from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Favicon from MusicBrainz MusicBrainz
MusicBrainz logo since February 2016
description Online music database
Registration Registration to process the data
languages German, English, French, Dutch
owner MetaBrainz Foundation
Originator Robert Kaye

MusicBrainz is an internet project to create an open and free music database . Like the freedb project, which has a similar goal, it was founded because the widespread CDDB format was converted to a proprietary data format in 1999 with a change in the license conditions . According to a corresponding article on Slashdot , the cdindex project was spontaneously founded on March 9, 1999 under the direction of Robert Kaye , which later became MusicBrainz.

Goal setting

The goal of MusicBrainz now goes far beyond simply collecting metadata on compact discs . Compared, for example, to freedb, the MusicBrainz database is much better maintained (striking, for example, with the correct spelling of the name of an artist) and more extensive. This is also based on a different philosophy in the area of ​​quality assurance: Entries made by users generally go through a control based on the principle of peer review before they are released to the general public.


The following information is recorded in the system via so-called MusicBrainz IDs and linked to one another.

Artists can be created in the form of persons or groups and represent artists and bands in the broadest sense. A person can be part of several groups and at the same time have independent publications.
Publications (releases)
With MusicBrainz, each piece of music is assigned to a publication . For example, each version of an album is a separate release and has an associated track list and one or more release dates. Multiple editions of an album are only combined if the track lists are completely identical. A publication is not tied to a medium: the format can be specified separately as, for example, vinyl , CD , MC or digital media.
Release Groups
Each release is automatically placed in a release group, which contains all versions of a release regardless of the medium and the exact number or length of the pieces of music.
A concrete, unique recording of a song or other musical work. This can be associated with several publications or completely independent of them. The creation of recordings that have not yet been found on any publication, so-called "[non-album-tracks]" or "standalone recordings", is reserved for users who have been registered for at least three weeks.
Works represent pieces of music, arias etc. abstractly and independently of specific recordings or publications. For example, a piece of music can be (slightly varied) on several albums, live recordings or singles, but remains the same song.
All of the above objects can be linked with relationships . For example, a song can have different relationships with another song. It can be a remix , a later release, a cover version , or a parody . In addition, each object can be assigned a relationship to a URL , which can say, for example: "This URL can be used to download the song for free" or "This is the official Myspace page of this artist".
Keywords (tags)
Since MusicBrainz deliberately does not provide any information about the genre of the pieces of music, these can be provided with any keywords (tags) as an alternative.

The basic data (artists, songs, albums, etc.) are made available by MusicBrainz as a public domain . Additional information is provided under a Creative Commons license that is non-commercial and requires publication under the same license (CC-NC-SA).

Similar to a wiki, every registered user can contribute, edit or delete information. Each user receives a profile under which the changes they have made are listed. Each of these changes can be commented on and rated positively, negatively or neutrally.

In the course of the discussion, an editor can withdraw his editing at any time. If the processing receives at least three yes votes without a single no vote, the processing is considered accepted. If it receives three no votes and no yes vote, it will be rejected. Processing expires automatically after seven days and is implemented depending on whether it has received more yes or no votes. If no vote has been cast after seven days, processing is also considered successful.

Examples of MusicBrainz entries


MusicBrainz includes:

Object type 02/11/2014 01/12/2016 02/24/2017 December 31, 2019
Recordings 13.123.687 15,553,670 17,032,841 21,600,864
Artists 821,000 1,029,257 1,179,137 1,583,153
Media (medium) 1,384,026 1,739,425 1,970,606 2,697,821
Music labels (labels) 78,350 102.067 120,434 171,713

MusicBrainz IDs

MusicBrainz IDs (MusicBrainz Identifier, MBID) are 36-character external identifiers that uniquely identify objects in the MusicBrainz database. Examples are:

  • Artist
  • Publications
  • Groups of publications
  • Songs
  • Labels

MusicBrainz IDs ensure that objects with the same name can be distinguished; z. B. has

In the same way, the MBID can be used to distinguish Manfred Mann from his band of the same name.

Using MusicBrainz IDs outside of MusicBrainz


The British broadcaster BBC has been cooperating with MusicBrainz since June 2007 . The BBC uses MBIDs in the URLs of its music portal BBC Music . For comparison: offers the possibility in the programming interface to search for artists, publications and songs based on their MBID.


Other users of the information provided by MusicBrainz include 7digital , Grooveshark , The Guardian and Winamp .

Acoustic fingerprints

To identify specific recordings, MusicBrainz uses the open source project AcoustID , which can generate acoustic fingerprints from sound recordings and assign them unique GUIDs using a database server . MusicBrainz-compatible tagger software can be used to automatically add metadata to audio files , for example using ID3 tags or Ogg Vorbis comments .

Initially, the TRM technology ( recursive acronym for TRM Recognizes Music ), patented by Relatable, was used to create acoustic fingerprints. Due to various problems with TRM, including server load and TRM collisions , in March 2006 the MusicDNS method from MusicIP, later AmpliFind, was used, which generated so-called PUIDs (Portable Unique IDentifier) . MusicDNS was eventually sold to Gracenote in 2011 , and after it was announced that the service would be discontinued, MusicBrainz began moving to the AcoustID system, which was founded in August 2010.

Cover Art Archive

In April 2012 the server software received support for the Cover Art Archive , a cooperation project between MusicBrainz and the Internet Archive . The aim of the project is to make album covers ("cover art") of the publications and "release groups" registered in MusicBrainz publicly accessible without being bound by the terms of use of a commercial provider. In addition to the images, information is also saved about the type of image (for example a picture of the front, back or a sticker).

New images are added by users of the project and go through the usual MusicBrainz peer review process. After the successful upload, the images are available both via the MusicBrainz web interface and via a programming interface. This allows the images to be made available in other applications - for example, MusicBrainz Picard from version 1.2 supports the downloading of these images and can save them together with or embedded in media files.

Integration in software

The following lists well-known programs that originate from MusicBrainz or have native MusicBrainz integration.

  • Player = playback software. Can often also play CDs.
  • CD-Ripper = program for digitizing / saving CDs
  • Tagger = program for inserting / correcting the MP3 description data ("tags") (mass tagger: specially designed for processing a large number of files)
  • Depending on the software, “support” means the ability to use the formats mentioned
    • to play
    • to edit
    • to be created (in the conversion process)

Surname Type operating system License Web link Supported formats Development status
MusicBrainz Picard Tagger Windows / macOS / Linux ( Python ) GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, Speex, MusePack, WavPack, True Audio, MP4, Monkey's Audio, TAK, Ogg-Opus active
MusicBrainz Classic Tagger Tagger Windows GPL ( Memento from April 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WAV inactive
Amarok 1 Player Linux ( KDE ) GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, AAC, Real Audio etc. a. active
Audacious (BMP fork) Player Linux / Unix GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, AAC, WAV, MusePack, WavPack, PlayStation Audio etc. a. active
banshee Player Linux ( Gnome ) WITH MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC etc. a. active
beds Tagger Linux ( Python 2 ) WITH MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, etc. a. active
Clementine Player Linux / Windows / macOS GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC etc. a. active
CDex CD ripper Windows Adware MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, WMA, etc. a. (expandable) active
Guayadeque Player Linux ( Gnome ) GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, WAV, MPC, MP4, APE etc. a. active
iEatBrainz Tagger macOS Modified BSD license ( Memento from July 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) MP3, AAC, QuickTime Compatible inactive
Jaikoz Tagger (mass tagger) Windows / macOS / Linux Shareware (£ 15) MP4, M4A, M4P, MP3, WMA, FLAC, Ogg-Vorbis active
Kid3 Tagger Windows / macOS / Linux / Android GPL various active
Magic MP3 Tagger Tagger Windows Shareware (EUR 19.00) various active
Max CD ripper macOS GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, Speex, WavePack etc. a. inactive (last version from August 29, 2009)
Mp3tag Tagger Windows Freeware MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, MP4, AAC, MusePack, TrueAudio, WavPack, Speex, etc. a. active
Quod Libet Player Linux ( GTK + ) / BSD GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, WMA, WAV, MP4, AAC, MusePack, SPC, TrueAudio, WavPack, Speex, tracker modules active
Sound juicer CD ripper Linux ( Gnome ) / Solaris / BSD / Unix GPL / LGPL (offline) MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, PCM active
Vortex box CD ripper Linux streaming server GPL MP3, FLAC active
XLD CD ripper macOS OSL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, FLAC, PCM, WAVE, AIFF ... active
Zinf (formerly FreeAmp) Player Linux / Windows / BSD / Solaris / QNX GPL MP3, Ogg-Vorbis, WAV active

See also

Web links

Commons : MusicBrainz  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Escient (CDDB company) trying to monopolize market? , March 8, 1999 (the triggering article on Slashdot)
  2. OpenSource Alternative to CDDB , March 9, 1999 (foundation of the cdindex project )
  3. ^ How Editing Works. In: MusicBrainz Wiki. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  4. ^ Release Group - MusicBrainz. In: MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  5. Work. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  6. Introduction to Voting. In: MusicBrainz Wiki. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  7. Database statistics . MusicBrainz, accessed December 31, 2019 .
  8. MusicBrainz Identifier. In: MusicBrainz Wiki. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  9. 9c6d95f9-5101-49d9-ae1c-cff73b9e3317
  10. 06b6f280-8787-4a3d-8ab6-c6487b465320
  11. ^ The BBC partners with MusicBrainz for Music Metadata. In: MusicBrainz / MetaBrainz Blog. MusicBrainz, accessed March 20, 2017 .
  12. Web Services. API Introduction., accessed March 30, 2017 .
  13. artist.getInfo., accessed March 30, 2017 .
  14. Customers. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 6, 2015 ; accessed on March 30, 2017 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. ^ AcoustID. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  16. ADVANCE NOTICE: Next version of Jaikoz will be showing new Fingerprint Service. In: Retrieved July 8, 2016 .
  17. Archived copy ( memento of the original from January 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (offline) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. Server update, 2012-04-30. In: MusicBrainz / MetaBrainz Blog. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  19. ^ Announcing the Cover Art Archive. In: MusicBrainz / MetaBrainz Blog. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  20. Cover Art / Types. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  21. Cover Art Archive / API. MusicBrainz, accessed March 30, 2017 .
  22. Change Log section "Version 0.7"