MusicBrainz Tag

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MusicBrainz Metadata Tags (ID3 and Vorbis/FLAC Comment)

Status: The information on this page is complete as of tunepimp Subversion snapshot 2006-01-13, and has been partially updated on 2009-12-14.

Applications that read or write metadata tags from music files should follow one consistent specification for what MusicBrainz information is stored where and in what tag. That way all the work of the various tagger applications will contribute to a well connected and clean body of metadata. Any application that deals with music should be able to read the MusicBrainzIdentifiers from a music file in order to communicate unambiguously about the music it's working with.

ID3v2 Tag specifications

See ID3v2Tags for a list of proposed frames tagger applications could write. The following descriptions are summerized in a table below, for more information on how to use ID3v2 tags in your own applications read the specifications on http://www.id3.org/.

Note: for each text frame (TXXX) the encoding of the value strings can be defined in the frame header. ID3v2.3 supports UTF-16 and ISO-8859-1 encoded strings; ID3v2.4 has addional support for UTF-8 and UTF-16BE. MusicBrainz Identifiers must be encoded as ISO-8859-1 strings.

ID3v2 frames can be stored in any order in the MP3 file.

General Frames

The following frames are used for the regular information from the database: TPE1 for the main artist name, TALB for the album name, TIT2 for the track title, TRCK for the track number on the album (without total number of tracks in the old MusicBrainzTagger and PicardTagger < 0.5.1 and with totals since PicardTagger 0.5.1).

TCMP is a nonstandard tag that defines a track as being part of a compilation (VA album) if set to the string value "1" or part of a single artist album if set to the string value "0". It is used by the iTunes music player software.

Artist Sortname

The artist sortname is stored in the TSOP frame for ID3v2.4 and in the experimental XSOP frame for ID3v2.3.

Release Date

ID3v2.3 is missing a standard frame for a detailed date. Therefore the experimental XDOR frame is used and the additional TORY that stores the year of release as a 4 digit number only is used.

In ID3v2.4 only the TDRL frame is used to store the complete release date in yyyy-MM-dd format.

Music Brainz Identifier

To store the MusicBrainzIdentifiers in an ID3v2 tag, you will need to use a UFID frame for the TrackID, and some user defined TXXX text frames for the artist, album, album artist and PUID as well as the album status and type. Please note that for ease of use these ID3 frames are specified to use ISO 8859-1. However, the types of characters used to express these tags are the same in ISO 8859-1 and UTF-8, since UTF-8 is backward compatible with 7-bit ASCII.

MusicBrainz Track Identifier

The MusicBrainz Track Id is the internal unique ID MusicBrainz defines for every object in its database. It is stored in the special UFID frame, that contains two parts: The Owner Identifier selects the namespace where the identifies is unique. For MusicBrainz it is be guaranteed that this ID is unique on the server; therefore the default owner identifier is http://musicbrainz.org. The second part is the TrackID for the track as stored in the MusicBrainz database.

MusicBrainz Artist Identifier

The MusicBrainz Artist Id is stored in a user defined TXXX text information frame, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. Its value is the ArtistID as stored in the MusicBrainz database.

MusicBrainz Album Identifier

The MusicBrainz Album Id is stored in a user defined TXXX text information frame, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. Its value is the AlbumID as stored in the MusicBrainz database.

MusicBrainz Album Artist Identifier

The MusicBrainz Album Artist Id is used to store an artist identifier for the album the track is on. This is only for VariousArtistsReleases where the tracks have multiple different artists and the album itself is by the special artist VariousArtists with ArtistID 89ad4ac3-39f7-470e-963a-56509c546377.

It is stored in a user defined TXXX text information frame, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. Its value is the ArtistID as stored in the MusicBrainz database.

MusicBrainz Album Status

This stores the status of the album the track is from, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. At the moment the possible values are: official, promotional, bootleg.

MusicBrainz Album Type

This type the status of the album the track is from, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. Possible values are: album, single, live e.a.

MusicIP PUID Identifier

The MusicIP PUID is stored in a user defined TXXX text information frame, encoded as a 0x00 terminated ISO-8859-1 string. Its value is the track's PUID as stored in the MusicBrainz database.

Vorbis/FLAC comment specifications

In contrast to the various possibilities of ID3 tagging, Vorbis and FLAC tags are stored in a unified way. All strings are encoded as UTF-8, tagged data is stored in the so called comment header, each key value pair is specified as a tripplet of the form: [length in bytes][key]=[value]. Strings are not terminated. For proposed extensions to the default comment tags see Ogg Vorbis Comment Field Recommendations and Extending Vorbis Comments.

Note, that RELEASECOUNTRY is no standard tag and not mentioned in any of the proposals; DATE was originally specified to store the recording date while MusicBrainz defines only release dates.

The different comment names and their equivalent ID3v2 frames can be found in the table below.

Overview

Tags defined by MusicBrainz

Value ID3v2 Vorbis Comments MP4 (iTunes) tags Windows Media
MusicBrainz Track Id UFID:http://musicbrainz.org MUSICBRAINZ_TRACKID ----:MusicBrainz Track Id MusicBrainz/Track Id
MusicBrainz Artist Id TXXX:MusicBrainz Artist Id MUSICBRAINZ_ARTISTID ----:MusicBrainz Artist Id MusicBrainz/Artist Id
MusicBrainz Album Id TXXX:MusicBrainz Album Id MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMID ----:MusicBrainz Album Id MusicBrainz/Album Id
MusicBrainz Album Artist Id TXXX:MusicBrainz Album Artist Id MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMARTISTID ----:MusicBrainz Album Artist Id MusicBrainz/Album Artist Id
MusicBrainz Disc Id TXXX:MusicBrainz Disc Id MUSICBRAINZ_DISCID ----:MusicBrainz Disc Id MusicBrainz/Disc Id
MusicBrainz Album Status TXXX:MusicBrainz Album Status MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMSTATUS ----:MusicBrainz Album Status MusicBrainz/Album Status
MusicBrainz Album Type TXXX:MusicBrainz Album Type MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMTYPE ----:MusicBrainz Album Type MusicBrainz/Album Type
MusicBrainz Album Release Country TXXX:MusicBrainz Album Release Country RELEASECOUNTRY ----:MusicBrainz Album Release Country MusicBrainz/Album Release Country
MusicIP PUID TXXX:MusicIP PUID MUSICIP_PUID ----:MusicIP PUID MusicIP/PUID


Other important standard tags

Value ID3v2 Vorbis Comments MP4 (iTunes) tags Windows Media
Artist TPE1 ARTIST ©ART Author
Album Artist TPE2 ALBUMARTIST aART WM/AlbumArtist
Album TALB ALBUM ©alb WM/AlbumTitle
Title TIT2 TITLE ©nam Title
Track Number TRCK TRACKNUMBER trkn WM/TrackNumber
Release Date TYER + TDAT (2.3), TDRC (2.4) DATE ©day WM/Year
isCompilation TCMP COMPILATION cpil WM/IsCompilation
Album Artist Sortname TSO2 + TXXX:ALBUMARTISTSORT ALBUMARTISTSORT soaa WM/AlbumArtistSortOrder
Artist Sortname XSOP (2.3), TSOP (2.4) ARTISTSORT soar WM/ArtistSortOrder

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