Where can I find better music metadata?
October 28, 2009 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Need more metadata for my music. I'm looking for track-by-track recording date/performers/composer/etc. mainly for jazz albums. Is there a source out there?

Right now, I'm ripping my CD to FLAC with dBpoweramp using the AMG subscription to fill in the metadata. I'm making small changes as I go (mainly to the year and genre). but I'd really like to have the detailed information found in most liner notes. (For the albums I really care about, I'm keeping both the CD and the liners for reference). Is there a service out there that can provide this? AMG's data doesn't seem to go down to that level, nor does Musicbrainz. Certainly other music fans have done this manually already. Are they sharing it somewhere? Thanks for any help.
posted by imposster to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
imposster: AMG's data doesn't seem to go down to that level, nor does Musicbrainz.

Well... AMG's data does often go to that level. It just doesn't seem to go through the subscription system very well, in my experience; you actually have to go to allmusicguide.com and search for the disc to get info about it. But I can't really tell if you've tried that or not; nor can I tell if you're wanting to do this automatically or manually (i.e. going to a site and searching separately for each disc).

In any case, I've found that pretty much all the information available on any given album on the internet will be in three places: allmusicguide.com, wikipedia, and a handy newer site called discogs.com. (discogs.com especially has good info on different releases of the same album – track order variations, bonus songs, release dates, etc.) has If you check an album on those three sites, you should get all there is to get on it on the internet. It's sometimes worth googling it as well, but as a matter of routine course they'll generally give you what you need.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the suggestions. To be more clear, I'd like to do this pretty much automatically. When I said that AMG's data doesn't go down to that level, I suppose I really meant "as it is accessed through dBpoweramp". I wasn't aware they had more data available. I'll look into that. Is there a way you know of offhand to automatically add that extra metadata?
posted by imposster at 11:01 AM on October 28, 2009

To be even more clear: What I really want is to be able to type in "Johnny Griffin" and have all the tracks he played on, even as sideman pop up in the search.

Although, I've used the AMG site before, I never realized it was able to do that kind of search. (I just tried it, and it worked great). I'd like that functionality, but embedded into my music collection, plus the ability to search through other metadata in a similar fashion.
posted by imposster at 11:08 AM on October 28, 2009

You could try having a look at MusicBrainz which through a variety of bits of software will do automatic tagging. The Picard one I think is the most ful featured, but I haven't used it in a while. I did set one of them to rename half my mp3s when windows had managed to 8.3 all of the filenames, also taking care of some id3 at the same time.
posted by opsin at 11:32 AM on October 28, 2009

Sorry, was rushing before leaving to eat, and missed your comment about having looked at MusicBrainz. It's the best I know of and with the latest revision of id3 you can fit enough information in to have all the info you're after. If you could find someone who had listed all that information you might be in luck, but otherwise I think you would have to do it yourself.
I don't know of any service so far which has all that sort of info standardised - wikipedia has some albums listed with that sort of detail, but even then between two of them they will often be listed in different ways. So even scripting something to find the info from a site that does have it and put it into the id3 tag would be nigh impossible...

I was discounting AMG since I started to find that lacking in standard layout and info for half the stuff I was listening to, but it may be the best bet. As far as I know you'd still have to knock something together yourself to do it (or ask a friend). Editing id3 tags isn't the hardest thing to do automatically, at least.
posted by opsin at 1:33 PM on October 28, 2009

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