[How-To] Organize Your Music Files and Tag Them Automatically

I’m a music buff.Music surrounds me all time time, whether its listening to it from my laptop or from my P1i. My music collection though isn’t as large as some other people’s, regardless I’d like to keep it organized. While re-organizing my music files, I realized that a huge chunk of my files were badly tagged, and erroneously named. So I set about searching for a software which can automatically tag and rename my files, and I found MusicBrainz Picard Tagger.

So what is MusicBrainz? The wiki states

MusicBrainz is a user-maintained community music metadatabase. Music metadata is information such as the Artist name, the release title, and the list of tracks that appear on a release. MusicBrainz collects this information about recordings and makes it available to the public.

Picard tagger is a software which makes use of MusicBrainz database.

Picard is the next generation MusicBrainz tagging application. This new tagging concept is album oriented, as opposed to track/file oriented like the ClassicTagger was. Picard is written in Python, which is a cross-platform language, and makes use of cross-platform libraries – this allows the same code to run both on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Picard Tagger is a powerful, but the interface is a bit confusing for first time usage, and hence I thought I’ll write this small how-to.

Picard tagger has a 3-pane interface, the left pane is the File browser/manager, the middle pane shows the files which haven’t been identified, and the right pane is for files which have been identified and tagged. In case you’re seeing only a 2-pane interface, click on View –> File Browser.

Now, from the file browser drag and drop the files you want to be identified and tagged. The files will be grouped under “Unmatched files”. Click on the cluster button to cluster them according to to albums.

Next, click on the folder and click on Lookup or Scan button. Picard Tagger will contact the MusicBrainz database and list all the albums and the tracks will have an icon next to them, indicating how much of a match it is.

Now if you’ve got your music from multiple sources(you know, *ahem*) then its possible that looking up will bring up multiple albums, so just drag and drop the tracks to the relevant albums.

This isn’t necessary, though, and you can skip this and just click on Save.

And that’s it’s it! The tags are saved.

Picard tagger is also extensible, you can use plugins to extend its capability. One of the must-have plugins is the cover art downloader. By this plugin you can not only embed the cover art within the tag, but also save the cover art as a separate file. Just click on Options –> Options –> Cover Art –> and ensure “Embed Cover Images into Tags” and “Save cover images as files” is checked. Windows Media Player 11 users would want to enter “folder” as the file name, else WMP won’t detect the CoverArt.

Besides tagging, Picard can also rename files based on the tags. For this Click on Options –> Rename. You can also change the filename structure, for this Click on Options –> Options –> File Naming and change the structure there.

Hope this post was helpful.

Here are the download Links:

MusicBrainz Picard Tagger: Windows / *Nix / Mac OS X

Cover Art Downloader Plugin

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38 Comments on [How-To] Organize Your Music Files and Tag Them Automatically

  1. Ah, thanx for the info!

    I’ve been manually editing and managing tags for things. some have really messed up info 😛 and longlong back I used iCoverArt and it totally messed up the art for most of the collection, eventhough I manually removed the art for most files it comes back for some reason.

    Hope this fixes the problem!

    It would have been lot better if the last.fm thing had a tag editor like this. I usually see the info on last.fm and change coverart by downloading from there 😛

  2. unitechy says:

    Wow thanks….. this is what i needed
    downloading all those now
    thanks a bunch again

  3. Sathya says:

    The last.fm app is just a scrobbler. I’ve been using Picard for a while, meant to do this post lot earlier, time constraints means I couldn’t. Also I rewrote this article 😐 Windows Live Writer ate my original post 😐

  4. Sathya says:

    @Appy Welcome!

  5. Manan says:

    Hmmm. Will give this a try, I have been using Winamp 5’s auto-tagger feature, will give this a shot too. Thank you for sharing.

    WLW never eats your posts, it has a default auto-saver after every 2 minutes and the saved post can be retrieved from the drafts menu.

  6. Sathya says:

    @Manan. WLW did eat my post. Did I mention it was a SAVED draft? I clicked on the draft and poof! It was overwritten by a blank one

  7. Yeah i know last.fm is just a scrobbler :roll: , I was just suggesting that, if last.fm had a nice tag editing tool/add-on, then it would be great.

    Last.fm has a very good database already with info on almost everything I have.

    A new user-based community mDB will take quite sometime to come to a level of info as much as last.fm has.thats what I meant in the first reply.

    But yeah I said that when I read it.. looking at the webpage it seems to have 6m tracks listed and many artists too, so I dont think not finding proper tags could be rare 😛

  8. Harshad says:

    Thanks Sathya…Great article.
    I like the way you have explained all this.

  9. Santosh says:

    Gonna give this a try now, thanks to a music collection that I downloaded not having been tagged properly. I hate badly tagged songs.

    Will keep you tweeps updated. :)

  10. Santosh says:

    Psst.. Where the heck do you save the plugin?

  11. @Santosh

    After downloading a script, Open Amarok and then

    Tool -> scripts manager -> Install Script

    browse and locate it 😀

  12. Sathya says:

    @reetesh you got confused with Amarok scripts! 😛

    @Santosh put the plugin under plugins folder where Picard is installed

  13. :)) now how did that happen!

    I had to put the plugins to

    in-case someone here is a linux user 😛

  14. Santosh says:

    @Reeteshinator I’m waiting for the Win32 version of Amarok. Linux can wait until I repartition my HDDs again.

    @Sathya There wasn’t any ‘plugins’ directory in the software’s folder. So created one and then copied the file there. Activated the plugin from within MBP. Works like a charm. Thanks! 😀

  15. Aravind says:

    I’m back at last.fm since, i got JetAudio working with it.

    Thanks a ton for this.
    Definitely Useful

  16. Sathya says:

    @Santosh Glad to know it helped

    @Aravind welcome 😀

  17. Ah, finally used the thing on Windows too, and its working like a charm.. was having some “Cannot write into file” error in Linux.

    Sadly.. most of the things I need the covert-art and details for. dont exist in that too..
    so I will have to resort to just copy pasting from Last.fm for those too!

  18. Sathya says:

    @krist0ph3r @NerdIndian http://lin.cr/8yl

  19. Sathya says:

    @kv @vsr MusicBrainz Picard works well too :) http://lin.cr/8yl

  20. Akshay says:

    Thanks for this , man… will do it today and let you know how it goes :)

  21. Akshay says:

    Started doing it and its going great… hope to be finished till tomorrow.
    P.S. : I like the ‘lovingly written by’ thing in the comments… would look damn funny if anyone was ranting in a comment and it was written ‘lovingly written by’ 😛

  22. Sathya says:

    @82kg haha. Check it anyway http://bit.ly/b7pmto

  23. Sathya says:

    @potamus fill the tags automatically using MusicBrainz Picard http://bit.ly/bdKtbj

  24. Varun Shenoy says:

    Thanks! the i-owe-you-a-beer count is increasing @SathyaBhat: fill the tags automatically using MusicBrainz Picard http://bit.ly/bdKtbj

  25. j says:

    could you put larger screenshots? these are very difficult to see… you could try using imgur.com

  26. Sathya says:

    @j Updated with bigger pics

  27. Vol4ara_sd says:

    clubringtons.comhttp://clubringtons.com ??????? ?????????????? ??????????? ????? ?? ????????? ??? ???????????

  28. Sathya says:

    @ashwinsid tag them using Picard http://u.sbhat.me/bdKtbj

  29. Organize Your Music Files and Tag Them Automatically http://bit.ly/gNHbAD

  30. Ashwin says:

    Helped in resolving my issue. Thanks. Ladiesmansathya is geekysathya.

  31. Derek says:

    Is there a way to auto correct and save all the tracks at once and assume picard made the right corrects? I have 20,000 songs and don’t want to manually save each album that has corrections.


    1. Sathya says:

      @Derek, just hit Ctrl+A to select all & then Ctrl+S to save all the tag information.

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