Freedb as starting point

I am in the process of digitizing a lot of CDs. My collections are mostly Classical music.

Unfortunately, much of my CDs can not be identified using Musicbrainz.

(I have physical CD, thus, I can search by barcode and/or catalog number, but my experience (newbie) tells me that neither barcode nor catalog number can yield ANYTHING from musicbrainz’ search)

I deliberately use a separate CD ripper that uses Freedb database to identify the CD. And to my dismay, a lot of times, the CD is correctly id’d using Freedb, but not musicbrainz’ database.

What should I do in situation like this? would it possible that data is in musicbrainz somewhere just that picard wasn’t able to pick it up? Is there a way to enter data to musicbrainz using data from Freedb as a starting point instead of typing it up one by one?

Thanks in advance

1 Like

Of course it could simply be that those release are on Freedb, but not on MusicBrainz, or that the data we have on them is incomplete (like a missing bar code or catalogue number).

There are a couple of ways you can search for your releases.

  1. You can search bar codes and catalogue numbers from here: (you may have to scroll down a bit for those options).
  2. You can search for the composer on MusicBrainz and look through the list of releases for the one you want.
  3. You can search from Picard. If you load the ripped files into Picard, you can scan their audio (the scan button) or search with the metadata filled in by your CD ripper (Lookup). If you have the CD in your drive, you can search for the disc id, by going to Tools > Lookup CD…

I think it’s no longer possible to import from freedb directly, but you can use the “Add cluster as release” plugin in Picard to use the data added by your ripper as a starting point for MusicBrainz.

1 Like

Welcome to MusicBrainz! I too am in the process of digitizing a lot of CD’s, mostly Classical.

My basic suggestion to you is to open the results of the FreeDB search in one browser window, and use MusicBrainz Picard to lookup the CD and then open another browser window. This lets you search by DiscID. Sometimes I pick up a MusicBrainz release that way. And, if you don’t find the Release already there, MusicBrainz will give you a form for creating a Release, with the correct number of tracks and correct track length, and a DiscID ready to attach to the new Release entry.

As you add the MusicBrainz release, you can copy and paste from the FreeDB entry to the MusicBrainz entry. My experience is that the FreeDB entries are frequently inadequate. In particular, the FreeDB track titles rarely conform to the quality standards of the Classical Style Guide. You have to add so much to the FreeDB entry, it’s not that big of a loss to only be able to copy and paste.

I look forward to seeing your entries. Perhaps I will have the same Release, and you will save me some effort!


Just be aware that FreeDB contains bad data very often. For example if the last track is a data track, the track before it will have a longer (incorrect) duration. I encountered this 100% of the time if there was a data track at the end. One of the examples: This is my edit which fixed that:

1 Like