PHP script that extracts useful information from popular multimedia file formats

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v2.0.0-beta6 2023-11-02 19:40 UTC


Available at or

getID3() is released under multiple licenses. You may choose from the following licenses, and use getID3 according to the terms of the license most suitable to your project.



Mozilla MPL:

getID3 Commercial License:

  • gCL (no longer available, existing licenses remain valid)

Copies of each of the above licenses are included in the licenses/ directory of the getID3 distribution.

If you want to donate, there is a link on for PayPal donations.

Quick Start

Q: How can I check that getID3() works on my server/files?

A: Unzip getID3() to a directory, then access /demos/demo.browse.php


Q: I have a question, or I found a bug. What do I do?

A: The preferred method of support requests and/or bug reports is the forum at

Sourceforge Notification

It's highly recommended that you sign up for notification from Sourceforge for when new versions are released. Please visit: and click the little "monitor package" icon/link. If you're previously signed up for the mailing list, be aware that it has been discontinued, only the automated Sourceforge notification will be used from now on.

What does getID3() do?

Reads & parses (to varying degrees):

  • tags:

    • APE (v1 and v2)
    • ID3v1 (& ID3v1.1)
    • ID3v2 (v2.4, v2.3, v2.2)
    • Lyrics3 (v1 & v2)
  • audio-lossy:

    • MP3/MP2/MP1
    • MPC / Musepack
    • Ogg (Vorbis, OggFLAC, Speex, Opus)
    • AAC / MP4
    • AC3
    • DTS
    • RealAudio
    • Speex
    • DSS
    • VQF
  • audio-lossless:

    • AIFF
    • AU
    • Bonk
    • CD-audio (*.cda)
    • FLAC
    • LA (Lossless Audio)
    • LiteWave
    • LPAC
    • MIDI
    • Monkey's Audio
    • OptimFROG
    • RKAU
    • Shorten
    • Tom's lossless Audio Kompressor (TAK)
    • TTA
    • VOC
    • WAV (RIFF)
    • WavPack
  • audio-video:

    • ASF: ASF, Windows Media Audio (WMA), Windows Media Video (WMV)
    • AVI (RIFF)
    • Flash
    • Matroska (MKV)
    • MPEG-1 / MPEG-2
    • NSV (Nullsoft Streaming Video)
    • Quicktime (including MP4)
    • RealVideo
  • still image:

    • BMP
    • GIF
    • JPEG
    • PNG
    • TIFF
    • SWF (Flash)
    • PhotoCD
  • data:

    • ISO-9660 CD-ROM image (directory structure)
    • SZIP (limited support)
    • ZIP (directory structure)
    • TAR
    • CUE
  • Writes:

    • ID3v1 (& ID3v1.1)
    • ID3v2 (v2.3 & v2.4)
    • VorbisComment on OggVorbis
    • VorbisComment on FLAC (not OggFLAC)
    • APE v2
    • Lyrics3 (delete only)


  • PHP 4.2.0 up to 5.2.x for getID3() 1.7.x (and earlier)
  • PHP 5.0.5 (or higher) for getID3() 1.8.x (and up)
  • PHP 5.0.5 (or higher) for getID3() 2.0.x (and up)
  • at least 4MB memory for PHP. 8MB or more is highly recommended. 12MB is required with all modules loaded.


The preferred method is via composer. Follow the installation instructions if you do not already have composer installed.

Once composer is installed, execute the following command in your project root to install this library:

composer require james-heinrich/getid3


See /demos/demo.basic.php for a very basic use of getID3() with no fancy output, just scanning one file.

See structure.txt for the returned data structure.

For an example of a complete directory-browsing, file-scanning implementation of getID3(), please run /demos/demo.browse.php

See /demos/demo.mysql.php for a sample recursive scanning code that scans every file in a given directory, and all sub-directories, stores the results in a database and allows various analysis / maintenance operations

To analyze remote files over HTTP or FTP you need to copy the file locally first before running getID3(). Your code would look something like this:


// Copy remote file locally to scan with getID3()
$remotefilename = '';
if ($fp_remote = fopen($remotefilename, 'rb')) {
    $localtempfilename = tempnam('/tmp', 'getID3');
    if ($fp_local = fopen($localtempfilename, 'wb')) {
        while ($buffer = fread($fp_remote, 8192)) {
            fwrite($fp_local, $buffer);
        // Initialize getID3 engine
        $getID3 = new getID3;
        $ThisFileInfo = $getID3->analyze($localtempfilename);
        // Delete temporary file

See /demos/demo.write.php for how to write tags.

What does the returned data structure look like?

See structure.txt

It is recommended that you look at the output of /demos/demo.browse.php scanning the file(s) you're interested in to confirm what data is actually returned for any particular filetype in general, and your files in particular, as the actual data returned may vary considerably depending on what information is available in the file itself.


getID3() 1.x:

If the format parser encounters a critical problem, it will return something in $fileinfo['error'], describing the encountered error. If a less critical error or notice is generated it will appear in $fileinfo['warning']. Both keys may contain more than one warning or error. If something is returned in ['error'] then the file was not correctly parsed and returned data may or may not be correct and/or complete. If something is returned in ['warning'] (and not ['error']) then the data that is returned is OK - usually getID3() is reporting errors in the file that have been worked around due to known bugs in other programs. Some warnings may indicate that the data that is returned is OK but that some data could not be extracted due to errors in the file.

getID3() 2.x:

See above except errors are thrown (so you will only get one error).


getID3() has been tested on many systems, on many types of files, under many operating systems, and is generally believe to be stable and safe. That being said, there is still the chance there is an undiscovered and/or unfixed bug that may potentially corrupt your file, especially within the writing functions. By using getID3() you agree that it's not my fault if any of your files are corrupted. In fact, I'm not liable for anything :)


GNU General Public License - see license.txt

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to: Free Software Foundation, Inc. 59 Temple Place - Suite 330 Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.


Q: Can I use getID3() in my program? Do I need a commercial license?

A: You're generally free to use getID3 however you see fit. The only case in which you would require a commercial license is if you're selling your closed-source program that integrates getID3. If you sell your program including a copy of getID3, that's fine as long as you include a copy of the sourcecode when you sell it. Or you can distribute your code without getID3 and say "download it from"

Why is it called "getID3()" if it does so much more than just that?

v0.1 did in fact just do that. I don't have a copy of code that old, but I could essentially write it today with a one-line function:

function getID3($filename) { return unpack('a3TAG/a30title/a30artist/a30album/a4year/a28comment/c1track/c1genreid', substr(file_get_contents($filename), -128)); }

Future Plans

Known Bugs/Issues in getID3() that may be fixed eventually

  • Cannot determine bitrate for MPEG video with VBR video data (need documentation)
  • Interlace/progressive cannot be determined for MPEG video (need documentation)
  • MIDI playtime is sometimes inaccurate
  • AAC-RAW mode files cannot be identified
  • WavPack-RAW mode files cannot be identified
  • mp4 files report lots of "Unknown QuickTime atom type" (need documentation)
  • Encrypted ASF/WMA/WMV files warn about "unhandled GUID ASF_Content_Encryption_Object"
  • Bitrate split between audio and video cannot be calculated for NSV, only the total bitrate. (need documentation)
  • All Ogg formats (Vorbis, OggFLAC, Speex) are affected by the problem of large VorbisComments spanning multiple Ogg pages, but but only OggVorbis files can be processed with vorbiscomment.
  • The version of "head" supplied with Mac OS 10.2.8 (maybe other versions too) does only understands a single option (-n) and therefore fails. getID3 ignores this and returns wrong md5_data.

Known Bugs/Issues in getID3() that cannot be fixed

  • 32-bit PHP installations only: Files larger than 2GB cannot always be parsed fully by getID3() due to limitations in the 32-bit PHP filesystem functions. NOTE: Since v1.7.8b3 there is partial support for larger-than- 2GB files, most of which will parse OK, as long as no critical data is located beyond the 2GB offset. Known will-work:
    • all file formats on 64-bit PHP
    • ZIP (format doesn't support files >2GB)
    • FLAC (current encoders don't support files >2GB) Known will-not-work:
    • ID3v1 tags (always located at end-of-file)
    • Lyrics3 tags (always located at end-of-file)
    • APE tags (always located at end-of-file) Maybe-will-work:
    • Quicktime (will work if needed metadata is before 2GB offset, that is if the file has been hinted/optimized for streaming)
    • RIFF.WAV (should work fine, but gives warnings about not being able to parse all chunks)
    • RIFF.AVI (playtime will probably be wrong, is only based on "movi" chunk that fits in the first 2GB, should issue error to show that playtime is incorrect. Other data should be mostly correct, assuming that data is constant throughout the file)

Known Bugs/Issues in other programs

  • Windows Media Player (up to v11) and iTunes (up to v10+) do not correctly handle ID3v2.3 tags with UTF-16BE+BOM encoding (they assume the data is UTF-16LE+BOM and either crash (WMP) or output Asian character set (iTunes)
  • Winamp (up to v2.80 at least) does not support ID3v2.4 tags, only ID3v2.3 see:
  • Some versions of Helium2 ( do not write ID3v2.4-compliant Frame Sizes, even though the tag is marked as ID3v2.4) (detected by getID3())
  • MP3ext V3.3.17 places a non-compliant padding string at the end of the ID3v2 header. This is supposedly fixed in v3.4b21 but only if you manually add a registry key. This fix is not yet confirmed. (detected by getID3())
  • CDex v1.40 (fixed by v1.50b7) writes non-compliant Ogg comment strings, supposed to be in the format "NAME=value" but actually written just "value" (detected by getID3())
  • Oggenc 0.9-rc3 flags the encoded file as ABR whether it's actually ABR or VBR.
  • iTunes (versions "X v2.0.3", "v3.0.1" are known-guilty, probably other versions are too) writes ID3v2.3 comment tags using a frame name 'COM ' which is not valid for ID3v2.3+ (it's an ID3v2.2-style frame name) (detected by getID3())
  • MP2enc does not encode mono CBR MP2 files properly (half speed sound and double playtime)
  • MP2enc does not encode mono VBR MP2 files properly (actually encoded as stereo)
  • tooLAME does not encode mono VBR MP2 files properly (actually encoded as stereo)
  • AACenc encodes files in VBR mode (actually ABR) even if CBR is specified
  • AAC/ADIF - bitrate_mode = cbr for vbr files
  • LAME 3.90-3.92 prepends one frame of null data (space for the LAME/VBR header, but it never gets written) when encoding in CBR mode with the DLL
  • Ahead Nero encodes TwinVQF with a DSIZ value (which is supposed to be the filesize in bytes) of "0" for TwinVQF v1.0 and "1" for TwinVQF v2.0 (detected by getID3())
  • Ahead Nero encodes TwinVQF files 1 second shorter than they should be
  • AAC-ADTS files are always actually encoded VBR, even if CBR mode is specified (the CBR-mode switches on the encoder enable ABR mode, not CBR as such, but it's not possible to tell the difference between such ABR files and true VBR)
  • STREAMINFO.audio_signature in OggFLAC is always null. "The reason it's like that is because there is no seeking support in libOggFLAC yet, so it has no way to go back and write the computed sum after encoding. Seeking support in Ogg FLAC is the #1 item for the next release." - Josh Coalson (FLAC developer) NOTE: getID3() will calculate md5_data in a method similar to other file formats, but that value cannot be compared to the md5_data value from FLAC data in a FLAC file format.
  • STREAMINFO.audio_signature is not calculated in FLAC v0.3.0 & v0.4.0 - getID3() will calculate md5_data in a method similar to other file formats, but that value cannot be compared to the md5_data value from FLAC v0.5.0+
  • RioPort (various versions including 2.0 and 3.11) tags ID3v2 with a WCOM frame that has no data portion
  • Earlier versions of Coolplayer adds illegal ID3 tags to Ogg Vorbis files, thus making them corrupt.
  • Meracl ID3 Tag Writer v1.3.4 (and older) incorrectly truncates the last byte of data from an MP3 file when appending a new ID3v1 tag. (detected by getID3())
  • Lossless-Audio files encoded with and without the -noseek switch do actually differ internally and therefore cannot match md5_data
  • iTunes has been known to append a new ID3v1 tag on the end of an existing ID3v1 tag when ID3v2 tag is also present (detected by getID3())
  • MediaMonkey may write a blank RGAD ID3v2 frame but put actual replay gain adjustments in a series of user-defined TXXX frames (detected and handled by getID3() since v1.9.2)

Reference material: material now mirrored at