Picard Music Tagger

Posted : admin On 1/2/2022

MusicBrainz Picard is a cross-platform music file tagger.For any people who don’t know what this means, here is a quick explanation which can beskipped by those people who already know.

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Your music files don’t just contain music. They also contain “metadata”, consisting of “tags”which consist of a tag name or type and associated data, for example the album or track name,the name of the artist, the record label, the year of issue etc.Unless you rip the music files yourself with a very basic tool, your music files probably alreadycontain some basic metadata, however there are literally hundreds of tags that can be applied toyour music if you are interested.

MusicBrainz Picard is a cross-platform music tagger. It has support for multiple audio file formats, CD lookups, AcoustID audio fingerprints, plugins, and more. Picard is intended to be the next generation of tagger for the MusicBrainz application, with a focus on album-oriented (as opposed to track-based) tagging and cross platform compatibility. When tagging files, Picard uses an album-oriented approach. This approach allows it to use the MusicBrainz data effectively and correctly tag your music. Picard uses AcoustID audio fingerprints, allowing files to be identified by the actual music, even if they have no metadata. CD Lookups Picard can lookup entire music CDs with a click.

Obviously, if you wanted to you could painstakingly research all this information for eachalbum and track individually, and type the data into a tagging tool, but clearly it makes moresense in this internet connected age for one person to do this for each album and track,to upload that data to a shared database and then for the tagging tool to access that databaseand use the data to tag the music files. And that is what MusicBrainz Picard does.

MusicBrainz is the database, and Picard is the tool that tags the music files.

This User Guide is intended to provide comprehensive information related to the use of MusicBrainzPicard and additionally to make this available inalternate formats, including a PDF version suitable for printing. Links to additionalinformation such as scripts, plugins and tutorials are provided when available rather than tryingto reproduce the information in this document.

In order to effectively use Picard, it is important to understand what the program can do and,equally important, what it cannot do. Picard is primarily intended to tag and organize albums containing tracks,guided by the user to the specific release of the album that they have, and then to keep the metadata for thesetracks up to date as users around the world enhance the quality of the MusicBrainz data associated with thatparticular release and track; Picard does this very well indeed. However, it is not intended to automaticallyorganize your collection of thousands of random music files, and if this is what you are hoping for then you will likelybe disappointed. To quote from the Picard website, “Picard is not built to be a mass single-tracktag fixer. Picard believes in quality over quantity and provides a plethora of customizations totweak music collections to your needs.”

Picard Can…¶


…add metadata tags to your music files, based on information available from the MusicBrainzwebsite.

…look up the metadata either manually or automatically based on existing information, includingartist and song name, disc id (for CDs), and a track’s AcoustID fingerprint.

…retrieve and embed coverart images from a variety of sources.

…rename and place the music files in directories based on naming template instructions providedin a naming script.

…calculate and submit a disc id to the MusicBrainz database, attaching it to a specified release.

…calculate and submit a music file’s AcoustID fingerprint to the AcoustID database.

Picard Cannot…¶

…automatically identify and remove all duplicate music files in your collection.

…provide metadata not already existing in the MusicBrainz database.


File Formats

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Picard currently supports most music file formats, with Matroska (.mka) being one notable exception.Microsoft WAVE (.wav) files can be fingerprinted and renamed and can be tagged using ID3v2 tags, but this isnot supported by all playback software. In addition, Picard does not support writing custom tags for all formats.

The Picard Tag Mappings section provides more informationregarding the mapping between Picard internal tag names and various tagging formats.

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Request Rate Limiting


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Picard’s metadata retrieval is limited to the standard one request per secondrate limiting for the MusicBrainzAPI. This becomes quite noticeable when trying to process a large list of files, and is exacerbated byextensions that perform additional information requests from the database.

Network File Processing

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Sometimes Picard needs to rewrite the entire music file in order to add or update the tags. This can take afew seconds, and the delay becomes even longer if the file is accessed across a network (e.g.: file isread from or written to a NAS device). The recommended “best practice” is to process all files on a local driveand then move them to the desired remote directory once processing is complete.