Question about beginning with Musicbrainz Picard

Hello! :slight_smile:

I am new to this app and a little lost as to how to proceed. I have tried to follow the help files, but right out of the gate, I hit the cluster button when the files are deposited in the left hand pane and designated as “unmatched files” and nothing happens. I then click the scan button and things start happening but I am sure I am already veering off the path because the instructions say to start with the clustering first.
My library consists of over 20K files and it takes awhile to compile all the info before I can even try to do something with the program.
Perhaps I need to be patient? I do wait a while after I click the cluster button but nothing happens. I looked for a faq on this forum but really can’t find anything regarding this (noob) issue.
I mentioned that I tried scanning instead of clustering but even that got hung up with only 400 or so files left to go. I am sure this will be an awesome app for me as I am just starting out using Kodi too and they suggest this app for organizing my files. Organization has always been a problem with so many to deal with.
I appreciate any help offered.

Clustering only clusters the files locally. The next step is to select a clustered release and click on “lookup in the browser”. Find the correct release in the list of search results and click on the green tagger button. This will load the release in Picard and you can drag the cluster from the left panel to the release in the right panel.
Alternatively, you can let the scan do the work, which is a bit more automated, but that option has the tendency to scatter your files over multiple versions of the same release or even compilations.

Whatever option you use though, don’t make your batches too large. Dumping your entire library in Picard may seem to save a lot of time, but everything will grind to a halt.

Thank you for the quick reply as I am off today and trying to get up to speed
Ok, understood about limiting the massive dump. So I only clustered a handful of albums I had ripped using win media player or REAL player. They showed up ok, but when I did a look up on the first several, I got mixed results with the majority not matching. I then did a browser lookup and I could tag some of them, but then some said could not load album in the Title pane. Is there something I can do about that? I can still drag a cluster to the “Can’t load album” related to the cluster but it does not change to the album name. This takes a lot of work. I am hoping you will give me a better way to do this:neutral_face: as I have many many to do.
Also, if a cluster has songs from several different albums, is there an easy way to separate them out and then put an album in the title page?

You can drag and drop individual files or all files from a release or cluster anywhere. So if some files ended up in the wrong cluster, you can drag them to the right one or back to “Unmatched files”. Or if all the files from one release are spread over several versions of the same release, you can drag all of them to the right release (etc).

The server has had a lot of trouble lately, so I’m afraid retrying is the only option. You can right-click on a release and click “Refresh”. It may take a few tries though.

If all else fails in assigning a title to a cluster in the Title pane, can I physically edit a name into the “could not load album” and give it the title?
Are you saying that the server should be able to ID most of my clusters and that I should hit refresh?
What if I “remove” them from the title pane, what happens to them as far as Picard is concerned? Does it simply go back into the pool of the “unmatched”?
Sorry for so many Q’s but you are being very helpful in this so I am asking:smile_cat:
I wish to eventually save the titles that are correct, should I “remove” the ones that are unknown and click save? I am guessing that this will retain all the good stuff and recycle the "could not load"s back in to the unmatched for future consideration.

It appears that Picard has missed a bunch of folders relating to albums in the same parent directory that houses the Artist/album folders it does collect. Ironically I think they are the same folders that show up when I first open the parent folder in Win explorer. The parent folder is located on a mapped NAS share. When Windows finishes scanning the parent folder is when all the other folders show up. Is there a setting I need to check to have Picard find and display them? To be fair to Picard, I believe it may be listing the files in the huge group of singular files I see at the end but I haven’t yet confirmed this. The total number of files is close to the amount I believe I have.

I’m afraid the release has to load before you can edit any tags. So you just have to refresh until it comes through (it will eventually though). If it’s saying “couldn’t load album” in the right panel, it means that at least the tracks are already matched to the release.

If you click “remove”, the release or cluster is removed from Picard (but not from your computer of course). If you drag and drop it to “unmatched files”, it will go back to the pool of unmatched files.

Picard should load all supported files from a directory, including those in sub-directories, no matter how far down. Maybe it has something to do with your NAS? Could you try to navigate to those directories with missed files and add them from there?

Some notes that might be helpful -

Maybe try just one album (eg cluster) to start with, before hitting save on a big mixture of matched and possibly unmatched files. Make sure you double check the result, and maybe run it on a backup of your files. Picard has a lot of settings, and if you overwrite your tags in a way you don’t want to, you can’t get them back!
If you run it on one album it should become much more clear what’s happening within Picard. It’s pretty straightforward - once you get the hang of it!

Note that ‘scan’ checks the actual audio fingerprint of a file against our fingerprint database (eg ignores all existing tags), and while ‘lookup’ uses your existing tags to try and find the matching album in our database (if you have decent tags already, this will be the way to go). In case you were wondering what the actual behaviour there is :slight_smile:

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That is not right.

The normal way people use Picard (and I would say is the recommended way) is to:
Cluster then hit Lookup (not Lookup in Browser)
Then for unmatched tracks hit Scan
Lookup in Browser is the last resort.

That’s what I was saying. :slight_smile: He was already at that stage and wondering what to do with the clusters.

I usually either “lookup in browser” or “scan”. I almost never use “lookup”. I don’t think I ever did. Picard just doesn’t reveal enough information compared to what’s available on the site for me to determine whether I’m at the proper release. :slight_smile:

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Good day to you:slight_smile:
I understand and agree that perhaps 1 album would be a better start. But before I do that…
More Q’s
I got through tagging and sorting through several albums and selected them to save and I believe it did. But is there a default directory for them or does it put them back in the source directory?

If they go back, how will I know if they are the tagged ones?
Also do they overwrite the original file tag info? I think I read that this is the case.

As before, thanks for all the help and I will keep responding until I get this all down

That depends on if you have ‘Move Files’ ticked in the options tab.
Under Options > File Naming you can also pick what directory to move them to.

If you think you’ll have trouble keeping track of what you’ve tagged, maybe move them, but it’s usually not necessary if htey’re already in your Music folder or whatever.
Once you’ve saved an album in Picard, if you drag it back in again it will automatically match itself to the correct release (extremely handy for updating tags), so you should easily be able to tell it apart from untagged albums/tracks.

And yes, hitting save in Picard WILL overwrite tags!! You can play with the settings and set tags to keep and some other options, but that’s not that straightforward, so go in with the assumption that you will be losing existing tags. So that nothing bad happens/ you don’t get angry with us :wink:


Hello all i have been experimenting with musicbrainz for the past 2 days and I’m getting the hang of it.

I have a few things though that I could use some help with. But before I go into that maybe it would be best to describe what I want to achieve with my music library.

I have 476GB worth of music which is located on my Qnap nas drive. This music is not very well organised and when indexed using the indexing system on the NAS drive it makes a mess of things. I originally planned to use an App on my NAS drive called Q Music but I have since decided to use Plex instead.

Anyway point is my files are a mess, there are duplicates, multiple copies of the same albums but in different formats.

What I want to achieve by the end of all this is

  1. Correctly tagged music
  2. Only 320 bit rate albums to be kept out of multiples of the same album
  3. If I only have VO or V2 of an album then I will keep them
  4. Help with what would be a good folder structure for my music (I have albums and compilations)
  5. Finally achieving all of the above in the most automated way possible.

I hope someone can help


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Hi @ademuzzy !

Most of what you’re trying to achieve should be possible with MB/ Picard.
Fir of all, make a backup of some of your files to experiment with. By default Picard overwrites existing tags, and depending on your settings will also move files to mysterious depths of your HDD :slight_smile:

I wont go into detail on any of the following, but here’s some basic replies:

  1. That’s what Picard is for, plenty of tutorials and discussion around to help you!
    One thing to note is that you don’t need to get your tagging system perfect straight away - as long as you keep the MBID tags, you can change the settings in Picard (eg add or remove tags), drop in your files, and apply the new settings without any more manual work/ matching.
  2. Picard does not (at this stage) deal with bitrates and formats, so this can’t be automated. But perhaps tagging everything with Picard, which will show you your duplicates (eg file names ending with (2)), will still be part of a useful workflow.
  3. See above.
  4. Again, if you’re keeping MBID’s, and don’t add anything manually, you don’t have to get this perfect off the bat, and can adjust your preferences and stay flexible over the years.
    I use album artist > (original release date) album title [release type] [version release date]
    But I don’t follow my own advice and do a lot manually. Everyone will have their own folder preference so I’m sure you’ll find heaps of suggestions…
  5. Should be mostly possible, but Picard is not a magic tool (and there’s no such thing unfortunately). You’re going to have to check your matches, add the occasional missing release to our DB.
    Apart from that I’d jump in, and ask for help if there’s something you need help with/ that you suspect could be automated.

Just ask if there’s anything you want to know more about.


Thank you so much for your response aerozol.

I do have one other question. When I run the program and I tag an album and move it to another hard drive (target drive) the folder it came from(source drive) is still present.

Above is when I first placed the music into Picard.

I then Cluster the album.

Above shows the album match, I had to do a lookup in browser on this album, no idea why lookup didn’t work it kept saying no matches found, any reason why this might be?

Above is a screenshot of the folder where the music orignally came from.

Ideally what I am aiming to achieve is to get rid of these folders automatically once Picard has tagged, renamed and moved the music to my target drive. Can this be done?

My reasoning for this is that once I start tagging batches, I am going to lose track of what I have dragged into musicbrainz and I will end up wasting time by re-dragging a folder which contains no music. I want to avoid this.

Cheers for your help.

Actually Picard can currently only move, not copy the files. Are you sure you actually saved the files in Picard, has the move option enabled and the files are indeed in the new location where you expected them?

And maybe check whether Picard has sufficient permissions on the source drive.

Well the files that are left behind are not music files, I didn’t know if there was a feature, plugin or script that would delete the folder from the source drive.

It would be good if a copy feature was added instead of move feature, it could prove useful to some people.

Ah, I missed that. If you want to keep the files there is the “Move additional files” option in Options > File Naming. Just enter e.g. *.jpg *.m3u to move both JPG and M3U files together with the rest. If you just add the file types you actually care about the rest will be left behind and you can easily clean it up.

Yes, I think there is a feature request for this on somewhere

Hmm, not too sure, it looks like it should match.
If you select one of the tracks on the right it will show you old vs new (eg database) tag values at the bottom. If they’re very different, it makes sense that Lookup wont have found it.
But Picard is pretty good at fuzzy matching/guessing so this definitely looks like lookup should have found the album… hopefully just an outlier!