An introduction to computer audio
When the CD hit the market in the 80’s it was considered a high tech media.
But the information about the content was provided in the same way as with vinyl, on paper. There is no information about the content on the CD itself.
In 1996 CDtext was introduced, allowing for storage of additional information (e.g. album name, song name, and artist). Support is common but not universal and of course you won't find it on pre-1996 CDs.
A clever guy found out that the combination of the number of tracks and the duration of each track almost uniquely identifies a CD, kind of DNA. This makes it possible to lookup information about a CD in an internet database like http://www.FreeDB.org/.
Sometimes the lookup fails:
In general these databases have no problems handling CDs with pop music.
In case of classical music don't be surprised to get information like:
Now Beethoven had a good reputation as a piano player but recordings by him as an artist are a bit rare.
The problem is that FreeDB is a bit of a mess. Don't be surprised if you get
Sonate für Klavier und Violine F-dur Opus 24 [Frühling]
Sonata No. 5 "Frühlings - Sonate"
The Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major “Spring”, Opus 24
So you're in for some editing.
In case of classical music, I recommend Windows Media Player because it uses AMG (All Music Guide) as one of its sources.
An example, a CD with works by Schubert, conducted by Jos van Immerseel.
This is typical for FreeDB, the composer is unknown and the artist is the composer.
The same CD using WMP so using the AMG-database.
The artist and the composer are filled in correctly, the conductor is there and so is the cover art. The movements are labeled in a consistent way.
dBpoweramp extract information from AMG, SonataDB, Music Brains and FreeDB.
You can inspect the result and choose the one you prefer or combine the results of different databases before you start to rip. You can also edit entries manually.
This is by far the best solution I have found up to now..