Why Does MusicBrainz Picard Show Different Data to MusicBrainz Online?

(I’ve tried searching the forums for an answer, but no luck.)

Hi folks,

I’d appreciate your help on these questions relating to MusicBrainz Picard. When identifying music files, I’m finding that the ‘date’ and ‘length’ metadata in the Picard app don’t correlate with the data on MusicBrainz online. When I click on ‘LookUp in Browser’, the album data shown on the website is different to that pulled in by Picard.

Take this album below, for example:

The booklet info for this album and the MB link above puts this release date as 1969. Picard identifies two versions of this album and they both come through with the date as 1970. It’s also shown in yellow. (I gather this means it may be less definite about data shown in yellow, but the question still remains why the data is different online and in the app.)

Similarly, the track duration shown of the 1st movement online is 16 mins 52 seconds. The album booklet puts it at 16 mins 46 seconds. Yet, after playback (on VLC), I know it’s 16 mins 35 seconds. Again, this is shown in yellow.

I’m also finding very little data on classical albums pre-1970s. Is that a fair observation?

Thanks for your help.


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The release you linked to has a release date of 1970 on MusicBrainz, so that’s what Picard is showing. Not sure where you read the 1969 from. If the date is shown in yellow it indicates the existing value in your files is different (compare the “Original Value” and “New Value” columns).

The duration on MusicBrainz is also set to 16:52, so this is what Picard will show:

Keep in mind that for Vinyl releases the duration is usually just copied from the booklet / cover, so if this is wrong the data on MB likely is as well.

But if you have your files attached it will also show the length as being read from the file, so this might differ. For some formats (e.g. .ac3 files) the length shown from file data is also an estimate and not 100% correct, so might differ between VLC and Picard. For some formats length is stored as metadata in the file, and sometimes (very rarely) there are cases where the file is lying (which usually indicates a bug in whatever software originally created that file).


As usual a knowledgeable and comprehensive answer from Philipp (@outsidecontext).


Thanks for your reply, outsidecontext.

After reading your reply I did note online something called ‘Release event’ on the right side of the screen. See attached screenshot. Also shown is the date when it was first recorded 1969.

Sometimes the two are the same, but they can differ. Presumably, recordings that are re-released get a new release date. And what I’d like to see is the date of the original recording. Can you steer me accordingly, please?

Incidentally, in Picard, the Original Release Date and Original Year are also both shown as 1970. (See other screenshot.)

Many thanks.


With vinyl you can hit a few hiccups…

Track Lengths on a release are manually entered by someone. They may have used a stop watch to time the tracks, or they copy track times from a rear cover. If they timed them then we don’t know if they included the gaps or not. So differences occur.

For a CD, these times can be automatically set from the Table of Contents on a CD - the discID.

A “release date” is the date that actual vinyl was put into the shops. This is why you will see some releases without a date as we may not know when that exact copy was released.

A reissue can often end up with no date for this reason.

With Vinyl you are also relying on someone manually entering the original release of the first time that album was released. These dates are often missing. In those cases the “original release date” will just be whatever is listed first in the main Release Group. This is why often you will find slightly odd looking “Original Release Dates”.

If I follow the Discogs link to their database, and look over there I see that original 1969 Soviet release date is the earliest. This release is not in the MusicBrainz database, this is why you get a 1970 date as the original release date. If someone imported that USSR release then we would get a 1969 date.

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The 1969 date in your screenshot is the recording date of the individual track/recording. In this case, the recording date is the same for all the tracks on the release, but often they have different dates. So there is no one recording date for the release.

The “release event” is the date when this specific LP was released. As @Ivandobsky mentioned, the “Original Release Date” is supplied by PIcard based on the earliest release date in the Release Group.