Can MusicBrainz Picard alter the internal integrity and accuracy of FLAC files?

I just started using the Picard software for tagging audio files and I love it. I’m currently using Linux.
I may be a bit paranoid but I was wondering if modifying and altering the metadata information with Picard can do any harm to the integrity of FLAC files. As far as I know, the flac utility has a built-in integrity checker which can be run in the terminal like so: $ flac -t *.flac then all the flac files gets checked and reported with an OK status message or an Error. After using Picard, I did the integrity check and everything seemed to be fine.

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If Picard writes broken files, that’s a bug. It can happen, but seeing as how FLAC is one of the simpler formats and also widely used (i.e. widely tested), it really shouldn’t.

But if you’re worried, backing up your files before doing major modifications (and e.g. running a check after) is never a bad idea :slight_smile:

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Picard is using Mutagen to read/write tags to files.

Most operations are fast, but sometimes the whole FLAC file has to be rewritten to make space for new tags, this can be much longer.

In case of bugs in underlying software, or system failure, or power loss, one or more files may be corrupted. Operations will be suddenly stopped, and the file may not be totally rewritten.
This can also happen during move operations on operating systems not supporting atomic rename or when moving files to different file systems.

So, to be safe, always make backups.

I was thinking about adding an optionnal safety net, by making a backup before modifying or moving any file, but it leads to an inevitable slowdown (especially with big files on slow network filesystems), so it cannot be enabled by default, and would not replace real backups.