FreeDB is gone — but the CD data lives on.

Guess it’s been a while since I touched the dusty old boxes of CDs — I only just found out that CD database FreeDB shut down some time in early 2020, and the MusicBrainz mirror of FreeDB shut down in 2019.

Most open source CD rippers defaulted to using FreeDB to look up band names, CD names and track titles. If you ever need to rerip your collection, these services still exist:

  • GnuDB, which is where now redirects —
  • Retrobridge

That said … you should switch to MusicBrainz.

FreeDB was always held back by compatibility with the late 1990s CDDB format. MusicBrainz is a better data source and is well-maintained by a nonprofit.

Here’s software that accesses MusicBrainz, and here’s MusicBrainz’ own software.

Andrew Hickey just pointed me at Sound Juicer for Linux, which is what he uses to rip CDs for 500 Songs, and that uses MusicBrainz by default. There’s also Whipper for Linux. On Windows, Exact Audio Copy supports MusicBrainz just fine.

5 thoughts on “FreeDB is gone — but the CD data lives on.

  1. Hadn’t come across whipper. That’ll be useful for me when Sound Juicer fails on difficult CDs. Then I always use cdparanoia and have to tag manually…

  2. (And yes I know cdparanoia is also the backend for Sound Juicer. Sound Juicer can only detect my built-in Blu-Ray drive, not the external drive I only use for problematic discs)

  3. I needed to get something off a ten year old CD-R and realised I didn’t have a single CD drive!

    Thankfully I found a machine old enough at work. I still have several boxes of CDs in my flat, even though I only use YouTube as a jukebox now.

    RIP freeDB

  4. MusicBrainz never had a FreeDB mirror. The post you link to is discussing removing something called the “FreeDB Gateway”, which was basically a hack that would return MusicBrainz data in FreeDB format. Nothing more, nothing less.

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