How to identify the physical file/folder behind a title...?

In both the left and the right pane of Picard, looking at the collapsed list, - is there a way to identify the path of each item in the list?
I miss the possibility to customize the columns. Both panes seem to offer only ‘Title’, ‘Length’ and ‘Artist’. What if I want size, BPM, Filepath or anything else ?

But above all, my one wish is an easy way to identify the files/folders behind each entry?
Why? Because all too often Picard incorrectly identify albums and it is a nightmare to figure out which album the incorrect title refers to.
My library is organised as; /Music/Artist/Album/track - Title.mp3

Here’s an example:
/Music/Various Artists/Viva Dance Hits 10/… (21 tracks)

Picard has incorrectly identified this as : ‘100% Dance Hits’ with 4 out of 21 tracks hit.
With more than 600 ‘Various Artists’ albums in my library, it took me hours to figure out which one Picard actually missed.
On some semi identified tracks, one can right-click and choose ‘Open containing Folder’ but that same option is not available on the album title - why not?

(I hope it’s just me that confused things…)

I’ve never had this issue, but I don’t drop massive amounts of files into Picard at once, which might be part of the problem.
As you’ve found, Picard isn’t an entirely ‘set and forget’ solution (unfortunately if you feed imperfect information into a program, imperfect output is sometimes unavoidable), so it’s usually best to do manageable bits of your collection at once.

It makes sense to not be able to right click and choose ‘open containing folder’ on an album, because you might have tracks from a lot of different folders in there! So you have to expand the ‘album’ and click on a track instead sorry :slight_smile:
Highlighting a track will also show the file path at the bottom left of the window, so you don’t have to open the folder.

Hope that helps!
ps customizable columns would be great, no doubt about it, but our devs are few and overworked!

@aerozol, many thanks for your reply.
I take your point :slight_smile:
If an album has tracks that Picard sees as superfluous and/or not being part of the album, they’re collected at the bottom of the list. If I select one of these tracks and choose ‘Lookup’ or ‘Scan’, the track always disappears (God knows where to?) and there’s never any indication whether or not something actually took place?
What should I make of that?

If you right-click on a file and choose ‘Info’, the dialog that pops up will include the file path as well.

If I right click on an file and choose ‘Info’, all I get is to view the albumart and posters that Picard has found…

Select the “Info” tab, not the cover art one.

/edit: Or try opening the info dialog of a file/track, not an album.

This is how it looks:

Where ever I rightclick, there is no way to figure out where this album is stored and what folder/file name it has.

Ok, let’s start from the very start.
Some of this you might already know, but best to be thorough so we haven’t missed anything :slight_smile:

The files on the left hand side represent files on your hard drive, eg mp3s.
The tracks on the right hand side represent releases on MB’s online database.

Hitting ‘Cluster’ will group your tracks on the left hand side together into albums (assuming that information is already present in the existing tags), this is almost always the first button to press after dropping in an album.
You can drag and drop songs in and out of albums.

Now there are 3 ways to match these songs to an album in the MB database (the right hand side):
1. select an album or song on the left hand side, and press ‘Lookup’ - this uses the existing tags from your files to search the MusicBrainz online database for a matching (or closes match) album, and then it will try to automatically match it to a track. This works well if you have whole albums that you’re trying to tag.
2. select an album or song on the left hand side, and press ‘Scan’ - this ignores existing tags, and checks the actual audio data in your file, and searches our AcoustID database for a match, and then matches it to a song in the database (on the right hand side). This will very often lead to false results if you are trying to match to a specific album - as the same song will often appear on many releases, and since it’s ignoring existing tags, it will have to guess what album the track might be from.
3. select an album or song on the left hand side, and press ‘Lookup in Browser’ - this will launch your web browser, and allows you to manually search the MB database for a release. You can also do it without selecting a file first. Now when you browse the website, little green ‘tagger’ icons will appear next to releases on the MusicBrainz website. Clicking that button will put that release into the right hand pane of Picard.

Once the right hand side has been populated with something, you can drag things from the left over to the right, or the other way round. A music note means you haven’t matched a file to that track yet. A green bar means you’ve matched a track and the existing tags are very similar to the data we have on MB, orange means not so much, and red means something is very different (eg track time, artist etc), and it’s a good idea to double check it.

In this example, you’ve populated the right hand pane with an album from the MB database, it has no filepath because it’s not on your hard drive!

If you expand the folder on the left, you can select a track to see its filepath, and if you match a track by dragging it over to the right (or using scan or lookup etc), you can then select it as well.

Hope that helps!


@aerozol, first of all - thank you so much for taking the time to help. I really appreciate that :slight_smile:

[quote=“aerozol, post:8, topic:10831, full:true”]
In this example, you’ve populated the right hand pane with an album from the MB database, it has no filepath because it’s not on your hard drive! [/quote]
But of course they are on my harddrive! All of them are! Take a look:

In the above screencap I just used Snipper to show the first 19, but I can assure you, they are all there!
That is what I do not understand…

Please read @aerozol’s post again, everything’s explained in it, especially:

A music note means you haven’t matched a file to that track yet.

Then I fail to understand how to “match a file to a track”.
As you can see from my screen capture, when I select a track with a music note and rightclick, I get a single choice and that is to look it up in a browser. No other possible choices are presented. So please explain how to “match a file to a track”.
I followed all steps explained by @aerozol, and the image shows exactly what I ended up with:

  1. I open a folder
  2. All files are listed
  3. I click Cluster and they are all grouped into and under the album name
  4. I click “lookup” and the right pane shows the result I get;
  5. Then what…?

If you’re sure that you’ve chosen the correct album (you seem to have 102 files, but loaded a release with only 51 in Picard, the cluster and release titles also have different years in them),

you can drag things from the left over to the right

If you want, you can just drag the whole cluster onto the release on the right, not doing the tracks one by one, but without knowing if the release is really the correct one, I’m not sure what will happen exactly.

Well, if one have to understand the inner workings of Picard to that degree in order to put it to good use, and if you are not sure what will happen exactly, then how do the makers of this software expect ordinary users to understand what will happen?
How can I not have chosen the correct album? I just click “Add Folder” and then add a folder:
/Music/Various Artists/50 Years Of The Eurovision Song Contest (1956-2005)/
This folder contains 4 subfolders named CD1, CD2, CD3 and CD4 that holds a total of 102 mp3 songs.

Obviously, Picard found CD3 and CD4 which matches a release named “Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest: All the Winners + Favorites 1981-2205” in total 51 songs, but it fails to map any of them to my files and I do not know how to do it. Looking each file up in a browser makes no sense.
Why I should drag files left and right, I fail to see the point in that…
As far as I can see, Picard found the album, but fails to offer me a way to match it to my files and I have not been able to find a way to tell Picard how to do that. I expected it to be able to at least give me a few options beyond looking things up in a browser.

OK, slowly. After using add folder, cluster and lookup Picard loads the album and usually should attempt to match the songs to the tracks. If it does the track will show a colored rectangle. If a track shows only a note symbol it is only the track with no file attached.

Sometimes, especially if your existing metadata is very bad, Picard cannot match a file to a track, even if it could match the cluster to the release. It will then show a list of unmatched files at the end of the track list. I guess you will find your files there. You can drag that file to the proper track.

Sometimes it can help to drag the files back into the left pane and use scan instead of lookup. But in the case of a compilation this will likely load a different album where the same recording is used.

[quote=“VikingOy, post:11, topic:10831”]
So please explain how to “match a file to a track”.
[/quote]If you are still having trouble, and are still interested in using MB/Picard, let me know, and I’ll make a quick youtube video explaining what I mean a bit more clearly.
Picard is a little bit tricky to start with but once you have the basics down you’ll be away in no time. There’s been a rather unfortunate misunderstanding in this case which has made it much harder for you than usual!

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@aerozol, pardon my late answer - I’ve been away for a few days.
I am still interested in MB (Have yet to find a good alternative), and Picard - because all other programs I have tested fail frequently with an error message saying that MB is busy (?). Picard does not suffer from this anywhere near as frequently as others. But the ill-logic behind the Picad user interface puzzles me. I have yet to find any other software in the music community with such a user un-friendly interface. (And I am not talking about the looks of it - that’s ok).
But - if others have worked it out, I guess I can too (with your help).
Apart from that, I trouble a bit with the fact that all these MB lookup apps, tend to ignore completely what’s already stored in the ID3 tag. To some extent, I can understand that, cause it’s difficult to make definite rules, but somethings should be pretty obvious:

  1. Do not delete what’s already there unless you can offer something better
  2. Don’t change the formatting of what’s already there if doing so does not add value

Examples to the above:
Picard overwrites all fields in local mp3 files with data from MB even with blank values. That makes no sense. Nothing can be of less value than blank so why copy that across?
I do not wish to have my entire ‘The Beatles’ library changed to ‘Beatles, The’ or have ‘John Lennon; Yoko Ono’ changed to ‘John & Yoko’ or to have all leading zeroes stripped off my track numbers…
These are just examples of things that I have found Picard doing without even notifying me about it. This is destructive programming. I’m sure lots of the above (and other things) possibly can be remedied by scripting or configuration settings, but these are not easily accessible.
All that aside, if you still think spending time on making tutorial videos instead of improving the code, then please - be my guest.

I must make clear before going any further that I agree with you that there is for sure much that could be improved to help the user understanding the interface better. Also while a lot of the customizations you are looking for are possible with scripting this is quite a hurdle for a lot of users, even though it is very flexible and powerful. But I think your core criticism, that Picard should not overwrite data if the existing data is “better”, is a bit short sighted.

Picard makes use of that data for searching and comparing. So the better your existing tags is the better Picard will be able to match the MusicBrainz data against it.

Just changing data that is better than the existing data might might be obvious in a theoretical sense, but I am not sure how you think that would actually work. How would MusicBrainz or Picard decide that the existing data in your tags is better than what is in the database? If it would be known to MusicBrainz that your existing data is better MusicBrainz would need to have that knowledge stored somehow. Which means it would offer the better data anyway. So if there is something wrong in MB the correct way is to fix it in MB.

Now your examples of artist names of e.g. using “Beatles” instead of “The Beatles” are a bit different. This is not a question of better or worse data, it is a question of preference. Clearly according to MusicBrainz guidelines “The Beatles” is correct, so changing it to “Beatles” would be wrong. But you as a user might prefer “Beatles”. But again, I see no way how Picard should foresee that, you have to tell it what you want. And you can tell it that. If it just a specific artist name you want to have different, use something like this:

$set(artist,$if($eq(%artist%,The Beatles),Beatles,%artist%))
$set(albumartist,$if($eq(%albumartist%,The Beatles),Beatles,%albumartist%))

Or maybe you never want to have any artist written with a "The " prefix, then use maybe this:


So, yes, Picard definitely can and should be improved usability wise. But it will never be able to guess your wishes, you will have to tell the software what you actually want.


[quote=“outsidecontext, post:17, topic:10831, full:true”]
But I think your core criticism, that Picard should not overwrite data if the existing data is “better”, is a bit short sighted.[/quote]
Many thanks for your script suggestions. They do come in handy. Your leading zero script was perfect!
But you must have misread my post… I understand that Picard cannot know which is the better of two data set. My issue was that Picard deleted my data and replaced it with nil. This happens when a field in MB is empty and the same field locally is not. It seems that whatever is in MB by default takes precedence.

And my example with ‘The Beatles’ was not related to with or without ‘The’. My issue was whether ‘The’ should be put in front of, or behind ‘Beatles’.

But let’s not waste more time on the above. It just so happened I messed up a number of albums before I realised what was going on, and lost a lot of time cleaning it up again manually. The reason I began researching MB and Picard in the first place, was because both Kodi and Plex claims that their hit rate finding fanart increases dramatically if albums are properly tagged from MB. I discovered that Kodi failed to recognize “The Bee Gees”, but it did find “Bee Gees” (without ‘The’). That, to me - was very odd, because the correct name is with. However, if properly tagged from MB, the spelling of Artist names is ignored completely. That sounded intriguing, cause a band like à;GRUMH… is rather difficult to tag. :slight_smile:

I’m not interested in making tutorial videos - but I can make a video explaining some things (eg why a file path wasn’t showing up when you selected something on the right-hand side of Picard) if it’s still confusing for you. Just let me know.

As for the rest of your feedback, I agree with a lot of it (not all of it!), but it’s getting a bit into the weeds to be honest.
Let’s get the basics down first.

I would recommend in future always testing a new program with copies of some of your files. It’s to be expected that a tagging application is going to overwrite tags, and that it’s not going to be to your preference off the bat.
Luckily once you’ve attached a MBID (Music Brainz Identifier) to an album it’s extremely easy to make changes and then apply them to your entire library, so you can look forward to that at least!

That last part is easy to explain: Once tagged with Picard the files will have the MusicBrainz IDs in the tags (unless you disable that, but I wouldn’t recommend that). And makes use of those IDs to identify the correct release, which completely resolves any issues with ambiguous names.