How To: Join / Combine MP3’s for Free on Windows

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by Frost

Recently I had a need to combine multiple MP3 files into one. Looking at the many different MP3 Joiner / combiners I found most of them to be bulky and just not what I was looking for in an MP3 Joiner / Combiner.

After doing some digging into the Windows Command Line I came across a flag for a common function, “Copy” that intrigued me. After reading up on the flag of the Copy command in Windows I decided to give it a try with some tests. Where this came about was I copied some Books on CD to my harddrive a while ago (and the CD’s have long since been scratched beyond fixing) so now I have about 15 files per chapter for 30 chapters. I would rather combine them into 30 MP3 files instead of the massive amount of files. Well let’s take a look at the results of my findings!

/B Flag for Copy Function in Windows
The copy command in Windows has a flag that is /B, which is used for binary copying. Intrigued by this feature I pulled to random MP3 files into a new folder to do some testing, as I have previous used copy functions to combined some text files, I figured why not? It should work the same with the binary files, as that is what MP3’s are. My first test, as said, was very basic and simple:

copy /B mp3_1.mp3 mp3_2.mp3 mp3_12_combined.mp3

Which in return provided me with a joined mp3 1 and 2 file. Such a simple command to join MP3’s.


Additional Information
Now that we have the basic command down, there needs to be a few notes made here. This joining method is not perfect. I have found that if you leave the ID3 Tag information on the MP3 files you are joining, it tends to mess up playback on some MP3 players. Before you decide to combine the MP3’s I would wipe all ID3 tag off of the MP3’s. Then after the files are newly combined, add it back. Wiping the ID3 Tag data should prevent the playback from being messed up on some MP3 players. Now some extra commands that you can use. Say you have the situation I described in the Introduction of having a Book on MP3 that you copied for use on your MP3 Player which was ripped into a ton of MP3’s. Not wanting to copy the massive amount of files (which takes much longer than transferring a few files) you would rather Join them by Chapter and copy the 30 or so MP3 Files instead.

Well first of all, make sure they display in the default sort chronological order. IE, MP31.mp3 MP32.mp3 etc. This will hopefully ensure that the MP3 files are joined in the proper order. Now that we have verified the MP3 files seem to be named properly and are in order the simple command to join a whole folder of MP3’s is as follows:

copy /B "folder/*.mp3" "output/BookTitle_Chapter1.mp3"

Given that folder is the path to the folder of the .mp3 files and output is the folder where you want to put the combined / joined MP3 files. The *, for those who do not know, is a “Catch all” wild card. I used Quotes, which you would only need to use if the folder path has a space in it. Once that command runs, you should have a valid joined MP3, now you can go ahead and copy this MP3 to your MP3 Player and listen to the joined / combined MP3’s without having to copy many files.

Ending Notes
Using the Copy command on Windows allows a user to combine / join an MP3 for free using basic commands provided to them. Although it is not as “robust” as some other MP3 joiners, it is free and the copy method does work. The other nice thing about this simple copy Command is that this can easily be integrated into a C++ / PHP / WScript etc. program to be used to create the “Chapters” or join multiple folders automatically. Myself setup a PHP script to traverse my Book MP3 file (the MP3’s were separated into Directories) and combine them into Chapters. Hopefully the solution provided to Join / combine MP3s for free using Windows Copy Command works for you!

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  • John Fornes

    I can’t get copy to run on Windows 7.

  • frost110

    @John Fornes: I just tested copy on Windows 7 Professional, although it should work fine on home. In order to run copy, I clicked the Start -> Run -> cmd and typed copy /? which shows the copy parameters. It should list /B in there, if not let me know.

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