CDDB: a smart way to tag your music library

The term CDDB is an acronym for “Compact Disc Database” (CD Database), which is an online resource that helps identify music automatically. This system allows you to know the name of an audio CD (and its content) as well as the titles already present in a digital music library.

When organizing your music, you may have come across this technology when using a tool from tagged music or CD ripping. In the case of a typical program of tear CDs, the ripped songs are usually named automatically and the information of the music label concerned.

How can I use a CDDB to automatically tag digital music?

This identification system has the potential to save a lot of time in the management and organization of digital music libraries. Libraries containing hundreds or even thousands of songs would require users to manually enter artist names and titles, as well as other metadata information that is normally stored in audio files. CDDB automates this process.

But what kind of software use CDDB? The main types of applications that typically use CDDB for automatic music tagging include:

  • Software media players: Popular programs like iTunes, Windows Media Player, and VLC Media Player can use various online CDDBs to properly name, tag, and organize your digital audio files. If you also use your favorite jukebox software to rip audio CDs, it most likely has the ability to contact a CDDB server to identify the audio CD and provide information about its contents.
  • Standalone CD ripping software: If you prefer to use CD ripping software, you may have the option of using a CDDB. Dedicated audio CD ripping tools are usually quite fast, which is a plus if you have a lot of audio CDs to transfer and label.
  • Metadata markup tools: You may have already ripped many of your audio CDs without using CDDB, either because the media player software you used did not have the capability or was disabled. However, you can use a metadata markup tool to retroactively access a CDDB. Popular programs such as MusicBrainz Picard and TigoTago use this method to efficiently label files and group them into albums.

Why isn’t this information already stored on an audio CD?

When the CD format was created, it was not necessary to include metadata such as song title, album name, artist and genre. The closest CD to having music labels was the invention of CD-Text. It was an extension ofl Red Book CD Format to store some attributes, but not all audio CDs had it encoded. In any case, players multimedia What itunes they cannot use this information.

CDDB was invented to compensate for this lack of metadata when using audio CDs. Ti Kan (the inventor of the CCDB) saw this flaw in the design of the CD from audio and initially developed an offline database to search for this information. The system was originally designed for a music player which he developed and called XMCD, which was a combination of CD player and tool from tear



Over time, an online version of CDDB was developed with the help of Steve Scherf and Graham Toal. The goal was to produce a freely accessible online database that software could use to look up information about CDs.

How does the CDDB system actually work?

CDDB works by calculating a disc identifier to accurately identify an audio CD. Instead of using a system that simply identifies individual tracks, like CD-Text CDDB uses a disc identification reference code so that the software can query the CDDB server and download all attributes associated with the original CD, such as CD name, track titles, artist name, etc.

To create a unique disc ID for the CDDB, an algorithm is used to analyze information about the audio CD, such as the length of each track and the playback order.