Translation(s) : English - Italiano



Introduction

Picard is a cross-platform (Linux/Mac OS X/Windows) application written in Python and is the official MusicBrainz tagger. A tagger is software that allows you to attach metadata (such as artist name and track titles) to a media container (such as a CD or DVD release) in a music database (such as MusicBrainz). Fortunately, it's packaged in Debian: picard.

Features

Motivation

You'll typically use picard as a way to "pay forward" after an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve metadata when ripping a particular physical CD or DVD. When one rips, one copies media data (e.g., encoded sound) from a container to one's own filesystem, typically creating directory/folder and file names based on container metadata. For example, to rip a CD of a music album (what MusicBrainz calls a release), one will typically create

One could type all that manually, but the process is much easier when one's ripper (e.g., abcde) automatically retrieves that metadata from one's music database. For that to happen, the database must already have the metadata for the album you are ripping. Unfortunately, that will not always be the case, particularly with less-well-known recordings, producing results like

$ date ; abcde -c ~/.config/abcde/abcde-MP3.conf ; date
Mon Apr 13 18:46:31 EDT 2015
Use of the encoding pragma is deprecated at /usr/bin/abcde-musicbrainz-tool line 15.
Grabbing entire CD - tracks: 01 02 03
Use of the encoding pragma is deprecated at /usr/bin/abcde-musicbrainz-tool line 15.
No Musicbrainz match.
---- Unknown Artist / Unknown Album ----
1: Track 1
2: Track 2
3: Track 3

Edit selected CDDB data? [y/n] (y):

At this point/prompt, you have 3 options:

  1. Enter n: this will rip the audio from the container to your filesystem without metadata. This causes problems at playback time: you won't know what you're playing until you play it.

  2. Enter y: this will launch your $EDITOR so you can enter the metadata manually. This will be good for you, but useless for the next person who tries to rip that album.

  3. Hit Control-c to exit, and then resolve the problem in a manner that will benefit everyone who wishes to rip that release. E.g., one can access a public database (like MusicBrainz) with a tool (like Picard) that can either connect that physical disc to existing metadata, or create new metadata (and then connect it to the disc). This is the morally correct option :-) You are only able to rip other containers relatively effortlessly because other people in the past made the effort to publish the metadata from those containers; now it's your turn.

Installing

To install Picard on your computer run following command as root:

aptitude install picard

Usage

First, some terminology:

Release

Suppose you purchase a physical CD, or check one out from a library, or borrow one from a friend. That single piece of plastic is but one instance of a release. A CD release is composed of various metadata, including

Release ID

Nearly every commercial physical CD (the piece of plastic that you put into your drive) has a release ID written into its digital data, identifying the release of which that physical CD is but a single instance. Tools like abcde use the release ID to lookup metadata for a release; this is one major way that such tools make CD ripping much less painful. In order for this to work (e.g., for someone to painlessly rip a physical CD), MusicBrainz (or other database) must know how to connect the release ID on that physical CD you want to rip (or CD TOC) with the rest of the release metadata.

Attaching a CD TOC

Sometimes the release ID (which MusicBrainz calls a CD TOC) for a given physical CD is not connected to the rest of the release metadata, causing your ripper to fail to retrieve metadata. The good news is

Use the following procedure:

  1. Ensure your workstation can access the CD and its release ID (e.g., load it in your drive).
  2. In your shell/terminal, start the Picard GUI: e.g., picard &.

  3. In the GUI, hit button=CD Lookup near the top right of the GUI.

  4. This will popup a dialog=CD Lookup with a listbox. Since MusicBrainz previously failed to return results to your ripper, that listbox will almost certainly be empty. Click button=Lookup manually.

  5. This will launch an instance of your default web browser on a page in the MusicBrainz website. The tab or window title will hopefully be Lookup CD. (If not, you may need to login to MusicBrainz or create a MusicBrainz account.)

    1. If your default web browser is Iceweasel, you may wish to create a lightweight profile (i.e., without many plugins or saved tabs/windows) specifically for running from Picard.

  6. Do a Search by release:

    1. Enter your CD's release title in the Release: textbox

    2. Click button=Search.
      At this point, if you are lucky, MusicBrainz will find one or more releases matching your query. (If not, you should add the Release yourself: start by clicking the button=Add a new release.)

  7. Choose the release by clicking the appropriate radio button.
  8. Connect your CD's release ID to the release metadata by clicking button=Attach CD TOC.

Adding a Release

If no one else has not previously added the metadata for your CD's release, you should do so now. Remember, you are only able to rip relatively effortlessly because other people in the past took the effort to capture the metadata from other recordings you have ripped; equity demands that you "pay them forward." Fortunately, creating a MusicBrainz Release is easy:

  1. Ensure your workstation can access the CD for which you want to add metadata (e.g., load it in the attached drive).
  2. In your shell/terminal, start the Picard GUI: e.g., picard &.

  3. In the GUI, hit button=CD Lookup near the top right of the GUI.

  4. This will popup a dialog=CD Lookup with a listbox. Since MusicBrainz previously failed to return results to your ripper, that listbox will almost certainly be empty. Click button=Lookup manually.

  5. This will launch an instance of your default web browser with a complex/varying web UI, but the tab or window title will be Lookup CD.

    1. If your default web browser is Firefox, you may wish to create a lightweight profile (i.e., without many plugins or saved tabs/windows) specifically for running from Picard.

  6. Try searching for your release or its artist: attach existing metadata is always easier than creating new ones. But if your search fails, you will eventually get a webpage with a button=Add a new release: click that.

  7. Enter metadata for your release: this will involve several screens. Eventually you will be able to save your metadata. If you're unsure how to format your metadata (i.e., how to map what's on the cover of your CD into the various fields wanted by MusicBrainz), consider consulting the official MusicBrainz Style Guidelines.

  8. Unless you're entering metadata for more releases, exit the launched web-browser instance (with, e.g., Control-q).

  9. Unless you're entering metadata for more releases, exit Picard (with, e.g., Control-q).

  10. You should now be able to consume your new Release (with, e.g., your ripper) ... but possibly not immediately.

Tips and tricks

Database latency

There may be a time lag between when you add metadata to MusicBrainz (e.g. an Artist or a Release) and when you are able to access it, since MusicBrainz may require some time

If you find you are unable to access newly-added metadata,

  1. ... find something else to do for a few minutes: the problem is (in my personal experience) always resolved within an hour.
  2. Resume what you were doing (e.g., ripping, or adding a Release): you should now be able to access your new metadata.

Artists

MusicBrainz very much prefers for you to add (to your new Release) previously-defined Artist metadata. If you are adding a new Release and cannot add the Artist you want,

  1. Cancel out of your current web session. This will put you to the MusicBrainz homepage.

  2. From the horizontal menubar at page top, choose Editing > Add Artist.

  3. Add the desired artist, and save. This should put you to the page for your new Artist.
  4. From the vertical menubar at page right, choose Editing > Add Release.

  5. Resume adding your Release: you should now be able to add your Artist to your Release ... but possibly not immediately.

Scripting

Plugins

Picard has support for third party plugins, such as album art downloader, additional search options, etc: see this page. To install plugin files, download them to a ~/.config/MusicBrainz/Picard/plugins/ directory (creating the directory first if necessary).

See also


CategorySoftware