How do you organize your mp3's?
August 6, 2004 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Much excellent advice can be found in the Green concerning CD to MP3 ripping and storage. My challenge: 60 gigs of MP3s and not sure how to organize them. Bootlegs from the salad days of Napster, high bitrate rips of my jazz collection, some cartoon songs from the 70s, etc. On what basis do people sort their many tunes?
posted by tranquileye to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Tracks which have been renamed and tagged appropriately:
/home/pub/music/Artist/Album/Album - TrackNoLeadingZero - Artist.ogg

Tracks which have been renamed and tagged but don't form complete albums or are one-offs:
/home/pub/music/00Unsorted/Album - TrackNoLeadingZero - Artist.ogg

Crap that I want to keep but that hasn't gone through intake processing:
/home/pub/music/00Unsorted & Unrenamed/

Items of questionable origin, quality, or completeness:

In some cases where "Artist" for an album is variable -- compilations, for example -- I just put the album at the top level. Filenames still sort into album order, but preserve artist data.
posted by majick at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2004

I only sort by genre, and then archive to DVD-R, (keeping artist or [some other criteria] together as much as possible, but not being overly concerned) anything else just seems unworkable and pointless to me.
Then I catalog with Diskcatalog from Haxial.
posted by milovoo at 12:58 PM on August 6, 2004

Best answer: I gave in, dumped it all into iTunes, told it to organize my library, and don't worry about it anymore. I keep new stuff easily available by using a Smart Playlist that keys off of recent additions.
posted by smackfu at 12:59 PM on August 6, 2004

I let iTunes deal with all that. That's what it's for.
posted by kindall at 1:00 PM on August 6, 2004

Ooops , I read "sort" as meaning "archiving to another media" - feel free to ignore.
posted by milovoo at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2004

Best answer: Yeah, and so I don't come off as merely seconding smackfu, I'll also add: I have smart playlists that show me any songs that don't have artist or album tags, so I can go in and add those when I get around to it (I have scripts that can be used to split up a filename into artist/album/track# metadata when it all gets dumped into the name field because the file doesn't have any tags at all).

I have another script that zips through my iTunes library and adds ID3v1 tags for the benefit of my car CD player, which doesn't read ID3v2 tags. Still working some bugs out of that with regard to extended characters, though. I will probably just punt and convert them to ASCII, even though I think my car CD player supports some type of extended encoding.
posted by kindall at 1:05 PM on August 6, 2004

I put them all (35+ gigs) in folders and let WinAmp sort it out. I like the on-the-fly searching and playlist creation (and easy metadata editing) in the latest WinAmp and haven't even bothered with iTunes (though I use iTMS). I'm not sure I'm "power user," though, despite the size of the collection, so YMMV.
posted by arco at 1:09 PM on August 6, 2004

I vote for iTunes. I have over 80 gigabytes of tunes - more than 20,000 tracks - and iTunes is still lightning fast. Get a big hard drive... and then another, bigger hard drive onto which to back up!

There is software out there which can automatically tag tracks; I believe MusicMatch and Moodlogic may do this, also maybe Bitzi? But I've tagged all the tracks manually because I wanted them to be just right. Now smart playlists do the remaining heavy lifting.
posted by skylar at 1:37 PM on August 6, 2004

Skylar: musicbrainz
posted by D.C. at 1:41 PM on August 6, 2004

I highly recommend MP3 Book Helper for tagging/renaming work. It's a bit tricky to learn, but also a godsend.

My personal organization scheme is:

music/Artist Name/Artist Name - Album Name/01 - Track Title.mp3

If it's a compilation or has more than one artist on it, I do 01 - Artist Name - Track Title.mp3.

Works for me, and I have about 80 gigs of mp3s. (and even more that are unsorted. Dammit!)
posted by neckro23 at 1:52 PM on August 6, 2004

Hey, my scheme's almost exactly like majick's:

$HOME/mp3/Artist/Album/Artist - Album - Tracknum - Title.{mp3,ogg} for listened-to music (tracknum has a leading zero, so 02 comes before 10).

Artists are nested, so I have (e.g.)

$HOME/mp3/Radiohead/Hail to the Thief/...
$HOME/mp3/Radiohead/Thom Yorke/Bridge School Benefit/...

So Thom Yorke sorts with Radiohead.

$HOME/mp3/new/Artist/Album/Artist - Album - Tracknum - Title.ext for unlistened-to

$HOME/mp3/downloads/ for incoming stuff

And various artist compilations go in
$HOME/mp3/Various/Various - Album - Tracknum - Artist _ Title.ext

The problem with such filesystem-based schemes is that they don't capture inter-artist relationships well, though you could get fairly baroque with symlinks, and have one main directory under which the organization was fairly straightforward (as above, e.g.) and then another for groupings according to style, familial or collective groupings, multiple projects with personnel in common, labels (for labels that are small and focused enough for that to be meaningful)... The advantage of that (as opposed to a database-oriented solution) is that it's easily human-readable. That, and I could do it, while I don't know a danged thing about databases, yet.

If you're really anal about ordering you could put the album's release year somewhere in the directory, or the bitrate at which it was ripped. The latter would be fairly easy to automate.

I track about 700+ albums this way, and it's worked ok. I use a script to generate playlists and track albums.

'Course I don't have iTunes, so maybe you should try that.
posted by kenko at 2:12 PM on August 6, 2004

my incredibly anal system is as follows:

d:/music/genre/artist/year. album/01. songtitle.mp3
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:36 PM on August 6, 2004

I dump all mp3s in a folder and MusicMatch 7.5 corrects the tags from its database, which saves the hassle of keying everything in. It also inserts cover art.
posted by dydecker at 3:24 PM on August 6, 2004

"So Thom Yorke sorts with Radiohead."

Oh, man, that would drive me insane! I wish there were a politely humorous way to say "are you fucking nuts?" without appearing hostile. It's interesting that what's intuitive to one person can be entirely the opposite to another.

The reason I don't do "Artist - Album - Num - Track" is that on a given album there can be several artists -- my current favorite being a bunch of covers of Schoolhouse Rock -- and I'd rather be sorting by album by default.

Obviously, these differences are why people turn to databases like iTunes. I've been playing with that but I find that having a catalog/database abstracting me from the filesystem annoys me beyond my ability to describe. This may very well be because all my playlists are hand crafted; I never have a use for the kind of queries that a catalog or database would bring to the table, and I don't give a crap about mapping the relationships between band members and their solo albums.

Clearly how you listen to your music, and what's important to you about your music, affects how you will organize it!
posted by majick at 3:48 PM on August 6, 2004

It's been said enough times, but to add weight to the argument.. I can wrap up my position with one word:

posted by wackybrit at 12:12 PM on August 7, 2004

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