Original Release Date

Is there a way to only update the original release date in the song tag? Can anyone point me to a discussion on this. Havent been able to find one.

What do you mean by song tag?

Sorry it seems there are two questions that I’m asking:

  1. How do I get the original or earliest release date for a song? The metadata crawlers is bringing back the current release date.

  2. If I only want to update the field/attribute original release date and not title, artist etc - how do I do that?

thanks much!

Not quite sure what you mean with “the metadata crawlers” and what software you have used so far. But if you use MusicBrainz Picard it will load and store the original release date in a special tag. Many players however do not support this tag, in this case you can script Picard to write the original date tag to the normal date tag by adding this script to Options > Advanced > Scripting:


Picard is not really the best tool for just changing a single tag, it is really meant to pull data from MusicBrainz. But if you want to do it you can set all tags you don’t want Picard to overwrite in Options > tags > Preserve theses tags from being cleared or overwritten… . You can find a list of tags in http://picard.musicbrainz.org/docs/tags/

I would strongly suggest to keep the MusicBrainz ID tags, though, as it allows you to easily retag your files again without doing all the matching again.


Hi outsidecontext,
If the %originaldate% is moved into the %date%, like in your code, then what tag can we use to store the re-issue/re-master date? Should we create a “RELEASEDATE=” tag?


By default Picard puts the re-issue/re-master date in the DATE field but as someone asked earlier I would rather have the original date in DATE as well. I’m just wondering in which field to put the re-issue/remaster date then. Any suggestion is appreciated.

It depends a lot on what you want, what software you use and what file formats you music is in.

The majority of software has support for displaying a single date, usually per album. How exactly this is stored depends on the tag format, but Picard’s date tag corresponds to what playback software usually uses for this. As you already found out Picard by default fills that with the release date.

If your software also supports an “original release date” maybe the default already works for you. But your wish to fill the date with originaldate indicates it probably doesn’t.

If you want to preserve the release date of the re-release separately nothing speaks against using a custom tag as you suggested. The question is again, what is your goal? If you want your player to show it, use a player that is flexible enough to be configured accordingly, such as foobar2000. If you just want to preserve the data in the tags, maybe to use it for later tagging and scripting that’s also ok.

A little digression about ID3v2: ID3v2.4 defines multiple fields for holding a date. For some reason most software uses the TDRC frame to display as date, and Picard writes date to this field for compatibility. But actually the spec defines this as the “recording time”.

For release date the TDRL “release time” would be more appropriate, but most players do not support this. And then there is TDOR “original release time”, where Picard puts “originaldate”. The only tag properly used, but not that widely supported.

ID3v2.3 is more simple. It has TDAT and TYER which together can hold a date for the recording. The spec is less explicit about it’s use, so here probably lies the reason why software usually used this for a release date. There is no frame explicitly for release date.

And there is TORY for the original release year (year only).