Review: Edit MP3 tags with Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable

Edit MP3 metadata with this slightly unusual, portable freeware.

Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable lets you organize your MP3s into libraries and find, add, and edit MP3 tags, including both ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags, song lyrics, album cover art, visualizations, and more. It rips and burns CDs, creates playlists and lyrics albums in HTML, and processes files in batches. As the name indicates, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable is completely portable, and it's freeware, too. But it's not like most portable freeware we've tried. Instead of running from any directory without installation, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable is specifically designed to be installed on, and run from, a USB drive, exclusively. Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable works in Windows 2000 to 8 and requires Microsoft DirectX 9 or better. We tried it on 64-bit Windows 7.

As we noted, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable isn't designed like most portable freeware, and it doesn't install like most portable apps, either; though the process is a bit confusing, as we learned when we clicked what we initially thought was the program's executable. But instead of a fully-configured, portable app, a standard Windows installer opened. Puzzled, we followed its default settings, which included creating and naming a folder for the program in our C drive. We selected the option to launch the program when the installer exited, but instead we got an error message telling us we had to uninstall Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable and reinstall it on a USB drive to be able to run it. We removed the nonfunctional installation and reinstalled the program on a USB thumb drive. This time, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable opened and offered to scan our drives for MP3s. Like the regular version of this program (not to mention most MP3 tag editors) the portable tool's user interface is crowded; but the icons, tree views, and lists are all nicely rendered. Essentially, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable is identical to the installed version.

Its unusual installation and setup aside, Zortam MP3 Media Studio Portable is a fine tool for the job, though it faces some stiff competition from some popular open-source freeware editors.

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