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This page answers Frequently Asked Questions about MusicBrainz.
If this page doesn't answer your question, please ask it in the MetaBrainz Forum or contact us. If you would like to update this page on the wiki, feel free to do so but please do not add questions without answers.
- 1 General Questions
- 1.1 What's the purpose of MusicBrainz?
- 1.2 Why would I need to use MusicBrainz? What's wrong with Gracenote's CDDB?
- 1.3 Why would I need to use MusicBrainz? What's wrong with FreeDB?
- 1.4 Is there a mailing list for MusicBrainz?
- 1.5 Who are the people responsible for creating MusicBrainz?
- 1.6 I want to chat with other MusicBrainz editors. Where do I do that?
- 1.7 Why the name MusicBrainz?
- 1.8 Which digital audio players support MusicBrainz?
- 2 Metadata Questions
- 3 CD Submission Questions
- 4 Licensing Questions
- 5 Technical Questions
What's the purpose of MusicBrainz?
This site is intended to be a free, on-line encyclopedia of music information. We (and you, if you decide to join us) are building an open-source database containing all the information you would ever want to know about songs, releases, and artists.
Why would I need to use MusicBrainz? What's wrong with Gracenote's CDDB?
No one needs to use our site, and nothing is wrong with CDDB. We just have a different aim from the maintainers of CDDB. Check the history page for more information on the origins of this project.
This site is free. CDDB is not.
CDDB was made by volunteers sharing the track listings of their CDs with the central server that was run voluntarily, not for profit. This freely volunteered effort was effectively stolen by Gracenote, who made it a commercial service that you have to pay to use in your music player software, or if you want to download large parts of the database for whatever reason.
Why would I need to use MusicBrainz? What's wrong with FreeDB?
FreeDB is based on the last version of CDDB that was freely available. While it is a very useful site, it is technically inferior to this site as it is based on a flat format. i.e. releases are not grouped by artists, they just have a text field "Artist Name". Different printings of the same release that are not quite identical go into the listing twice etc. There is no concept of a single track being on more than one release -- a track doesn't really exist in its own right. While MusicBrainz is not perfect in this respect, it is a lot better, and plans for improvements are laid down. The path to achieving those goals is clear. It would be very hard to give FreeDB those facilities. Eventually it is envisioned by some that MusicBrainz could take over from FreeDB, although they may evolve to take different markets, or be competitors continually spurring each other on.
Is there a mailing list for MusicBrainz?
Not anymore, but our forum can be used via email.
Who are the people responsible for creating MusicBrainz?
Check out the MetaBrainz team.
I want to chat with other MusicBrainz editors. Where do I do that?
Why the name MusicBrainz?
It indicates the overall goal of the project: a lot of people (brains) collaborating to enhance the digital music experience.
Which digital audio players support MusicBrainz?
Take a look at the MusicBrainz Enabled Applications page. If your favorite tool/player doesn't support MusicBrainz, please contact the author and ask them to support MusicBrainz.
What is metadata?
Metadata is the data that is associated with music. Artist name, release name, track number, release event, audio track signature, and CD Index IDs are all examples of metadata.
See the Picard tag mapping table (list of specific metadata tags defined by MusicBrainz and standard tags, for ID3v2, Vorbis, APEv2, and iTunes MP4).
CD Submission Questions
I'm confused by the CD submission process. Why do some CDs have more than one Disc ID? Some of my CDs are already in the system, but they have a different number of tracks than my CD. What's up?
The identification of CDs is a tricky matter. Please check out our Disc Submission that explains these issues.
What's a CD Index ID and why should I care?
Do I need to sign a licensing agreement in order to use MusicBrainz?
Under what license is the metadata in MusicBrainz?
Under what license is the MusicBrainz server source code?
The server source code is available under the GPL (GNU General Public License).
Under what license is the MusicBrainz client source code?
The client source code is available under the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License). This means that closed source applications such as Winamp and Sonique are allowed to use the client library in binary form without any fees or royalties.
Does MusicBrainz handle international metadata?
Yes. MusicBrainz uses UTF-8 for all its data, which means that all the data is stored in Unicode and supports lots of different languages.
What MusicBrainz-enabled software is there?
See MusicBrainz Enabled Applications for list of applications.
For code libraries see Developer Resources.