Noob - UX - I do not get how to contribute (ie add a new CD)

New (dev) here. I’d like to add a new physical CD I’ve onto my hands. I’m searching for one hour now, I really do not find any beginner (illustrated) doc.

So here’s the log of my searches:

  • I started here How to Contribute - MusicBrainz
  • downloaded Picard
  • so this is time to follow this line in this page:

    Pop an audio CD into your CD drive, click the lookup button and follow the instructions from there to contribute Disc IDs

  • OK, I launch Picard, click on the lookup button image
  • without surprise, this CD is not present in the DB
  • so I click on Submit disc ID
  • I’m redirected to the website, to this URL
    • this page says:

      There are currently no discs in MusicBrainz associated with the information you provided. You can search for the disc you are looking for using the forms below, or you may add a new release to MusicBrainz

    • so the part of this information that concerns my case is: or you may add a new release to MusicBrainz
  • Here’s the problem: on this page, there’s absolutely no explanation on how to add a new release ? The only sections are
    • Search by artist
    • Search by release
    • but no link to any doc or whatever else to add a new CD

So I tried following How to Add a Release - MusicBrainz, but I’m absolutely not sure if it is the right thing to do as it’s a manual process (I’ll have to manually enter all tracks lenghts) and above all how will I could associate tracks AcoustIDs ? I really have the feeling that this is not the correct way of doing this.

I also tried Submitting Acoustic Fingerprints — MusicBrainz Picard v2.8.3 documentation but it seems to be oriented for files that are already present on the local hard drive.

Also tried When the CD is available — MusicBrainz Picard v2.8.3 documentation but this seems to be the case where the release is already present in the DB (not sure about it). Maybe Should I create a new release before calculating AcoustIDs ? But how to do it automatically (I mean not having to enter all tracks lenghts manually, etc)

I thought Picard was a software to add new CDs releases, parsing AcoustID and add track informations from CD (tracks lengths mainly).

I surely missed something but … where ?
I remember having exactly the same issues 5 years ago while trying to add some CDs but I let it go.

Thanks a lot for any help


Type in an artist (ANY artist)… and then you’ll see a “Add a Release” button



The UX sucks. To add a new release from the TOC lookup page you’ll need to search first and then skip to the bottom to see the button for adding a new release.

I assume the reason is to search for existing entries first and only if the exact release you are looking for is missing add a new one. Keep in mind even minor differences can matter.

If you have a CD, you can first see if MusicBrainz has a disc ID for it and, if not, add a new disc ID (either to an existing release or while adding the release itself). For that, consult the how-to for adding disc IDs. If you have other kind of release (like a vinyl, or a digital release), or you just can’t add a disc ID for some reason, you will need to search for the release by hand. Usually the best way is to search for the title of the release. If you can’t find the release you have, or the only matches in MusicBrainz are reasonably different from yours (different barcode, for example), then that means you must add the CD as a new release to the database.

If you have a multi-disc release the “lookup to add release” method won’t work anyway. You’ll need to add all mediums first and only then you can attach the TOCs.

Assuming you have already ripped the discs I’d rather use the “submit cluster as release” feature to add a new release from Picard. Afterwards add the TOCs by pasting the MBID or URL of the release to get the right result.


Okay :bulb: that … sucks; indeed. Why the hell they do not make like Github/Gitlab issue creation, or Discourse thread creation, or [so many examples everywhere]: adding a warning somewhere saying something like “oh wait, they are some existing items that looks like the one you’re submitting. Are you sure ?”

Okay but

  • hiding the button users are looking for sucks (a lot)
  • hiding it without any explanation (a little div with “search first, than you’ll find the hidden feature you’re looking for”) sucks even more
  • hiding it even when the user comes from a previous search (in Picard) is like if project managers want to prevent contributors to add data to the database. I mean it’s as simple as adding &unsuccessful_search=1 to the query to indicate that a search for this have already been made

As I’m a constructive guy, where is the place to contact project developers / UX designers (I certainly doubt there is any) to submit this problem ?

Thanks !
(anyway I finally managed to add my release ! It wasn’t painless)

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There is a feedback system:

But it can sometimes be a little slow… I expect there is already a ticket in there somewhere on this subject. People are listening.

This place can be weird at times, but get used to the quirks and there is a lot of power under the hood. And there is usually someone around in the forum to point out where the button is.

The Picard search was for an exact disc ID match.
But the release may be set in MB already, without disc ID yet.
In this case, indeed, MB would like you not to add a duplicate release but to submit your disc ID to the matching edition (release).

So as you say, it should most probably explain why it shows you a search form (by artist or by release title).

It’s to see if you could add your disc ID to a release that exactly match yours (and that has no different disc ID already).

Indeed because there are lots of pending tickets.

Thanks. I’m starting to understand things slowly !

So I ripped the CD to create WAV files on my hard drive; and tried to follow this guide

  • I added all files to Picard (so they gone to the Unclustered Files section)
  • I selected all those files on the Unclustered Files section and clicked on Cluster button (or Tools → Cluster) but nothing happens

Did I missed something again ?

If I recall correctly, the cluster command tries to group the files into clusters using the existing metadata in the files. Perhaps your files don’t have any metadata? It really depends on the ripper that you use.

If there is no metadata, you might be able to get it to work by selecting the files and then add an “album” tag containing the album name.

The link does say:

“We found discs matching the information you requested, listed below. If none of these are the release you are looking for, you may search using the form below in order to attach this disc to another MusicBrainz release.”

I guess we could change that to say:

“We found discs matching the information you requested, listed below. If none of these are the release you are looking for, you may search using the form below in order to attach this disc to another MusicBrainz release, or to add a new one if it’s missing.”

Would that be more clear?


Seems good.

But the OP was about the case where the disc ID is new:

Fictitious disc ID lookup:

Lookup CD

Matching CDs

There are currently no discs in MusicBrainz associated with the information you provided. You can search for the disc you are looking for using the forms below, or you may add a new release to MusicBrainz

Search by artist

Artist: Search

Search by release

Release title or MBID: Search

Oooh, ok - I followed their link but I guess that shows differently now. We can reword that one too :slight_smile:

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Ow indeed, this is different now cause I added the release yesterday. And yes I’m listening to music anybody listen :wink: so I’m in that case every time I try to add data.
But you can reproduce the case changing a track length in the URL (I tried just now and it seems to do the trick).

Thanks for your reply.

I think in that case the URL should contain another argument like &not_found_in_picard=1 or something like that, to prevent the need of a second search.
OR if you want people to search by album name (that makes sense) I’d except to see a message explaining me that:

  • the CD havent been found using tracks lengths (if I understand well, this is how is calculated the CD footprint for the first search done by Picard)
  • so I’ve to try manual search by release name to be sure that this release is really a new one in the DB

But I’d except some kind on continuity from Picard to the web UI. Here there’s clearly a big miss.

Thanks again for your interest :+1:

Thanks ! I understand now.
But I suggest here that Picard alters me. Something like “We didn’t find any information that could be used to make a cluster. Try adding a tag like an album name”.
Here I thought that the app has a bug and I looked on console logs to see if I see something. Every action in UI should have a feedback:

  • something changed in the UI
  • or I should be alerted that my action didn’t done anything because […]

@reosarevok do I need to fill a bug for this in ? I think this is quite important for newcomers like me.


So now I manually added tag Album (is this the right one for album name ?)


And I can group them into a cluster :+1:


BUT (there’s always a but unfortunately) the lookup image functionality does’t returns anything and again, no UI feedback. So I presume that a search was made (I’ve seen some changes on the bottom of the screen).

That I’d except

  • I thought that I should be able to find the correct album by making a cluster (without tags) and searching for that cluster using only tracks lengths. Isn’t it a more or less unique footprint for an album ? I excepted to be able to search from tracks lengths only, and have on the right panel a set of results (albums that matches those tracks lenghts). Isn’t possible to search only by tracks lenghts ?
  • then I thought that adding the album title should be suffisent to find all albums that are called “We Are The Roadmen” and select from those searches results the “good one”


I think this is a misunderstanding. Just because the disc ID is not yet present in MusicBrainz does not mean you must add a new release. It might be the release already exists, just the disc ID has not yet been submitted. The first thing to check always should be to first search for the release in the database, and if found the disc ID can be attached to this release. That’s why you are offered the search options. If you e.g. search for an artist the process would nex present you with a list of releases by this artist which match the track count of your disc ID.

Only if the release does not yet exist a completely new release should be added. I agree that the UI does not optimally explain this intent, though.


Lookup searches by metadata. So without any proper metadata this won’t find anything. In your case it’ll search for an album “We Are The Roadman” with 12 tracks and artist “Various Artists”. It’s similar to this search. Might be or not that your wanted release is among the search results. But even if it is Picard will discard search results that differ too much from existing metadata. The later can be configured in Options > Advanced > Matching, lower thresholds mean Picard is less likely to discard bad matching results.

Anyway, the easiest way if you know the release already, e.g. because you added it yourself or you searched for it on, is to directly load it into Picard. See “Manual Lookup” but also “Lookup in Browser” on Retrieving Album information — MusicBrainz Picard v2.8.3 documentation .

I guess we could do this indeed. MB allows a fuzzy lookup by track durations. It’s basically the same as a disc ID lookup, but not only returning exact matches. Should at least work if track durations are available and accurate enough.


I thought that I should be able to find the correct album by making a cluster (without tags) and searching for that cluster using only tracks lengths . Isn’t it a more or less unique footprint for an album

Track lengths are not entirely accurate at all times, especially on releases that don’t have Disc IDs added. Releases without Disc IDs normally have their track lengths entered based on the info on the release packaging and actual track lengths can vary by a couple seconds from that information.


That’s a good point. Also maybe surprisingly to some the track length taken from files is not always fully accurate either. Getting the accurate track length from compressed audio with variable bitrate would require to fully decode that audio. For that reason formats often just store the length as metadata. While this usually gets set correctly when encoding the file, I have seen files with a mismatch.

Furthermore some simple formats, like those raw .AAC or .AC3 files, lack the ability to store the length. Hence the track lengths tools report for these are usually just estimates.


And also, when ripping, there are 2 or 3 methods to manage each TRACK INDEX 0 (pregaps?).
The usual 2 seconds of silence (or not silence).

You can either, from the most common option to the least:

  • Append them at the end of previous track (most rippers do like that)
  • Keep them at the beginning of track (but then when you skip to that track, it does not behave like in hifi CD players, where it skips INDEX 0 (usually silence or applause) and plays INDEX 1 (start of song)
  • Split files (…, track 3 index 0.wav, track 3 index 1.wav, track 4 index 0.wav, track 4 index 1.wav, …)

This can be another cause of having different durations.
I don’t know in which tracks disc ID counts the INDEX 0 durations, maybe in previous track?

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I agree that track lengths can be dodgy. I also agree it cannot hurt to show the track length matches and ask “is it any of these” anyway, since I’d expect the user will check before they add the discID to a completely random release / tag their files with random data.

My only worry would be that if we use this for disc ID attaching, we should still make it clear the release might actually still exist, but not have the right track times or be missing them altogether, and a search should still be performed. But I guess that’s as easy as still not showing the Add release button at the start.