When I first started using Picard I found it confusing. The cluster business and automation gets in my way and I never let software fully automate itself otherwise you will end up in the same mess that iTunes makes of music libraries. Then you will look for another software that can clean that mess up and make an even bigger mess of it LOL I’m not one for reading manuals or following rules and like to use intuitivety (is that a word) or experiment to see what works for me. Just play with the software, explore and discover.
I manually drag an album one at a time into the left column press Scan and/or Lookup and everything moves to the right. Sometimes it will find the album straight away and sometimes tracks get spread over multiple albums (mostly if a compilation). I then drag the tracks into the correct album including any left behind in the left colum if available and remove the albums which where wrong. I then use the contextual menu to choose the right version or as close to it that I can find sometimes and / or refresh. I have to say Disclogs via Yate on a Mac which has access to both MusicBrainz and the Disclogs database has more choice including reel to reel rips and and all kinds of media via the Disclogs database. It’s easier to find by album release number, label, country too. Musicbrainz Picard does a pretty good job, I use both a lot of the times and then manually clean up unnecessary tags like the Musicbrainz and Disclogs specific tags. Yate is good for artwork too.
Once tracks are all listed inside the album in the right column of Picard I can then check the tags for each track at the bottom. Colour coded bars really help and is one of the best features. Any changes can be manually typed in the right column down there or you can use the contextual menu on the left and keep original. Once happy I then save, remove the remains and move onto the next album. Simples!!!..Then off to Yate if needs be.
The worst thing anyone can do is allow a software to fully automate and not verify for yourself that everything is correct and make the necessary changes.
If Picard had a feature that when you click on other versions instead of the contextual menu then opened another window similar to what the Yate Disclogs options has where you can select media type, label, country etc, and a much larger selection choice, not just CD, SACD and the odd LP’s, then Picard would be the dogs dangles ( that’s a good thing by the way). Launching a browser and searching the database online is the not the way to go and then sending the tag across to Picard, it’s a real pain. Where Picard wins is it’s Acoustic ID and speed along with the automatic placement into a folder order and hierarchy when saving, according to your tagging script. But…I shall hold my hands up I often choose a CD version because that’s all there is and then afterwards move onto Yate Dicslogs to find the right version as LP or other and also grab artwork. I then use Kid3 to manually clean up the unnecessary database specific tags from both Picard and Disclogs. Once completed the album folder gets a cover icon, cue sheets get created and anything that I want and organised inside the main album folder and then, and only then do I move the album onto my NAS Music Library.
It’s a long laborious process cleaning up music libraries and tags. Don’t expect anything to do the work for you. There are no shortcuts…not many anyway.