…and add metadata including cover-art, without losing que-points, etc.
When I started downloading tunes for digital DJing a few years back I was presented with a choice of filetypes. I knew I wanted to use a lossless filetype, so I had a choice of wav or aiff. As I was using a PC, I figured I’d have less problems with wavs, as they are a native PC format. What I didn’t realise at the time was that aiff files can have embedded metadata, whereas wav files can’t.
One day I accidentally downloaded an aiff only to find that when I imported it to Rekordbox, it came with Artist name, release date, genre, and cover art all embedded in the file. I decided that from that point on to switch to aiff.
The problem was that I had a collection of nearly 200 wavs already which didn’t have this info. I wanted to convert them and add the info, but without losing all my cue-point, bpm, keys, etc from Rekordbox. It took me while to figure out how and here is a walkthrough of what I did.
This works on Mac and PC.
What You Need
- Beatport Pro Desktop
- An audio editor that can concert from wav to aiff, preferably with a ‘batch’ option
- A text/html editor with find and replace
Step 1: Export your collection as an xml file.
In the file menu in Rekordbox is an option to export your collection as an xml file. Make sure to remember where you saved it. This file will contain all the details about your collection, including cue points, number of plays, etc.
In theory, if everything goes horribly wrong during this process, that data will be safe and you will be able to get everything back to how it should be.
Possibly even make a back up of this file, just to be sure.
Step 2: Convert your wavs to aiff files
Using whatever software you have available for converting files, convert all the wavs to aiff and save them in the same location as the originals.
I used Adobe Audition, as I have Creative Suite and know how to use the software. I also know it has a “batch process” command, so I could just set it going and not have to click “OK” 200 times. I believe the free software Audacity can export multiple items. Not sure what other software can.
Step 3: Edit your XML file
Using a text editor that has a find/replace function (I used notepad) open the .xml file that you saved earlier. Use find and replace to change .wav to .aif (or .aiff if your software used that extension) throughout the whole document. it is important to include the . in this step as there are instances in the file where WAV appears without the . which need replacing in the next step.
After this use find/replace again to change WAV to AIFF. This is the way Rekordbox identifies the filetype and is NOT dependant on the file extension.
When finished, save the file. You may want to save as a copy just incase something went wrong.
Step 4: Import the aiffs into Beatport Pro and add Metadata
If you haven’t already got Beatport Pro for desktop then you should get it, whether you are following this tutorial or not. It’s so much easier to navigate than their website and allows you to filter tracks by filters that you can save for future use, as well as being able to just see releases from artists or labels you follow.
When installed, import your newly created aiffs into this software. When it has finished importing, select all the files and click on “Sync with Beatport” at the top right of the screen.
The next part of this will take a while… there’s no automatic way to do this as you have to identify each track from the Beatport database. Make sure you get the right version of the track. If there are files in your collection that aren’t on Beatport then just move on to the next file in the list on the left. If you accidently close the window, don’t worry, it will just carry on where you left off if you click again.
When you have finished identifying all your tracks, with them all still selected in Beatport Pro, right click and select “Sync/Write Metadata to file”.
This will then update all of your new aiff files to include the metadata from the Beatport database.
Obviously the tracks you skipped will not have any data added, but then they didn’t have any as wavs, so no loss.
Step 5: Import back into Rekordbox
When you have finished updating the metadata, it’s time to import the files back into Rekordbox.
First you have to let Rekordbox know where the .xml file you have edited is. This is done in the preferences under “Advanced/Database”. Make sure you point it to the edited file where all the references to wav are changed to aif.
Once you have done this, you will find the list of tracks under “Rekordbox xml” in the file browser.
All you have to do is drag these files to your collection and then delete the original wav files once you have checked a few of the new files to make sure they worked.
If you have any playlists saved, you will have to drag those over to your playlists folder too, as the original playlists will be empty once you have deleted the wavs.
I tested this process on PC and Mac and I’ll be honest, a few of my files didn’t update on the PC. I don’t know why. I didn’t lose the file, it just didn’t have the metadata I was expecting. On the Mac, it all worked smoothly with no problems at all.