Solved Does Kodi handle music files as read-only, or can it write to music files?
#1
Hello, comrades! This should be a trivial question, however, I couldn't find a definitive answer anywhere after hours of googling across several years ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

After I add my music files to Kodi Music Library, is there any chance that Kodi will ever edit/update/change ID3 Tags of my music files (under any circumstances, including, but not limited to: a bug / crash / power outage / system failure / me being stupid)?

TL;DR: Does Kodi handle music files as read-only, or can it write to music files?

You see, I'm afraid of getting my tags messed-up. My music collection is fairly large, and every single track is tagged by hand, perfectly. I am using Foobar2000 for manual tag management (and music playback), because it provides 100% control and and 0% automation (unless I create automation rules myself).

I have been using and tweaking Kodi for all my video-related needs for over a decade now, and would absolutely love to expand my Kodi-experience to music as well. However, because of the above concerns I am extremely hesitant of using any product that has built-in scrapers / library management tools / automation.

I have read all official documentation related to Kodi Music Library and, like I've mentioned above, I've researched this question for hours. It is clear that Kodi scans all ID3-metadata into it's own — separate — database, and works from there. However, it is not clear what Kodi does with scraped metadata: is it scraped only into internal Kodi database, or do files get updated with scraped metadata as well? A clarification on this by a Kodi-developer or team-member is highly appreciated. Thank you!

[EDIT] [SOLVED]
  • Kodi handles music files in read-only mode and does not provide write access to addons.
  • Since addons know where files are stored, addons can write to files.
  • The Team would reject any addons from the official repo that attempted to write to your music files unbidden and without permission.
  • Addons from outside the official repo can do anything, and the consequences lay entirely on the user.  
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#2
It's quite simple: Kodi does not edit/update/change music files. Period.
Kodi can do exports to nfo files that include metadata, but mp3 files will remain untouched.

There are plenty of dedicated tools for maintaining mp3 files.
Got a Kodi problem? Provide us with a full Debug log (wiki) || Usefull pages: First time user (wiki) || Troubleshooting (wiki) || Free content (wiki) || Forum rules (wiki) || VPN policy (wiki)
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#3
(2021-05-03, 19:22)Klojum Wrote: It's quite simple: Kodi does not edit/update/change music files. Period.
Kodi can do exports to nfo files that include metadata, but mp3 files will remain untouched.

There are plenty of dedicated tools for maintaining mp3 files.

Thank you so much for the fast and clear reply! Have a great day! :-)
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#4
(2021-05-03, 19:22)Klojum Wrote: It's quite simple: Kodi does not edit/update/change music files. Period.
Kodi can do exports to nfo files that include metadata, but mp3 files will remain untouched.

There are plenty of dedicated tools for maintaining mp3 files.

Would you, or the team, concider adding information on this to the official Wiki? It is of great value.
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#5
(2021-05-03, 20:16)pure.by Wrote: Would you, or the team, concider adding information on this to the official Wiki? It is of great value.

Well, by omitting that very piece of information, users could be deduce that Kodi in fact does not edit/update music files...
But perhaps we can squeeze it in somewhere.
Got a Kodi problem? Provide us with a full Debug log (wiki) || Usefull pages: First time user (wiki) || Troubleshooting (wiki) || Free content (wiki) || Forum rules (wiki) || VPN policy (wiki)
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#6
Kodi never shows you tags; only its interpretation of them.  If you use the library feature, scraping can add missing info to its interpretation and also store that in its database, and if you set the "prefer online info" music setting (or use a "replace" key in a local .nfo file) replace certain tag data (again in the database) with the scraped (or local .nfo) data.  But never opens a music file for writing.

scott s.
.
maintainer of skin  Aeon MQ5 mods for post-Gotham Kodi releases:
Matrix see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Martix release thread
Leia see: Aeon MQ5 Mod Leia release thread
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#7
(2021-05-04, 09:45)Klojum Wrote:
(2021-05-03, 20:16)pure.by Wrote: Would you, or the team, concider adding information on this to the official Wiki? It is of great value.

Well, by omitting that very piece of information, users could be deduce that Kodi in fact does not edit/update music files...
But perhaps we can squeeze it in somewhere.

You are absolutely right, it does sound logical to me as well. However, logic also dictates the absence of evidence ⇏ the evidence of absence.

I can call myself an advanced user and a decade-old-Kodi-veteran, but I was still not sure about this crucial aspect of file management.

As such, I believe that it would be better if the official documentation mentioned that Kodi handles music files in read-only mode. Especially for new users. Just one sentence would do the trick!
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#8
(2021-05-05, 02:40)scott967 Wrote: Kodi never shows you tags; only its interpretation of them.  If you use the library feature, scraping can add missing info to its interpretation and also store that in its database, and if you set the "prefer online info" music setting (or use a "replace" key in a local .nfo file) replace certain tag data (again in the database) with the scraped (or local .nfo) data.  But never opens a music file for writing.

scott s.
.

Big thanks for the detailed clarification!

Does it also mean that no third-party Kodi add-on can gain write access to music files either? Let's say I want to install some custom scrapers, lyrics plug-ins, etc. Should I be concerned that a third-party addon could gain write access to my files, or is write access through Kodi blocked by definition, even for external add-ons?
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#9
The team would reject any addons that attempted to write to your music files unbidden and without permission from the official repo. Using addons from the offical Kodi repo is safe in that regard. If users install thrid-prty addons from other sources then the risk of consequences is entirely theirs.  Kodi does not provide file write access, but addons do know where files are located and so something could be written that then wrote to them. Having said that I don't know of any users having music files corrupted  in that way, even those that use piracy addons from very dubious sources.
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#10
(2021-05-05, 14:30)DaveBlake Wrote: The team would reject any addons that attempted to write to your music files unbidden and without permission from the official repo. Using addons from the offical Kodi repo is safe in that regard. If users install thrid-prty addons from other sources then the risk of consequences is entirely theirs.  Kodi does not provide file write access, but addons do know where files are located and so something could be written that then wrote to them. Having said that I don't know of any users having music files corrupted  in that way, even those that use piracy addons from very dubious sources.

Thanks again for an excellent clarification!

I try to avoid everything outside the officail repo, so file corruption was not as big of a concern to me as my ID3 tags getting written to.  Good to know that Kodi by itself does not provide write access to files.
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