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Andy Hawkins <>
Daniel Pocock <>
A utility for tagging single album FLAC files with embedded CUE sheets
using data from the[MusicBrainz] service.
Flactag is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v3.
The latest version of flactag can always be found[here].
-[libmusicbrainz] (Version 5 required)
-[libflac++] (I used version 1.2.1)
-[S-Lang] (I used version 2.2.2 from Debian)
-[libneon] (I used version 0.27-gnutls from Debian)
-[unac] (I used version 1.8.0 from Debian)
-[libjpeg] (I used version 8b-1 from Debian)
-[asciidoc] (I used version 8.5.2 from Debian)
Building and Installing
If you take the source code directly from the repository (not a tarball),
you must run
- *autoreconf --install*
to prepare the autotools environment.
The project is built using autotools. Once you have obtained the source
code (either from the repository or a tarball), you run
- *./configure* - this will create the Makefile
- *make* - this will compile
- *make install* - this will install everything
See the help output from the *./configure* command for details about
how to change LDFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, installation directories and other
The build process should complete with no errors. You will be left
with the following executables:
- *flactag* - The main application
- *discid* - A test utility to read the disc ID from a CD
To install the software and associated scripts, simply run `make install`.
This step will need to be run as `root` if the install is being done outside of
the user's home directory.
Developer notes
When releasing a new version, it is necessary to change the version
number in ** before making a tag in the version control
To build a tarball for public distribution, use the command
- *make dist* - this will create flactag-$(VERSION).tar.gz
Ripping CDs to FLAC
*IMPORTANT: I think I found a bug in `cueconvert` which means that any FLAC
files generated from CDs that used INDEX marks to separate tracks that didn't
have any pre-gap would generate invalid disc IDs. I would urge you to use the
`checkflac` script provided to compare any disks you may have ripped with
their FLAC files to ensure that the discids match correctly. Included in this
release is a SED script which will massage the TOC file of a CD to work around
this problem. Unfortunately, the only way to recover from this is to re-rip the
To rip a CD to flac, simply enter `ripflac <basename>` (where basename is
used as the base name of the FLAC file you will be creating. The CD in the drive
will be ripped, and a FLAC file created containing an embedded CUE sheet. ripflac
takes an optional final parameter for the path to the CD drive, which defaults
to /dev/cdrom.
If the original CD contains data tracks, then the FLAC conversion will fail.
Should this happen, enter `ripdataflac <basename> <range>` (where basename is
the same one specified in the first rip attempt, and range is the range of
tracks to rip (e.g. if the CD has 13 tracks, where track 13 is the data track,
then the range would be 1-12). ripdataflac takes an optional final parameter
for the path to the CD drive, which defaults to /dev/cdrom.
During the ripping of the data CD, you will be provided with the CUE sheet in an
editor. You should delete the data track from this CUE sheet file and save it (I
will try to automate this process at some point).
Both these scripts will compare the calculated discid of the FLAC file with the
discid of the CD in the drive. If they do not match, a warning will be issued.
Using flactag
Interactive mode
If flactac is executed without any options, it will interactively process
all FLAC files given as arguments.
If the flactag utility does not find information for your CD, a URL will be
provided to submit information for it. Often the MusicBrainz server will
have information about the tracks and artist, but cannot match this up to your
CD. In these circumstances, it is simply a matter of \'associating' your CD's
DiskID with the correct album data on the MusicBrainz server. In other
instances, you may be required to enter the track and album information into the
MusicBrainz service. Once you have entered this information, you can re-run
flactag, and the data should be downloaded from the MusicBrainz server.
If the flactag utility finds information for your CD at the musicbrainz server,
the application's main window will be shown.
image:flactag.jpg[flactag interactive mode]
This contains three main areas:
- The *\'Albums'* window. This will contain a list of albums that match
the DiskID for your FLAC file.
- The *\'Tracks'* window. This contains a list of all the tracks on the
currently selected album.
- The *\'Tags'* window. At startup, this will contain a list of the tags
currently found in your FLAC file. If there are no tags present, then an empty
set appropriate for the album will be displayed. If you make changes to these
tags, an asterisk (\'*') will be displayed to indicate that this information has
been changed.
The currently active window will be highlighted by the border and window title
changing colour. To switch between the three windows, press the *TAB* key. To
scroll around the active window, use the *cursor UP* and *cursor DOWN* keys (to
scroll one line at a time) or the *PAGE UP* and *PAGE DOWN* keys (to scroll half
a page at a time). Scrolling in the *\'Albums'* window will update the information
in the *\'Tracks'* window appropriately.
Once the appropriate album has been selected, pressing *c* will copy the tags
for that album into the *\'Tags'* window. These tags can then be saved to the FLAC
file by pressing the *w* key.
Pressing *r* will rename the file based on the settings in the
configuration file (~/.flactag - this file is created automatically the first
time you run *flactag*). Note that this facility uses the tags that are
actually written to the file, so should generally be performed after the new
tags have been written. This option will be unavailable if the filename and
location are already correct.
Pressing *q* will move to the next file specified on the command line.
If all files have been processed, the application will exit.
Batch mode
Alternatively, flactag can be used in batch mode to automatically check tags,
write them and rename the file. Care should be taken when using these options.
The following command line options are understood:
- *--discid (-d)* - Display the calculated disc ID for the specified FLAC
file and exit.
- *--submit-url (-s)* - Display the URL used to submit information for this
file to the MusicBrainz service. Use this to submit data for your CD if the
data returned does not match.
- *--check (-c)* - This option will compare the file's tags against those
returned from the MusicBrainz service. A message will be displayed indicating
where the tags match or not.
- *--write (-w)* - This option implies *--check*. If the files tags differ
from those returned from the MusicBrainz service, the tags will be written to
the file.
- *--force-write (-f)* - If --write is specified then tags will be written even
if they appear to match those already in the file.
- *--rename (-r)* - The filename will be compared with that specified by the
rename rules, and if it doesn't match, the file will be renamed.
- *--overwrite-existing (-o)* - If --rename is specified then flactag will
overwrite existing files when renaming.
- *--override-discid (-O)* - Instead of calculating disc ID from the cuesheet,
flactag will use the provided disc ID to query MusicBrainz. Only one FLAC
file can be processed when this option is used. This is useful if you
do not want to add the disc ID to the real MusicBrainz database, for
example: because the original disc has not been sighted, the FLAC was
made by ripping a disc that was only a copy of the original and
the copy was not made in disc-at-once mode.
Example uses of these options could be as follows (note the use of the find
option \'-print0' and the xargs option \'-0' to handle filenames containing
Report on the tags of all FLAC files
`find /var/spool/music -name "*.flac" -print0 | xargs -0 flactag --check`
Tag and rename all flac files
`find /var/spool/music -name "*.flac" -print0 | xargs -0 flactag --write --rename`
File Renaming Details
The following configuration file (~/.flactag) entries affect file renaming:
- *BasePath* - This is the 'root' directory of where your music files
should be stored. (e.g. /var/spool/music)
- *SingleDiskFileName* - This template is used to rename disks that
are not part of a multi-disk set.
- *MultiDiskFileName* - This template is used to rename disks that
are part of a multi-disk set.
- *DirectoryCreatePermissions* - The permissions to be set on any
directory that is created (e.g. 0755).
- *CreateCuesheetAfterRename* - If set to true, flactag will generate
a cuesheet file to accompany the renamed FLAC file.
The FileName templates can accept the following parameters:
- *%A* - This will be replaced with the artist name
- *%S* - This will be replaced with the artist sort name
- *%T* - This will be replaced with the album title
- *%D* - This will be replaced with the disk number
- *%Y* - This will be replaced with the year
- *%G* - This will be replaced with the genre
- *%1* - This will be replaced with the first character of the artist sort name
- *%E* - This will be replaced by the appropriate filename extension (flac or cue)
If any item is used but does not have a value, then it will be stored as (for
example) NOGENRE (if the genre tag is empty).
Using A Different Musicbrainz Server
To use a different MusicBrainz server (for example if you have a local mirror)
you can set the 'Server' and 'Port' parameters in the configuration file.
Bugs / Limitations / Future Enhancements
- Once changes are written to the FLAC file, there is no way of reverting
back to the original tags.
Problems / Suggestions
If you have any problems with the software, or suggestions for improvements or
new features, then please report them[here].
There are two mailing lists for[discussion] and[announcements],
which would be a good place to start for any questions. These lists are gated
via[GMane] as and respectively.
Version History
v2.0.4 - 19th June 2012
- Fix Debian bug #677296 - Don't write negative times in CUE sheets
- Resolve realpath related compilation issues on Hurd
v2.0.3 - 7th June 2012
- Have iconv transliterate characters wherever possible
- Correctly initialise UTF-8 in slang
- Fix memory issues when writing picture blocks
- Fix crash under debian unstable 64 due to incorrect buffer size passed to realpath
- Correctly check return value from realpath
- Allow user to pass path to cdrom drive in ripflac and ripdataflac
v2.0.2 - 18th May 2012
- Build system updates
- Fix bug passing incorrect buffer size to realpath
- Update to use libmusicbrainz5
v2.0.1 - 18th April 2012
- Change license to GPL v3
- Documentation updates
v2.0.0 - 17th April 2012
- Build system updated to use autotools (submitted by Daniel Pocock)
- Updated to work with MusicBrainz NGS using libmusicbrainz4
- Add ability to generate CUE file containing appropriate tag information (submitted by Daniel Pocock)
- Add ability to specify disk id rather than using the one derived from the CUE sheet (submitted by Daniel Pocock)
- More work on packaging for Debian
- Add ability to specify both server and port to query
v1.1 - 16th December 2008
- Scripts no longer have '.sh' extension
- Initial work on packaging for Debian
- More consistent mechanism for delaying requests to MusicBrainz
- Fix file name building issues if base path is '.'
- Handle presence and absence of trailing '/' in base path
- New option '--overwrite-existing' when renaming files
- Fix compilation problems caused by newer gcc
- Switch to neon for downloading image files
v1.1RC1 - 17th July 2008
- Use new version of MusicBrainz library
- Correctly handle exceptions generated
- Limit rate of requests to MusicBrainz server
- Append '(Single)' to end of names of singles
- Removed '--force-multi' option from command line. Now compare stored MUSICBRAINZ_ALBUMID
if multiple releases are returned.
- Store embedded cover art
v1.0 - 27th September 2007
- Handle PICTURE block if library supports it
v1.0RC2 - 10th January 2007
- Add install target to install application and associated scripts
- Documentation now generated using asciidoc
- Scripts for ripping now included (including modification of TOC files where necessary)
- PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN can now be used for scrolling in windows
- Always use index number 1 when calculating TOC for FLAC file
- Convert accented characters to standard characters in filenames
- Add --discid option to report calculated discid for FLAC file
- Fix various compilation errors on some systems
- Report differences in tags when using --check option
- Compare real path of file (not path used in command line which could be
relative) to see if renaming should be allowed
- Don't write ALBUMARTIST tag (causes problems with artist sorting in current SlimServer software)
- Add --force-write option
- Correctly write UTF8 values for tags
v1.0-RC1 - 12th October 2006
- Add command line options and ability to handle more than one FLAC file
- Store cover art embedded into file tags
- Handle console screen size changes
- Retrieve more tags from MusicBrainz
v0.04 - 23rd September 2006
- Software released under the GPL
- Add ability to rename file after tagging
- Add logging capability (all log messages are queued and display on exit)
- Add facility to download album cover art from Amazon
- Store more Musicbrainz related information in tags
v0.03 - 18th September 2006
- Fix serious bug in generating submission URLs
v0.02 - 18th September 2006
- Correctly handle multi-album disc sets
- Include ARTISTSORT tag
- Retrieve Amazon ASIN in preparation for downloading cover art
v0.01 - 16th September 2006
- Initial version