Newbie here - Updating old cd-rips

Hi all,

So, I´m a dj and have a big bunch of tracks that I back in the days have ripped from my old CD collection.
Album, Titles and Artist info is correct, but back then I didnt consider the MP3 “revolution” to what it is today, and therefor I would like to add Year and maybe genres of the tracks as well, as it really would help my sorting.

What I would like help to, is how to maintain all the current info on all tracks, and only add the things that I feel could be missing: Year and Genre…

Cause when I select, say 100 tracks and do the Scan, it comes up with other album-info than the one I have, which I would like to keep.

Anyone who could tell me how to do this?

Thanks for your time. :slight_smile:

If you only want to update a single tag you can add the list of tags you don’t want to get changed in “Options > Tags > Preserve these tags …”. See the following post for details:

If you have your files reasonable well tagged, and it looks like you have, you should always use first Cluster and the Lookup to find the album info on MusicBrainz. This will usually give you the best results.

Use scan for difficult cases, e.g. wrong or very incomplete / missing tags (e.g. titles only “Track 01”).


@outsidecontext - Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Very much appreciated.

It seems quite simple to do, following the process in the link :slight_smile:

Have a great weekend. :pray:


One thing to note: Picard is not really build for this updating of only a single tag, and it supports quite a lot of tag already by default. So if you really want to prevent Picard from writing any tags other than year and genre you will probably need a long list of preserved tags combined with a couple of $unset scripts to remove tags.

But if you are ok with Picard writing other new tags and you just want to preserve the (for you) most important tags you consider complete it should be straight forward. For a list of supported tags see

Also a note on the MusicBrainz IDs: Picard writes a couple of identifiers to the files for the MusicBrainz entities it used for the tagging. The most important ones are musicbrainz_albumid (the MB release) and musicbrainz_recordingid (the MB recording). I highly recommend you to let Picard writes those tags to the files. That way if you have once correctly identified a release and tagger your files you can just load the files into Picard again and it will remember the correct release and automatically load it. That way it is easy to update the tags later on if you wish to.


Yeah I know its not “made” for only updating one or 2 tags, but with the amount of tracks I have from the “almost old” cd-days, I think this is the easiest way to do it… Well hope :smiley:

Its not that my files are well-tagged, think its quite basic actually, but its what I need :slight_smile:

But absolutely, I´ll give Picard “access” to write the tags you mentioned :pray:

I think what I meant with “well tagged” would be that:

  • The files have tags :smiley:
  • They have proper album name, artist, track titles and track numbers
  • You have mostly complete albums, and the album name is the same for each file from this album

If that’s the state the Cluster -> Lookup approach works usually pretty well and you can use Picard to get missing tags and more details.

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:slight_smile: A great deal of the cds that I have ripped, is also promotion-tracks that I got from some DJ Pools, digitally back in the days, then burned to CD, but the artist, titel incl album tag: “Dj Pool X” or “Dj Pool Y” is there…
(Dont have that computer anymore and the original files are long gone)

So not all are solely albums which is the reason why I would like it to only find year and maybe genres. If its possible based on Artist and Title combined…

A few other tips:

  • backup all the files first in case something unpredictable happens.

  • Start with a small batch of CDs and check the results.

  • Don’t expect all those white labels to be in the database. Some of the rarer stuff will be missing or mislabelled.

  • Do consider adding the MusicBrainz ID tags as this will make it quicker next time you use Picard.

  • Don’t throw thousands of files at Picard and expect it to be perfect. It will do a darn fine job, but is always a “best guess” based on the data in the database. And if not enough of those CDs have been entered then sometimes the closest matches may try and split an album across a number of compilations.

As you are using the “preserve” option to only get the dates into place then you’ll probably not have as much problem with identification as some.

If you also start with a few CDs you’ll get to know what the colours mean at the bottom of the page that shows which tags get changed.

Also note that when working on the main screen it is possible to see what tags are about to be changed (in yellow), choose to put the changes at the top of the list (see arrow). And also you can add more items to the “Preserve Tags List” by doing a right click.


Hi Ivan,

Thank your for your tips as well :pray:

Will take a deeper look at it tomorrow, to make sure I dont make a mess with the current data.
Thats my biggest fear atm :smiley:

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Definitely back up your music, or run Picard on a small selection that you’ve copied first.
Then you can dive in and not worry :blush:


Use this as an excuse to buy a new External Hard drive so you can backup your music. Your music is precious and well worth spare backups.

Make one big backup before you start. And then slowly ramp up. As you work on albums you’ll soon learn good habits and how to really tame the beast that is Picard.

If you are working in small batches then any errors made in learning the ropes only cause minimal damage.

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