General FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please check to see if your questions are covered in this FAQ or the official General FAQ.  For moderation questions, you should check out the ModerationFAQ.  If that still doesn't help, please find us via the contact page.

General Questions

Q. What's the purpose of this site?

A. This site is intended to be a free, on-line encyclopedia of music information. We (and you, if you decide to join us) are building an open-source database containing all the information you would ever want to know about songs, albums, and artists.

Q. Why would I need to use your site? What's wrong with Gracenote's CDDB?

A. No one needs to use our site, and nothing's wrong with CDDB. We just have a different aim from the maintainers of CDDB. Check the history pages for more information on the origins of this project.

A. This site is free. CDDB is not.

CDDB was made by volunteers sharing the track listings of their CDs with the central server that was run voluntarily, not for profit. This freely volunteerd effort was effectively stolen by Gracenote, who made it a commercial service that you have to pay to use in your music player software, or if you want to download large parts of the database for whatever reason. (RJMunro)

Q. Why would I need to use your site? What's wrong with FreeDB?

A. FreeDB is based on the last version of CDDB that was freely available. While it is a very useful site, it is technically inferior to this site as it is based on a flat format. Ie. Albums are not grouped by artists, they just have a text field "Artist Name". Different printings of the same album that are not quite identical go into the listing twice etc. There is no concept of a single track being on more than one album - a track doesn't really exist in its own right. While MusicBrainz is not perfect in this respect, it is a lot better, and plans for improvements are laid down. The path to acheiveing those goals is clear. It would be very hard to give FreeDB those facilities. Eventually it is envisioned by some that MusicBrainz could take over from FreeDB, although they may evolve to take different markets, or be competitors continually spurring each other on.

In certain places, MusicBrainz itself uses FreeDB when it doesn't know an album already. (RJMunro)

Q. Why won't the web site accept my login name and password?

A. Please send us an e-mail providing as much of the following information as accurately as possible:

   * your username (or as much as you can remember of it) 
   * your password (or as much as you can remember of it) 
   * the e-mail address you registered with 
   * when you registered 
   * when you last successfully logged in 
   * when you last tried and failed to log in  

With that information we'll be able to look into the problem and help you.

Q. I've forgotten my password - how do I get in?

A. If you've previously entered and confirmed your e-mail address, then use the Forgot your password? link.

Otherwise, please see the answer to the previous question, "Why won't the web site accept my login name and password?"

Q. How do I delete my account?

A. You can't completely delete your account, but you can remove your personal information from it.

That way all your personal information is removed from your account, and you've effectively "locked" the account (by giving it an almost impossibly complex password).

If you like we can also rename the account to something like "deleted account #1234". If you want us to do this, then follow the above instructions except:

  • set the "bio" text of the account to "Please delete this account" (or similar)
  • e-mail us (, telling us that you'd like your account to be deleted, and tell us the name of the account. We'll e-mail you back to let you know when it's done.

Q. How do I get iTunes to recognize new/updated tags saved by MusicBrainz?

A. Don't ask questions here, instead post them to the MailingList...