MusicBrainz Picard/Documentation/Options

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< MusicBrainz Picard‎ | Documentation
Revision as of 11:04, 13 March 2014 by Sophist (talk | contribs) (Tweak Tag Compatibility bullet order)

Products > MusicBrainz Picard > Picard documentation > Options


  • Server address: The domain name for the Musicbrainz database server used by Picard to get details of your music. Default value: (for the main MusicBrainz server).
  • Port: The port number for the server. Default value: 80 (for the main MusicBrainz server).
  • Username: Your MusicBrainz website username, used to submit acoustic fingerprints, retrieve and save items to your collections and retrieve personal folksonomy tags.
  • Password: Your MusicBrainz website password.
  • Automatically scan all new files: Check this box if you want Picard to scan each music file you add and look for an AcoustID fingerprint. This takes time, but may be helpful for you and MusicBrainz. Leave it unchecked if you don't want Picard to do this scan automatically. In any case, you can direct Picard to scan a particular music file at any time using the Scan button in the toolbar.


  • Translate artist names to this locale where possible: When checked, Picard will see whether an artist has an alias for the selected locale. If it does, Picard will use that alias instead of the artist name when tagging. When "English" is the selected locale, the artist sort name (which is, by Style Guideline, stored in Latin script) is used as a fallback if there is no English alias.
  • Use standardized artist names: Check to only use standard Artist names, rather than Artist Credits which may differ slightly across tracks and releases. Note: If the "translate artist names" option above is also checked, it will override this option if a suitable alias is found.
  • Use release relationships: Check to retrieve and write release-level relationships to your files, e.g. URLs, composer, lyricist, performer, conductor, DJ mixer, etc. (You must have this enabled to use Picard to retrieve cover art)
  • Use track relationships: Check to write track-level relationships to your files, e.g. composer, lyricist, performer, remixer, etc.
  • Use folksonomy tags as genres: Check to write MusicBrainz folksonomy tags as genres. (See options under "Folksonomy Tags")
  • Various artists: Choose how you want the 'Various Artists' artist spelled.
  • Non-album tracks: Choose how you want 'non-album tracks' (Recordings that do not belong to any Release) to be grouped.

Preferred Releases

  • Preferred release types: Adjust the sliders for various release types to tweak how likely Picard is to match a file or cluster to releases of various types. You can use this to decrease the likelihood of Picard matching a file or album to a Compilation or Live version, for example.
  • Preferred release countries: Add one or more countries into the list to make Picard prefer matching clusters/files to releases from the chosen countries. This list is also used to prioritise files in the "Other Releases" context menu.
  • Preferred release formats: Add one or more formats into the list to make Picard prefer matching clusters/files to releases of the specified format. This list is also used to prioritise files in the "Other Releases" context menu.

Folksonomy tags

The following settings are only applicable if you enable the use folksonomy tags as genres option.

  • Ignore tags: Comma-separated list of tags to ignore when writing genres.
  • Only use my tags: Check to only write genres with tags that you personally have submitted to MusicBrainz. You'll need to set your username and password to use this feature.
  • Minimal tag usage: Choose how popular the tag must be before it is written by Picard. Default: 90%. Lowering the value here will lead to more tags in your files, but possibly less relevant tags.
  • Maximum number of tags: Choose how many tags to write as genres. Default: 5. If you only want a single genre, set this to 1.
  • Join multiple tags with: Select which character should be used to separate multiple tags.


  • Enable track ratings: Check to write track ratings to your files.
  • Submit ratings to MusicBrainz: Check to submit ratings to MusicBrainz. The tracks will be rated with your account.


  • Write tags to files: Uncheck to disable Picard from writing data. Picard may still move/rename your files according to your settings.
  • Preserve timestamps of tagged files: If checked, does not update the Last Modified date and time of your music files when it writes new tags to them.

Before Tagging

  • Clear existing tags: Checking this will remove all existing metadata and leave your files with only MusicBrainz metadata. Information you may have added through another media player such as genre, comments or ratings will be removed.
  • Remove ID3 tags from FLAC files: Check to remove ID3 tags from FLAC files – Vorbis Comments are recommended for FLAC files. Picard will write Vorbis Comments to FLACs regardless of this setting.
  • Remove APEv2 tags from MP3 files: Check to remove APEv2 tags from MP3 files – ID3 is recommended for MP3s. Picard will write ID3 tags to MP3s regardless of this setting.
  • Preserve these tags from being cleared or overwritten with MusicBrainz data: This is an advanced option: If you have tags which you need to preserve, enter their names here to stop Picard overwriting them.

Tag Compatibility

  • ID3v2 version: Although id3v2.4 is the latest version, its support in music players is still lacking. Whilst software such as foobar2000 and MediaMonkey have no problem using version 2.4 tags, you will not be able to read the tags in Windows Explorer or Windows Media Player (in any Windows or WMP version, including those in Windows 8.1). Apple iTunes is also still based in id3v23, and support for id3v24 in other media players (such as smartphones) is variable. Other than native support for multi-valued tags in v2.4, the Picard Tag Mapping will show you what you lose when choosing v2.3 instead of v2.4.
  • ID3v2 text encoding: The default for version 2.4 is UTF-8, the default for version 2.3 is UTF-16. Use ISO-8859-1 ***only*** if you face compatibility issues with your player.
  • Join id3v23 tags with: As mentioned above, id3v23 does not support multi-value tags, and so Picard flattens these to strings before saving them to id3v23 tags. This setting defines the string used to separate the values when flattened. Use '; ' for the greatest compatibility (rather than '/' since tags more often contain a / than a ;) and for the best visual compatibility in Picard between id3v23 and other tagging formats.
  • Also include ID3v1 tags in the files: Not recommended at all. ID3v1.1 tags are obsolete and may not work with non-latin scripts.

Cover art

You must enable "Option / Metadata / Use release relationships" for Picard to be able to download cover art.

In versions of Picard prior to 1.2, you will also require the Cover Art Downloader plugin available on the Picard Plugins page


  • Embed cover images into tags: Enables images to be embedded directly into your music files. Whilst this will use more storage space than storing it as a separate image file in the same folder, some music players will only display embedded images and don't find the separate files.
  • Save cover images as separate files: In the file name mask you can use any variable or function from Picard Tags and Picard Scripting. The mask should not contain a file extension; this is added automatically based on the actual image type. The default value is cover. If you change this to folder, Windows will use it to preview the containing folder.
  • Overwrite the file if it already exists: Check this to replace existing files. This is especially recommended if trying to write "folder" previews for Windows.

Cover Art Providers

Picard can download Cover Art from a number of sources, and you can choose which sources you want Picard to download cover art from:

  • Cover Art Archive: The Cover Art Archive is MusicBrainz own archive of cover art in cooperation with the Internet Archive ( If art is available there, the Cover Art Archive is the most comprehensive database of cover art (front covers, back covers, booklets, CDs etc.).
  • Amazon: Amazon often has cover art when other sites don't, however whilst this art is almost always for the correct Artist/Album, it may not be the absolute correct cover art for the specific Release that you have tagged your music with.
  • CD Baby
  • Sites on the whitelist: See Style/Relationships/URLs/Cover_art_whitelist

Note: CD Baby and other whitelist sites are no longer being used by MusicBrainz for new Cover Art.

Cover Art Archive

In this section you can decide which types of cover art you would like to download from the Cover Art Archive, and what quality (size) you want to download. Obviously, the better the quality, the larger the size of the files.

Most music players will display only one piece of cover art for the album, and most people select Front (cover) for that.

File Naming

This page tells Picard whether it should move your audio files to a new directory when it saves metadata in them. One use for this is to keep your work organised: all untagged files are under directory A, and when Picard tags them it moves them to directory B. When directory A is empty, your tagging work is done. Check this box, and select a destination directory, if you want Picard to move files this way. Uncheck the box if you want Picard to leave the files under the same directory.

The Rename Files and Move Files options are independent. Rename Files refers to Picard changing file names typically based on artist and track names. Move Files refers to Picard moving files to new directories, based on a stated parent directory and sub-directories typically based on album artist name and release title. However, they both use the same "file naming string". Move files uses the portion up until the last '/'; rename files the part after that.

  • Rename files when saving: Check to let Picard change file and directory names of your files when it saves metadata in them, in order to make the file and directory names consistent with the new metadata.
  • Replace non-ASCII characters: Check to replace non-ASCII characters with their ASCII equivalent, e.g. á,ä,ǎ, with a; é,ě,ë, with e; æ with ae, etc. For more information on ASCII characters read the Wikipedia page on ASCII.
  • Replace Windows-incompatible characters: Check to replace Windows-incompatible characters with an underscore. Enabled by default on Windows with no option to disable.
  • Move files to this directory when saving: Choose a destination parent directory to move saved files to.
    • If you use the directory "," they will be removed relative to their current location. If they are already in some sort of folder structure, this will probably not do what you want!
  • Delete empty directories: Check to have Picard remove directories that have become empty once a move is completed. Leave unchecked if you want Picard to leave the source directory structure unchanged. Checking this box may be convenient if you are using the move files option to organise your work. An empty directory has no more work for you to do, and deleting the directory makes that clear.
  • Move additional files: Enter wildcard patterns that match any other files you want Picard to move when saving files, e.g. Folder.jpg, *.png, *.cue, *.log. Using default settings, when these additional files are moved they will end up in the release directory with your files. In a wildcard, * matches zero or more characters. Other text, like .jpg, matches those exact characters. Thus *.jpg matches "cover.jpg", "liner.jpg", "a.jpg", and ".jpg", but not "nomatch.jpg2". Put spaces between wildcard patterns.
  • Name files like this: An edit box that contains a formatting string that tells Picard what the new name of the file and its containing directories should be, in terms of various metadata values. The formatting string is in Picard's scripting language where dark blue text starting with a "$" is a function name and names in light blue within "%" signs are Picard's tag names. Note that the use of a "/" in the formatting string means that everything before the string is a directory name, and everything after the last "/" becomes the file's name. The formatting string is allowed to have zero, one, or multiple, "/".


If you select a file or cluster in the Left side of the Picard screen and click Scan, Picard will invoke a program to scan the file and produce a fingerprint that can then be used to look up the file on MusicBrainz.

MusicBrainz currently supports only AcoustID (an Open Source acoustic fingerprinting system created by Lukáš Lalinský) but has previously supported TRM and MusicID PUID.

CD lookup

This is where you tell Picard which CD drive it should use for looking up CDs.


On Windows, Picard has a pulldown menu listing the various CD drives it has found. Pull down the menu and select the drive you want.


In OS X, this option is currently a text field. The device is usually /dev/rdisk1.

If that doesn't work, one way is to simply keep increasing the number (e.g. /dev/rdisk2) until it does work. A less trial and error method is to open Terminal and type mount. The output should include a line such as /dev/disk2 on /Volumes/Audio CD (local, nodev, nosuid, read-only). You need to replace /dev/disk with /dev/rdisk, so if, for example, it says /dev/disk2, you should enter /dev/rdisk2 in Picard's preferences.


In Linux, Picard has a pulldown menu like in Windows. If you're using an older version with a text field, you should enter the device name (typically /dev/cdrom) here.

Other platforms

On other platforms, the CD Lookup option is a text field and you should enter the path to the CD drive here.


Here you may enable/disable any of the plugins you have installed in Picard. Note that some plugins have their own option page which will appear under here.

For a list of plugins see Picard Plugins.


Web proxy

If you need a proxy to make an outside connection you may specify one here.


It is recommended for most users to not change these settings. However for advanced users, it allows you to tune the way Picard matches your files and clusters to to MusicBrainz releases and tracks.

  • Minimal similarity for file lookups: The higher then %, the more similar an individual file's metadata must be to MusicBrainz's metadata for it to be moved/matched to a release on the right-hand side.
  • Minimal similarity for cluster lookups: The higher then %, the more similar a cluster of files from the left-hand pane must be to a MusicBrainz release for the entire cluster to be moved/matched to a release on the right-hand side.
  • Minimal similarity for matching files to tracks: The higher then %, the more similar an individual file's metadata must be to MusicBrainz's metadata for it to be moved/matched to a release on the right-hand side.

If you have absolutely no metadata in your current files, and you are using Scan to match tracks, you may find you need to lower Minimal similarity for matching files to tracks in order to get Picard to match the files within a release. Otherwise you may find that Picard matches the track to a release but then is not sure which track is correct; and leaves it in an "unmatched files" group within that release.

As a general rule, lowering the percentages may increase the chance of finding a match at the risk of false positives and incorrect matches.


For scripting help see Picard Scripting and Picard Tags for variables available to script with.

User interface

  • Show text labels under icon: Uncheck to make the toolbar a little smaller.
  • Allow selection of multiple directories: Check to bypass the native directory selector and use QT's file dialog since the native directory selector usually doesn't allow you to select more than one directory. This applies for the 'Add folder' dialog, the file browser always allows multiple directory selection.
  • Use advanced query syntax: Check to enable advanced query syntax parsing on your searches. This only applies for the search box at the top right of Picard, not the lookup buttons.
  • Show a quit confirmation dialog for unsaved changes: Check to show a dialog when you try to quit Picard with unsaved files loaded. This may help prevent accidentally losing tag changes you've made, but not yet saved.
  • Begin browsing in the following directory: By default, Picard remembers the last directory you loaded files from. If you check this box and provide a directory, Picard will start in the directory provided instead.
  • User interface language: By default, Picard will display in the language displayed by your operating system, however you can override this here if needed.