Big Media Collection, Big Headache

Posted on 18th Feb 2010 at 12:23 by Harry Butler with 47 comments

Harry Butler
As I’ve grown up, the world of consumer media has changed beyond all recognition. Whereas before physical media was the only option, MP3s, ripping and file sharing brought a whole new meaning to the words "music collection", and I built mine by ripping my CDs or grabbing MP3s from dozens of sources. As time has gone by, my knowledge has grown and I’ve changed media players, upped my quality standards, borrowed CDs from friends and amassed what I would call a healthily sized MP3 collection. The only problem is it’s in an absolute state, and tidying it up has become a serious problem.

Some of the files have full ID3 tags, some have none, some are miss-tagged. Others have embedded album art, some just have a JPG of the album art sat in the folder, and others still have no album art at all. Then there are the mis-labeled genres, the missing track numbers and the fact that every album seems to have a different file naming convention. This makes adding my music to a media library a nightmare and makes finding the tunes I actually want to listen too more a reminder of my mess than a trip down audio avenue.

So I’ve set out on a quest to properly and fully reorganise my collection from top to toe – after all, I’d do the same with my physical media collection if it was still relevant to how I consumed music. The problem is though that due to complexities of what data you want to keep, or don’t want to keep, having a application go through your collection can be dangerous. A mis-tag here, a missing track there and suddenly I’ve got five hundred mis-labeled tracks to sort. There’s also the problem that there are very few such applications out there, and most of them are only compatible with iTunes - a media player I’m not willing to use.

Big Media Collection, Big Headache Big Media Collection = Major Headache
A simple interface but a powerful tool

So doing the whole job manually seems the only way forward, but there is help from a nifty app called MP3tag. This allows you to batch edit tracks from a variety of formats and files simultaneously, and has helped enormously in cleaning up the filth from my music collection. Opening a folder containing all my Rage Against The Machine albums, I select all the files and can easily set the Artist, Genre, Album Artist and rename every MP3 in the file with a few clicks, with more options for embedding album art and correcting ID3 tags available too.

It’s not the fastest way of sorting out my music collection, but it means I get my files the way I want them, with as much information as I deem relevant embedded into the ID3 tag. After a good ten hours at it I’m now up to “S” in my collection, so hopefully it won't be too long before I can look at that “My Music” folder with pride.

How big is your MP3 collection? How do you keep it tidy? Have you gone through the tiresome task fo sorting out your media collection? Let me know in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Centy-face 18th February 2010, 12:39 Quote
My mp3 collection is a mere 30gb and most of that is recent acquisitions from Jamendo, I lost about 60gb when a previous hard drive failed and looking at the mountain of CDs on my shelves it seems like such a mammoth task to re rip them all.

What I do have is as tidy as I can make it, the beauty of starting again, everything with tags and even album art built in where possible.
GFC 18th February 2010, 13:16 Quote
I'm a huge audiophile. I got more than 10 thousand songs (100gb+) and organizing them is a really painful process.
Usually I'm just using something like "File Renamer" (batch renaming tool), I'm still not brave enough to go in and modify the ID3 tags (mostly because I don't really use them).
And then there's always "well. yea. I cleaned them up a while ago. but now I need to do that again", because a while ago I organized most of them, but by now I got so much more music, that I just can't seem to get myself to finish organizing the new stuff.
I guess this is what comes with being a huge media junky these days.
dolphin-promotions 18th February 2010, 13:28 Quote
I wasn't overly fond of Mp3Tag. I prefer MediaMonkey.

Life hacker did an article on tagging tools a while back
Xir 18th February 2010, 13:32 Quote
I clean up manually, but then again about 70%* of my collection is ripped CD's that I own...a painfully slow process, but giving the same results and naming convention every time.
ID3 tags on music I didnt extract personally seems to be messed up generally.
I'd prefer it if music players would just diplay filename and (maybe) folder name. Especially in-car mp3-radios seem to be stuck with the MP3 tag though


*and growing
proxess 18th February 2010, 13:38 Quote
Thunar's Bulk Rename tool for file names and GTKpod or Prokyon3 (and MySQL) do the job for the tags. Exaile for album art.
hardflipman 18th February 2010, 13:44 Quote
I've used a mixture of mp3tag and tag & rename tos ort things out. I got a squeezebox which works fantastically once you have all your tags right. i haven't realy bothered renaming my files but i could just get tag & rename to do that.
for albumart i've been using to find the art and tag & rename to copy it into the relevant folder as folder.jpg.
for ripping i've been using dbpoweramp which also applies regain values to the id tag and i used foobar2000 to apply regain tags to all my existing files.
i've even added musicip tags so i can use that if i wish
all this took ages! but now it's at the state where it's pretty quick to add new music with everything how i want it. just need to sort out genres though.

I've been trying to go through my movies now cos i just got xbmc on my xbox and a popcorn hour. queue more mass renaming. I ended up writing an hta to do bulk renames based on the exisitng filenames in a similar method to how tag & rename works - quite useful. then i came across which mostly would do everything i wanted it too. and indeed ember media manager also does the renaming for me too - ah well...
Jamie 18th February 2010, 14:04 Quote
iTunes keeps mine tidy and allows me to mass edit id3 tags if needed.
yakyb 18th February 2010, 14:13 Quote
tag&rename for me its slow (ish) on large collections but gives full flexibility and gets 95% of tracks so far.

after building my new home server in nov last year i have spent tons of time organising both Visual Meda (movies / tv) and audio
i'm up to C on audio now (after completing the Movies / tv) aim to complete before the end of the year.
mclean007 18th February 2010, 15:05 Quote
Originally Posted by hardflipman
for ripping i've been using dbpoweramp which also applies regain values to the id tag and i used foobar2000 to apply regain tags to all my existing files.
Word to the wise - Foobar2000 can screw up ID3 tags on MP3 files when calculating and applying gain, as I have discovered to my cost! There seems no rhyme nor reason to which files get screwed up, but if you then go back and correct the ID3 tags, you can end up losing the gain. Unless they've fixed this in a more recent version of Foobar2k (I tried this about 12-18 months ago) I'd steer clear for calculating gain. Better to use mp3gain ( (for the audiophiles - by album, of course, not by file)
Thatguy119 18th February 2010, 15:15 Quote
Just out of interest why are you against using itunes. I use it for my 50gb+ of music and it works fine. Most is from CD rips, some is legal downloads and some involves torrents, but itunes keeps it mostly nice and neat and easy to access. A little tweak here and there, but most of it is exactly how I want it as soon as I add it.
Cyberpower-UK 18th February 2010, 15:46 Quote
I have a similar problem. The wife said she was going to sort it all out before christmas, so far she got to D.

In my experience if you don't do it almost as soon as you download it it gets left and the problem grow exponentially.
Jenny_Y8S 18th February 2010, 15:59 Quote

'Media Monkey' is a tool designed to manage massive music collections, I'm using it to manage a library of nealy 250 gigs. It's fast, stable, flexible and easy to use.

It has a 'windows explorer' type of view which I use exclusively, but you can do the usual view by artist, album etc - but views like that are only good once you've tagged everything.

I use the 'Auto tag from Amazon' to repair tags on albums, inserting images etc. I then use the 'Auto organise' with my own custom rules to clean up the folder structure into /Artist/Album/1 Track name.mp3 etc.

There's also a plugin script available to batch find covers, and scripts for all sorts of things actually.

I cleaned up my entire collection using it, put everything into a "_to sort" folder, and once I'd verified an album was OK or fixed I used the auto organise to move it to the final location.

Basic version is free, but I have the lifetime 'gold' which monitors preset folders so I don't have to 'add new tracks'

Oh and it syncs with my iPhone just fine, and will convert formats / rip as you like. It's also compatible with winamp plugins (Remember winamp!)

Only 'down side' is they don't produce an OSX version and it doesn't like wine. If you're PC exclusive this won't be an issue.
eddtox 18th February 2010, 16:30 Quote
I have recently undertaken the mamoth task of sorting through my music and making sure all of it has perfect meta-data. My task is compounded by the fact that I my storage drive failed last year and, not having an up-to date backup I've had to try and rebuild my music collection from a variety of different hard drives, dvds and mp3 cds. What I ended up with is 3 different versions of my music folder each containing 6000+ tracks in a combination of mp3 m4a and wma formats.

I'm using a combination of MusicBrainz Picard, BonkEnc, MP3Tag and iTunes to identify, tag, embed album art and move files. Picard is an absolute lifesaver as it can lookup files based on existing meta, or do an in-depth scan of the file if meta is missing or wrong. It also moves and renames files based on customisable rules, embeds album art and doesn't mind me loading up thousands of files and letting it work over night. BonkEnc is great for converting files and it also accesses different online databases (than Picard) and moves/renames files. I used to use Format Factory for converting, but recently I'm not entirely convinced it's not malware.

MP3Tag allows me to load up 18000+ files across different folders and quickly (?) cull multiple copies of the same file/album.

I use iTunes as my media player because I love cover-flow and I havent found anything which does it better/as well. I tried Songbird but I found it clunky, buggy and sometimes plain weird. Winamp was my player of choice for years, but recently i've found it quite slow and crash-prone. Foobar requires far too much work on my part to get it to do the things iTunes does well. Zune seems interesting, but not as mature as iTunes at the moment. I like the tag editor in iTunes, especially being able to embed album art into my music from image files on my computer, but I don't like the fact that iTunes doesn't seem to embed the album art it finds itself into the file (instead it seems to save it into the itunes folder for its own use). I also don't like the fact that I have to install quick time in order to get itunes, I don't like all the extra services it adds (bonjour, ipod support etc) and I don't really like the fact that it's an apple product (and as such customisation is not really built into it.

So there you have it. :-P
digitaldave 18th February 2010, 17:37 Quote
I use a drobo s to store my 2.5tb of MP3's and itunes across the network.

completely disregarding the best free music library manager/player (itunes) is nothing short of moronic.

at least give it a decent shot before knocking it for no reason.

ohh and I will admit, about wha, 7 years ago or something I was also against itunes, wouldnt have any of that thank you very much, tried it as other producers said it was good for organising your music library and i havn't looked back since.
flibblesan 18th February 2010, 18:02 Quote
MP3Tag rocks. I've tried many tagging applications over the years but non have been as easy to use and reliable. I normally perform musicbrainz lookups with the application.

I only have 42Gb of music.
bradders2125 18th February 2010, 19:36 Quote
I use tagscanner for my music organising. I found it relatively easy to use and not had any problems using it. My favourite feature is downloading song titles and tags from internet sources, instead of manually entering data.

The website says:
TagScanner is a multifunction program for organizing and managing your music collection. It can edit tags of mostly state-of-the-art audio formats, rename files based on the tag information, generate tag information from filenames, and perform any transformations of the text from tags and filenames. Also you may get album info via online databases like freedb or Amazon. Supports ID3v1, ID3v2, Vorbis comments, APEv2, WindowsMedia and MP4(iTunes) tags. Powerful TAG editor with batch functions and special features. Playlist maker with ability to export playlists to HTML or Excel. Easy-to-use interface. Built-in player.

WildThing 18th February 2010, 19:42 Quote
As a couple have mentioned already, MusicBrainz Picard is the way forward. It will, Make It So. :o
pimonserry 18th February 2010, 19:45 Quote
I have to say, I am totally against the iTunes haters.

I use it, and it's got (built-in) pretty impressive organising tools, so that everything you add to iTunes (say you're copying across a LAN from a mate) gets copied to your libraries in an organised, regular format, which you can even customise I think.

And the built-in batch ID3 tagging isn't half bad, just a shame iTunes doesn't support FLAC files.

Also, with iTunes Agent, you can sync any iTunes playlist with any removable drive. I use it for my Android phone (never got Doubletwist to work).

So there's my argument for using iTunes ;)
Jenny_Y8S 18th February 2010, 20:26 Quote
But iTunes is such a dog on the PC! It's not much better on Snow Leopard either.

It's a shame Media Monkey had a few too many glitches for me under Wine as the main UI ran quicker on a Mac than iTunes does.

Trust me on this, google media monkey and large libraries. The two are a perfect match
flibblesan 18th February 2010, 20:48 Quote
Originally Posted by Jenny_Y8S
But iTunes is such a dog on the PC! It's not much better on Snow Leopard either.

You probably have a crap PC then as iTunes runs fine on my current PC and has run fine on all other PCs I have owned.
pimonserry 18th February 2010, 21:45 Quote
It can be a bit slow to start (inefficient processor usage?) but it uses less RAM than Chrome does with 7 tabs open (checked 2 seconds ago).

Not to mention, iTunes is quite intuitive to use.
TSR2 18th February 2010, 21:58 Quote
But you shouldn't have to have a good PC to run a basic media program.
eddtox 18th February 2010, 22:38 Quote
Originally Posted by TSR2
But you shouldn't have to have a good PC to run a basic media program.

QFT. I do find that iTunes is quite slow to start, and I don't have much more than 3000 track in my library atm. That being said, I don't think Winamp or Songbird or Zune are much better in that department. You should not need a modern pc to run a media player app.
Ross1 19th February 2010, 01:07 Quote
musicbrainz doesnt work. maybe if your collection only consisted of top 10 albums, it mind stand a chance of tagging some of them correctly. Its useless for anyone with a more discerning taste.

foobar does almost everything i need it to. its incredibly powerful batch file naming is probably one of its best features. mp3tag is a part of my arsenal, for when foobar cant get decent tags. album art downloader xui is the best for getting decent album art.

itunes doesnt play flac (or vorbis), is infected with ads for its store, also requires quicktime to install, cannot auto-convert on the fly to the ipod, its playlist view is filled with redundant information, cant assign keyboard shortcuts, cant switch output to non-default device, still botches the album artist tag (which wasnt even included until itunes 7), it takes up an incredible amount of resources for what the program offers, you cant customize folder structure, its a nazi when it comes to getting tracks back off your ipod....

a couple of years ago i had a list that went on and on and on, but ill stop there, i cant remember everything off the top of my head.
C-Sniper 19th February 2010, 02:29 Quote
+1 to Ross and Foobar2000
BentAnat 19th February 2010, 07:46 Quote
+- 120GB of Music here
I know the frustrations. All of them.
I hated using Media Monkey, didn't particularly like MP3Tag either.
iTunes has the nasty habbit of not replacing duplicates, which makes it INCREDIBLY hard to figure out what's what when an entire discography is mislabelled due to my own attempts at labelling software, and pointing it at wrong folders. :/
eddtox 19th February 2010, 08:42 Quote
Originally Posted by Ross1
musicbrainz doesnt work. maybe if your collection only consisted of top 10 albums, it mind stand a chance of tagging some of them correctly. Its useless for anyone with a more discerning taste.

You might want to give it another look, as it has worked very well for me - even finding tags for some weird foreign stuff I listen to. It's not perfect by any means, but it certainly helps. And, of course, you can submit information about your albums to the MusicBrainz database, thus making it better for all.
Fod 19th February 2010, 09:05 Quote
My music collection consists of about 500 albums. How do I keep it organised? Simple: I rip them from the CDs using complete metadata correlated from 3 separate cddb services automatically using dbpoweramp. I obtain the album artwork manually using google images. The albums are ripped into artist/album/xx - trackname.ext simultaneously into two separate top level directories for two separate formats - MP3, and FLAC. Acquired music (legally, illegally or otherwise) goes into a separate folder using a similar naming scheme, using mp3tagit to rename and retag files as necessary. It sounds complicated but the setup took about 10 minutes and from then on ripping a disc is pretty much a case of inserting the disc, running the app and pressing go. I then use an iTunes library linked to 'MP3' and 'Acquired' for my iPhone, and a SqueezeBox Server pointed at 'FLAC' and 'Acquired' for streaming around the home. TBH almost all my music comes off CD these days, as second hand discs are so cheap it's almost always better to buy, rip and store. I don't illegally download music any more, and any music in my 'acquired' folder that wasn't legally obtained is on a list of music to buy that I am slowly working my way through.


iTunes is actually functionally very good; it's just a shame it's a bit of a resource hog and insists on doing things 'the Apple way' a lot of the time. It's also a crying shame that it doesn't support ripping to (or even reading) FLAC - I would almost definitely switch to it for ripping then - the artwork it grabs is almost always higher quality than what you can usually find on google (extremely lucky to get 600x600 artwork, which is often just upscaled from poor quality scans anyway). Yes, I know about Apple Lossless. No, I couldn't use it even if I wanted to.
Risky 19th February 2010, 09:35 Quote
I started trying to sort mine out a few years ago and haven't really done too much recently. My tagging approach was to use MP3Tag to read the tags, export them to a CSV and update that in Access and Excel before reapplying them to the files. That is probably 99% doen but I now need to fix a few and then write a quick routine to move the files around that are in the wrong folders.

To complicate thing in my case the bulk of the collection I reipped to ,ogg, though I have some wma, mp3 and aac and lately I have been initially ripping to flac. I then want to have the colection replicated as needed for different devices. At hope I use a Squeezebox, which can play any format, but my personal player is a Cowon which while it can do all formats, I would rather covert to ogg as its only 30gb. Then in the car I can use an iPod or a USB disk so I need to convert everything to MP3 except the WMA!

there's plenty of server space (WHS) so I will create a master store split by codec and then write a bit of code to create separate collection best for the player, the squeezebox and the car. (I'm a developer so a bit of code to shuffle the files is fine, but I'd need to be a network admin to creat an AD structure of virtual directories so I didn't need to duplicate!)

EDIT, actually to save a little space I'll create a master collection of "best" versions (flac>ogg>mp3) which will do for the squeezebox and store the alternates elsewhere.
hardflipman 19th February 2010, 10:41 Quote
To the folk that believe that itunes is the best media player:
i've used it for years, never had a problem.
until i got my squeezebox that is. then you realise how a media player should be made! supports so many more tags, id3v4(incidentally to the chap warning about foobar it seems to use v4 which then causes some apps to have problems with the files although not squeezecentre) replay gain per track and album, musicIP plugin, proper albumartist support(incredibly annoying on the ipod), links into lastfm, internet radio etc. i find for playing music on my pc i mostly use softsqueeze so i can hook straight into the squeezecenter although i have also got itunes connected to my media share on my server. the only fly in the ointment is that i have an ipod so most of the hardwork done for organising things doesn't translate over to that
iPeng on the ipod touch is a great way to control the squeezebox though!
phuzz 19th February 2010, 11:05 Quote
Another iTunes hater here, no FLAC or ogg support is one reason, but personally I just really dislike the look and feel of it. (and I've been using winamp since v1.7 or so).

Most of the tagging on my files has been done by hand originally, but I use Audiograbber to rip CDs (it's old, but it still kicks arse), and MP3BookHelper to do all my tagging (odd name, but works well, and seems to be more configurable than most of the other programs I've seen).

Anyway, my collection is currently organised into <album>\<>trackno-<artist>-<track>.ext and I've got something like 40-50 Gb (not checked for ages). Most of that is ripped from CDs, some is "acquired", mainly from friends rather than p2p.
Generally I have the files on my desktop, but I also have a backup on my FreeNAS server, which is shared with everyone (when it's not forgetting it's IP address, but that's another rant).

I am planning on re-organising it all into <artist>\<album>\file.ext, but I'm holding out for a tool that can do it automagically. If anyone knows of a program that can take a whole bunch of properly tagged mp3's, flacs and oggs and spit them out into a new directory structure then I'd love to know about it.
da_gravell 19th February 2010, 11:17 Quote
Hi Harry, this is an interesting post and describes the pain a lot of people are feeling when managing their digital music collections. (BTW I write a blog dedicated soley to these problems).

I write a piece of software called 'bliss' which is aimed precisely at organising large digital music collections.

When people talk about managing large collections of music they always/often talk about how complete the tagging is. E.g. the fact that they don't have tagged music, they don't have album art, they're missing compilation tags, and so on. That's important, but I also think consistency within the collection is important. For example: (and you gave this example Harry) having all your art stored in a consistent way, having all the genres in your library being constrained to your desired level of granularity (for instance: there's no point having one album classified as 'rock' and another as 'post acid thrash metal revival' - how does that help?).

So this is what bliss is - a way of not only completing your tags but also getting consistency between them inside your collection. It does it by inverting how you work with your music - instead of editing music files you define your rules declaratively (how you want your music organised) and bliss does it for you, asking you for confirmation where it isn't sure. If you want it to it can run non-stop (for instance on a home server) and applies the rules when you add new music. And here's where I disagree a little with one thing you said:

"The problem is though that due to complexities of what data you want to keep, or don’t want to keep, having a application go through your collection can be dangerous. A mis-tag here, a missing track there and suddenly I’ve got five hundred mis-labeled tracks to sort."

This would indeed be a problem, but I think a lot of it comes down to being sensible. There are a lot of tools out there that are way too optimistic, I agree. But with 1000s of albums in a collection I think you have to have some level of automation. The key is that the software must 'be sensible' about what data to update automatically, and also provide easy ways to back out changes that have been made (one thing I think would be useful is history of your music collection).

The website is
alastor 19th February 2010, 11:27 Quote
I love mp3Tag, everything I rip gets a run through to embed the album art - especially useful for my iPod Touch. I spent a good week on and off sorting out my entire collection with it when I first downloaded. The scripting is easy and very useful; overall it's a cracking piece of software.
eddtox 19th February 2010, 13:05 Quote
@Hardflipman: Squeezebox looks awesome, but it's waaaay out of my price-range. It would have to be under £100 for me to be able to justify it.

@da_gravell: Looks like a nice product you have there. However, with so many top-notch open-source software available I very rarely part with my hard-earned. Other than Windows and games, I run only free/open-source software. On the bright side, I hardly think I'm representative of the average computer user :-P
Ross1 19th February 2010, 17:29 Quote
Originally Posted by eddtox
You might want to give it another look, as it has worked very well for me - even finding tags for some weird foreign stuff I listen to.

That weird foreign stuff is probably quite popular in its country of origin.
liratheal 19th February 2010, 18:31 Quote
Lesson you learn at about 400gb of music: Tag properly as you acquire, or don't tag at all.

Trying to retag later is a nightmare, no matter the tool.
PegasusM 20th February 2010, 15:48 Quote
Songbird has a handy organiser that sorts your collection how you want. For example I have mine in artist folders, then album folders with the album songs in them. It completely moves all the music into whichever new structure you choose. Its also very easy to change tags for individual songs, or for changing a whole album or artists songs. It also finds album art for you.

I still have a few mis-tagged and untagged songs but I correct them as and when I listen to them.
Jenny_Y8S 20th February 2010, 21:57 Quote
Originally Posted by flibblesan
You probably have a crap PC then as iTunes runs fine on my current PC and has run fine on all other PCs I have owned.

So an i7 920 is regarded as crap these days is it? Bummer.

iTunes is a dog when compared to the alternatives - and there are very good alternatives created because a lot of people come to the same conclusion as me, and that is that iTunes is not that great a music manager.. in the same way that quicktime is not that great a media player.

Yeah, iTunes runs "fine" on my decent specced PC and my decent specced Mac, but the alternatives run much much better!
stoff3r 21st February 2010, 00:03 Quote
Originally Posted by WildThing
As a couple have mentioned already, MusicBrainz Picard is the way forward. It will, Make It So. :o

Yes I think this is what I used, or it used to be named just musicbrainz I think. It Revolutionized my mp3-collection, but as Harry said, I did get lots of mistagged mp3's. The first time I used this program I didn't even know this was a problem, so I didn't fix manually. Lots of files with wrong names :/

Biggest changes I did was putting each band and album in separate folders. Making browsing much faster, not needing to load all files at once from the harddrive. Have around 50GB now, but mostly uses spotify for musicneeds.

What the future brings, I don't know. Guess I will stick with my mp3-collection for a long time, having backups on atleast 3 computers and two external harddrives. If I get rich someday I will try to purchase all my playlists on Spotify, But I don't believe in bying premium anyway. It's like paying for your car to drive around even when you're not in it. Same with having spotify Premium and not listening all the time, waste of money :P
Jux_Zeil 21st February 2010, 00:14 Quote
I just rip/capture my music with Magix Audio Cleaning Lab and it finds the info of the commercial stuff for me. All my DJ mixes and the tunes not recognised I just enter manually on the track info editor.

Best purchase I ever made as I usually clean the recording up or adjust the sound to my liking while I'm at it.
Xir 22nd February 2010, 12:47 Quote
...any music in my 'acquired' folder that wasn't legally obtained is on a list of music to buy that I am slowly working my way through
That's what I do...just got two early nineties albums from Pearl Jam and the Doors. (been on the list for ages)

I use CDex for ripping, but I guess everyone uses something else :D

Pirated music is not a lost sale (think of it as "postponed Purchase")
dark_avenger 23rd February 2010, 02:23 Quote
Audiograbber for ripping and Winamp 5.35 for playing (didn't like the changes to the media library in the newer versions)
Byron C 23rd February 2010, 08:31 Quote
A long time ago, when my music collection was far smaller, I used to do this - I would tag/re-tag each of the files myself, if they weren't correct. I used to be against iTunes, and any kind of media library manager, purely because it would screw up my tagging.

Then I bought an iPod. I tried alternative ways of transferring songs to it, but found it all to be too much messing about, so I reluctantly started using iTunes. iTunes and I are simply inseparable. Even if I found a brilliant alternative that would allow me to easily sync my iPod, I still couldn't use it: it would never pass the GAF! (Girlfriend acceptance factor :)). Since we moved in together, we now have one unified music library and we both have iPods. Changing now would be more effort that it's worth.

It *is* a resource hog, but frankly is that really a problem these days? It might take, say, 10 or 20mb more memory than other apps, but I've got 4gb to spare (not to mention the pagefile). Yes, it does also start up a little bit slowly, but it takes no more than 5-10 seconds on my PC (which is not exactly high-end) - it takes longer than that to load and log in to Steam. People might say that there are "better" media managers around, but I say: "different horses for different courses". I, personally, cannot now live without it.
talladega 23rd February 2010, 20:48 Quote
All I use is MediaMonkey. No need for anything else.
SinnerG 24th February 2010, 18:54 Quote
How do you folks handle things like duplicate tracks between albums (especially those compilations)? Make a reference from a single source or just keep both tracks?
Byron C 24th February 2010, 19:16 Quote
Originally Posted by SinnerG
How do you folks handle things like duplicate tracks between albums (especially those compilations)? Make a reference from a single source or just keep both tracks?

Sort my iTunes collection by album name. If I have duplicate tracks across different albums, that's fine - they're complete albums. A quick check tells me that I have 13 different copies of "Walk" by Pantera, and 18 copies of "Symphony of Destruction" by Megadeth. However they're all on different albums, or live albums, or B-Sides, etc... In fact, according to iTunes, I have 2618 "duplicate" items - but they're not duplicates to me.

No comments on my music taste please! Though you'd most certainly be wrong to take the piss....! ;)
theskirrid 4th March 2010, 12:31 Quote
Tag as you rip [or download]. Saves a shedload of time sorting out later.
MP3Tag for me, quick and easy.
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