itunes whut?
April 11, 2009 1:25 AM   Subscribe

I have a 100g+ and growing music collection that needs proper management. Currently I just dump it in to winamp and hit shuffle, but that doesn't help me tag or organize the stuff, and sometimes the transitions between songs are pretty jarring, e.g. it'll jump from Tortoise to Black Flag. I'm looking for software or winamp plugin(s) that can fix both these problems:

Specifically, the music player I want will do these things:
1) Support tagging and adding a song to new playlists as I'm listening.
2) Maintain a solid tracklist of things already played, so that I can go back and add details as I need to.
3) Have some kind of bpm/tempo/whatnot analysis intelligent enough to separate my experimental noise tracks from my snarly garage rock from my dub, and preferably with graduated beat transition management.
4) Not hijack my system with adware or pester me for constant updates.
5) Gotta be able to function off a network - the player computers and server where the music is stored are different devices.

Optionally, I'd love it to gel with ptunes or core media pocket player, but that's not a dealbreaker for me right now, since my phone can't hold 100g.

AND, if it's got an on-the-fly language switching or some kind of multilingual profile support, oooooh! We're a bilingual household, and it significantly lowers usage barriers for the wife if she only has to learn to click one button for her language.

Does this exist? Please say yes.
posted by saysthis to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Not totally sure about all those points - but Songbird was pretty promising the last time I looked at it.
posted by sycophant at 1:45 AM on April 11, 2009

Response by poster: Songbird looks good, has anyone had any experience with it?
posted by saysthis at 2:50 AM on April 11, 2009

I've always found Songbird to be very buggy, its been a while but I've given it a chance on two separate occasions. In my experience it was slow to sort or search, crashed a lot, and had a number of quirky bugs. I think you might be best off with iTunes and slowly tag, add artwork and rate your music collection.
posted by Scientifik at 3:33 AM on April 11, 2009

Songbird has been in a state of looks-promising-but-too-buggy-right-now every time I've tried it over the past three years or so.

Personally I can't say enough about Amarok, the best player I've ever used.
posted by mannequito at 4:07 AM on April 11, 2009

Oh and to address your concerns ... I believe Amarok would handle all of them except perhaps #3. But that is an interesting idea, I think I'll look into that.
posted by mannequito at 4:10 AM on April 11, 2009

I've seen a lot of bugginess with Songbird, too. Finally gave up on that. (Also, for what it's worth, the Songbird ipod functionality, like the ipod functionality of every attempt at an itunes replacement so far, has been crap - borked my ipod, and I had to delete everything and reload.)

One that does what Songbird tries to do, and has done it quite well for a while, is aTunes. Check out the screenshots - supports tagging, does contextual linking with YouTube videos, and plays everything quite nicely. All in all a great thing, especially since it's free and open-source.
posted by koeselitz at 6:10 AM on April 11, 2009

I'm not too impressed with songbird, maybe foobar 2000 with the right plugins? It takes a bit of work to configure, but once you've got it, it's super lightweight and plays stuff fine.
posted by defcom1 at 6:18 AM on April 11, 2009

I use MediaMonkey. It currently helps me manage a library in excess of 135GB, almost 22,000 tracks. Unlike MusicMatch, which is godawful slow managing anything above a few thousand tracks, and iTunes, which won't organize your library worth a damn, MediaMonkey has incredibly powerful management tools and stays zippy with an arbitrarily large library.

If you map a network drive, it won't care where your music is located, but I doubt you're going to be able to get it to do anything via FTP.

There's a free version too. No adware or annoyware.

Don't know if it's got beat analysis though. Pretty sure it doesn't. Come to think of it, I don't know of any player that does. You'll probably have to tag that shit yourself.

Also, seems to be mostly English-only. But you don't really have to read much to use its basic "I want to play this now" functionality, so I'm not sure this is going to be that big of a deal.
posted by valkyryn at 6:35 AM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding MediaMonkey. It's interface is daunting and it causes me to miss the simplicity of Winamp's (previous versions anyway) media library, but it is a great program.

Really though, before any new or incoming mp3s ever touch the network drive where the rest of my meticulously tagged music lives, I go through it quickly with Tag & Rename. It's the best tagging software out there. It completely automates the process and has all types of bells and whistles that makes group or individual tagging a breeze. Even downloads and embeds album art, allows you to apply naming rules to files and the like... genius program.

100gb of jumbled music huh? I don't envy the task before you...
posted by wfrgms at 8:21 AM on April 11, 2009

Thirding MediaMonkey. It was a long haul, but I cannot imagine how I would have cleaned up 10,000 jumbled tracks without it.

I'm now using it to manage a total of ~60,000 tracks taking up around 280GB on a network drive and it's just great.
posted by LinnTate at 8:47 AM on April 11, 2009

Not to hijack, but if anybody has a suggestion for a Mac program that will work with big libraries and do any of this stuff, please tell!
posted by bink at 8:50 AM on April 11, 2009

MediaMonkey can do a lot of what you describe, but if you are a control freak (like me), I'd stay away from it. It likes to stuff album art into your folders as hidden "system files", and I've had problems in the past with it messing with tags just from opening the tag editor to look at them.

Foobar2000 is fantastic for huge libraries and very snappy, but like someone else said, can take a while to configure to your liking. There are a ton of plugins available, mostly at the Hydrogen Audio forums, and if you're patient, I'd say it's the best option. It definitely supports multiple languages, as far as I know. A plugin exists (though I can't for the life of me remember its name) to keep a queued list of what songs are going to be played/were just played, which should accomplish #2. #1 can be accomplished with a tagging plugin that comes default with the program.

#3 I can't help you with, unfortunately. However, if you're willing to have a separate program just for tag editing, MP3Tag is a very flexible and powerful tag editor. Well-kept genre tags can help the "jarring" effect a lot, because you can then shuffle within that genre. If you really want to use some sort of BPM scheme, you could create your own based on what YOU hear, which may produce better results than trying to let a program fill in the information for you. Unfortunately, a lot of this would be manual and may take a while if you have a ton of tracks.
posted by iarerach at 10:14 AM on April 11, 2009

Nthing foobar2000. You clearly put a lot of work into your music, put some work in the the player and you will be rewarded.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 11:32 AM on April 11, 2009

Give MusicBrainz a try, it will blow your mind.

I also use ExFalso (linux, but i am sure there will be windows equivalents) to then mass rename or re-tag the files after MusicBrainz did the dirty job.
posted by madeinitaly at 1:43 PM on April 11, 2009

Foobar2000 is the way to go. Here are some ideas for getting it to handle what you want:

1) Foobar has great tagging support. Hitting Alt+Enter will bring up a menu that lets you edit the tags of the currently playing song. I'd also recommend using the Quick Tagger plugin, which allows you to assign menu commands and keyboard shortcuts to common tagging operations (for instance, I have Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, etc. mapped to tag "Rating" 1-5).

2) You could use an autoplaylist in combination with the Playback Statistics component for this. Something like "%last_played% DURING LAST 2 HOURS," for instance, would give you a constantly updating playlist of everything that's been played in the last two hours. You can, of course, configure this to be whatever duration you want. Getting used to the syntax of the autoplaylist creator is a bit of a pain, but once you know what's going on there, it's incredibly powerful.

3) While it's possible that somebody has done a plugin for this, I imagine you could do it with a combination of good tagging and an autoplaylist. For instance, you could tag the BPM of all your songs and create an autoplaylist including only songs within a particular range of BPM (e.g. "bpm GREATER 99 AND bpm LESS 121" would create a self-updating playlist of all songs where the bpm field was tagged 100-120), with genre, date, or any other restrictions you want. You can also sort the autoplaylist by BPM or whatever other criteria you want (e.g. "SORT ASCENDING BY bpm").

4) No adware involved. Foobar is updated pretty frequently, but it doesn't ever check for updates itself or pester you about updating.

5) Foobar doesn't much care where your files are. You just point it at a directory and it keeps track of what's there.
posted by sinfony at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: HOT

This is good stuff, and god, from the links, I've got a long trail ahead of me. I'll be back here in 2-3 weeks...or months, to let everyone know how it goes and what I recommend. Thank you TONS.
posted by saysthis at 3:22 AM on April 13, 2009

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