History:FreeDB Gateway

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
Status: This Page is Glorious History!

The content of this page either is bit-rotted, or has lost its reason to exist due to some new features having been implemented in MusicBrainz, or maybe just described something that never made it in (or made it in a different way), or possibly is meant to store information and memories about our Glorious Past. We still keep this page to honor the brave editors who, during the prehistoric times (prehistoric for you, newcomer!), struggled hard to build a better present and dreamed of an even better future. We also keep it for archival purposes because possibly it still contains crazy thoughts and ideas that may be reused someday. If you're not into looking at either the past or the future, you should just disregard entirely this page content and look for an up to date documentation page elsewhere.


The MusicBrainz to FreeDB gateway (mb2freedb) was a service that allowed FreeDB clients to access MusicBrainz data through the FreeDB protocol. It was removed in 2019, and the following content is for historical interest only.

How to Access It

The mb2freedb gateway can be accessed using the following settings:

host freedb.musicbrainz.org
via http
port 80
path /~cddb/cddb.cgi

It should be just a matter of changing the host and possibly the path, as the other settings are standard for most applications.

Application instructions

  • Exact Audio Copy (EAC): To access the "FreeDB / Database Options" page either press F12 or click the toolbar button EAC and scroll down to "FreeDB / Database Options". On the FreeDB Tab you will see the entry "FreeDB server". Enter "http://freedb.musicbrainz.org:80/~cddb/cddb.cgi" and click OK. That's it! (If you use version 0.95, see additional instructions. Version 1.0b1 uses a new metadata plugin that doesn't respect the configuration entered in the FreeDB options dialog. To use the MusicBrainz FreeDB server, you must reinstall EAC and deselect the "Metadata Plugin" component in the installer.)
  • MediaMonkey: Navigate to Tools >> Options.. then General >> Network (Proxy & FreeDB). Set the protocol to "HTTP" and host to "freedb.musicbrainz.org". User name and domain remain optional. If you receive socket 11004 errors, ensure that MediaMonkey has access out either your Windows or 3rd party firewall.
  • KDE: To set the CDDB preferences used by various KDE applications, open System Settings, select the Advanced tab, and double click on CDDB Retrieval. Make sure that you have checked Enable MusicBrainz lookup so that MusicBrainz is used directly if possible; then set the Freedb server to freedb.musicbrainz.org (the other settings default values are fine).
  • iTunes: There is no option to change servers, but you can trick iTunes on OS X. Open terminal and ping freedb.musicbrainz.org to find its IP address, "ping -c 1 freedb.musicbrainz.org". Now map cddb.cddb.org to the freedb gateway IP address in your system's hosts file, "echo "[IP address] cddb.cddb.org" >> /etc/hosts". If lookups stop working, check the IP of the gateway and update your hosts file if necessary "sudo nano /etc/hosts"


  • Because the gateway is running on a mirror server, any changes made on the main MusicBrainz site will take time to propagate. Normally this is no more than one hour after the edit has been applied, but occasionally it can take longer.
  • CDs with data tracks such as videos are supported, but will return one less track than normally expected from FreeDB. This might cause a problem with some clients.
  • The genre will always be set to Unknown.
  • The year is always set to the first one on the matching database entry. As re-releases with the same track listing are always combined with the original, the year returned might not match that of the disc in hand.
  • Data is always returned in UTF-8 to cater for extended character sets. For most albums, this isn't a problem. But, for full compatibility a FreeDB client that supports protocol version 6 is required. If the characters look garbled in your FreeDB enabled application, this is probably the reason why.
  • Obviously only albums on MusicBrainz with Disc IDs attached will return matches!
    • If the album you want to check doesn't have your disc ID attached, follow the process on How To Add Disc IDs to add it.
  • Some applications use an older lookup method with the CDDB protocol over port 8880. This is not supported by the gateway.
  • foobar2000 (1.0 and later) doesn't work with the gateway any more. Please use the foo_musicbrainz component instead.

Bug Reporting/Questions

Our Bug Tracker has a component for mb2freedb, please report all problems there, including as much detail as possible:

If you want to play with the source code, it's here: https://github.com/ianmcorvidae/mb2freedb