If you’re sick of manually tagging music files on Linux, you’ll be interested to know that it’s possible to automate it, using MusicBrainz Picard. It can scan your existing music files on Linux, look through them, and assign the correct ID3 tags.
Install MusicBrainz Picard on Linux
Before going over how to use MusicBrainz Picard to auto tag music files on Linux, we must demonstrate how to install the program. So, in this section of the guide, we’ll go over several ways to get the app working.
Note: MusicBrainz Picard works on almost all Linux distributions, and packages are available for Arch Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and even Flatpak.
To start the installation, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, from there, follow the command-line instructions that match the Linux operating system you use.
MusicBrainz Picard is installable on Ubuntu Linux via a PPA. To enable this PPA, use the following add-apt-repository command.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:musicbrainz-developers/stable
After adding in the PPA to Ubuntu, the update command must be run.
sudo apt update
Finally, install MusicBrainz Picard on your Ubuntu PC with the apt install command.
sudo apt install picard
The MusicBrainz Picard application is available to all Debian Linux users in the “Main” software repository. Install it with the following apt-get command.
sudo apt-get install picard
MusicBrainz Picard is in the Arch Linux “Community” software repository. So, enable “Community” in the Pacman.conf file (if you haven’t already). Then, install the app with the Pacman command below.
sudo pacman -S picard
On Fedora Linux, you can get the Picard application directly from the official software repository. To install, use the following Dnf command.
sudo dnf install picard
The MusicBrainz Picard app is available for installation on OpenSUSE via the “Oss all” software repository. To get it going on your system, use the Zypper command below.
sudo zypper install picard
MusicBrainz Picard is on Flathub as a Flatpak. If you’d like to install it as a Flatpak on your Linux PC, start by enabling the Flatpak runtime. Once the runtime is activated and ready to go, use the following Flatpak commands in a terminal window to install Picard.
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
flatpak install flathub org.musicbrainz.Picard
Auto tag music files on Linux
To auto-tag, your music files in the MusicBrainz Picard application, start by opening the application on your Linux desktop. To open the program, go to “multimedia” in the app menu, and select “MusicBrainz Picard.” Alternatively, press Alt + F2 on the keyboard, write the command in below, and press Enter to launch.
With the Picard app open, locate the “Add Folder” button and select it to bring up the file browser window. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to use the automatic tag feature.
Step 1: Inside of the file browser window that opens after clicking “Add Folder,” browse for your music directory, or an individual album directory and select it to load music files into the program.
Step 2: Under the “Unclustered Files” folder, select each music file by holding down the Ctrl button as you click. Alternatively, press Ctrl + A on the keyboard, and Picard will automatically highlight all files under “Unclustered Files.”
Step 3: Now that all of the music files are selected and highlighted, locate the “Scan” button in the menu bar in Picard and click it. Selecting “Scan” will run each music file against Picard’s online database and find the best matches for the files.
Step 4: Once Picard is done scanning all of your music files against an online database, matches for each music file will show up in the right-hand side of the app. Find each music file with a green box next to it, hold down the Ctrl button, and highlight each of them with the mouse.
Step 5: With all of the matched music files selected, locate the “Save” button and click it to save the new tag information to the music files.
After saving the new tag information to the music files, restart your music player. Upon re-launch, the player should instantly see the changes and adjust accordingly.
Manual tagging with Picard
Aside from automatically tagging music files in Picard, it is also possible to set information manually. To do this, load up music files into the app by selecting “Add Folder,” or “Add Files.” Then, go to the tag pane at the bottom, find a value you’d like to change, right-click on it, and select “Edit” to change it.
After you’re done editing, select the file with the mouse, and click the “Save” button to save the new tag information to the music file.