My Music files

...or 'hell i can't find anything.

Introduction

You many know this problem already. After some time you have a bunch of music files and you can't find anything in your music collection. Searching for your music with the Windows Explorer is a pain at many cases. Very often its easier to redownload the file or to search for again at e.g. Youtube. But is this smart? I don't think so.

I have a bunch of music files and what now?

Don't worry industry helps us with programs. Some can sort and move files for us, some can deliver cover art and some can categorize the songs for us. Some of them are even able to synchronise between different devices  like a pc and a smartphone for us. One of the best programs for this use is iTunes from Apple.

But if you are using iTunes (or a similar program) this has downsides. Apple decides what you are allowed to do or going to hear. If Apple is in the mood it deletes your entire music collection from your device or wants to re-download it or plays with you the pay once more game. At the end of the day they are telling this is customer service and we charge you for that 10 bucks.

There must be another solution for this...

I took a view at my shelf with the vinyls. Some hundreds of vinyls are standing there and I have sorted them by genre and then by alphabet in the past. The music pile on my computer was already bigger than my entire vinyl collection. Uff. And in the future this pile won't decrease.

Hence I needed a system who is capable to eat any amount of music files and can grow in the future. And it must be quick, efficient and easy to use even for a drunk or a child.

The structure

I decided to stay at my genre principle then by alphabet. First step is building the genre categories. Many applications have pre-definded category lists, you may add your own.

Here are my categories:

Acid Jazz Ambient Balnearic Breaks and Beats British Jazzfunk Classics Disco Drum n' Base Dub Edits Electro Funk Garage Gospel HipHop House Italo-Disco Jazz Jazzfunk Latin New Jack Swing Northern Soul Philliadelphia Rap Reggae RnB Rock Salsa Ska Soul Soundtrack Techno Trance

Inside a  category folder i use alphabetic sorting. The folders are named from A to Z

e.g.:   'Soul\B\James Brown' or 'Funk\C\Chic'

How to deal with the artist/musician/band?

Artists and bands have their own folder. All from him/her or them goes there. Some artists made several albums. To acheive something like a discography i sort the albums by the year of publishing in the artist folder.

I name my folder album like this : Artist - year - Album name. Tracks are sorted as they appear on the album. Loose files like 12" are going to the main artist folder.

Physical Sorting

Use short paths. Place your music root folder direct at the root of your harddisk e.g.: 'C:\mp3'. This provides quick access to your files. Avoid long pathnames for a simple reason too. If the whole filepath exceeds more than 255 charakters the file renders unusuable for windows, in other words its lost.

Move your files manually to their approbiate folder.

What now? iTunes again?  NO.

Audio player

You need a good audio player. The Windows Media player isnt a bad choice but sooner or later the Media Player leads to similar problems like iTunes.

Winamp - although more than 10 years old -  is still the standard for playing mp3 files on your computer. Freeware from Nullsoft, a sub company of AOL. Winamp has a lot of options. It can play and convert music into different file formats.

foobar2000 - another old fashioned program for music playing. Has some features WinAmp doesn't has but this player is for keyboard-oriented people. foobar2000 is an highly customizable freeware audio player for the Windows platform.

Media Library tool

TagScanner is a tool for organizing and managing your music collection. It can edit tags of most modern audio formats, supports ID3v1/v2, Vorbis comments, APEv2, WMA and MP4(iTunes) tags. You can rename files according to information from the tags, import tag information from filenames or other sources, perform any text replacement and transformations in tags and filenames. Also you may get album info and download covers via online databases like freedb, Amazon, Discogs or MusicBrainz.

Audio Editor

Audacity is a free open source digital audio editor and recording computer software application, available for Windows, OS X, Linux and other operating systems.

mp3DirectCut is a fast and extensive audio editor and recorder for compressed mp3. You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files for audio editing.

 

Now you can listen to your music.

Tagging

Multimedia files can be tagged if supported by their format. MPEG-1 and/or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3 can be tagged that means you can write some information into the file itself like Artist, Title etc. Whenever you write information to a file a id-tag will be created or updated.

Responsible for the id tag is the id3 organisation http://id3.org/.

Taken from id3.org :  "An ID3 tag is a data container within an MP3 audio file stored in a prescribed format. This data commonly contains the Artist name, Song title, Year and Genre of the current audio file."

For mp3 two variants of id's are possible : ID3v1 or ID3v2. Major difference between v1 and v2 is v2 can provide more information than v1.

Pros and Cons

Additional information is nice especially e.g. cover art. But this has drawbacks. It blows the filesize and some audio players may don't like this that means they are refusing to play the file at all. Doh!

This is the reason why some people pass on tags at all, they rely on the filename only. Others may only use the title information field because this is read by almost every audio player (if capable).

I like to have all the information, these problems mentioned above don't show up at a computer.

What is ID3v2? You can find a Easy explanation here: http://id3.org/ID3v2Easy

Winamp can edit mp3 tags but this isn't handy at several files. There are dozends of taggers out there, paid and free ones. After heavy testing Ive decided for Tagscanner. Offers same funktionality like paid progams and has a unique feature. Tagscanner is the only program who is able to grab information from discogs.com.

Tagscanner is free and regulary updated. Get it from their homepage.

 

 

 

 

- To be continued -