Music Library Workflow

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With the advent of Q’s new computer, she’s presented with the dilemma of sorting through all of her old music and making some sense of it. We’ve spent a few nights together reviewing how ID3 tags work and why the iTunes is great but at the same time shitty.

I was wondering what tricks others who care about their music libraries use to manage their stuff. Personally my end goal is to have properly named MP3s with the correct tags sorted out in their correct genre/subgenre/artist/album/ directories, along with their correct album art embedded into the ID3. All this while using the least amount of programs.

  1. After I extra my music, if it’s not in an MP3 sort of format, I’ll use Foobar2000 for windows to transcode it to MP3/LAME.
  2. Delete anything that isn’t a MP3, album art or NFO file from the album’s directory.
  3. Feed the album into MusicBrainz Picard for window.
  4. Picard should compare the current tags to the MP3 with ones on its site, and thusly figuring out what album I’ve fed into it.
  5. If all goes well, it’ll match every song with entries for the album from MusicBrainz.
  6. After I’ve done this for every new album I’ve got laying around, I’ll tell Picard to save tags/file names.
  7. File names look something like “Arist – Album – TrackNumber – Title.mp3” unless it’s a compilation.
  8. If Picard can’t locate the album in the MusicBrainz database, I can force a scan via music fingerprint.
  9. If that doesn’t work, I can search through their database via their site.
  10. If that doesn’t work, I can always just correct the tags by hand via Picard, which’ll save to tags/file names.
  11. If that still doesn’t work, I’ll load up Musorg to hit up the ID3.
  12. Once I’ve got files I’m pretty happy with, I’ll place them in their correct directory.
  13. Tell iTunes to add these new songs to my library.
  14. Unless the songs have high quality album art, I’ll tell iTunes to search for it through the iTunes Music Store.
  15. If the Store returns with nothing, I’ll search through Google Images and check to see if any JPGs were left in the directory where the music sits for that album.
  16. Once I’ve got found some good quality album art, I’ll copy it to my clip board (this can also be done with album art that iTunes has located from the Store).
  17. Select all songs in the album, select Get Info, and then paste the album art into its respected field. What this does is force iTunes to write the album art directly to the ID3 tag.
  18. If the album is two disc, I’ll correct album titles which contain disc information (The Beatles White Album (disc 1), etc.) through the Get Info tool that iTunes has.
  19. Also if the album is a compilation, I’ll add Album Artist to all of the MP3s.

This, at the moment, has been the quicks workflow for what I want out of my library, and boy have I gotten fast. After completion I normally sync what I have back up to my server for storage.

So what do you do? Are you as OCD as me when it comes to this stuff? Are you the sort of person that doesn’t care and is ok with iTunes doing what it will to your music? I’d like to know.