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Old 15th May 2014, 20:48   #1
Alain Gheysens
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CDDB problems (Gracenote Services No Longer Work In Winamp: Reason Why Explained)

I'm using Winamp since many years and work today with latest release 5.666 Build 3516.
Everything always worked whithout problems since a few months except starting from yesterday afternoon may 14th.
It became impossible to submit a song for tags and that even for those who were already checked and filled some weeks ago. Each time I get the same reply : no file matching.
As I have a few Pc's, I tried the same on all the others but each gives me the same reply.
I'm also using "MusicBrainz Picard" and there I get positive results.
Is there some problem with the Gracenote plugins?
On one machine, I used regsvr32 to register the "dll" files but to no avail.
This looks very strange and I really need some help or explanation regarding this problem.
Thank you for some reply concerning this problem.
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Old 15th May 2014, 21:13   #2
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it looks like the access Winamp had to Gracenote's services has been terminated and is the reason why things have stopped working.

this was going to happen anyway as a result of the sale of Winamp and SHOUTcast in January where the deal with them was not going to be renewed (and if Winamp and SHOUTcast hadn't been bought, what you're now seeing would have happened anyway), but we weren't at all sure when things were going to stop working (as all that was known is it might be sometime between the start of 2014 and early 2015).

as such until a new Winamp client is released with a Musicbrainz based solution (as we're not aiming to have a new client out until the end of the year due to the mass of work required to remove / replace the AOL / Gracenote specific parts), there's not much i can really suggest at the time on what can be done as an alternative for the Gracenote powered features.
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Old 16th May 2014, 09:13   #3
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I saw this too yesterday. Does anyone have another method/software that does the same thing? With iTunes for example when trying to update the file info it says that I have to import the songs with iTunes in order to do that (I guess from the original CD or something...?). So it can't be done when dragging a song into the file library.
I guess there's plenty of people here that used to update the file infos for the mp3's with the auto-tag option. So if anyone can suggest another program, please let me know.
Sadly that this happened...
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Old 16th May 2014, 10:20   #4
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http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

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Old 16th May 2014, 10:33   #5
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Thanks DrO - I was pulling my hair out trying to fix this yesterday - I guess the clue was it no longer shows 'powered by gracenote' during the look-up.

I found the auto tagging exceeding accurate - somehow identifying the correct album tag with seemingly identical tracks (eg it would know which track was from the greatest hits) and with a few tagging clues, it would have a good guess at identifying home ripped albums and tapes.

Its power derived from audio finger printing, and this is not a common feature available for home use. Other tagging apps rely on all the tracks from the CD being present and in the correct order and often that you know the precise album name - if you mistag in the first place, then having lost the original track order, I find it difficult to recover, other than manually tagging them.

Picard (musicbrainz) is a popular app and does fingerprint, but I found the version for PC hopeless, and it is unclear what is going on at all. No thanks.
MegaTogger 5.1 also uses the musicbrainz finngerprint db, presumably as you intend to implement, and its interface is much much better, but it will only correct the title and artist tags.
Better than nothing. It gets a lot right, but incorrectly identifies classic chart number 1's so either the database is pretty basic, the fingerprinting ambiguous, or it lacks the fuzzy logic of the gracenote processing. Maybe the db will have improved by the time of the winamp release.

If there are some better audio finger printers available, then my initial search has not discovered them.
I am surprised google or someone has not offered to pay for the winamp tagging function in return for profile information - if it knows exactly what we are listening to, it can sell us more.
Not ideal, but everything has a price, as we have just found out.
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Old 16th May 2014, 11:10   #6
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whatever the system used, it's only as good as the information which people put into it and personally i found Gracenote's CDDB lookups very hit and miss (or just people don't care about getting things correct compared to the actual titling on the CD case itself!).

how Winamp's version will be is still something i'm planning (since we'd been working on a 2015 termination of the Gracenote access, although it's one of the top features we've got to get replaced before a new release is provided anyway).

Picard isn't too bad i find, though it really depends on what has been put in previously (or rather not as seems to be your case).
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Old 16th May 2014, 11:30   #7
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Bugger looks like I'm going to have to re-install Nero for Gracenote CD lookups.

I never had a problem with the Gracenote CDDB It helped me greatly with my tagging.



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Old 16th May 2014, 11:36   #8
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manually updating of information in Winamp should still work, but yes it's a pain (especially as i've had to buy some new CDs so i'm going to be able to check out things during testing).

considering the poor communication which came from Gracenote when under the prior ownership (not being informed the buggy SDK we had to use was EOL'd for example - which to support their new SDK meant a re-write of the functionality anyway), i'm somewhat anti-Gracenote. especially with the sort of financial numbers that they're expecting to keep using their service which is just exorbitant (and not viable for a free player like we are).

hence why we're changing to more open / free solutions. which is no more different than having to re-write things to use their newer SDK and more importantly by not using Gracenote, we're able to consider making use of a wider range of services instead of being dependent upon a single one which has its issues as we're clearly seeing now. since the Gracenote terms prevented using alternative sources for tag lookup, etc.

so it's going to be painful for those who need such functionality, but in the long run we should have a better solution available than what went before (as well as hopefully re-instating the ability to do cover art lookup which hasn't been enabled for 2yrs due to licensing "crap").
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Old 16th May 2014, 22:17   #9
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is there any pugin you can recommend i can use to get albumart+IDTag info for winamp? i really love winamp and hate using a different media player, just so i can arrange my entire song collection. i have to tag 5K+ songs, and i need something to help me do it...
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Old 17th May 2014, 16:36   #10
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how to incorporate mp3tag to winamp since cddb is no longer working?


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Old 17th May 2014, 17:15   #11
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you have to use it externally of Winamp since it's an external program. or just manually input the CD details via the 'edit info' option present on the CD views (which should still work without issue).
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Old 17th May 2014, 17:25   #12
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Gracenote

Thanks, dolts at Winamp! No notice this was happening, nothing. Meantime I use WMP to rip and automatically tag and wait for winamp to scan local libraries to add the complete info. Settings at options>preferences.
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Old 17th May 2014, 17:34   #13
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have you read my first reply in this thread? as under the new ownership (since Winamp was sold in January instead of being completely killed off as was the alternative), we didn't know when the Gracenote access was going to be stopped (as we're not parle of any contractual agreements AOL and Gracenote had and has been reinforced, Gracenote didn't particularly care about Winamp now that the massive payments they took have ended!) so it would not be possible to provide any notice of it (especially as it wasn't clear if it was going to happen in 2014 or 2015).

so i can only apologise for the issues this is causing though i know that's not enough for a lot of people, but it's sadly how things have had to play out. and i realise with the time scale we're working on to have a new Winamp client sans AOL / Gracenote aspects will not come soon enough for many (as we're targeting the end of the year for a new release) and is why on a gloriously sunny Saturday i'm stuck inside and working on the Gracenote replacement parts.
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Old 17th May 2014, 17:37   #14
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I've tried the Mp3tag and the MusicBrainz Picard softwares but they're so sinuous. So far from the simple one-click method on the Auto-tag, that Winamp had. I have a various selection of many songs and for example I was dragging a song and tried to update its file info. The file was totally renamed (info + its name) like this: " - - 00 - " and so many options there on the panel that seem to be useless for what I need. Can someone explain how they work or if they're doing the job well? I don't need a software with a ton of options, just one that updates the mp3's file info from the Gracenote database.
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Old 17th May 2014, 19:54   #15
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I agree it is no fun having to learn a new program just to have files tagged automatically, but for now there is no alternative.

Have you tried asking Gracenote since they're the ones who pulled the plug without notice?

You can also post on the Mp3tag site, explain exactly what you want to do and ask for help.

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Old 17th May 2014, 20:13   #16
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Yes I've asked them a couple of days ago and they replied with this thread that we're posting on here. They also said "The software developer unfortunately has not renewed their license to use the Gracenote music recognition service, and their license term has now expired."
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Old 17th May 2014, 22:09   #17
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Oh, how I wish I'd seen this thread earlier. I've been transferring music from burned cdrs and dvdrs to my hard drive and external hd, and tagging them in winamp. They're mostly Japanese, and the gracenote tagging has been quick, mostly accurate, and a saviour for actually finding out the artist name and song title for a lot of songs that were complete mysteries. I've gone through 122 cds, with approximately 288 to go. After the tagging issue suddenly arose a few days ago, I googled for a solution, and found a few old threads by people with the same problem, with a few suggestions for fixes - update addons, do a complete winamp uninstall and clean install, roll back computer to a previous restore date, and so on. Needless to say, none of them worked. I've downloaded mp3tag, and the mp3 source for amazon.co.jp, so it sort of does the job, but it's quite tedious, and can't identify any of the unknown songs by unknown artists.

Thank you for explaining what the problem is. I was getting pretty frustrated trying to find a solution when there isn't one. I didn't even realize winamp had new owners. That's good news, as I've been using it for as long as I've had a computer (with the old mac osx aqua skin), and don't care for any of the alternatives I've used. The autotag function, however, is one of the best things about it, so I look forward to the day it works again. Hopefully it will be as helpful and intuitive as the previous one.
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Old 18th May 2014, 01:52   #18
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I guess this thread is as good as any other for these comments, hopefully they help the devs:

1. check out EAC. it uses plugins to do track lookups, and I believe the service is free to EAC, (as it should be). I never understood why winamp would pay for gracenote when free services evolved that were just as good and money was tight.

freedb is the obvious one.

http://www.freedb.org/

CTDB (cuetools) is another, both come with EAC.

http://www.cuetools.net/wiki/CUETools_Database

http://www.cuetools.net/wiki/CTDB_EAC_Plugin

Quote:
This plugin verifies your rips against CTDB database, and submits new CDs to it.

It can also serve as a metadata plugin, providing access to MusicBrainz, Discogs and FreeDB metadata via CTDB. CTDB replicates Musicbrainz database hourly, Discogs and FreeDB - monthly. In addition to direct discid search, it supports the same fuzzy search algorithm as Musicbrainz, and also uses it for Discogs and FreeDB data, increasing the chance that correct metadata will be found.
I have had that plugin offer me different results from different providers, and I pick the one I like best, which is great.

EAC also allows other plugins, including paid for ones, to be installed / used.

http://www.getdigitaldata.com/GD3.aspx

2. the reason I have never used picard / musicbrainz apps is b/c they spam a lot of musicbrainz specific fields into one's tags, and I don't like that, esp since some apps will use those tags for sorting and so on over, or instead of, the obvious ones you can easily see and edit.

let me clarify that I have np with musicbrainz as a source for normal tags, which is what EAC inserts, I just don't want winamp to insert MB specific tag fields/frames that I don't want, or at the very least have the option to opt out of those frames being inserted.

3. EAC will parlay the metadata it find into album image lookups, and I almost always find my art with it. it looks to me like it searches via web searches, like google, but of specific sites. just a guess. mp3tag also has image lookup.

4. it would be a really great idea to use a system that does use these multiple sources, and also does its own thing. what I mean is a system that adds a tag for the md5 hash value, audio fingerprinting, degree of confidence comparisons and so on...

what I am suggesting is you could do a lot beyond just metadata lookups, but as a byproduct of them. exact file matching, audio fingerprint comparison (good for eliminating dupes as well as metadata lookup), and adding a tag with the hash so the analysis of the file need only be done once.

winamp could also allow users to opt in to a system where winamp creates its own DB, and social network where users can share the metadata of their own collections, meaning not just a freedb clone, but kind of like winamp cloud without the music, so that users could say "here is my stuff, look at it" or compare ratings, and that could serve as a music recommendation engine.

so anyway, just throwing it all out there.

some links:

http://musicbrainz.org/doc/Fingerprinting

http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/...fingerprinting

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Old 18th May 2014, 09:25   #19
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well this friggin sucks! WINAMP has been my go-to player for so long I can't even remember a time when I used anything else... but now it appears to be that time.

I've downloaded every suggested MP3 tagging program and they are super bloated and incredibly difficult to use. Rename&Tag was one, i think.. then Magic Tagger... then the one mentioned a few posts up, MP3Tag... there is no way to simply play a song within those programs and click one button and BAM, tagged.. no, of course these people make it incredibly difficult and explain nothing.

is there ANY other player out there that is ACTUALLY user friendly and easy tag or am I stuck using WinAMP and manually tagging my albums? This really sucks, I wish WinAMP had thought of the millions of users it has and maybe set some things up for a smooth transition to another owner.. there are thousands of companies that are purchased that you wouldn't even realize because they don't want to lose customers to rivals... it's really too bad because I love WinAMP and to read that things won't be back to normal until 2015 (more than likely), it just sucks.
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Old 18th May 2014, 09:41   #20
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... I wish WinAMP had thought of the millions of users it has and maybe set some things up for a smooth transition to another owner... there are thousands of companies that are purchased that you wouldn't even realize because they don't want to lose customers to rivals...
Last November AOL announced they were going to shutdown Winamp in December. 1 month notice to shutdown, not sell. AOL has yet to provide a reason(s) why. Anyway, Radionomy stepped up and offered to buy it. There was no time for a smooth, seamless transition. As a 15 year Winamp user, I'm happy it has survived and can wait a few months for it to get back to normal or even better than it was.

As you are finding out, there is no other app like Winamp or even close. I think it will be worth the wait. That said, I've heard that MediaMonkey's tagging feature is not too bad.

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Old 18th May 2014, 11:09   #21
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let me clarify that I have np with musicbrainz as a source for normal tags, which is what EAC inserts, I just don't want winamp to insert MB specific tag fields/frames that I don't want, or at the very least have the option to opt out of those frames being inserted.
i have noticed that as we could probably only get away with 2 or 3 of the ones that are added by Picard for example. though i'm leaning towards adding anything which can be calculated so we offer as much compatibility with other players / services which rely on those tags as well as having to minimise the amount of further remote lookups than is needed to be done.

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4. it would be a really great idea to use a system that does use these multiple sources, and also does its own thing. what I mean is a system that adds a tag for the md5 hash value, audio fingerprinting, degree of confidence comparisons and so on...
there will be a finger print aspect, most likely provided via the AcoustID system which then allows us to obtain Musicbrainz ids and go from there. the overall aim is we rely more on Musicbrainz ids which allows for better interoperability with other systems so we can swap and change services as needed down the road without too much pain (unlike the situation we're now under).
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Old 18th May 2014, 15:54   #22
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By "audio fingerprinting", do you mean digital file identification? About 14 years ago I downloaded a lot of music from a Japanese independent radio site - they were playable on the site as .rma files, but I was unable to find the actual .rm files, so I recorded them in real time using total recorder, saved them as wav files, then converted them to mp3. As I couldn't read much Japanese at the time and online translators weren't particularly good, many of these songs were mysterious mp3s with no song or artist information, until I discovered that even after all the conversions, I could click "autotag" in winamp and it could identify them. I found that pretty amazing.

There's no chance of striking a deal with the new owners of Gracenote? According to wikipedia, Sony sold Gracenote to Tribune Company earlier this year. Or is there some reason for not wanting to use Gracenote? I have no experience using MusicBrainz, but my main concern is that its autotag/file identification system is as fluent in Japanese as Gracenote is.

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Old 18th May 2014, 17:49   #23
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we [Winamp] will not use Gracenote as its too expensive and limits what can be used in the player for other aspects (and is one of the ways that will allow us to keep Winamp free - unless everyone wants to pay to use such features...). and I was not aware that they [Gracenote] had changed ownership like we have as well.

for fingerprinting I'd suggest having a looking at the acoustid details from the link mrsinatra posted.

obviously we don't know how the replacement will fare since it all depends on the quality of the information in the system (like I'm finding artwork lookup via musicbrainz's service very hit and miss whereas last.fm's gets something most of the time but the image sizes can really vary). and just like how what was used worked well for some, for others and myself included it often gave poor results (which is annoying when I've got the physical CD and case with me to find someone has entered crap into the system).
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Old 19th May 2014, 12:11   #24
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I still use an old CDex v1.51 to burn CDs with when I don't use Winamp. http://sourceforge.net/projects/cdexos/

It uses freedb.org to lookup Disc information. I used to use it a lot more often in the past because of the normalization you could do with it which Winamp did not do at the time or handle as well (some of my classical CDs you can barely hear because the overall volume is so low). It also allowed me to enter start/end sector offset values because Winamp would record the start of the next track at the end of the current track on the system I had at the time.

Regardless, usually, I had to manually edit the results with both programs as the data was only as accurate as it was entered by someone. The old "garbage in, garbage out" saying applies.

So, I guess if I rip any CDs now, I'll need to go back to CDex to do the initial lookup.
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Old 19th May 2014, 12:37   #25
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So, I guess if I rip any CDs now, I'll need to go back to CDex to do the initial lookup.
I suggest you take a look at the app MrSinatra mentioned above, Exact Audio Copy (EAC). It is an excellent ripper (it can adapt itself to the CD/DVD hardware being used). It does a very good job with CDs that have been heavy used and can search for and add metadata from various sources.

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

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Old 19th May 2014, 23:20   #26
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Such a bummer, Winamp's gracenote engine was VERY good at identifying which CDs some rare oldies people would send me (or find untagged in a newsgroup) came from.

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Old 20th May 2014, 01:56   #27
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This thread is proof for the old adage, "You don't miss your water, til the well runs dry".

It's also interesting that most of those posting had good experiences with Gracenote tagging, unlike I and others. I guess those with bad experiences are just not bothering to post.

PS.
That's a great avatar, Matt.

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Old 20th May 2014, 02:23   #28
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or maybe we were the minority when it came to issues with it. either way what's stopped working cannot be undone now (and is the last of the online based services to finally stop) and I know its going to cause more people to move away from the desktop client but there's little that can be done with all the other work which needs to be done before we're even close to having a new public build available.
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Old 20th May 2014, 02:48   #29
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... (and is the last of the online based services to finally stop) ...
Perversely, the Gracenote supported service that analyses and generates playlists from a 'seed' file is still working for me. I'm frequently not happy with the lists made, so when this finally stops working it will be no great loss for me.

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Old 21st May 2014, 03:20   #30
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I don't blame DrO for not wanting anything to do with Gracenote. Though Gracenote has a new owner, they're still an independent subsidary. That means no matter who is the owner of Gracenote, the developer zone guidelines won't change. The problem I have with Gracenote is the way they determine whether developers are considered commercial or non-commercial. Because there is a both a free and pro version of Winamp, Gracenote is more that likely say the developers of Winamp are commercial, though Gracenote software would be a free feature and not a premium feature. If MusicBrainz was used instead of Gracenote, I believe the MetaBrainz Foundation would also consider Winamp developers commercial, but would only ask 10% profits made from the pro version to be donated. MusicBrainz is a better option for being a free feature of Winamp over Gracenote.
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Old 21st May 2014, 10:59   #31
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that's assuming there will still be a pro version - though the Gracenote provided functionality was in the free and pro versions so whatever happens with the versions, it really needs to be maintained in the free option. either way, using setups based on musicbrainz ids makes things simpler in the long run if needing to swap / change the services used (since so many accept / require them) instead of being Gracenote specific. which we've been using for over a decade and i'm sure that for a lot of people it was good to use them, but as the top cause of crashes and bloat in the installer and personally getting bad results too often as well as the underlying cost of things (AOL might have been willing to absorb the costs [especially when it was used across multiple products and systems on their side] but it's not viable now), it's time to move on and we'll have to see what comes out of the decisions and research in things that is being made.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 14:35   #32
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Do you know which tagging softwares still use Gracenote database? Does e.g. TuneUp use Gracenote?

I completely understand that Winamp as free software is moving towards less expensive alternatives, but my experience with Musicbrainz and other databases is that they are insufficient when compared to Gracenote when used for rare classical music.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 15:00   #33
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Do you know which tagging softwares still use Gracenote database? Does e.g. TuneUp use Gracenote?

I completely understand that Winamp as free software is moving towards less expensive alternatives, but my experience with Musicbrainz and other databases is that they are insufficient when compared to Gracenote when used for rare classical music.
Last time I had Nero installed that had Gracenote mind that was the 2010 version things may have changed since.



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Old 22nd May 2014, 15:28   #34
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Thank you, garybaldy72uk, current Nero MediaHome does actually use Gracenote.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 20:10   #35
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I believe iTunes uses gracenote, but I could be wrong.

DrO,

there are two other things I have not mentioned recently that I really hope you will consider when implementing the new system. both may sound familiar as I think I and others have requested them before:

1. create an option to add ONLY "missing" tags. this is something WMP actually has! the way it works is that when you autotag either one file or a whole batch of them, you can instruct the app to only add metadata to those fields which either: A. do not exist / have values, or B. have only "spaces" for values.

this is a great way to flesh out your tags without losing any tagging you already did.

(it would be cool to only add missing artwork as well)

2. check out a Linux app called "puddletag." its kind of like mp3tag but native for Linux. it has a feature that when you autotag a file, you get presented with "old/current tags" and "new/proposed" tags, like how winamp did it.

the wrinkle is that the "new tags" part of it has a checkbox for each field so that you could specify which fields would actually be written or not. very useful for changing only that which you want changed!

ALSO, being able to DIRECTLY EDIT the proposed "new tags" before they are written would be VERY useful!

you could also get fancy and differently color the text font of anything on the "new side" that differs from the old side.

http://puddletag.sourceforge.net/source/tagsources.html

http://puddletag.sourceforge.net/source/tut4.html

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BUG #1 = Winamp skips short tracks
Wish #1 = Multiple Column Sorting
Wish #2 = Add TCMP/Compilation editing
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Old 23rd May 2014, 00:18   #36
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Is there no way to get winamp to point to another lookup service like freedb?
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Old 23rd May 2014, 00:40   #37
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not without it being coded to do so (as everything in the native code is very Gracenote-centric) and to have an update provided (unless some of the masses of supportive developers who signed the save Winamp petition are going to finally show their faces and hack in a 3rd party solution...).
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Old 23rd May 2014, 01:08   #38
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Thanks, DrO.

I know little about licensing and writing code etc, but if Winamp is never to be saved, can it be made into open source?
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Old 23rd May 2014, 01:32   #39
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eh? "never to be saved"? are you aware that Winamp and SHOUTcast were sold in January (http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=374929) as your post seems to imply not.

and the whole point of this thread is informing why things aren't working and to indicate that work is being done to rectify that issue as part all of the update work that needs to be done to get a non-AOL version of Winamp released towards the end of the year (which is why i'm still up at 1:30am doing work and answering threads i should really not be posting in).
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Old 23rd May 2014, 01:52   #40
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Ah.. nope. Didn't know that. My apologies for hijacking the thread. Thanks for the insight.
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