How can I set the date tag to reflect the release year and not album/compilation release year?


I am learning how to use Picard and would be grateful if someone could advise me how I can tag individual tracks by their release year, and not album/compilation release year.
Thanks in advance.


You can get the date of the earliest release in the release group using the originaldate and originalyear tags in

To get the earliest date for an individual recording, I think you’d have to develop a plugin to look up each release associated with the recording and select the earliest date. This would have to be done for each track that you’re tagging. Unless I’m missing something, this does not appear to be a trivial exercise.

I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear. There are a lot of talented code / script writers here, so perhaps someone else has a better suggestion that I missed.


Many thanks for your reply. From what you say, unless any talented coders reply, I’ll have to find this info myself and add it manually.


Addressing you sInce you are an active, helpful and knowledgeable member:
Could you explain in simple terminology what the differences are between ‘originaldate’ and ‘originalyear’.
Would you handle these differently for different scripts and purposes?
I’ve done some reading, but the coin won’t drop…


As I understand it, originalyear is a subset of originaldate in that it only shows the four digit year (YYYY) portion rather than the (possible) full date (YYYY-MM-DD). Note that in many cases, only the year has been entered into the database rather than the full release date, in which case both originalyear and originaldate would provide the same information.

For any of my scripts, I’ve only been interested in the year portion, thus I use originalyear.


That would indeed be the most logical and desirable differentiation between ‘year’ and ‘date’.
But these two have always been a mess in tagging software and guidelines from day one, and seem to have been mixed up at every occasion possible.

Also, trying to understand what it says here: , MusicBrainz seems to have different intended purposes for them.

Maybe somebody has a link to a release that contains different values for both?
I would like to try it out and see of I might need to make some adjustments to my Picard tagging scheme.


Reading this reply in another related thread, it indeed seems that MusicBrainz only uses it as a distinction to supply either YYYY or YYYY-MM-DD.

Still strange that the explanation on the MusicBrainz website (link in my previous post) implies some other differences.

I was guessing that it might be intended to differentiate in cases where you would e.g. have a 2015 Japanese SACD re-release from a 2010 USA CD remaster from an original 1960 jazz record, containing recording sessions from 1959 and 1960.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case then.