Software:MusicBrainz Picard

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Short description: Free and open source audio tagger

MusicBrainz Picard
MusicBrainz Picard logo.svg
MusicBrainz Picard 2.7 screenshot.png
MusicBrainz Picard 2.7 running in the KDE desktop environment
Stable release
2.8.5 / 6 December 2022; 10 months ago (2022-12-06)[1]
Written inPython
Operating systemLinux, macOS, Windows
Typetag editor, acoustic fingerprinter
LicenseGPL 2 or later

MusicBrainz Picard is a free and open-source software application for identifying, tagging, and organising digital audio recordings.[2] It was developed by the MetaBrainz Foundation, a non-profit company that also operates the MusicBrainz database.

Picard identifies audio files and compact discs by comparing either their metadata or their acoustic fingerprints with records in the database.[2] Audio file metadata (or "tags") are a means for storing information about a recording in the file. When Picard identifies an audio file, it can add new information to it, such as the recording artist, the album title, the record label, and the date of release.[3] In some cases, it can also add more detailed information, such as lists of performers and their instruments. The source of this information is the MusicBrainz database, which is curated by volunteers. The more information the database has about a recording, the more Picard can embed in users' audio files.

MusicBrainz Picard has tag editing features, and is extensible with plug-ins. It is named for Captain Jean-Luc Picard, a character in the US television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Picard began as a tag editor called the MusicBrainz Tagger, which was the work of MusicBrainz founder Robert Kaye and other volunteers. It was developed in the Python programming language, and ran only on Microsoft Windows operating systems.

This early incarnation of the program could identify songs based on tags or MusicDNS acoustic fingerprints. However, Kaye saw that it needed cosmetic and functional improvements.[4] Streaming media company RealNetworks took an interest in MusicBrainz, and gave the developers a grant to improve the Tagger software.[4]

As a sponsor of the development project, RealNetworks asked Kaye to come up with a project code name.[4] Since Kaye was trying to make a "next-generation tagger", he thought of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Patrick Stewart plays the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.[4] Although Kaye intended the name Picard to be temporary, MusicBrainz Picard remains the official name of the program.[4]

With funding from RealNetworks, MusicBrainz developers designed a new user interface for Picard. When the new software identified tracks, it grouped them by album in a collapsible tree view. The developers also switched from a software library called wxPython to another called PyQt, and ported Picard to the operating systems Linux and macOS.

In 2009, Picard's developers replaced the MusicDNS acoustic fingerprinting system with AcoustID.

In 2017, Picard's development version was made available on PyPi, supporting Windows, Linux and macOS.[5]

In 2018, Picard 2.0 was released with support for Python 3, PyQt5 and a new and improved UI.[6]

Supported file formats

Picard supports these audio file formats:[7]

Audio file format Data compression Metadata container
AAC Lossy iTunes MP4
Apple Lossless Lossless iTunes MP4
FLAC Lossless Vorbis comment
Monkey's Audio Lossless APEv2 tag
MP3 Lossy ID3
Musepack Lossy APEv2 tag
Ogg Vorbis Lossy Vorbis comment
OptimFROG Lossless APEv2 tag
Opus Lossy Vorbis comment
Speex Lossy Vorbis comment
TTA Lossless ID3
WAV Lossless N/A
WavPack Lossless APEv2 tag
Windows Media Audio Both ASF


External links