Listening to songs by BPM - desktop

After many years or new releases, Winamp and iTunes still cannot calculate beats per minute. However, over time, they did add some features in the area of BPM:

  • 2004 (start of this page) - The ID3v2 tag standard describes a BPM field for mp3 files, but Winamp—a strongly ID3v2-compliant application—does not support this field. iTunes does show a "BPM" column in the music library.
  • 2007 - Winamp finally adds support for a BPM column and for manual BPM editing with version 5.51.
  • 2008 - iTunes 8 comes with the Genius recommender system—a great way to create playlists, and a feature that, I am sure, is partly based on BPM.

If you don't use iTunes, or if you use iTunes but you still need the actual BPM information (DJ's, for example), you will need to find a third-party application to count those beats per minute. That's what this site is for! There is no clear winner at this point, so I try to explain the differences between them in term of features and price, etc. After you download the app and try it on your music collection, please contact me and let me know how it worked out for you.

After you use the beats detector software, you can go back to Winamp or iTunes and organize your songs by BPM and create playlists. If you add BPM information to an mp3 file that was already in the iTunes library, to get those values to show in iTunes do the following: quit iTunes, open it again, select the songs you scanned. In older versions of iTunes ou may need to select/highlight all the songs in the album and choose get info; don't make any changes; select OK. If you still don't see the BPM value, make sure you are scanning exactly the same files that iTunes is managing; don't forget that iTunes makes copies of songs when creating its library.

The equivalent operation in Winamp to show a recently detected BPM value is as follows: select the files on which you want to update the BPM value; right click on the selected files and select 'Read metadata on selected items'; this quickly populates the BPM column in Winamp. (These tips were sent by visitors to this page.)