My Favorite Music Tools (part 3) - MusicBrainz

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30. Jul. 2006, 20:52

Musicbrainz is a website which can be used to find out a lot of details on all the music an artist has, related links, and of course enter and use metadata to tag your music files.

Recently, Musicbrainz and MusicIP (formerly known as Predixis) made a deal to share metadata and allow the use of musicips fingerprint techonology to be incorporated into the musicbrainz picard tagger.

With the use of this fingerprinting technology, picard is able to identify files and tag the metadata from musicbrainz to your files.

While I have pet peeves with the picard app, the technology and usefullness is great for tagging freshly ripped or downloaded files with the tags are missing/corrupt, inconsistent, or just plain wrong.

The website and taggers can also track the disc id's for (non-user created) compact discs, similar to freedb. Speaking of freedb, if an album/release isn't in musicbrainz, it can also perform an import of freedb metadata to save time retyping everything.. however depending on the quality of the freedb data, it may require cleaning up to conform to the MB style rules.

Via the MB website, you can very quickly see nearly any release an artist has ever done, but obviously this is all entered by users/fans so the depth and accuracy is only as great as the number of available users for a particular artist.

For better or worse, musicbrainz also enforces a set of style guidelines in regards to capitalization, extra info, how box sets and multidisc compilations, etc are entered into the library.

Since anyone can enter and change the data in musicbrainz, all change go through a voting period during which other users can examine your edits and vote whether or not its accurate/correct/conforms to styles. In this manner MB maintains a pretty high quality and accuracy of the database.

In summary, musicbrainz provides a set of consistently formatted metadata, which can then be utilized by the taggers, which can identify your files based on audio fingerprint.

And while its not really suited to mass/batch tagging, it works extremely well in smaller sets of albums (I'd personally recommend not tagging more than 10 or so albums worth at a time).
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