond normal rendering None

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension Not applicable.   
Internet Media Type Not applicable.   
Magic numbers See note.  See 3DI marker information in Notes below.

Notes Explanation of format description terms


ID3v1 binary content is structured as "frames" just like MP3_ENC (MP3 audio encoding). Version 1 is limited to 125 bytes of data; four tags are limited to 30 bytes, one to 4 bytes, and the genre tag to a one-byte code.

When ID3 metadata is placed in a MP3_FF file, established conventions call for the use of the ID3 marker which consists of the string "3DI". For ID3v1, the marker is positioned 10 bytes preceding the metadata. For ID3v2 data, the marker is positioned in the first 3 bytes of the file when the metadata is pre-pended and 10 bytes from the end of a file when it is post-pended.


Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 08/10/2021