Compact Disc Database

Definition of Compact Disc Database

The Compact Disc Database (CDDB) is an online database that stores information about audio CDs, including artist names, album titles, and track listings. This data is typically used by media players and CD ripping software to automatically retrieve and display relevant CD information. CDDB operates by using a unique disc ID generated from track lengths to match and identify a specific CD in the database.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Compact Disc Database” is: /kəmˈpækt dɪsk ˈdeɪtəbˌeɪs/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Compact Disc Database (CDDB) is an online database containing information about various audio CDs, such as artist, album name, track titles, and other metadata, which facilitates the identification and labeling of CDs in media players.
  2. CDDB uses a unique disc ID, generated from a CD’s track lengths and order, to match the appropriate metadata to the correct disc, allowing users to easily import and manage their CD collections in digital formats.
  3. Originally a community-based project, CDDB faced criticism and controversy due to its transition to a commercial model, which led to the emergence of alternative, open-source solutions, such as MusicBrainz and freedb, for obtaining CD metadata.

Importance of Compact Disc Database

The technology term “Compact Disc Database” (CDDB) is important because it revolutionized the way users organize and access information related to audio CDs in the digital age.

CDDB, now known as Gracenote, is an internet-based database that allows CD players and media players to automatically retrieve and display critical information about a CD, such as album title, artist name, and track titles, thus enhancing the digital music experience.

This innovative service eliminated the need for manual input of CD information, reducing the time and effort involved in organizing massive music libraries.

As a result, CDDB contributed significantly to the convenience and user-friendliness of managing digital music collections, becoming an indispensable tool in the era of digital audio.


The Compact Disc Database (CDDB) is an online resource established to facilitate the easy identification and retrieval of essential information about audio CDs. Serving as a vast repository of metadata, the primary purpose of the CDDB is to provide users with quick access to crucial details such as artist name, album title, track names, and other related data.

By offering such a comprehensive service, it has emerged as a vital tool in the realm of digital audio management, enabling individuals, as well as music software applications and devices, to seamlessly organize and categorize vast collections of music. CDDB works by employing a unique algorithm that calculates a disc’s identification code, known as the DiscID, based on the number of tracks and their exact lengths.

When a user inserts an audio CD into their computer or a compatible device, the application interacts with the CDDB, using the DiscID as a reference point to search and extract the relevant album information. Consequently, users can effortlessly access and update their music library without the need to manually input specific data for individual albums.

Over the years, the CDDB has proved immensely valuable to music enthusiasts and industry professionals alike, enabling them to efficiently manage and maintain their ever-growing audio catalog.

Examples of Compact Disc Database

The Compact Disc Database (CDDB) is an innovative technology used to automatically fetch and display information about audio compact discs (CDs). It stores metadata such as album titles, artists’ names, track names, and lengths in a large database that users can access and incorporate into their digital media players. Here are three real-world examples of how the Compact Disc Database technology is used:

Gracenote CDDB:Gracenote, previously known as CDDB, is a leading provider of music recognition technologies and metadata. Their database helps millions of users worldwide identify CDs and digital music files and manage their music collections. Gracenote’s CDDB technology is integrated into various media players, such as Apple’s iTunes, Winamp, and MusicMatch Jukebox, allowing these applications to automatically retrieve and display information about CDs when they are inserted into a computer.

MusicBrainz:MusicBrainz is an open-source music encyclopedia and metadata service that relies upon a community-driven database featuring information on millions of music tracks. While not based on the original CDDB technology, MusicBrainz serves a similar function, providing users with comprehensive and accurate metadata for a wide variety of music files. Some popular music players, such as Picard and SongKong, use the MusicBrainz database to tag music files and update metadata.

Industrially Published CDs:Commercially produced CDs store data tracks containing metadata, such as album title, artist name, and track listing. This information is used by CD players and software to display relevant information on the playback device’s screen. CDDB and similar technologies offer a way for these devices to automatically fetch and display track and album information, enhancing the user experience and improving overall organization for listeners.

Compact Disc Database FAQ

What is the Compact Disc Database?

The Compact Disc Database (CDDB) is an online database of information related to compact discs, including track titles, artist names, album names, and other relevant metadata. This information is used by various applications and media players to automatically retrieve and display information about the CDs being played.

How does the Compact Disc Database work?

When a CD is inserted into a computer or a CD player connected to the internet, an application calculates a unique disc ID based on the number of tracks, the length of each track, and other various data present on the CD. The application then queries the CDDB using this disc ID to fetch the relevant information, including track titles, artists, and more.

Is the Compact Disc Database free to use?

Yes, the Compact Disc Database is generally free for personal and non-commercial use. However, there might be some proprietary CDDB solutions that require a paid subscription for certain features or access to an extended database.

How can I contribute to the Compact Disc Database?

Many CD playback applications have built-in CDDB support and allow users to submit new entries or corrections directly from the software interface. Before submitting new entries or corrections, make sure to carefully follow the guidelines provided by the specific software or database in question.

What are some popular alternatives to the Compact Disc Database?

There are various alternatives to CDDB, such as MusicBrainz and FreeDB. These databases function on similar principles, providing metadata information about CDs and other music formats. Users may find some of these alternatives more up-to-date or comprehensive than CDDB, depending on the specific use case.

Related Technology Terms

  • Gracenote CDDB
  • Metadata Retrieval
  • CD-Text
  • Disc Identification
  • MusicBrainz

Sources for More Information


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