Saving Clusters

I pulled all my music into Picard and now I have a nice bunch of orderly clusters. Is there any way to save the actual clusters so that my music would then be sorted into artists folders?

I’ve never actually done this, but I think you can select a cluster (if it equates to an album) and click Lookup. Picard will try to match a release in the database and shows you a list of what is returned. You can then select the appropriate album (aka “release”) from the list and tag / file / rename the files accordingly.

Edit: I pretty much always start by having Picard lookup the CD in the drive, then rip the files and use Add Folder to match them up.

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What rdswift said is the main purpose of Picard: You lookup clusters to get metadata from MusicBrainz and save this.

But you can also just save clusters, this will just use your existing tags, but will also use the renaming. Just make sure you have renaming and moving of files enabled. Also choose a destination folder in the options.

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Just to clarify this, you can save any data you’ve added to files in clusters, but you can’t save which files a cluster contains. For Picard, clusters are only a temporary grouping intended to help Lookup be more accurate; they don’t have any meaning on their own. What does have meaning, though, is the releases (albums) Lookup – or Scan or manual assignment, but those don’t really benefit from clusters – matches your files with. Those are the groups Picard will wind up sorting your files back into the next time you open them, and those are (usually) what it uses to look up information from the database.

The one issue you’ll run into is if you have any mixtapes your friend gave you or any playlists you’ve put together with their own files. Picard does its matching by saving the album’s ID, but in order for it to have one to save, the release needs to be on MusicBrainz. We don’t have anywhere near as strict notability requirements as Wikipedia, but we do prefer an amount of distribution beyond just being passed around a circle of friends. Without that, there’s not really any good way to keep the files grouped; I’ve wound up just matching those tracks of mine to “standalone recordings” and only opening one personal album folder at a time. I can give you more information about that if you need it, but otherwise it’s pretty much unnecessary noise.


The one issue you’ll run into is if you have any mixtapes your friend gave you or any playlists you’ve put together with their own files.

I have a LOT of these mixtapes. I am woprking on retagging, renaming, and re-sorting all my music (about 60 GB) from files only (no library info from iTunes etc), and would like these songs to be sorted into their respective artist/album folders. And yes, I realize I’ll have many incomplete album folders, but more often than not there will be at least a few songs in each album folder.

This is all fine and great, but I run into a problem because I ALSO want to maintain that mixtape grouping somehow (ideally as a playlist in iTunes/other). Is there a way to get to that point automatically?

I’ve thought about maybe assigning the clustered folder name as a custom tag for each song in that folder, but I have no idea how to write that script, if a music player would be able to utilize those tags to create a playlist, or if it could so, how to find all the mix-tapes and turn them into playlists.

Hmm, not sure if it’s worth tagging files that were maybe always destined to be a mess/in their own group, but up to you.
You could try:

First, back up your music folder.

  • Create a folder on your desktop, eg ‘Music’, and make sure Picard is set to move your files into there when saving.
  • Drag 1 mixed folder into Picard, eg ‘Dave’s Cool Mix’.
  • Use ‘Lookup’ or "scan’ or whatever you would prefer to match the files in ‘Dave’s Cool Mix’, and hit save. Now they should all be sent into their respective folders in ‘Music’ on the desktop.
  • Now pull the ‘Music’ folder into your music player (eg Foobar 2000), right click > create playlist. Save the playlist file into ‘Music’, call it ‘Dave’s Cool Mix’ or whatever.
  • Rename the ‘Music’ folder on the Desktop. Perhaps ‘Music 1’. Create another ‘Music’ folder.
  • Repeat the steps above for each mixed folder, creating a new folder on the desktop each time
  • Once you’ve done that, copy the contents of all the ‘Music 1, 2 etc’ folders on the Desktop into the last ‘Music’ folder, including the playlist files. Say ‘yes’ to merging duplicate folders and files.

Now all of your music should be in 1 folder, tagged, and your playlists should work.
If you mess with the folder structure, eg move playlist files around, the playlists will break, so be careful.

Complicated, but might be your best shot!

not sure if it’s worth tagging files that were maybe always destined to be a mess/in their own group, but up to you.

Great point. Thing is my friend compiles some great mix-tapes that flow really well. It has become nostalgic to hear the songs in that order.

You could try:

Seems like it would work great, but two problems: it’s not automatic (I know, I know, but I have LOTS of these and they aren’t organized well). More importantly, though, some of these mixtapes aren’t even grouped together anymore. Fortunately, the cluster feature of Picard does a pretty good job of getting them all back together.

The downside to that is that they are now “hidden” amongst thousands of other clustered albums that are NOT mixtapes. This makes them really hard to find so that I can follow the steps you outlined.

Any other ideas, automated or not?

Maybe someone is going to really wipe the floor with me on this one, but I reckon that’s as close to automated as you’re going to get!
Surprise me MB people :wink:

So the album tags on them are something like ‘Dave’s Cool Mix’?
In that case you can hit ‘cluster’, enable the ‘move files’ function in Picard, and then just save the cluster (without using ‘Lookup’ or ‘Scan’ first). It will move the album cluster into a folder with the same name as the album tag. Then you can follow the steps above (or just leave them in their own folder).

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Yeah, not really any particular solutions here. I remember seeing a plugin that was able to create playlist files, but I think it operated on releases rather than clusters and so wouldn’t help here, even if my memory of it not actually working on the current version is wrong. Beyond that, I can only really suggest ways to keep the mixtapes sorted into their own folders (are they really that different from official Various Artists compilations?), which you explicitly say you don’t want. If I ever get around to coding the music player I’ve had bouncing around my head, that is one of the features I’m planning to include, but that’s still far in the future. Sorry I can’t be more help!