Difference between revisions of "iTunes Guide"

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This guide explains how to correct and update the tags of your music in your iTunes from MusicBrainz using Picard. Please read everything and check that this method will work for you before you begin.


A few things that must be considered/checked before starting:

  1. PURCHASED MUSIC FROM THE ITUNES MUSIC STORE: This will not work for (.m4p). Although Picard is compatible with .m4p, it will mess up the release art. If you do put your purchased music through, there is a way to get to fix it (see Troubleshooting)
  2. MP3s: If you are using mp3 files, this will remove your release artwork. However AAC (.m4a) will work fine.
  • This is caused by a bug in iTunes -- iTunes saves incorrect ID3v2.4 tags and isn't able to read the correct ones. Problems are with tags that have ID3 frames bigger than 32kB. To "fix" this problem always use only ID3v2.3 tags (in both iTunes and Picard). --LukasLalinsky
  1. Consolidating library: DO NOT consolidate your library in the middle of this process, consolidating must be done before or after this process


These are some of the known bugs that can be fixed:

  1. iPod Photo/Video: The iPod doesn't like the MusicBrainz tags in the files, so you get a weird thing, where it pulls up the wrong release art on the iPod, this can easily be fixed by plugging in the iPod, going into Preferences > iPod > Music, turing off "Display album artwork on your iPod", update the ipod (so it removes all the release art on the iPod), then turn that option on again, update the iPod and it will move the correct release art to the iPod.
  2. Fixing purchased music from the iTunes Music Store: If you accidentally update your purchased music, iTunes prevents the modification of release art. But you can use Tag&Rename to remove the release art, then iTunes will allow you to re-enter it.

Summary of Process

  1. Tag files using Picard (see Using Picard)
  2. Update iTunes library (see Update Library in iTunes)
  3. Other steps may be needed (eg. updating iPod)

Using Picard

If you have used Picard before, and you know how to use it, skip this. Picard is the latest piece of software from MusicBrainz, rather than encoding one track at a time based on an acoustic fingerprint (as the old software does), Picard finds whole releases purely based on the artist and release title. Which makes this process much quicker and easier. This is an example with a small bunch of releases to get you familiar with the method. Later you can do it with more releases.

  1. Picard can be downloaded from MusicBrainz.org
  2. Open Picard.
    1. Add about 5 releases worth (Just a couple for now, release ~= iTunes album, can add by selecting within iTunes and dragging into left window of Picard). It will load the individual songs. b. When its done, click "Cluster", this will group the files into there releases. Hopefully there will be no single files left over. If there is, then Picard can't sort those files into any releases, for various reasons. You can manually drag these files to where they need to go later.
  1. Select any release, and down the bottom (first tab) click "Lookup". This will bring up a browser with the search results for that artist and release. If nothing can be found; (a) It's not a real release, so therefore it's not in the database (b) The artist or release name are wrong or incomplete, so it can't find any matches (most likely cause). In this case, change the fields down the bottom near the Lookup button and try Lookup again until you find it.

Alternatively, you can search MusicBrainz for the correct release and add that release by clicking the "Tagger" green link. You will sometimes need to do this. Once the release is added to Picard, drag the correct release cluster to the correct release (in bold).

In the brackets after the ReleaseTitle gives the info about track matchings. For example, (12/12; 12*) means that all the 12 tracks were matched correctly and there is 12 tracks not saved yet. (10/12; 10*) means that (a) There are 2 tracks missing from the release (b) The track titles are too different and could not be matched up. In this case, you may have picked the wrong release from MusicBrainz or you have to manually drag the unmatched files to there place. You may also see (10/12;2? 10*) the question mark means that it doesnt know what 2 of the tracks are.

Updating Library in iTunes

  1. Select the files in iTunes to update.
  2. Right click > Get Info. DO NOT check any boxes (leave it how it is), and click OK. iTunes will then update its database with the new tags in the files you just tagged. The update is very quick (IF you don't have iTunes organizing, less quick if you do), so quick that a library of thousands of tracks can be updated in less than a minute.


  1. Select the tracks, right-click and click "Uncheck Selection". This will update the metadata.
  2. Right-click the selected tracks and click "Check Selection" to return the tracks to their normal "checked" status.