Search for song names in freedb etc.?

I just started using Mp3tag last week, before that I only used iTunes. It's taken some learning, but Mp3tag seems very useful so far!

I have a lot of files with no tags, that just have artist and song name, or just the song name, in the file name. I want to search freedb to find the album, so I can get tags and cover.

If I use freedb "determine via web search", and put the song name in, and uncheck Artist and Album (leaving only Title), I always get "the query returned no results".

Using Advanced Search on the freedb web site it's the same, if I only check Track (what Mp3tag calls Title), I always get "no results". Is it broken, or am I misunderstanding something? I installed the local freedb database, but it seems you can only search Artist and Album, not song name. Isn't there some way to search freedb for Artist AND Title (track name), or just Title?

With MusicBrainz, I'm only able to search for Album. Am I missing some way to search also on Artist and/or Title? I can do it on the web site, but it would be nice if I could do it directly in Mp3tag. Amazon is also only Album search. Also a lot of the time, neither of them have the data, but freedb does. I don't know about Discogs, since I didn't get an account yet...

Any advice?

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The problem is that a title can appear on so and so many albums. You may find it on the original album, the EP, the greatest hits, the best of, the live album, the maxi version, the editted version, the compilation version, the video version. And so on.

If you want to use it to search for covers, then treat (in a first approximation) every track as an EP version and copy TITLE to ALBUM.
Use an action of the type "Format value" for ALBUM for that:
Format string: %title%
(more on actions, see the FAQs /t/967/1

Thanks for your answer, but I'm still confused. Because I'm new to Mp3tag, I don't know whether the freedb search is meant to work this way and I don't understand it, or whether it's broken.

What is the purpose of the "Title" checkbox in the "freedb web search" window? Why is the song name automatically included in the search terms? Is it possible to search including the song titles in freedb or is it not possible?

If I copy Title to Album, then the search returns albums by other artists, with album names similar to the song name. It doesn't return albums that contain the song. So that doesn't help, I don't see the point in doing that?

It seems that even though the freedb, Amazon, and MusicBrainz databases contain song name information, it's not possible to use song names in search terms at all in Mp3tag. Is that correct?

As I said: the combination artist/title is not unique, the combination artist/album is.

To see other web sources that allow to search for other criteria, see e.g.
or the web sources in general

The combination artist/album isn't unique either. An artist/album search on MusicBrainz, for Talking Heads / Remain in Light, gives 17 different results. An artist/title search for Talking Heads / The Overload (one of the tracks), gives 22 results, 17 of which are the Remain in Light album... Searching for artist/title is not so hopeless! In many cases it's really no less unique than artist/album, even for popular artists like Talking Heads, and especially for lesser-known artists that don't have the luxury of "Greatest Hits" albums and so on...

Today I signed up for a Discogs account, and after a lot of monkeying around installing the Pone Mod and applying the various patches to get it to work, I can now search on Artist + Title. So that is very helpful!

Still, I can't find an answer to my original questions:

  1. There's a checkbox for "Title" in the freedb web search box. Does it do something, or is it broken?
  2. Is it possible to search MusicBrainz with artist/title? I found an old script "MusicBrainz-ALB.src", but it doesn't work. Must I learn to write my own script for it - or is it even then impossible?

I just went to the freedb site

and searched for "dire straits walk of life" and got the following result:

"25011 result(s) found displayed on 2502 page(s)."

Such a result can not really be displayed in MP3tag is more or less useless as you probably do not want to go through 25011 hits.

Even though the album search does not deliver unique results, it still gives fewer hits than the title search for the same artist.

You could try "musicbrainz picard" that tries to find fitting albums for a combination of titles. But the results are mostly surprising.

It appears that the Title (Track) search function for freedb is broken. Even though Mp3tag says it will search for song titles, the checkbox has no effect. Song titles are never searched. Any song title information in the search terms is only added to the search of the Artist and Album fields, giving wrong results.

I think that Mp3tag (and the freedb website) should remove the Title checkbox from the search box, because it's confusing to users. And Mp3tag should not include the song title in the search terms, because it only contributes to bad results. I see this as a bug in Mp3tag. But since I'm a new user, I thought maybe I don't understand something. If anyone has any information to clarify that, I'm happy to hear it.

The Pone discogs artist/title search is very useful. It has already saved me a lot of time. It would be great if it was possible to do this also on freedb or MusicBrainz. If anyone has some useful information to add, about whether it's possible or not possible in Mp3tag, again I'd be happy to hear it.

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See there ...

Words: how will i know
Search: Title
Results: 59842 result(s) found displayed on 5985 page(s).
At position 8: Whitney Houston / How Will I Know

Words: houston how will i know
Search: Artist Title
Results: 68228 result(s) found displayed on 6823 page(s).
At position 1: Whitney Houston / How Will I Know

This freedb search works as designed.

"Tag Sources" search from within Mp3tag, determine via web search ...
Text: Whitney Houston / How Will I Know
Search: Artist Album Title
Result: 10 results from the database freedb.

"Tag Sources" search from within Mp3tag, determine via freedb local search ...
gives the searched result among a list of other likely freedb disc IDs from this artist.

The Mp3tag services work as designed.


"Title" on the freedb website corresponds to "Album" in Mp3tag. I will call this Album(Title).

"Track" on the freedb website corresponds to "Title" in Mp3tag. I will call this Title(Track).

The search terms are used to search the Artist and Album(Title) fields, but the Title(Track) field is never searched, even if the Title(Track) box is checked.

A search for Artist + Title(Track) will always return all releases by that artist, not only the ones containing that track. It will also return other releases containing those words in the Artist or Album(Title) fields. It will never return a release that has the words only in the track list, but not in the Artist or Album(Title).

In 1., you have searched the Album(Title) field for: how will i know. The results contain a single, released by Whitney Houston, because it has the Album(Title) name "How Will I Know". But I think if you look through all 59842 results, you will see that they do not contain the album named "Whitney Houston", by Whitney Houston, which contains the track "How Will I Know". That album has "how will i know" neither in the Artist nor Album(Title) fields, so it will never be returned by a search for only "how will i know".

If you would spend a few more minutes testing with some different search terms, it should be clear that exclusively the Artist and Album(Title) fields of the database are being searched. The Title(Track) fields are never searched, and do not contribute to the results. If you include a song name in the search terms, it will only be used to search in the Artist and Album(Title) fields.

The Title(Track) search does not work at all. It is not possible to search for song titles contained in the Title(Track) fields, regardless of the state of the Title(Track) checkbox.

If freedb would fix its website, so that checking the Title(Track) box would allow searching the Title(Track) field of the database, then Mp3tag would also work. If it will not be fixed in the near future though, it would be better to disable the non-working feature, both on the website and in Mp3tag.

Using the search machine at ...
... there is no problem to get results ...
for the words: "how will i know", ...
when selecting "Artist" and "Track" together.
Maybe this is a reasonable setup, because a search only on Track-Title would return millions of hits for these words.


You must use quote marks to search for phrases, on the freedb website.

A search for:
"how will i know"
...with Artist and Track selected, gives zero results. There are no Artists named "How Will I Know", and Track information in the database is never searched.

A search for:
"Whitney Houston" "How Will I Know"
...with Artist and Track selected, gives exactly the same 620 results as the same search, with Track not selected. A search for:
"Whitney Houston" "Hey Jude" again the same 620 results, since there is no artist named "Hey Jude". Finally, a search for only:
"Whitney Houston"
...also gives the same 620 results.

Selecting Track has no effect. When searching with Artist and Track selected, only the Artist field of the database is searched, using "search term 1" OR "search term 2", and so on. It is not possible to search inside the Track information in the database. It is not possible to narrow the search results from an Artist search, by including the Track name. There is no difference between searching only for artist, and searching for artist + song name, except that also artists with the same name as song name will be returned.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Automatically search by artist and title