Tag Music Automatically With An Online CDDB


What is CDDB?

CDDB stands for Compact Disc Database. It is an online database that stores information about audio CDs, including track titles, artist names, album names, and other metadata. CDDB allows users to automatically tag their music files with accurate and detailed information, making it easier to organize and manage their digital music collections.

The CDDB database was created to address the issue of inconsistent and incorrect CD track listings. Before CDDB, users had to manually enter the information for each CD they ripped to their computer, which was time-consuming and prone to errors. CDDB revolutionized this process by offering a centralized and accurate source of CD information.

CDDB was initially developed by Ti Kan and Steve Scherf in the early 1990s. It works on a crowd-sourced model, where users contribute their CD track information to the database. When a user inserts a CD into their computer, CDDB software or media players will query the database and retrieve the corresponding information based on the CD’s unique identification code, known as a “disc ID.”

CDDB entries are verified and curated by a team of editors to ensure accuracy and consistency. This collaborative approach has resulted in a comprehensive database with millions of CD entries across various genres and languages. CDDB has become an essential tool for music enthusiasts, DJs, and music library software developers.

Furthermore, CDDB has played a significant role in the evolution of music streaming platforms and digital music services. Many online music databases and streaming services integrate CDDB functionality to automatically retrieve track information for the CDs in their libraries, enhancing the user experience and making it easier to discover and enjoy music.

How does CDDB work?

CDDB operates on a simple yet ingenious system that allows users to retrieve accurate and up-to-date information about audio CDs. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Disc recognition: When a user inserts a CD into their computer, CDDB-enabled software or media players analyze the CD’s contents and generate a unique identification code called a “disc ID.” This code is usually based on the number and sequence of tracks on the CD, along with other identifying information.
  2. Database query: Using the disc ID, the CDDB software sends a query to the online CDDB database, requesting information about the CD. The database matches the disc ID with existing entries and returns the relevant metadata, such as track titles, artist names, and album information.
  3. Metadata retrieval: Once the database provides the metadata, the CDDB software retrieves it and displays the information to the user. This allows users to automatically tag their music files with accurate and consistent information.

The brilliance of CDDB lies in its collaborative approach. When a user’s CD is not found in the database, their software prompts them to submit the CD’s information. Users can manually enter the track titles, artist names, and other relevant details, along with the disc ID, thus contributing to the expansion and accuracy of the database.

CDDB employs a matching algorithm to compare the submitted disc ID and track information with existing entries. If a match is found, the user’s contribution is merged with the existing entry. If no match is found, a new entry is created in the database, which can be utilized by other users who have the same CD.

The database is constantly evolving and being updated as new CDs are released and contributions from users are made. This ensures that the information remains accurate and up-to-date, allowing users to access the correct metadata for their CDs.

How to use CDDB to automatically tag music?

Using CDDB to automatically tag music is a simple and efficient process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Install CDDB-enabled software: Start by installing a CD ripping software or media player that is equipped with CDDB functionality. Popular software options include iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Exact Audio Copy. These applications will automatically query CDDB when you insert a CD into your computer.
  2. Connect to the internet: Ensure that your computer is connected to the internet before attempting to use CDDB. The software needs an active internet connection to query the online CDDB database and retrieve the relevant track information.
  3. Insert the CD: Insert the audio CD that you want to tag into your computer’s CD/DVD drive. The CDDB-enabled software will recognize the CD and initiate the process of retrieving the metadata.
  4. Wait for CDDB query: Once the CD is recognized, the software will send a query to the CDDB database using the disc ID. It may take a few seconds for the software to retrieve the information, depending on your internet connection speed and the size of the database.
  5. Review and confirm the metadata: Once the software has retrieved the metadata from CDDB, it will display the information to you, including the track titles, artist names, and album details. Review the information to ensure its accuracy.
  6. Tag the music files: After confirming the metadata, the software will provide an option to automatically tag the music files with the retrieved information. Click on the “Tag” or similar button to apply the metadata to your music files. The software will update the file tags accordingly.
  7. Verify the tagged files: After tagging the music files, you can verify the changes by checking the metadata of the files using file explorer or media player software. The tagged files should now display the accurate track information.

By following these steps, you can conveniently use CDDB to automatically tag your music files with accurate and consistent information, saving you time and effort in manually entering the metadata.

Benefits of using CDDB to tag music

Using CDDB to tag music files with accurate and detailed information offers several benefits for music enthusiasts, DJs, and anyone who wants to organize their digital music collection. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Time-saving: Manually entering track titles, artist names, and album details for each music file can be a tedious and time-consuming task. CDDB eliminates the need for manual input by automatically retrieving the metadata from the online database, saving you valuable time and effort.
  2. Accurate and consistent metadata: CDDB provides a reliable source of information for audio CDs, ensuring that the retrieved metadata is accurate and consistent. This allows for a well-organized music collection with unified and correct track information.
  3. Improved organization and searchability: By tagging music files with CDDB information, you can easily sort and search your music library based on album names, artist names, and track titles. This makes it effortless to find specific songs or albums, enhancing your overall music-listening experience.
  4. Enhanced music discovery: CDDB allows you to discover new music based on similar albums or related artists. The accurate metadata associated with your music files enables music streaming platforms and music recommendation systems to suggest similar tracks or artists that align with your preferences.
  5. Consistent metadata across devices: If you use multiple devices to listen to music, such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet, using CDDB ensures that the metadata remains consistent across all devices. This means that regardless of which device you use, you will see the same accurate track information.
  6. Compatibility with various media players and software: CDDB functionality is commonly integrated into popular media players and music library software, making it accessible and compatible with a wide range of platforms. This ensures that you can use CDDB with the software of your choice.
  7. Contribution to the CDDB database: By using CDDB, you also have the opportunity to contribute to the online database by submitting CD information that is not already available. This helps expand the database and ensures that future users can benefit from your contributions.

Popular online CDDB services

Over the years, several online CDDB services have emerged, providing reliable and comprehensive databases to retrieve CD information and tag music files automatically. Here are some of the most popular online CDDB services:

  1. Gracenote: Gracenote is one of the leading providers of CDDB services and has a vast database of CD information across different genres and languages. It offers developers access to its database through APIs, allowing them to integrate CDDB functionality into their applications. Gracenote is widely used by media players, music library software, and online music services.
  2. AllMusic: AllMusic is a popular CDDB service that specializes in providing detailed music information, including biographies, discographies, and album reviews. It covers a wide range of music genres and is known for its comprehensive and accurate metadata. AllMusic offers an API for developers to access its database and integrate CDDB functionality into their applications.
  3. MusicBrainz: MusicBrainz is a community-driven open-source CDDB service that focuses on providing high-quality metadata. It relies on user contributions to maintain and update its database, ensuring accuracy and completeness. MusicBrainz offers an API and a powerful tagging tool called Picard, which can automatically tag music files based on the MusicBrainz database.
  4. FreeDB: FreeDB is a free and open CDDB service that gained popularity in the early days of digital music. It was created as an alternative to the commercial CDDB and relies on user contributions to maintain its database. Although FreeDB has faced some challenges in recent years, it still remains a viable option for those looking for a free and community-driven CDDB service.
  5. is a dedicated CDDB service that hosts a large database of CD information. It offers a simple and user-friendly interface to search and retrieve CD metadata, making it a convenient option for music enthusiasts. provides information on track titles, artist names, and album details, allowing users to tag their music files accurately.

These popular online CDDB services have played a crucial role in simplifying the process of automatically tagging music files with accurate and comprehensive metadata. Consider exploring these services to enhance your music collection and improve the organization of your digital music library.

Alternative ways to tag music

In addition to using online CDDB services, there are alternative methods available to tag music files with accurate and detailed information. These methods can be useful if CDDB services are not available or if you prefer a different approach. Here are some alternative ways to tag music:

  1. Manual tagging: One of the simplest methods is manually tagging your music files using a music player or music library software. You can enter the track titles, artist names, album details, and other metadata directly into the software. While this can be time-consuming, it gives you complete control over the tagging process.
  2. Music identification apps: There are various music identification apps available for smartphones and tablets, such as Shazam and SoundHound. These apps use audio fingerprinting technology to analyze a snippet of a song and provide accurate metadata. You can then transfer this metadata to your music files manually.
  3. Metadata editors: Metadata editors, such as Mp3tag and MusicBrainz Picard, offer advanced tagging features and allow you to manually edit or add metadata to your music files. These tools can perform batch tagging, saving significant time if you have a large music library.
  4. Album art downloaders: Album art plays a significant role in visually enriching your music collection. Various programs and websites, like Album Art Downloader and, allow you to download high-quality album covers and associate them with your music files. This enhances the overall visual experience when browsing your music library.
  5. File renaming utilities: File renaming utilities, such as Bulk Rename Utility and Advanced Renamer, can be useful for organizing your music files and renaming them based on their metadata. These tools allow you to customize the naming format, including track numbers, artist names, and song titles.
  6. Collaborative databases: Collaborative databases, like Discogs and RateYourMusic, rely on user contributions to compile extensive collections of music information. These databases feature user-generated content, including album details, track listings, and artist biographies. You can manually search for the desired album and retrieve the metadata to tag your music files.

These alternative methods provide flexibility and customization when it comes to tagging your music files. Depending on your preference and the availability of CDDB services, you can choose the method that best suits your needs and helps you maintain an organized and well-tagged music collection.