Richard J Green

Music Library Masterpiece: Part 1

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve bitten off far more than you should chew?

When I first start running I read that listening to music over 130 BPM is ideal because the music helps to keep you going, whilst listening to low BPM music will slow you down. I discovered a great program called BPM Analyzer which scans your MP3 and WMA files and adds the BPM to the ID3 tag on the file.

My plan was to do this, and then create playlist based on music over 130 BPM, however I hit a problem. Some of my MP3’s wouldn’t scan. From a previous lesson with iTunes and MP3 corruption, I grabbed a copy of MP3val to validate the MP3’s for errors. Sure enough lots of MP3’s had errors, some of which couldn’t be fixed.

The big thing here though was what I noticed during the repair session – The filenames on my MP3’s where all disorganised not to mention the folder structure and tagging. My mission therefore was to organise and sort my music library.

After a long read into the subject on I decided to use MediaMonkey for my tagging needs. Once all tagged and how they should be, I was going to use another program I found called MP3Rename which reads the ID3 tags and renames the files to match the tags (Eg. Proper filenames).

This was going great and to the point where 90% of the library was in shape and I’d started downloading 500px X 500px high resolution album art by using an advanced Google image search, and then by using MP3tag I was embedding the album art in each file so that DNLA devices like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 along with iTunes, Zune and WMP would see the correct album art without clustering the folder structure with hidden JPEG files.

Again, going great until today. I discovered a folder called Singles. I knew this folder existed and it contains singe tracks I rip and obtain because in the past it was too much effort to tag them properly and structure the folders correctly. What I didn’t realise was that the folder contains 350 files 🙁

A look online found me another cracking piece of Open-Source Freeware: MP3 Folder Structure Maker.

This little application will read the ID3 tags of an MP3 or WMA file and then move it to the correct folder naming structure based on what you set – For me, this is %Artist%%Album% which is common place for most libraries. This program is working great for me, but it now means that I need to go through my collection and double check the tags are correct because I have a feeling I’m going to have duplicate singles and albums and end up with a lot of mess, not to mention all the new folders that will now need artwork.

The biggest issue is that besides the 350 unsorted singles, the remaining 2500 files in my library where organised but where I have not correct the tags on everything it means I will need to run MP3 Folder Structure Maker on the whole library and re-structure it to make sure everything is accurate, which of course means re-adding all the Folder.jpg files 🙁

Today’s lesson? Either keep your library straight from day one, have lots of time on your hands or don’t bother at all, because it’s tough. I’ve probably spent about 7-8 hours minimum on my library already and it’s probably only about 50% fixed, and my library is small – Only about 3,000 songs. For someone with a disorganised library of about 10-20,000 songs I would just write your own obituary now.

On the up side however, is that once it’s finished my Zune will look even more delicious with the high resolution artwork and everything tagged and sorted properly. The next stage or the next level of course is to go back through the library and weed out low bit rate tracks and replace them with high bit rate tracks. I only use 320Kbps or Lossless these days, however I used to rip in 112Kbps or 128Kbps in the old days.

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