Every Monday we post tips for Digital DJs, and with the upcoming launch of PCDJ DEX 3 (and new support for album art) our focus this week is making sure you have clean tags for your audio files.
Music Brainz Picard (yep, named after the Next Generation Star Trek Captain) is a FREE cross-platform (Linux/Mac OS X/Windows) tagging application.
Picard supports the majority of audio file formats, is capable of using audio fingerprints (AcoustIDs), performing CD lookups and disc ID submissions, and it has advanced Unicode support. Additionally, there are several plugins available that extend Picard’s features.
When tagging audio files, Picard uses an album-oriented approach. This approach allows it to utilize the MusicBrainz data as effectively as possible and correctly tag your music. You can also add album art, and overall music library organization. All great things if you want to ensure your tags and clean, correct and up-to-date.
You’re a DJ, and your music is the lifeblood of who you are and what you do. Many DJs will readily spend thousands on gear and their DJ computer but don’t take the time/effort to ensure their music files are tagged properly, and with some continuity. Depending on where you get your music, it’s all too common to have audio tracks with bad or even corrupt tags. Bad or otherwise corrupt tags can cause issues when mixing with DJ software, and if the software has issues writing or reading data from tags, it can cause potential crashes or other serious issues. It’s truly worth the effort to manage your music and keep files clean, as a DJ you can’t afford not to. Music Brainz Picard is free and does an excellent job, so no excuse not to download it now
Quick start guide to basic audio file tagging in Music Brainz Picard (originally posted by CNET):
- Download and install the application here for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
- Run Musicbrainz Picard.
- Add a folder containing music files. The application will also search subfolders, so if you’d like, you can add your whole library or large parts of it at once.
- After you add the folder, most of your files will be in the “Unmatched Files” folder on the left. Select it, then click the “Cluster” button at the top. Some or all of your files will now be shifted to the “Clusters” folder as separate subfolders with rough artist and album info, while the rest will remain in “Unmatched Files.”
- Some unmatched files can be dragged and dropped into the newly created subfolders below; click on an individual track to see its location and folder info at the bottom of the screen. If an entire album is in the “Unmatched Files” folder, you’ll need to look it up on the MusicBrainz database site and then skip to step No. 7 below.
- Select any of those subfolders and click “Lookup.” This opens a Web page on the MusicBrainz site that should have the correct album info (if not, try searching for your album in the search bar on the top right).
- Click the “Tag” button near the album name and a new folder should pop up in the right side of the Picard window.
- Move the files from the folder on the left to the newly created folder on the right, then check to make sure that the files match up.
- If they do, right-click the new folder and select “Save.”
- Every now and then, a new or obscure album doesn’t show up in MusicBrainz. If you’re ambitious and community-minded, the site offers the ability to enter the correct tag info yourself.