New To MusicBrainz (Curious on a few things)

APologies if this is the wrong forum,

New to the program, using Picard to tag a radio station library I just purchased (I bought the station not the library, well I bought both but it was poorly maintained)

I run a batch of songs that is clearly in a grouped album (example in the screenshot is Now 41) It finds almost ALL of the songs, then says the others are in different albums, no matter what i do (dragging the songs) it says 1. its in a different album, and 2. it has a musical note (which i read means the song cannot be found, and when i click info all i see is album art) the file is clearly in the album.

If I hit save (which I cannot do on the ones with the musical notes) it DELETES songs from the file folder

My goal is to have MB Picard get everything or mostly everything correct, and when it doesnt have the ability to manually place them, also i dont want any files deleted.

“Move Files” is unchecked btw

thanks again

example of my issue

1 Like

A few suggestions that might help make your journey a little smoother…

First, you might want to check out the Picard User Guide, in particular the section on Workflows: When files are grouped by album. This might provide some additional insights into the use of the program for your use case.

Some settings that you might want to consider:

  • In the General Options make sure that the “Automatically scan all new files” option is turned OFF. When the files are grouped (clustered) by album, you want to use the “Lookup” function and not the “Scan” function. I generally have the auto clustering turned off as well, but that’s a personal preference.

  • In the Metadata Options / Preferred Releases section, set the “Album” slider all the way to the right (and possibly set everything else all the way to the left).

  • In the Metadata Options / Genres section, make sure “Use genres from MusicBrainz” is checked (and possibly uncheck “Use folksonomy tags as genres”). Then set the “Maximum number of genres” to 1.

I think that should get you started. Of course, as you get more familiar with working with it, you can tweak the settings even more.


Hi, @nowhitsradio . Welcome to MusicBrainz!

I spend a lot of time making entries to my corner of MusicBrainz. It helps me, but I also hope that it will help others in the future. Reading about you getting benefit from the data in MusicBrainz gives me a warm feeling. I love it that you demonstrate our effort helping you out.

You are asking a lot of different questions. They are mostly about how to use the MusicBrainz Picard app. This is a good part of the forum to start in.

About Picard reading your music files from the left part of the window, and putting up not just the correct album in the right part of the window, but also several incorrect albums: that is expected behaviour. Remember that the music industry loves to sell the same recording on one album after another. You get the digital audio from one of those compilation albums. Picard reads each file (track) in isolation, and matches the audio to those multiple albums. Picard has no good way to tell which album is the one you want, so it picks one arbitrarily. Mostly it picked the way you wanted. For three tracks, it did not.

You showed in your video that you discovered the correct response. Open the wrong album, drag the matched track from the wrong album to the right track in the right album. Once the wrong album has no more matched tracks, remove it. Once the right album has all of its tracks matched, save it.

In your second example in the video, you did not do this process. When Picard saved the audio files, it added the tags to each track for the album it had arbitrarily picked. It picked wrong, and you did not correct it, so Picard added the metadata for the album you did not prefer.

About genres: it sounds like you expect Picard to select a genre which you prefer. I am not an expert about genres in MusicBrainz. But my lay person’s understanding is this: Nobody agrees what music fits in what genres. MusicBrainz genre data is an aggregation of lots of differing opinions. For MusicBrainz to come up with what you think is the right answer based on what everyone else thinks is probably hopeless.

Picard lets you type in values for metadata, in the right-hand column of the table in the lower half of the window. You should probably just type in the genre name which you prefer. Or, maybe someone who knows more about genres than I do will give you better advice.

It sounds like what you want from the Picard app and the MusicBrainz app are largely reasonable. Please keep asking questions. But you will probably get better results if you stick to one question per topic, and make your topic titles meaningful. For the title of this topic, you put, “New to MusicBrainz (Curious on a few things)”. That isn’t the question you are asking. A better title would be “Why is Picard matching some of my tracks to the wrong album?”, and for another topic, “How can I get Picard to give me the genres I want?”, and for a third topic, “Picard is deleting my music files, how can I prevent this?”

Good luck with MusicBrainz, and good luck with the radio station.


I don’t think that it really deletes the song. But I assume that you have activated all 3 Options
Rename Files
Move Files
Save Tags

If the second option is activated, your files will be moved according the settings in Options → Options → File Naming as soon as you save them.

The songs with a musical note are missing for your album. Please have a look for the icons here.

It can be, that such tracks are detected as a song from another album or left on the left side in the so called Cluster Pane (#4 in the documentation screenshot).
In both cases, you can drag & drop the song to the position with a musical note in front (missing track) if you think it is really the matching one.


thanks everyone for the help,

Ill take these one at a time

  1. the music note denotes no file found (but it exists in the system???)
  2. I adjusted the options as (rdswift) told me to, and now it finds almost nothing (otherwise that post was very helpful
  3. I realize i did two different things in the video, but it was more to make a point, obviously if i do not tell it to do otherwise MBP will do as it sees fit
  4. Jim_DeLaHunt , thanks so much, I am glad people can do this, I have been at this for a week and I am still only through the USA catalog, I am hoping I can harness Picard to do a lot of the heavy lifting

as for the genres, very correct, when I was in radio forever, we always had heated debate about the singles they would send us, i just want it to pick One, i had the genre settings at 99 which was my bad.

Finally as for the deletion issue, i had MOVE UNCHECKED I am sure of that, but it did in fact delete 3 files, maybe it moved them I do not know, but they were gone from the file folder,

I will continue to read up on the best way to work this, I know we have a stack (1467) of Light AC songs that are all a mess, should be fun when we get there!

1 Like

Luckily it definitely didn’t delete them - renamed or moved.

On that note please work with a copy of your files, at least at first, otherwise I’ll lose sleep tonight :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

One thing that can trip you up is to make sure you’re using ‘lookup’ and not ‘scan’ if you want to keep your album groups together.

The musical note means you haven’t matched one of your files to that track. Dragging and dropping the track (either from the left or one of the other tracks it’s matched to on the right - e.g. any track without a musical note next to it) into position is the way to go.

It’s a bit of a learning curve but it sounds like you’re going to have it figured in no time at all! Welcome!

1 Like

Hey there,

Do I drag the track from the “file browser” or swap albums on the right pane, I find it a pain (pardon the pun) to have to go through all the different albums, I wish there was a way to get closer, they are all clearly on that album, so if their on 10 albums for 20 songs, that is a lot of dragging and dropping, i also noticed sometimes it “skips” songs (no check mark) and yet it still tags them, or maybe it keeps the existing tags i am not sure

when I drag a song, do i land on the exact track, or just make sure its in that album?

If you drop it on the exact track, MB Picard does not have to guess where on the album it could fit (according to the track length, existing metadata and preferences from your settings).

One thing that could improve your workflow:
If you load a folder (with the tracks from an entire album) into MB Picard, you should group this album together pressing the “Cluster”-Button

You can find more details here.


SO just reply , so far this is becoming a bit of a chore, as most tagging is i imagine, MBP also seems to be thoroughly confused as to what recording goes where (A ton of manual drag and drop) and of course I am still exploring other alternative programs. At this point I am more looking to lay the genre tag down on all the music since i already manually titled and tagged alot of it, but MB P just seems to want to scatter one album across 20 albums, which is wholly unproductive. I will keep playing at it however. Just an update.

1 Like

It sounds as if you’re using the Scan function and not the Lookup function. I again point you to the When files are grouped by album workflow instructions, and again point out that the Automatically scan all new files setting under the General Options section needs to be disabled.


I am using the lookup, here is my process and auto scan new files IS unchecked

  1. drag a copy of the folder into the unclustered files section
  2. select these files and click cluster
  3. click the cluster and hit “lokup”
  4. wait forever and nothing happens

I am sure were close and i appreciate the help

Your steps #1 to #3 are OK.

For the step #4 you have to be sure, that:
a) your album already exist at MusicBrainz. You can’t get metadata for your album if there are no data available at Musicbrainz.
b) if the metadata exists at MusicBrainz and don’t appear automatically in Picard, you have to choose another search term manually.
For example: If your album has a local album name like “Best of” but the album from the same artist and the same release year with the same amount of tracks is called “Greatest Hits” at MusicBrainz, you have to use Greatest Hits in the upper right search box of Picard and press ENTER. Then you get a selection with the various possible albums in your browser. Click on the green Tagger Icon on the matching album line to “transfer” the metadata from MusicBrainz into your running Picard.
Then you can drag & drop your clustered album from the left side to the new filled right side.

I have just found another example:


Ill try these steps, thank you, ill report back in a little while

Reporting back, NO I AM NOT losing my mind, MB P IS deleting files, let me explain. This Collection had 17 songs in it, when I used the tagger to “match” the album all looked good, I do not have MOVE FILES selected, when the saving was done not only were song files GONE from the folder, but duplicates of others had appeared. If MB P just tags songs, why is it deleting and duplicating files on my system.

I will say this, when MusicBrainz gets it right, thats awesome, but this software can be downright dangerous, I do not have a copy of this folder, and will have to rip another copy of the disc to reset this folder, mighty dangerous software indeed.

Ok I got that one back to square 1, from now one I will not be putting original folders in front of this program, it has certainly not earned that level of trust nor stability, Ill retry the process outlined, I cannot help but wonder if somewhere on these drives is a pile of songs that “Musicbrainz did not move” lol

I can guarantee you that Picard neither deletes files nor makes duplicates, simply because neither functionality is implemented in Picard.

What instead likely happened is that you tagged files against the wrong track, so they got saved with wrong tag data. Double check the files matched to an album before saving. If a file is matched to the wrong track, drag and drop it to the proper one.


Oh I never thought of that, if it put the wrong song name in it would look like a different file, very tricky.

There is an additional point for your specific “Now That’s What I Call Music” album:
This is a ongoing series with many different albums published in different versions in different countries. What we can see from your folder names, it seems to be the US-Version with the additional information “NOW 1”. Maybe this is a hint about the catalog number, maybe it just indicates the first issue from this series.
None of the listed available albums here at MB contains only 17 tracks. Most of the releases has two CDs and about 30 tracks.

Choosing the perfect matching release/album is essential in such cases.

I think I have found your album: It is called NOW here at MB (with 17 tracks and many of your listed tracks):

The first album seems not to show the subtitle “That’s What I Call Music” on the cover like all the subsequent releases in the same series:


You can try two things to fix that:

  1. Listen to the files, if you know the music and can identify it you can then load the full album again and drag the file to the proper track
  2. Try the “Scan” button on the file. That uses acoustic fingerprinting to identify the file based on the audio. It might find the song on a different release, but in this case at least you know what song it is and can again manually drag it to the proper track on the release loaded for the rest of the files. If “Scan” does not find results you need to go the manual route.

“Lookup” is not useful in this situation, as it uses the existing metadata in the file, and that’s now wrong.

But in general if you tag entire albums the best way is to use the Cluster → Lookup approach.


When you have an album on the right, make sure you don’t have something that looks like this:

That will cause your “duplicates” thing. A couple of tracks misaligned for whatever reason. Quick to fix as you can select each one by one and check what it is and drag into place. With the above comments about US and UK versions of an album this sounds like what you have had happen.

Also, with the borked album you do have I expect you can tell the “correct” tracks apart due to file length. In my example screen shot the two yellow ones are telling me they are wrong and this could be track length differences