New user w/ problems


You don’t really, if things go badly, you can always re-rip. But it’s slightly faster to copy your backups over than it is to re-rip a CD.

To answer your question about what a “release” is: It’s the database entity in MB that represents a certain edition of an album. In the database, the concept of an album is represented by a “release group”. Inside that release group are the releases.

For example:
Release Group- Pink Floyd The Wall

Release- The 1979 US Vinyl version of The Wall

What you see in the right pane of Picard is a “release”, not a release group. So it’s specific to a certain date-country-format combination. You can right click it to choose a different release in the release group.

This is also one of the reasons clustering helps. By telling Picard that all these files are the same release, it will know to look for a release with that number of tracks on it.


A “release” in MB speak roughly equates to an album. Different versions of the same album (e.g.: re-release, remaster, club release, vinyl vs. CD vs. digital download, different catalog number, different label, different barcode, different cover art, different packaging, bonus tracks or discs, and so on) are all different releases within the MB database. All of these different releases are part of the same “release group” within the MB structure.

When you use the “Lookup CD” button a few things happen. First Picard determines the disc id of the CD in the drive. It then queries the database to find any releases with the same id. These releases are displayed to you to select one, or search manually on the website. If you still can’t find the release that matches your copy of the CD, you have the option of creating a new release, and your disc id is automatically attached to the new release.


I’m new also, but I’ve encountered the “down caret” situation where Picard matches multiple files to the same MB track. In my case, this was caused by Picard choosing the wrong version of the album (or in proper MB-speak, the wrong release within the release group). In that case you can try right-clicking on the album title and choosing ‘Other versions’.

If that doesn’t help, clicking on the individual tracks will show you the ‘original value’ (from the file) and the ‘new value’ (from MB) of the various tags; if you can tell from the original values where it should have gone, you can drag and drop it to the right spot.


I’m aware of the MB and Picard status as open-source, non-profit endeavors. I also understand the poor record of asking software developers to write User Manuals!

Being blunt, I have no problem w/ “harsh” comments, if they are true [which yours was]. :slight_smile:

One difficulty w/ some isolated individual attempting to write documentation for an open-source project is that just as Rev. 1 of the documentation is “released”, somebody makes a change to the source code, w/o notice.

Another difficulty is that development is often global. That means there are countless opinions about “words”.

English is a terrible language, as most languages are. They are not stable!

Additionally, the jargon adopted by “guilds” is often intended to be confusing because private uses of common words enrichens the “guild”. The members of the “guild” are never skilled linguists; they just unclog pipes.

I’m old. I grew up w/ simple computers…before Ge transistors…before Si transistors…before integrated circuits. These computers typically didn’t have assemblers, much less compilers. We wrote our own tools, via “machine code” by flipping switches. I wrote a LOT of embedded code.

I’m a Physicist/Engineer. I married a Tech Editor/Graphic Artist. My career was to follow Engineers in absentia and fix their designs that didn’t work. Her career was to interview Engineers [all disciplines] and organize their thoughts [if she could find them]. Her job was more difficult than mine…

I learned a lot about technical documentation from her.

My son is a web architect; knows things I can only imagine. He liked MB-P. I think he’s in the same “guild”? But one of his skills is interface design and he noticed that MB-P didn’t have any. He somehow knows how to use software that is not organized. Like the two panes have no DESCRIPTIVE TITLES! They are just the “left pane” and the “right pane”. I had a boss once who would instantly fire an employee who failed to label things.


Hi, welcome to the forum. I’m new, and old, too. I’ve managed to suss out a few things about using the database.

hmmm, I wonder how they could be described? They are sort of all the same thing, aren’t they? The music files on your computer? Maybe the middle pane could be a “query” pane and the last pane could be the “results” pane, something like that?
My feelings about things like this is that I don’t really have sufficient understanding not to be making “stupid” suggestions to clever computer people. Trying to “simplify” things for new users needs you to understand what’s going on in the first place and a poor description might be worse than none?? I don’t know.


Glad to have a compatriot.

Everybody comes through life differently. I’m a “process” guy who believes in “rules”. For example, one of my “rules” is if you can’t write it down, you don’t have a plan. I think that is rule #7 but I may have forgotten? Fortunately, I don’t have a “rule” about writing rules down…whatever, it is a low number.

I too wonder how to describe the two panes. My belief is that the software designers know the answer, but have for some reason not labeled them.

I think the long, skinny box at the top is the “query” box. We can put albums, artists, or tracks in that box. That searches for stuff and opens a webpage w/ the data. So “query” is taken.

My guess, w/o knowing much is that the left pane is “Input Albums”. Other folks use the term “Releases”.

Similarly, I think the right pane has albums that have valid metadata. Your “results” suggestion seems OK. But there is a lot of room above both panes, so long, descriptive sentences could be located there. How about, “Completed albums with valid metadata, ready to Save”? At least I don’t think the “Save” button operates on anything other than the right pane.

The left pane is used to “Lookup” metadata in the database. When a track is located it is moved from the right pane to the left pane w/ and icon that supposedly tells us that status of the track. Unfortunately, there are dozens of different icons and no index to identify them!

Semi-connected w/ the failure to label the panes is the failure to locate the buttons on the toolbar above the related pane. The “Lookup” and “Scan” buttons should be above the left pane. They are, if you don’t add the directory pane on the far left. They should be anchored to the “Input” or “Lookup” pane.

But the “Save” button never get’s near the right pane.

Bottom Line: I like MB-P. I have been able to figure out how to use it, with a lot of help from the community. But it’s UI is pretty terrible. I agree that beginners like us have difficulty making good suggestions. But if the product has problems, should we go away w/o mentioning them?

Another of my “rules” is [with apologies to Yogi Berri] “When you come to a fork in the road, turn around. The proper road doesn’t have forks!” There is only one right way to do it…


That search box is for manual searches, if you don’t get what you need by the automatic lookup.

It’s the release(s) on the user’s computer until it’s matched up with a release on Musicbrainz.

“Valid” as in found in the musicbrainz database, but not necessarily valid for the release on the user’s computer. There can be different releases containing the same recordings/track list.

the size of the panes isn’t fixed - you can move them to see information you want to see. I actually have 3 panes, the directory pane, the “ones I want to lookup” pane and the “results” pane. The buttons for lookup are (coincidentally) above the middle “lookup” pane. Personally, I’d rather the toolbar keep all buttons visible rather than tied to a pane and disappearing if I resize the pane.

I’ve found the community very helpful, and not dismissive of “noobs” or suggestions. I can’t answer for them, but I’d say if you have something you want to say, say it. You don’t get dumped on here like on some sites (in my experience).


I think the long skinny query box at top is an anachronism. It’s like going to Google and searching the MB database. It’s as automatic as the “Lookup” button. It’s a small scissor tool in a Swiss knife with only blades.

Agree w/ your second point. The left pane could be labeled “User’s Releases”.

Perhaps “Valid” is too broad? The right pane indicates if a track is pared with MB metadata. It offers enough info to tell if it’s the correct metadata and has tools to select the proper data.

I hadn’t addressed the issue of anchored buttons in the toolbar becoming “invisible” when resizing panes. I don’t think this is a serious problem, as the same thing happens to data IN the pane; it falls underneath the right pane:


I too am impressed w/ the community. I have been critiquing MB-P, hopefully w/o assigning blame to the people involved.


If you have the “file browser” viewed (which I do), it doesn’t look like that. The buttons are in different locations in relation to the panes.

To be really sure, I think you need to check down the bottom, for the barcode or catalogue number


This is a mockup I did years ago. The text or images can disappear once something has been added to that panel.
I think it should be more visual and the word count cut right down, perhaps an icon for dragging and dropping which is something most people miss. But yes, this is a big failure in Picard.
Would you believe that it’s gotten better lately?? :wink:

edit: But I don’t expect anything to happen (though it would be nice if it did!) until we either do it, or pay someone to do it. The onus is on everyone to improve it, unlike a commercial product.


I too have been working on a revised mockup. It’s still quite early. Yours is better.

I have little experience with open source projects. Mostly I hate them because they are inherently bottom-up exercises that have terrible UIs [like GIMP]. Back in the days of Dr, Dobbs, the open source projects were simple and often executed in machine code or BASIC [shudder].

After years of chasing the current hot language [Fortran, APL, Forth, C…] I realized there was no light at the end of the tunnel.


That’s way less mysterious than it is now. Better!


Agreed. I think the word “mysterious” is poignant.