Use MusicBrainz To Clean Up Your Music Library
Written by Alan Friday, 22 April 2011 08:00
Over the years I have looked at countless programs in a desperate attempt to clean up my music library. You can read about my previous attempts to tame this wilderness with Windows Media Player, MP3Tag, and TuneUp Media if you dare. I have also tried other software like Media Monkey. Of all of these attempts I found MP3Tag to be the most useful, but it’s still not perfect.
So, now I embarking on yet another effort. This one is with a program called MusicBrainz. To start off you can head over to the Picard download page to get the app. Picard is actually the interface to MusicBrainz, which is an online database that uses audio “fingerprints” to identify music tracks even when they’re incorrectly labelled.
Once you open the program then you can click File => Add File and navigate to your music folder and add it you the watched list. Your firewall might pop up an alert telling you Picard is trying to access the Internet; you should agree to let Picard through.
You can also click View => File Browser and drag individual folders to the unmatched files folder in the right pane. This is the method I prefer since it allows you to handle individual folders one at a time. That makes it a whole lot less confusing.
When you have moved over the file you can then right-click the unmatched files folder and choose Scan. When the scan is complete you will see a list that is indicated with gold icons to show complete albums and info in gold and incomplete in silver.
In the screenshot above you will see an album that I have only purchased one track of. Because of that it is indicated in silver and the track list shows the song I have with a green icon and those I don’t with a music note icon.
Now that we have all of the correct metadata, we are ready save it into our files. But before we do that, we can also have Picard automatically rename the files based on this metadata. This functionality is disabled by default, but it’s very handy, so we’re going to have a quick look at enabling it. Click Options => Options and navigate to File naming. Check the box that says Rename files when saving.
Now right-click your file and choose Save. You will notice that the song(s) you own will change from a green box to a green check mark.
Now it’s just a matter of going through all of your files and adding the information. It may be a slow process, but it’s an effective one. And the best part is that MusicBrainz/Picard is free. So far this is the most effective method I have found since MP3Tag.