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How do you organize your digital music?


curlytoot
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I was once really anal about the album art display in Winamp's main window, and would size all of my images to fit its window precisely.

 

I then realised how pointless this was (I never have the main window open), so now I just get the best-looking image, embed it in each file and put a copy in the folder so it looks all nice in Explorer. I'd say a minimum of 500, preferably higher, and for newer releases (where we have access to super hi-res), I shrink them to around 800.

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My fixation on good artwork stems in large part from longstanding inconsistencies in the way it's presented. Sometimes, it's got ugly white edges where (presumably) the scanner caught some of the glass and no one re-oriented the scan or cropped in it ever so slightly. And for many new releases, lovely high-res art is available, which is great, but it also plays up how poorly its low-res peers from years ago look by comparison.

 

I've had a perfectionism streak in me for a long time, but it's only been a few years since I've learned how NOT useful it is in much of life. It makes you less productive and gives you chronic dissatisfaction (since you always think it could be better, and if only I'd spent more time on it (but I already spent way more time than I should have), etc..). I've finally been able to break away from that to a modest degree and it's really liberating. But on legacy projects (like my music library) where my perfectionism was running at full tilt, I feel I have to continue in the same vein so as not to repudiate the hard work of my younger self.

 

Good on all of you who can resist the temptation! Wish I knew earlier it's not the metadata that matters; it's the music.

18 hours ago, Woj said:

Scintillating, most of what you said is interchangeable with the way I manage my collection. Though I don't add life years to their names, and I've gradually dropped cover size to 400x400 because of space. 

 

I might like to learn of your naming conventions. Mine keep changing as I go. 

 

You're the first person to express some tentative interest in my naming ways! It's probably easier for me to upload some screen-grabbed examples and make some notes after...

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 4.33.50 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-15 at 4.35.31 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-15 at 4.38.50 PM.png

 

My track-naming rules include lowercasing conjunctions and similarly short words ("as", "and", "or", "a", etc.), although there are a bunch of exceptions. The easiest way to summarize this is that I try to follow the typesetting conventions of newspaper headlines, book titles, and magazine articles. I try to reserve square brackets for informing on a fundamental attribute of the track unrelated to its name (for instance, [Reprise], [Alternate Cue], [1979 Revised Version], etc.). For classical albums, I always strive for the following sequence: Composer: Name of work and key ("Nickname of work"): Mov't #. Name of mov't in sentence case. For jazz, R&B, pop, etc., I always put the featured artist in brackets WITH THE ARTIST. Seeing featured artists identified after the name of the song has always driven me nuts.

 

What approaches do you use?

 

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Well I try to keep album titles distinct within the first 11 characters or so, in order to identify them easily in my car stereo that's connected to my iPod. So this means all my "Battlestar Galactica" albums (by Bear and Stu) are now BSG instead. 

 

I typically put the soundtrack label at the end of the album name, though I keep the year composition instead of the re-release. I may need to revisit this technique. 

 

I typically move featured artists into the title instead of the artist, to keep a smaller number of unique artists. 

 

I'm very inconsistent with naming tracks from TV shows when it comes to identifying the episode. I'd like to avoid breaking sets like Batman TAS and The X-Files and BSG and the Star Trek compilations down into twenty minute albums by episode, or rearrange them to get there. That being said, a lot of long track names ensue. 

 

For tracks with the / symbol, it hugs the first letter, with a space after it. I'll make tracks as long as I think they need to be, but I keep my filenames generally shorter than 20 characters to prevent Windows from screaming when they're moved in deep folder structures. 

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  • 3 years later...

It took me five minutes to find the appropriate thread to post this.

 

If anybody has thousands of unorganized mp3 files on their computer, I found the solution:  SongKong.

http://www.jthink.net/songkong/

 

It can run on your computer, but it can also run on a network server and be controlled remotely.  It essentially compares all of your unorganized music files to MusicBrainz and other online music databases, fills in the metadata, adds cover art, and it can also rename the files and move them into folders.

 

I have folders upon folders of music that were downloaded from Napster or acquired from whoever shared disks or thumb drives with me.  I acquire and hoard, but sorting takes years.  YEARS.

 

Jaikoz is supposed to be the more powerful version of the software but there's less written about it.  I want a program that can most of the grunt work itself.  It's easier to sort fully indexed files.

 

Now it will still take hours and days, but I have a ~$50 program running on my QNAP NAS that can do it for me.  I am excited.

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On 6/4/2017 at 2:40 PM, curlytoot said:

• What media player do you use?

 

iTunes. I really want to get off it, but I'm in so deep. It's got like 15 years worth of music in it. It's well-organized, etc. Gonna take something drastic to get me to change it. So far it still works great. I'm on 12 as well and it takes a few more seconds to launch, but once launched, it works perfectly fine.

 

On 6/4/2017 at 2:40 PM, curlytoot said:

• Do you get your music in FLAC/ALAC, MP3, or the iTunes M4A (AAC)? Can you tell an audible difference?

 

I have many different formats. MP3, FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, M4A, etc. I only really notice the difference between MP3 and M4A, but not much between FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, etc.

 

Typically iTunes purchases are in their format, WAV's are from any of my own personal edits, Apple Lossless is imported discs, MP3 or FLAC from other digital sources that are not iTunes purchases.

 

On 6/4/2017 at 2:40 PM, curlytoot said:

• If you tend to buy things from digital music stores such as iTunes or Amazon, do you leave the album/artist/track fields as is, or do you change them at all for organizational purposes? (e.g. changing an album's track titles to match that of a digital/physical booklet, if available)

 

If it's an iTunes purchase, honestly, I usually leave it alone. My library tends to be mostly playlist or search based. So the things I listen to most are in various playlists along the side and anything else I just search in the search box and it directs me there. It's hardly a well-oiled machine and I will probably rethink this should I find a suitable replacement for iTunes that works for me.

 

Now, if it's from anywhere other than iTunes and I have to import it, then I will probably tweak things. I know I tweak CD imports all the time from whatever iTunes suggests, but generally it's just for personal preference and no organizational advantage.

 

On 6/4/2017 at 2:40 PM, curlytoot said:

Just wondering in general how other people prefer to manage their collections, and if there is any method to their madness.

 

Not gonna lie. My collection is organized just enough. I think it finally got to the point that I was having a hard time finding things in File Explorer so I went through and renamed and my folders at least (which unlinked a bunch of files from iTunes causing lots of fun shenanigans). 

 

I could do a lot better, but it's a HUGE task. I have a lot of music I've gotten over the years. So...it would be a lengthy project and working in TV does not give me much time to tackle that in addition to making my own edits of scores, etc. etc. I'm sure I'll find the time eventually, but I'd like a new software first.

 

Speaking of. Anyone have any good recommendations on iTunes replacements? If so, what's the comparison? I've seen several different things listed in here.

iTunes has worked for my because it's clean, simple to operate, and very little red tape to deal with.

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2 hours ago, TSMefford said:

I only really notice the difference between MP3 and M4A, but not much between FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, etc.

 

There is no difference to notice between FLAC, WAV, and Apple Lossless. Their content, when decoded for playback, is exactly the same.

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6 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

There is no difference to notice between FLAC, WAV, and Apple Lossless. Their content, when decoded for playback, is exactly the same.

 

You're correct. I guess my point was that, like you said, there isn't a difference to notice, so I don't care about picking a particular one of them. I have some of each because it doesn't matter to me.

 

That's bad phrasing on my part

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:30 PM, Bayesian said:

My fixation on good artwork stems in large part from longstanding inconsistencies in the way it's presented. Sometimes, it's got ugly white edges where (presumably) the scanner caught some of the glass and no one re-oriented the scan or cropped in it ever so slightly. And for many new releases, lovely high-res art is available, which is great, but it also plays up how poorly its low-res peers from years ago look by comparison.

 

....

 

My track-naming rules include lowercasing conjunctions and similarly short words ("as", "and", "or", "a", etc.), although there are a bunch of exceptions. The easiest way to summarize this is that I try to follow the typesetting conventions of newspaper headlines, book titles, and magazine articles. I try to reserve square brackets for informing on a fundamental attribute of the track unrelated to its name (for instance, [Reprise], [Alternate Cue], [1979 Revised Version], etc.). For classical albums, I always strive for the following sequence: Composer: Name of work and key ("Nickname of work"): Mov't #. Name of mov't in sentence case. For jazz, R&B, pop, etc., I always put the featured artist in brackets WITH THE ARTIST. Seeing featured artists identified after the name of the song has always driven me nuts.

 

What approaches do you use?

 

 

In terms of artwork, I went through a period perhaps 5 years ago when I manually resized everything to be 443x443px, because that was the size of my Winamp 'cover art' window at the time, which was (and still is) horrendous at resizing covers itself.

 

Now I strive to find clean, sharp covers that are at least 600, and for newer ones where the art is readiy available in ridiculous resolution, I shrink it to 800 using Paint.net and use that. I so rarely have covers displaying on my PC that actually, this doesn't matter at all beyond each folder having a thumbnail. It's just the inner perfectionist in me, that each file should have a HQ copy of the art.

 

I actually bought a scanner a few years ago, mostly for some other reasons, but it meant that for rarer albums, or those for which no one's bothered to upload a HQ version, I just make my own.

 

I recently decided to make all my track names upper case, i.e. 'and' 'the', etc, simply so that I don't have to choose which to use.

 

Other attributes like 'year', 'genre' etc, I couldn't care less about. The only thing I have to set is the album name in 'album artist' because the newer incarnation of Poweramp separates albums with different 'album artist' entries.

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On 12/3/2020 at 12:25 PM, Darth Wojo said:

It took me five minutes to find the appropriate thread to post this.

 

If anybody has thousands of unorganized mp3 files on their computer, I found the solution:  SongKong.

http://www.jthink.net/songkong/

 

It can run on your computer, but it can also run on a network server and be controlled remotely.  It essentially compares all of your unorganized music files to MusicBrainz and other online music databases, fills in the metadata, adds cover art, and it can also rename the files and move them into folders.

 

I have folders upon folders of music that were downloaded from Napster or acquired from whoever shared disks or thumb drives with me.  I acquire and hoard, but sorting takes years.  YEARS.

 

Jaikoz is supposed to be the more powerful version of the software but there's less written about it.  I want a program that can most of the grunt work itself.  It's easier to sort fully indexed files.

 

Now it will still take hours and days, but I have a ~$50 program running on my QNAP NAS that can do it for me.  I am excited.

 

 

Don't start a new organizing session at 3 AM when you're too tired to think correctly.  You might accidentally tell it to automatically sort a large folder of music that's already been carefully sorted and curated the way you want it.  The undo function doesn't seem to work well.  My entire rock collection has been transformed like a Genesis planet (no pun intended) as this program sees fit.  I didn't lose anything, but I just have a lot of smaller partial albums that are scattered.  I'm as amused as I am pissed.

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