Difference between revisions of "Beginners Guide"

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Welcome to '''MusicBrainz!''' This beginners' guide should get you started on both correcting tags in your digital music and contributing data back to MusicBrainz. If this is your first visit to this page, it might be good to read it all before diving into more advanced topics. If you want to dive right in anyway, the [[How To]]s are a quite good place to do so.
  
=Beginners' Guide=
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MusicBrainz (often abbreviated to MB) consists of three parts:
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* The web interface and its backend, the [[MusicBrainz Database|database]].
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* The documentation (you're reading part of it!).
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* The [[Products|applications and services]].
  
Welcome to '''MusicBrainz!''' This beginners' guide is intended to give you a quick start on how to enhance your own digital media files, as well as the MusicBrainz data. It contains many references to detailed information which will allow you to learn more about MusicBrainz, once you understood the basic concepts. If this is your first visit to this page, please read the whole page first before diving into more advanced topics, you might get lost otherwise. ;-) 
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If you're like most users, you will probably start to tag your files with information that was already in the database (perhaps with [[MusicBrainz_Picard|Picard]]). But remember that MusicBrainz is user-edited, so if you find that something is missing, you can add it, and if it is wrong, you can fix it! These changes are not always applied instantly, because they pass through our voting system. Our introductions [[Introduction to Editing|to editing]] and [[Introduction to Voting|to voting]] will help you understand how that works.
 
 
MusicBrainz has grown into a complex system which is balanced between software solutions and a set of guidelines which govern how the applications should be used...  Once you begin to understand what is going on, you can start exploring the documentation. If you want to dive right in, the [[How To|HowTo]]<code><nowiki></nowiki></code>s will be good, and procedure-oriented starting point.
 
 
 
MusicBrainz (sometimes abbreviated to MB) currently consists of three parts: the [[Database]] (which holds all the data entered by our users), the documentation ([[WikiDocs]]) and the applications ([[Products]]) which will help you to improve the meta-data in your digital media files, using the MusicBrainz data. Most interactions with MusicBrainz will have the effect that data is added to, or removed from the database. You will probably start to tag your digital media files with information that was already added to the database. If you find that a release is missing, you will probably want to add it, or if it exists, improve the data of the existing entries. '''''Since modifications to the data need to pass our voting system, it is really important to understand [[How Editing Works|HowEditingWorks]] and [[How Voting Works|HowVotingWorks]].'''''
 
 
 
Actually, you might add a fourth component to the three above: the [[Mailing List|MailingList]]<code><nowiki></nowiki></code>s. Don't hesitate to subscribe and post questions to the [[Users Mailing List|UsersMailingList]].  
 
  
 
==Documentation==
 
==Documentation==
  
The documentation is [[WikiDocs]]. These are the "how to" of the database and will be referred to often within the notes left during the voting process. Usually in the term of Style, or [[Official Style Guideline|OfficialStyleGuideline]]. By the way, you can add comments to this page (see the Discussion section at the bottom).  
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The [[MusicBrainz_Documentation|documentation]] includes guides and [[:Category:How_To|how-tos]], but also the definitions for [[MusicBrainz Terminology|MusicBrainz terminology]] and the [[Style|guidelines]] editors are expected to follow when editing. You don't need to memorise or even read all of the guidelines from the beginning, although there are a few important ones that deal with [[Style/Titles|titles]], [[Style/Artist|artists]] and [[Style/Release|releases]].
  
==Database==
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==Web interface==
  
You can query (retrieve data) or edit it (change, add or delete data). In order to ensure that the data quality of MusicBrainz is up to the standards we have set for it, all the non-trivial modifications must go through the voting phase.  
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Before making any changes to the data, you will need to [[mb:register|register]] and then [[mb:login|log in]]. You will need to provide a verified email address so that other editors can contact you. Our [[meb:privacy|privacy policy]] makes it very clear that we don't share your data or spam you.
  
The first and only step required to update the database is to register and log in. You will need to provide a valid email address and then verify it. The email address is needed so that other editors can contact you about your edits. Unless you chose to show it, other editors will not see your address, and MusicBrainz is committed to protect your privacy (see the [[MusicBrainz Privacy Policy]])
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If you want to get used to the interface before you start editing real data, you can do so at [https://test.musicbrainz.org/ our test page]. Changes made there '''won't be applied''' to the real data, so nobody will mind you adding some junk while you get used to the editing system on MusicBrainz. Note that this page is also where new features are tested by our developers, so it might be slightly different from the standard interface... and a bit broken at times!
  
There are a huge number of modifications made by users. So if you don't want to be overwhelmed by the volume, you can subscribe to the artists or groups in which you are particularly interested. MB will give you a list of the modifications associated with the artists to which you subscribed.
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===Definitions===
  
===Definitions===
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When a user modifies the data in any way, that's [[Introduction to Editing|editing]]. This is different from the wiki-like editing you might be used to from sites like Wikipedia, because most edits must go through a [[Introduction to Voting|voting]] process before being applied.
  
In MusicBrainz when a user modifies data in any way (see [[How Editing Works|HowEditingWorks]]), this change is called editing. Originally it was called "moderation" and you may still see reference to moderation, or mods, though, as we reshape our documentation.
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The term [[Release|release]] refers to a specific issuing of an album, single, compilation, etc., and includes a specific set of [[recording]]s in a particular order. A release often has several different editions such as a digital iTunes edition, an edition with bonus tracks or a market-specific edition with only [[Style/Release#Cover_art|minor differences]] such as the legal text or price code; these should be entered as separate releases.
  
Most edits must go through a voting process before being applied (see [[How To Vote|HowToVote]]). Some minor edits (such as changing the case of letters) are applied immediately, no vote being required. As long as an edit has not been voted on, it is "Open". If your edit receives a majority of Yes votes, it will be '''Applied'''. However if the edit gets more No votes, it will '''Fail'''. (see [[How Voting Works|HowVotingWorks]])
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A [[Disc ID|disc ID]] is a kind of signature for a CD. It contains the precise timing information for the CD and allows it to be recognised automatically. When you use [[MusicBrainz_Picard|MusicBrainz Picard]], you can automatically retrieve the disc ID of your CD to include it in the MusicBrainz database. We have specific documentation on [[How_to_Add_Disc_IDs|how to add disc IDs]].
  
The term [[Release]] covers full-length albums, singles, vinyls, cassettes, etc (see [[Release Format|ReleaseFormat]]). A release is made of one or more [[Track]]s. If a CD with the same tracklisting is issued twice, once as a stand-alone release, once in a set, it may have to be entered into the database twice (see [[Release]], [[Box Set|BoxSet]] and [[Box Set Name Style|BoxSetNameStyle]]).  
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One of the fundamental aims of MusicBrainz is to offer correct and well structured information. To enforce this, we have [[Style|style guidelines]] which allow us to ensure the data input by all users is accurate.
  
A [[Disc ID|DiscID]] is a kind of signature for a CD. It contains the precise timing information of a CD. When you use [[Picard Tagger|Picard]] (see the Software section below), MB automatically retrieves the Disc ID of your CD to include it in the MB database.
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===Adding a release===
  
One of the fundamental aims of MusicBrainz is to offer exact information. To enforce this, we have guidelines. These guidelines allow us to ensure the data input by all users is accurate. These guidelines vary depending on the kind of release, see: [[Style Guideline|StyleGuideline]], [[Capitalization Standard|CapitalizationStandard]], [[Classical Style Guide|ClassicalStyleGuide]], [[Soundtrack Style|SoundtrackStyle]], [[How To Make Relationships|HowToMakeRelationships]]  
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Adding a release is probably one of the first things you will want to do. Please note that MusicBrainz aspires to have data that is structured in a meaningful manner and as accurate as possible, so please follow the [[Style|style guidelines]]!
  
===Adding a Release===
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If you have a CD, you can first see if MusicBrainz has a [[Disc ID|disc ID]] for it and, if not, add a new disc ID (either to an existing release or while adding the release itself). For that, consult [[How_to_Add_Disc_IDs|the how-to for adding disc IDs]]. If you have other kind of release (like a vinyl, or a digital release), or you just can't add a disc ID for some reason, you will need to search for the release by hand. Usually the best way is to search for the title of the release. If you can't find the release you have, or the only matches in MusicBrainz are reasonably different from yours (different barcode, for example), then that means you must add the CD as a new release to the database.
  
Please note that MusicBrainz strives for data which is as accurate as possible. An example of this policy is, that we do not like homeburnt [[Disc ID|DiscID]]s to be added to the database. This does not mean that you are not allowed to add tracklistings from these mediums, but only Disc IDs of official releases (in this case meaning factory produced media, band release CD-Rs and mass produced bootlegs) are allowed.
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See our guide on [[How to Add a Release|how to add a release]].
  
Adding a release is probably one of the first things you will want to do. Either you have a CD, or you don't (vinyl, cassette, ...)
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When submitting your new release, it helps immensely if you can provide a link to a page containing more information about the release. Please read [[How to Write Edit Notes|these tips for adding edit notes]] and try to follow them. A good edit note is not only useful in the moment of adding a release, but can also prove its use years later when some other user tries to find more information about it. Another way of providing more information about a release, which is especially useful if it's obscure and you cannot find any links, is to upload scans or other artwork from it, as explained in [[How to Add Cover Art]].
* If you have a CD, first run [[Picard Tagger|Picard]]. Clicking the lookup CD button will make Picard analyze your CD and connect to MusicBrainz. If the CD exists in MusicBrainz, please check that the track listing matches. If they are the same, you can attach the information from your copy to the existing release. If they are not the same, it probably has not been entered before. This is a chance for you to enhance MB by adding your copy. It is generally better to add a new version of the same release if the previous step does not turn up a match, than trying to manipulate existing track lists which are, in many cases, perfectly valid.  
 
  
If MusicBrainz doesn't know your CD, it automatically tries to recover it from [[FreeDB]]. If it finds it, it recovers the FreeDB data. If MusicBrainz really can't offer any useful suggestion for your CD, then you will have to input the tracks manually. A word of warning. You must carefully examine the FreeDB data since it needs to be corrected in most cases to confirm with the MusicBrainz [[Style Guideline|StyleGuideline]]<code><nowiki></nowiki></code>s. Also, it is good practice to provide proof of your release in the [[Edit Note|edit note]]s, FreeDB is not considered as a proof, as their submissions process is not monitored.
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While we welcome bootlegs, we discourage adding home-made compilations or mixtapes. These kinds of releases are not widely available and any information about them is typically only useful to the individual who created them. Releases such as these are usually removed from our database.
* If you don't have a CD handy, you will need to search by hand. Usually the best way is to search for the title of the release. If you can't find the release you have, or the only matches in MusicBrainz are reasonably different from yours, then you have a new release and you should enter it manually.  
 
  
<span id="AddingNotes"></span>
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===Pending/open edits===
* It helps immensely if you can provide a link to a page containing more information on the release. Official websites and comprehensive fan sites are good, as are online shops, such as Amazon. These links not only help other editors double check accuracy, but help us find any extra information which can be added. While welcoming bootlegs, we try and discourage a home made various mix. Our aim is toward widely reaching and readily usable accurate information. Thus your local factory made various artist disc may not be accepted for its very slim range of user need.
 
  
===Order of operations when editing an object with a pending edit===
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When editing MusicBrainz, be careful about edits that are open. If there is a pending edit (usually highlighted in yellow) you should check if it is already doing what you wanted to do. If so, you don't need to do anything - except voting Yes so it will be applied sooner! If it is different and you don't agree with it, you probably should say so in an [[Edit Note|edit note]]. Make sure you follow the [[Code_of_Conduct|Code of Conduct]] while doing so!
  
Take care when altering the database in reference to previous edits. If there is a pending edit (usually highlighted in yellow), one edit will cancel another out. You will want to delete your edits if you notice your own mistake, rather than edit over a previous edit.  
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If you realise you've made a mistake while editing, and your edit is still open, '''don't enter a remove edit to undo it!''' You should [[How to Cancel an Edit|cancel your previous edit]] and make your changes again. The exception to this is if you make a mistake when adding a release. In this case, it is usually more efficient to leave your edit as is and create a follow up edit correcting your mistake.
  
 
==Guides==
 
==Guides==
  
An [[Beginners Guide/How To Add Information|annotated screenshot by screenshot guide]] for how to add a new artist, a new release, and some advanced relationships.  
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We have some basic guides for adding [[How to Add an Artist|artists]], [[How to Add Relationships|relationships]] and [[How to Add a Release|releases]].
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And of course, you can read [[How_To|our how-tos]] on different matters.
  
 
==Software==
 
==Software==
  
[[Picard Download|Download]] and install [[Picard Tagger|Picard]] and match your CDs with the MusicBrainz [[Database]] and then, tag your digital audio files.  
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You can [https://picard.musicbrainz.org/downloads download MusicBrainz Picard], our tagger, to tag your digital files and submit [[Disc ID|disc IDs]] to MusicBrainz. If you have questions, check the [https://picard.musicbrainz.org/docs Picard documentation] and [https://picard.musicbrainz.org/docs/guide this illustrated how-to]. You can install all kind of [https://picard.musicbrainz.org/plugins plugins] for it too!
 
 
==Next steps==
 
 
 
Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more about what makes MusicBrainz thrive. Your next visit should be to the [[Code Of Conduct|CodeOfConduct]] or the [[How To|HowTo]].
 
  
 
==Discussion==
 
==Discussion==
  
Beginners, this is your page, of course. So if you feel something is wrong or missing here, just add your comment in [[Talk:Beginners Guide|BeginnersGuideDiscussion]]. That is, once you have registered in the [[MusicBrainz Wiki|wiki]]!  
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Of course, remember that if you can't find an answer to some doubt in the documentation, you can (should!) [[Communication|ask about it]].
 
 
----[[Needs Intertwingling|NeedsIntertwingling]]  
 
  
[[Category:To Be Reviewed]] [[Category:Documentation]] [[Category:WikiDocs Page]]
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{{HowtoBox}}
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[[Category:Documentation]] [[Category:WikiDocs Page]]

Latest revision as of 09:50, 19 December 2020

Welcome to MusicBrainz! This beginners' guide should get you started on both correcting tags in your digital music and contributing data back to MusicBrainz. If this is your first visit to this page, it might be good to read it all before diving into more advanced topics. If you want to dive right in anyway, the How Tos are a quite good place to do so.

MusicBrainz (often abbreviated to MB) consists of three parts:

If you're like most users, you will probably start to tag your files with information that was already in the database (perhaps with Picard). But remember that MusicBrainz is user-edited, so if you find that something is missing, you can add it, and if it is wrong, you can fix it! These changes are not always applied instantly, because they pass through our voting system. Our introductions to editing and to voting will help you understand how that works.

Documentation

The documentation includes guides and how-tos, but also the definitions for MusicBrainz terminology and the guidelines editors are expected to follow when editing. You don't need to memorise or even read all of the guidelines from the beginning, although there are a few important ones that deal with titles, artists and releases.

Web interface

Before making any changes to the data, you will need to register and then log in. You will need to provide a verified email address so that other editors can contact you. Our privacy policy makes it very clear that we don't share your data or spam you.

If you want to get used to the interface before you start editing real data, you can do so at our test page. Changes made there won't be applied to the real data, so nobody will mind you adding some junk while you get used to the editing system on MusicBrainz. Note that this page is also where new features are tested by our developers, so it might be slightly different from the standard interface... and a bit broken at times!

Definitions

When a user modifies the data in any way, that's editing. This is different from the wiki-like editing you might be used to from sites like Wikipedia, because most edits must go through a voting process before being applied.

The term release refers to a specific issuing of an album, single, compilation, etc., and includes a specific set of recordings in a particular order. A release often has several different editions such as a digital iTunes edition, an edition with bonus tracks or a market-specific edition with only minor differences such as the legal text or price code; these should be entered as separate releases.

A disc ID is a kind of signature for a CD. It contains the precise timing information for the CD and allows it to be recognised automatically. When you use MusicBrainz Picard, you can automatically retrieve the disc ID of your CD to include it in the MusicBrainz database. We have specific documentation on how to add disc IDs.

One of the fundamental aims of MusicBrainz is to offer correct and well structured information. To enforce this, we have style guidelines which allow us to ensure the data input by all users is accurate.

Adding a release

Adding a release is probably one of the first things you will want to do. Please note that MusicBrainz aspires to have data that is structured in a meaningful manner and as accurate as possible, so please follow the style guidelines!

If you have a CD, you can first see if MusicBrainz has a disc ID for it and, if not, add a new disc ID (either to an existing release or while adding the release itself). For that, consult the how-to for adding disc IDs. If you have other kind of release (like a vinyl, or a digital release), or you just can't add a disc ID for some reason, you will need to search for the release by hand. Usually the best way is to search for the title of the release. If you can't find the release you have, or the only matches in MusicBrainz are reasonably different from yours (different barcode, for example), then that means you must add the CD as a new release to the database.

See our guide on how to add a release.

When submitting your new release, it helps immensely if you can provide a link to a page containing more information about the release. Please read these tips for adding edit notes and try to follow them. A good edit note is not only useful in the moment of adding a release, but can also prove its use years later when some other user tries to find more information about it. Another way of providing more information about a release, which is especially useful if it's obscure and you cannot find any links, is to upload scans or other artwork from it, as explained in How to Add Cover Art.

While we welcome bootlegs, we discourage adding home-made compilations or mixtapes. These kinds of releases are not widely available and any information about them is typically only useful to the individual who created them. Releases such as these are usually removed from our database.

Pending/open edits

When editing MusicBrainz, be careful about edits that are open. If there is a pending edit (usually highlighted in yellow) you should check if it is already doing what you wanted to do. If so, you don't need to do anything - except voting Yes so it will be applied sooner! If it is different and you don't agree with it, you probably should say so in an edit note. Make sure you follow the Code of Conduct while doing so!

If you realise you've made a mistake while editing, and your edit is still open, don't enter a remove edit to undo it! You should cancel your previous edit and make your changes again. The exception to this is if you make a mistake when adding a release. In this case, it is usually more efficient to leave your edit as is and create a follow up edit correcting your mistake.

Guides

We have some basic guides for adding artists, relationships and releases.

And of course, you can read our how-tos on different matters.

Software

You can download MusicBrainz Picard, our tagger, to tag your digital files and submit disc IDs to MusicBrainz. If you have questions, check the Picard documentation and this illustrated how-to. You can install all kind of plugins for it too!

Discussion

Of course, remember that if you can't find an answer to some doubt in the documentation, you can (should!) ask about it.

How-To Pages
Introductory Guides
Basic How-Tos
Specific How-Tos