Who do I hire to organize my music collection in a format that is not going to be obsolete in two years?
August 4, 2010 8:28 PM   Subscribe

I need to hire someone to go through all of my CDs and render them into a format I can currently make use of.

Okay, this is what I want: Someone to come to my house, and technomagically take all of my CDs and put them on an external hard drive AND arrange them in a pleasing fashion AND insure that they will be playable through the media player of my choice both now and in the foreseeable future. What keeps me from doing anything like that myself, you may rightly ask? My current computer has no optical drive, plus I work to freaking much and I have several hundred CDs to get through. I would much rather pay someone to do it. What say you? Where do I find such a talented person in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area? When I do find this savior, how much do I pay him?
posted by msali to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How much are you interested in paying?

(P.S. I did this myself at work many years ago. It's very nearly completely automatable, I'd just put a disc in, it would automatically start ripping it. I'd put one in every time I thought about it, which was maybe 3 times an hour. So I might get through like 20 in a day, which would have your whole collection done in a few weeks)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:36 PM on August 4, 2010

Usual rates are $1 to $1.50 per disc. Generally iTunes is used, for iPod users. MP3s will be around for at least a few years. I set the bitrate higher than the default, but it probably doesn't matter much.

I'm not in the area but could do it for you via mail/ups.
posted by KenManiac at 8:40 PM on August 4, 2010

Response by poster: I dunno what to pay, Rusty. Are you local? I guess I was looking to have the collection done in a shorter period of time, if possible. If that isn't feasible, though...
posted by msali at 8:41 PM on August 4, 2010

Are you talking about normal, commercial-release, audio CDs? Are they all in good condition, or will there be some sort of error-correcting going on?

If they're all commercially-released audio CDs with metadata provided (or easily findable online), then post a flyer at the local university's Computer Science department. Since you're requiring them to categorize, double-check the metadata, and use their own hardware, I'd say $10 to $15 an hour (for 320kbps VBR mp3 files; lossless FLAC files mean $15 an hour). On the other hand, if I'm overestimating how anal you are about metadata, you could probably get away with hiring someone at $8 an hour or less to get some reading done while popping a new CD in and hitting "import" in iTunes every ten minutes.
posted by clorox at 8:59 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Find some kids. CD ripping is the new "washing the car."

Two years ago I paid some friends' kids (nine or ten years old then) 25 cents a disc to do what Rusty did himself: rip them in a Windows program -- of my choosing -- that grabbed metadata automatically (there are dozens if you want to evade iTunes), using the preset I set up. A week later I showed up with my hard drive.

I gave them a tip and they were thrilled -- $90 for 300 CDs. A week and done!
posted by johnchristopher at 9:10 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is what friends' children are for.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:51 AM on August 5, 2010

Or neighbors' or coworkers' children, if you don't have any childed friends.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:51 AM on August 5, 2010

Look up a local CD Duplication company - they usually offer these sorts of services.
posted by Sara C. at 7:03 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are several services that will take your CDs and send you back a hard drive containing all your songs.

one, two, three, etc.

The $.25-a-disk neighborhood kid method is interesting.

I did my few hundred CDs in the background at work. I had a second machine in my cube running some MP3 app that would automatically rip and then eject audio CDs. I brought the discs in a hundred at a time on a spindle and fed in a new one whenever I noticed it was done. The whole process took a couple weeks.
posted by chazlarson at 8:57 AM on August 5, 2010

Do consider ripping them to lossless though - disk space is cheap, FLAC can be converted simply to MP3, and you can sleep safely in the knowledge that you have extracted all the data from the CD. Should you rip at, say 128kbps MP3 there's no way of retrieving that lost information. I did about 500 CDs and it's not a process I'd care to repeat.

For what it's worth, I used EAC => FLAC and then Musicbrainz (which gives far more pleasing, and stylistically consistent tags than anything else I've found.). My Squeezeboxes feed off the FLACs and a simple VBscript runs occasionally and converts any new music to a parallel library of MP3s for portable devices.
posted by nicktf at 11:43 PM on August 5, 2010

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