Tagging Music as Explicit in iTunes

I buy music from 7digital sometimes, and their method of marking tracks as explicit is to append “ Explicit” to the title of the track. Because I’m a persnickety nerd about my music collection, I find this annoying. If you are like me and also find it annoying, here’s how to fix it.

Assumptions (if these do not apply, this information won’t help you):

  1. The files you want to fix are in m4a containers (song.m4a). (The codec doesn’t matter, this method works regardless of whether you use AAC or ALAC.)
  2. You use iTunes (Windows) or Music.app (macOS).


  1. Download AtomicParsley (SourceForge download link) for your platform of choice. In my case, I installed it on macOS with brew install atomicparsley.
  2. Run atomicparsley path/to/file.m4a --advisory=explicit --overWrite. This marks the track as explicit, and instructs AtomicParsley to overwrite the original file, rather than making a new temporary file.
  3. Remove the track from iTunes/Music.app. Make sure to choose to keep the files on disk.
  4. Re-add the file to iTunes/Music.app. This is necessary because it only reads an explicit tag when the track is added to your library.

As an aside, you might notice that --advisory=clean is also available. This does not remove the ‘🄴’ badge from the track in iTunes/Music.app, it adds a ‘🄲’ badge. The clean badge is typically used to indicate that this copy of the track has been edited or re-recorded to remove the explicit language (e.g. a radio edit). If you want to remove the explicit mark (or the clean mark), use --advisory="".