How to organise and tag your music collection

By Kshitij Sobti | Updated 28 May 2014
How to organise and tag your music collection
  • Learn how to organise and tag your entire music collection using Musicbrainz Picard

So you like keeping your music organized and well tagged, but you haven’t been doing a good job so far; how can you whiz through your music collection with hundreds of untagged songs? 

You obviously need some kind of bulk tagging software, and that is where MusicBrainz Picard comes in. Often bulk tagging software will tag based on the directory structure (Artist / Album) or based on the name of the file. Such software are essentially useless if you have a directory filled with songs like “Track 07.mp3” that you ripped long ago.  
Musicbrainz picard tagging 
Fill in incomplete tag data
If your music files have some metadata but not others, MusicBrainz Picard can look the rest of it up for you. For example, if your song is named “Drown with me.mp3” it will correctly identify it as the song “Drown with me” by “Porcupine Tree” based on the file name, and the length of the song. It will let then you add all the tags for that song, such as the title, artist, album, track number, date of release, and any other information they have. 
• Just launch MusicBrainz Picard. 
• Drag and drop the file(s) you wish to tag onto the interface. You can drag and drop files directly from explorer, or from the mini directory browser in the interface. 
• Now select the file(s) and click on the “Lookup” button in the tool bar. 
• The file will now move to the area on the right and will be highlighted among the rest of the album it comes from. 
• You can select it and either right-click and choose the “Save” option or use the same function from the tool bar. 
You can do this in bulk with dozens or even hundreds of files, just ensure that the tag is indeed correct. 
Musicbrainz picard-incomplete tag fill 
Use clusters to improve accuracy
Often there are multiple albums with the same song, perhaps as part of a “Best hits” collection or a movie soundtrack. In these cases you could get the wrong tag information. In such cases you can provide MusicBrainz Picard with another piece of data, the other songs in the same album. 
Musicbrainz picard cluster 1
Musicbrainz picard cluster 2 
If you drag multiple files from the same album and “Cluster” them, the software will automatically detect files from the same album and put them in a cluster. It will then search the tags for that cluster in its entirety. 
• Drag drop the album onto the software 
• Select the files and click on the cluster button on the tool bar 
• Click the Lookup button, and continue the rest of the process as before. 
Use fingerprinting to get tags for completely unknown files
MusicBrainz Picard can work wonders even with entirely untagged files. If a file has no information about the name of the song, artist or any other data, MusicBrainz Picard still has one ace up its sleeve.MusicBrainz Picard can create what is essentially a “fingerprint” of your audio file. It can then compare this fingerprint with the songs in its database to get the “suspect”. 
• Drag drop files as before 
• Instead of lookup, click on scan; this process can take a while as fingerprints are calculated, and uploaded 
• The rest proceeds as before, you can save the tag information in bulk if you think it looks correct 
Musicbrainz picard better results with scanning
Kshitij Sobti

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