How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: How Do You Organize a Messy Music Collection?

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What do you do when you’re faced with a massive pile of MP3s with mismatched tags, poor directory structure, or worse? This week we want to hear your best tips and tricks for getting out from under a mismanaged music collection.

Whether iTunes went nuts and poorly tagged your existing collection on import, it was never very tidy to begin with, or you’ve got a hot mess of mismashed music from your internet travels, we want to hear how you’ve rectified the situation. What tools, tips, and tricks do you use to turn your messy pile of MP3s into a neatly organized music collection?

Sound off in the comments and check back on Friday for the What You Said roundup!

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/4/12

Comments (61)

  1. anon

    “Select all” – “Send to:” – “Auto-Tag”
    It does it for you (most of it anyway)

  2. Kaessa

    Media Monkey. By FAR the best tool to re-tag and organize your music. It allows you to easily re-tag, rename, and move files into the appropriate folders, plus it pulls in album art from Amazon if it’s available.

  3. Aurora900

    I spent a weekend sorting everything myself once. Took a while, but now I have folders sorted by artist, and within the artist folders are folders for their albums. With my collection at about 260gb, it can be a daunting task, but it’s well worth it in the end. I don’t have the tagging issue as I make sure anything I have is properly tagged to begin with… If I’m ripping a CD I use Easy CD-DA Extractor, which automatically searches a database on the internet for the tags. If I’m downloading something, if its from a reputable source its going to be properly tagged already.

  4. Noel

    I am not yet done with digitizing all my music (All CDs done with Exact Audio Copy, Setting it up a little daunting but many forums have good suggestions, all tapes remained).
    Now organizing, EAC does a great job of finding tags and album art, so I accept internet tags and edit as per my requirement. Once digitized, I use MusicBee to organize all my music, then tag and rate. Its pretty good, light weight and free organizer.

    My only problem at the moment is, since I have many compilation, many tracks are present in the collection more than once and tagged a little differently. I am looking for a program that searches through specific part of ID3 tag to find duplicates, say title of the track only. If anyone knows such software, please drop a line. I used 2 softwares, forgot the names but they did a poor job as they hashed files and compared. Not all tracks comes out like that.

  5. dima

    First I organize my folder structure. My folder organization is standard: Music > Artists> Albums > Songs. Then I use a program called mp3tag to bulk tag the songs that have bad tags. When I add new albums I just put them in the right folder right away to save me time later on.

  6. Wander

    MediaMonkey definitely, I simply move any new audio files in a specific folder, and they instantly get renamed to a nice filename (Artist – Year. Album – Track. Title.ext) and moved to a nicely organized directory (/music/artist/year. album/), and all mp3 tags are set correctly as well
    One click of a button and all songs have their volumes the same, another click and all songs have album art, another click and all songs have lyrics, and so on

    MM is also fast as hell, got about 10 000 songs and it loads the whole list in about 2 seconds

  7. cal

    media monkey is the only way to go.

  8. Kerensky97

    MusicBrainz Picard. I have OCD for the tracks being right, Free-DB is a mess, and Amazon doesn’t have consistent syntax. MB is like the wikipedia of album databases with set rules, open source programming, and user input corrections and voting.

    As for actually listening I use MusicBee but by time they get there the tracks have been tagged by Picard, cleaned by MP3tag, and normalized with mp3gain.

  9. r

    I copy everything to an external hd..and use all the disks for frisbees & coasters

  10. padraigd

    I’ve found musicbee to be the best organiser and tagger (as good or better than media monkey) and also just the best music player.

  11. Bilbo Baggins

    I once spent days tagging each individual song with MP3tag so they all had the correct artist, album, album art work. MusicBrainz Picard and WinAmp autotagging wouldn’t work for me because of the “obscure” music I have. Then I just plug it into MediaMonkey, organize by Artist/Album/TrackNumber – SongTitle.mp3. And whenever I download new music, I just add it in by hand like that.

  12. Lenny

    My system is to change the tags and filenames by hand, using online album track listings as a reference.

    Long description:

    Using album pages on Wikipedia (or sites like Amazon, when the Wiki page isn’t available), I rename every track with number and title (e.g. “10. NASA is On Your Side”), and if needed, manually change the track number and title in the tags. I then select everything and blanket-change the Artist, Album Artist, Album and Year (in this example, “Everything Everything”, “Man Alive” and “2010” – great album, by the way).

    These tracks go in a folder named first with the year, then the album title (“[2010] Man Alive”), which itself is in the artist folder (“Everything Everything”). I have the added bonus of albums being listed in release order within the artist folder. These artist folders go into a folder for my music library, whilst everything I am yet to organise is in a general “!SORT” folder.

    Every time I find myself wanting to add music to my library, I go through the above steps. It works well, but it can be time consuming – I’ve only done 8gb of a 120gb library in the six months since getting annoyed with, and wiping, my terribly organised iTunes library. However, it does mean I’m not regularly skipping songs when they come on because I don’t actually like that album (and wondering why it’s still in my library).

  13. Dan

    Since I’m mildly OCD, I spent several weeks (mostly at night) fixing the tags in my 1,900+ m4a music collection. I use MP3Tag to edit, and I use Musicbrainz or Amazon to fetch the tag info. But I also cross-check with Wikipedia to see which album the song was originally released in. I hate tagging songs using the “greatest hits” or “re-released” album info. It’s basically useless information.

  14. sevvie

    I have been using some spare time to clean up my collection (about 1800 files and almost 16 GB), and I only tag music by “artist” and the “genre”, nothing else. The actual filename of all my MP3 files are just the title of the song (ex.: “Wouldn’t It Be Good.mp3” rather than “Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good.mp3”). I know it’s probably strange and maybe unconventional to some people, but I like it simple and uniform. I’ve also been phasing out VBR MP3 files in favor of CBR and anything under 192kbps also, whenever possible. I try to get 320kbps if I can.

    As far as genres, I put everything 1960s and older in “Oldies”. I also have “70s”, “80s”, “90s”, “Classic Rock (combination of 60s/70s/80s rock)”, “Country”, “Jazz” and “Pop” (post-1999) categories.

    I hate categorizing and tagging music, but it’s my OCD–everything has to be uniform and neat. I will definitely keep employing this standard I’ve set for future mp3 files.

  15. Harry

    I’ve used Mp3tag, Tag&Rename, and Media Monkey and then I gave up. My stuff’s an eclectic mess defying atomation and although I am quite obsessive about organising, I am also extremely lazy.

  16. ramjambam

    Jaikoz is what I am using right now. Works well, especially if one uses the filtered views. I simplify tags – Brazilian and Cuban music both get filed under Latin, for example.

  17. Paul

    I want to organise all mine with a filename of: “YEAR-ARTIST-TITLE.mp3”. Which app can auto-do that to about 4000 songs?

  18. Kottra

    Windows Media Player does the job.

  19. Yoshi

    I use MP3tag and keep all my 30,000 songs in folders by artists and albums. It does take a while, but these auto-tagging programs do not get the tags right. Especially with double CD.

  20. kindrudekid

    Media Monkey is best. I use the following nomenclature

    By Default Music Goes As:
    Music Folder\\\ –

    for soundtrack i add artist too
    Music Folder\\\ – –

    The Album Folder contains the Digital Artbook and the album art image file, folder.jpg

  21. TechnicalServiceGuy

    @ Aurora900 – Oh I know how daunting a task over 250 GB of music can be iTunes ripped apart my Genre> Artist> Album structure. It took me over 44 hours to reorganize it back again. I have used Media Monkey before it was alright I just maybe needed to read more about it retagging things by Album was just too much at the time, Still Rocking Winamp though, Now with Android support!

  22. MickGalt

    has many great options

    MP3Gain to set the gain levels of all my MP3s

  23. Newty505

    I have over 2tb of music at home, which used to all be perfectly structured etc, until I stupidly attempted to link this into iTunes for use with a couple of new players I had purchased. Over 4 years on, I have still not managed to repair all the damage caused by the retched software. However, what I use nowadays is MediaMonkey For The Player / Library Organiser, utilising it’s tagging capabilities, however I then always check these against other sources e.g. Wikipedia to check the tags are all correct. I now know NEVER to use iTunes to manage a library, as it will be a guarantee that it will just be mangled beyond repair within seconds. The only issue I now have is duplicated tracks, which take a laboriuosly long time to locate, double chect, then delete.

  24. TheFu

    As I was ripping music from over 1000 physical CDs, I quickly learned to organize using both MP3 tags and file system directory structures.

    The folders go like this:
    * Genre/Artist/Album/

    Each album folder gets:

    After a “friend” connected i-tunes to my library (about 9 yrs ago) and screwed it up completely, I don’t use any of those music management tools anymore. Good thing I had a backup. It was easier to wipe and restore than attempt to fix that crap.

    Inside the MP3 tags are mostly correct for music files thanks to a perl script that took the directory/filename and shoved it into the MP3 tag data. Sorry I can’t remember the name – that was many years ago. Not so much for books on tape or podcasts.

    Flat directories suck for access speed. Reading a directory with 1,000+ entries is slow. Doing that with

    I was a very early MP3 adopter and spent about a year converting physical CDs over. Back then, ripping wasn’t 2 minutes, but more like 45 minutes, per CD.

  25. PabloBasico

    I use Google Music. I’ve uploaded over 2,000 songs. Now they are all sorted by Album, Artist, and Genre.
    I can download them now to any computer.

  26. Anonymous

    I don’t get into a mess to begin with. Sounds obviously simple but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get it all jumbled up if you don’t stick with a plan.

    And for me, the key is to keep (DRM free) backups of all my music offline. Most of it is burned as MP3 (& lossless when possible) over several DVD’s even. Every artist has a sub folder and every album that artist has done has a sub-sub folder. That way, when my computer (or iTunes or whatever) commits digital suicide I just wipe everything out and start over. I just reinstall and copy everything back which is nowhere near as time consuming or as confusing as trying to fix something as convoluted as iTunes. And with iTunes, the most annoying thing there is reinstalling and then re-importing all my music. It can take hours to complete the importing process but at least it’s an automatic process that almost never requires any human input. (Personally, I dislike iTunes. But I’ve not found anything better, easier or cheaper to stream to an Airport device and eventually to my stereo. I could use a HTPC but to me that seems even more idiotic.)

    And since MP3’s can have embedded album art, I do that too! I find “MP3Tag” or “Tagscan” work pretty good for this. However, neither program is very intuitive and it can be a pain, but you only have to do it once. I just hate having to register with anyone to get this feature to work particularly if I can embed artwork myself – even my own! I found that if iTunes sees embedded album art that it will just display it. Media Player will too. But if the artwork is not embedded then, if you’re like me, you find yourself seriously considering relying on iTunes or Media Player for that eye candy.

    And for the very rare times that music is purchased through iTunes I then try to find the track (which I seem to recall is usually in some obscure “M4A” format) in the spiders maze of directories within iTunes to get it back out and hopefully trans-code (into MP3). I don’t have to rely on the convoluted/confusing iTunes license backup bologna when I eventually have to reinstall either. But really, I just don’t purchase with iTunes so I almost never have to resort to this. My whole library of music is DRM free so I don’t have to be held hostage with iTunes or with Microsoft Media Player either. (Beware there too since if you’re ever used Microsoft Media Player then it can/will fiddle with DRM settings of your music or even video files without it even playing them. I found that out the hard way a long time ago.)

    That works – for me. I keep everything organized and well cataloged. But like I said I have to stick with the plan or it all goes haywire rather quickly.

    Finally, I think it’s very important to point out that I have never pirated music. I may have a hard time showing licenses of some of the music that I have purchased. But it was purchased. I might also point out that it’s possible to be a song pirate and not even know it. All too often I see people who rip a CD and keep the songs but then sell or give the CD away – that’s piracy! For me, I have CD’s that won’t even play simply because I still have a MP3 that will play. I keep broken CD’s just for that reason. I even have screenshots of the iTunes music I’ve bought when checking out too. I don’t pirate! I hope you don’t either.

  27. randompersonfromguernsey

    I don’t, I just hope that all of my music ends up on one pc

  28. Jim

    mp3tag and file manager (yes, it’s still available for later Win OSes) or freecommander.

  29. GaGator

    Most of my mp3’s are classical, blues, Big Band era, etc. No problem on my PC (artist, title) but when I recentlly trf’d the files to my Galaxy Nexus, Google Music scrambled and renamed everything, trying to sort by “album title”. Most of my music fell into a giant “Unknown Artist” category … such as Mozart, Duke Ellington, etc. Reallly got PO’d so thank you all for your comments. Will try Media Monkey and cheers to HTG for the help.

  30. ThunderByrd

    I use Tuneup.. it works pretty good.

  31. ItsMe

    opened this just to say MEDIA MONKEY, I’ve been using it for 6 years now and its definitely the must use. Auto organize by collection is one of the latest options. my setup is set to auto organize my 70k+ music collection and my ripped DVD collection as follows

    Music-> \\budha\Music\\\-
    Video-> \\budha\Video\\

    Also have a backup copy in my office :). oo yea another thing about MM is that it adds music to anything!! even copies music off Ipods and sends to them faster then any other program I’ve seen, not limited by PC either unlike iTunes

  32. ItsMe

    oops guess coding translates

    *\\budha\Music\album artist\album\track-title

  33. ItsMe

    MM does duplicate checks, i also made a custom playlist to find them. It searches for the infamous (2) (3) windows trait and i delete them all at once or legit dups

  34. Allan

    Mp3tag is probably the best app that i’ve use to fix all sort of tagging issue in mp3 and to personalized it to my liking.

  35. jimkiler

    Like others i use MediaMonkey which searches amazon to set my tags. I do also have three folders for Music. Mine, My Wife, and New Music because when i want to find new stuff and forget what i bought recently finding it on the PS3 under the new folder is the easiest way.

    Now if i could transfer playlist files between PC’s, portable music players, and my PS3 i would be all set.

  36. Richard Illingworth

    I started with iTunes over 10 years ago and I now have everything in MP3 format. It started as a mix of AAC and MP3 but I converted everything to MP3 so as to listen to Tagged music on CD in the Car! Unfortunately there now appears to be different volume levels for all the different tracks!

  37. zahid

    MediaMonkey. the best a geek can get.

  38. jshiii

    My collection: 37, 118 songs; 279.69GB.

    Tried them all; MM, Winamp, iTunes, WMP. foobar2000, etc

    foobar2000 has the best audio quality but lacks organizational abilities.

    Winamp is just too complex for me; too many options settings to get basic things correct.

    I use iTunes, not WMP or MM, because iTunes is the ONLY player that lets me know if a song is already in a playlist as I try to add it to the playlist. Critical. I love it and hate it. It groans under the weight of all the music. I have installed the minimal iTunes and run it in safe mode to smooth it out.

  39. Doc

    I use artist folders and album sub-folders with an “artist – track# – title” layout for filenames, and “artist – release# – title” layout for album folders. Tagging I usually do just before archiving to a DVD, but I’m going to try Media Monkey and Picard, to see how well they simplify things and get a lot of it done when I have the time.

  40. ItsMe

    @jshiii – MM does let you know if there’s a duplicate as you add, also can right click and say remove dups

    @jimkiler – you can have the MM.db on a share and have users connect to one db instead of their own. My boss wanted my playlist so i copied it to one of my servers and we both now have the same playlist, I add on he sees it. I noticed a performance lag from it tho. you can also send the playlist to your devices.

    @Richard Illingworth – there’s an option to level all music to the same volume when managing the library also when you burn the CD.

    I know I sound like a salesman but i just love the app lol

  41. sadness

    I have a few terabytes of files. nothing works for me. i try to rip in an organized fashion but pulling down internet files are a mess. i gave up beyond ripping appropriately. i rip in flac.

  42. PC_Ernie

    Here is another vote for Media Monkey. My music was an absolute wreck and once I turned MM loose on it I have everything organized by artist and then by album. It took the better part of an evening to get my collection whipped into shape, but MM took care of most of it automatically with just a little tweaking on my part.

  43. ItsMe

    also recommend Google’s Ember MediaManager for the Video(DVD) side of organizing

  44. Melting Sun

    In the past I’ve been using a lot of stuff :you name it. Winamp; MusicMatch JukeBox; Media Player;

    Not anymore. I finally ended up using Foobar2000 with additional theme DarkOne v.3.01
    (plus some other tricks). This combination provides me with everything i need to manage my music
    folder. And if you ask me it’s big enough. 300Giga.

    Some other utils I do use is: mp3tag (for extra metadata editing), File Renamer Turbo (obvious use),
    Easy CD-DA Extractor (converting and much more).

    How to:

    I have a partition of 300 GB for my Music folder (obviously space is never enough )
    and this space is partitioned on purpose on my HD. I need consistency for my data.

    In this folder I have all my music folders with a peculiar system, I must say,
    very helpfull though.

    Generally the sub-folders of an artist or a group get their own directory with sub-folders of
    their stuff. So as a guide to refer I pick up artist name.

    But by itself it’s not enough.
    Because of the ammount of data for the human brain is huge to manage!!!

    I am not saying that’s impossible. Storing information on our brain uses memory right?
    This memory is “taken” from other usefull information we do have. Like memorizing a poem,
    the details of a book etc.

    (wtf!what was that dude with that awesome bassline? – a question that often comes up;
    another one :do i suffer from pre-Alzheimer’s syndrome?)

    Here I go!!

    I have some folders named by genre. Hardrock, Jazz, Electronic, Reggae among others.

    My music is all by source converted to mp3 CBR 320 Kbps (mostly) and if I aquire a flac
    group of files I convert them to as above plus i keep them as a backup
    (as this algorithm is the best for quality insanes ).

    The reason of mp3 CBR 320 Kbps conversion is that the ratio size/quality is fair enough.

    Entering Foobar2000 with Dark One!!!

    Its a killer because it is. The background programming of this theme gives you a lot of help.
    When I listen to music (and trust me I do a lot) I often forget artist, a song name.

    Firstly there is the search option. Entering a genre or an artist name or the song itsetlf is
    very convenient to find and add it on my playlist.

    Photo memory is a nice trick too (or “When search fails it’s time for Plan B” ).

    I have embedded a small pic in every mp3 with the front cover of each track. So when I can’t
    remember (life is a b@#%$) I search by covers!!
    Photographic memory is a trick that may surprise you.

    With foobar you can also edit metadata. Very convenient indeed when you want to keep only
    important info such as as the title of the song and get rid off uselless stuff often added.

    Mp3tag Editor is something extra and powerfull too. Massively metadata renaming, adding pics
    and more.

    In conclusion managing your music folder it may prove time consuming and it can be a pain in the ass
    but with correct tools and systematic effort you can built a boat for this sea of music of yours.

    Happy organising!!

  45. Wayne Luke

    I am lazy and just let iTunes and Spotify organize it for me.

  46. Noes

    As a first step I use MusicBrainz Picard to get back the correct tags. If possible I work through one artist at a time, because otherwise it might get a little bit confusing how many different albums the program arranges the songs to although many belong together in one. This program can also rename the files and create a folder structure as you like it.
    Step two is the fine-tuning with Mp3tag: I look over the tags again to be sure everything is as I want it to be (if necessary I delete the “Comment”-Tag because my mp3-player sometimes has problems with files which have one). Mp3tag is very usefull to add cover art, too (maybe Picard can handle that as well, I never had a look). To find the right covers I use Album Art Downloader. Another thing I pay attention to is that all songs from one artist/band have the same Genre-Tag unless there was a radical change in music style.
    At the end my folder structure is mostly this one:
    my music\artist\year – album\track title.*

  47. Adam

    Tune-Up attachment for iTunes. It’s definitely worth the $30 I paid for it to clean the 500 GB of music I have. I’ve found tons of dupes and cleaned everything nicely, and I have some VERY obscure stuff.

  48. knightspawn5

    I have all of my music in my media player which I have sorted alphabetical by artist. I have created albums with album covers for all my mp3 and Bear-share music. Once edited, they drop into the correct slots. Where I can find them all easily.

  49. hmetal1973

    a-b-c organized folders easy to find….

  50. nonosh

    Organizing a digital music collection is my greatest specialty — and probably the impetus for my understanding of compression, metadata, and digital audio/video standards (all as a hobby, by the way).

    Ripping a CD with Exact Audio Copy is the first step. From there, I follow a solid framework.

    1. The CD is ripped as FLAC/MP3 files, with whatever few tags I quickly filled for temporary, simple labeling.

    2. Create a folder for [artist name]. Example: “The Mars Volta”

    3. Inside [artist name] directory, create a folder for [album title], and be sure to include the year of first release in parentheses. Example: “The Bedlam in Goliath (2008)”

    4. Move the FLAC/WAV track files into [album title] directory. If an album contains more than one disc, create new folders in the [album title] directory to separate each disc. Example: “Disc 01”; “Disc 02” — then place the song files into their corresponding disc folder.

    The folder organization for all music should become:
    [Artist Name] \ [Album Title ([Year])] \ [Disc Number] \ [Song files in numerical track order: 01 – Track Title; 02 – Track Title…]

    If the album is a compilation album with multiple artists, I simply skip the [artist name] folder and start with [album title [(year)]. This is very useful for people like me who enjoy keeping a list of Artist folders, because the release year in the label acts as a clear sign that a particular folder is not an artist, but a compilation album.

    From this point, the objective is proper file names and correct meta/ID3 tags. The following steps are applicable for those who didn’t use CD/lossless audio and go straight for MP3 downloads/rips (which is the majority of you out there).

    1. Use TagScanner (very useful freeware), and input your song folder(s) (via “Browse” button or drag ‘n’ drop).

    a. If fixing unsorted individual songs, simply highlight a single file in the in the list (under the “Tag Editor” tab) and fill in or adjust the ID3 tag fields as seen on the right panel.
    b. For batch organizing, the max load is one album at a time. Under the “Tag Processor” tab, highlight all tracks belonging to one album, and use the various online tag search engines on the right panel to find the album for you (each search source has its own tagging method; I’ve found Discogs to be the most accurate with cover images, whereas Amazon has had spelling mistakes, inaccuracies, and low-quality cover images). After previewing, be sure to click “Save”, or else all changes will be undone immediately.

    3. Any ID3 tags that seem unfilled or mislabeled by the Tag Processor can be manually adjusted under the “Tag Editor” tab. Personally, I make sure the follow tag fields are filled accordingly:
    Artist; Album Artist; Album Title; Track Number (as 01, 02, 13, etc.; and track totals as /05, /09, /15, etc.); Disc Number (as 01/01, 01/02, 03/03, etc.); Year; and Album Cover.

    4. Finally, the easy part: once the meta/ID3 tags are correct, move to the “Music Renamer” tab, and select everything in the list to rename each song file (i.e., the MP3/FLAC files themselves) to proper track title and track order. This can be done in one swoop because the ID3 tag track number and titles rename everything without mistake, even if the audio files are placed in multiple/different directories. You have the option to change the auto-renaming scheme if you like to add artist name or album title to each song file. I personally have the renamer set to [track number – track title] simply to avoid hitting the file name character limits in Windows (which happens to me if I use many subfolders). Example: “04 – Wax Simulacra”

    Once your folders and files are in proper placing and naming order, you’re ready to place your Artist folder into your main music directory. You’re all set!

    Side note:

    I use two directories for my music collection: FLAC Music and MP3 Music. The FLAC collection is for home listening and studio-perfect archiving, whereas the MP3 collection is used for streaming or copying to my mobile/listening devices (e.g., SubSonic, Android smartphone, Sansa MP3 player, MP3 CD-Rs, etc.).

    If you ever come across WAV files, be sure to convert them to FLAC to have meta tags available. To convert WAV files to FLAC format, I use CUETools. Naturally, one lossless container format to another maintains original studio quality. To convert FLAC files to MP3 format, I use WinLAME. My custom quality settings in WinLAME are high encoding quality, variable bit rate, quality set to 0, and fast variable bit rate mode. According to MediaInfo, the LAME encoding settings are “-m j -V 0 -q 0 -lowpass 19.5 –vbr-new -b 32”. This is one of the top-end quality settings for the MP3 standards.

    How-To Geek, you may cut up or edit my post at your discretion; do whatever it takes to help your readers get the main idea.

    Keep the music alive, everybody!

  51. Jon

    MediaMonkey is hands down the best tool for organising your music. Not only does it put all the tools you need to organise your music (including track levelling) at your finger tips, it also has great tools for finding duplicates, getting track info etc.

  52. rajaspidey

    iTunes, Windows Media Player, Soundhound for getting tags for unknown songs !! duplicate file finder for finding duplicates !!

  53. Saad

    Mp3tag + MediaMonkey for my collection of English music mostly. But I have an enormous collection of East-Asian music that are not available in Amazon/ freeDB. I need something (for PC) which can fetch information from internet using file name, or one or more tags (mp3). Example – Artist: Junai Kaden, Album: From me to you; Mp3tag + MediaMonkey can’t find anything. But Google can (from iTunes store). Can any software (other than iTunes) fetch info (of albums available in iTunes store) from iTunes store?

  54. Hulland

    Tried several- my greatest problem is that 80% of my stuff is “un-taggable” apparently — all I get with most of the tagging programs is “unknown ” many instrumentals for backing tracks so I am waiting to be told HOW to create tags for, example 30,000 tracks in one evening. Best so far ( under test as we speak) is Zortam Pro. But no improvement on tagging the “unidentifiable” tracks. Help???

  55. Who Needs Organisation ?

    Use SEARCH from the START button in WINDOWS 7 by typing song TITLE or part thereof then select the version that you want to listen/watch or if you need to find the album associated with that Title then right mouse and select OPEN FILE LOCATION if you want to find where you placed it, usually about one to four seconds wait time, this WORKS WONDERS for about 9000 Songs and Videos … Who Needs Organisation …. use your valuable time relaxing by listening or watching your library.

  56. Who Needs Organisation ?

    Sorry for this omission … However you also can also search for the ARTIST etc ……… Have a Happier Day ……….. LISTEN to the MUSIC :)

  57. texascowgirl

    Kerensky97 recommends MusicBee. Malwarebytes warned that it is packed with Trojans. I’d like to try it, but can anyone please comment on whether they’ve had problems with this program?

    Thanks for all the comments. So I shall be trying some of them. I am not real crazy about manually tagging the music (or photos in Photoshop either). So thanks! These ideas give me room for improvement

  58. Guest

    Lol, in reading this article I pictured the scene from “High Fidelity” where John Cusack is sitting in the middle of his apartment with his whole record collection in dozens of stacks half as tall as he is all over the floor. :-) (That boombox and the Peter Gabriel album must be buried in there somewhere.) ;-)

    But for me, I’m not as meticulous of an audiophile. Most of what’s on my iPod and in my mp3 collection are individual mp3s, mostly 70s and 80s one-hit-wonder tracks from compilation albums. In which case I categorize them mostly by decade. iTunes smart playlists (File > New Smart Playlist) are good for this. I set the criteria to be “Year: in the range 1980 to 1989” (or 1970 to 1979, etc.) and just label the playlist “70s Hits” or “80s Hits” etc. (I don’t use mobile phones or streaming devices or anything advanced like that. Just an 80GB iPod Classic ca. 2006 or so and iTunes in disc mode.)

    For the more prolific artists in my database I do have the album listed; with multi-disc releases (i.e. Springsteen’s “The River”), it’s just listed as “The River” rather than “The River Disc 1” and “The River Disc 2.” Makes it easier when playing the iPod itself; in iTunes’ list view the track numbers and disc numbers are entered in their respective columns. With the compilation tracks the album is actually listed as “19xx’s Hits.” Granted, iTunes is a bloat; it’s more sluggish than a turtle slogging through the Everglades in July, and it does take forever to sync that many files, but for tagging I use the freeware mp3tag rather than iTunes or any of the other media players. (I find it odd too how the iPods themselves have gotten smaller and yet iTunes is the Kirstie Alley of music management apps.)

  59. Guest

    Also, a note about tagging and organizing videos on the iPod: mp3tag is flaky when tagging mp4 videos. For this I use a command-line app called Atomic Parsley (, which on Windows I basically have to use in the command line because the various GUIs that have been made for it either don’t work to my needs, are also Mac only, or have vanished into the digital ether.

    What I did to keep a reference is to copy the executable into my system32 directory and run “atomicparsley –longhelp >C:\AP-LongHelp.txt” which saves a text file of the more detailed listing of the options available. Note that for proper tagging (otherwise iTunes will not allow you to sync the video) you’ll need to include something called the “iPod atom” (not exactly sure what this means, but it’s apparently necessary), a switch which is not in the standard build on Sourceforge. Some other developer has uploaded his custom build to Rapidshare (; it’s totally safe *and* legal as AP is an open-source program. When doing the tagging use “–DeepScan –iPod-uuid 2100” (without quotes). iTunes should allow you to sync your mp4 video.

    In my videos I put standard items like title, release date (note that this is in UTC time, important to remember when tagging TV episodes), genre, and a description of the movie or TV show. For these I just go to IMDb or for TV series, For artwork I go to and download the poster where I save it in the same folder as the converted movie. AP has quite a bit of a learning curve but until someone releases a more comprehensive Windows GUI, the command line is the best at least I can do. :-)

  60. Torch

    Paul got the right idea.
    I get 99% of my music from the Usenet.
    With all the differant posters, the music is a real mess of disorder.
    I use Renamer, Renameit and Tag&Rename.
    First replace spaces, periods, and commas with underscores.
    All three above mentioned can do this. Tag&rename works well if the
    tags are filled out in the mp3’s.

    1948_099 – Dinning Sisters (orch Jack Fascinato) – Beg Your Pardon (128 M 2.44).mp3
    This song will look like this after renaming.
    1948_099_-_Beg_Your_Pardon_-_Dinning_Sisters__(orch_Jack_ Fascinato)_-_(128_M_ 2_.44).mp3
    I wouldn’t live long enough to do this one at a time.
    I will add characters to a file name to give it a gener so I can search for easy listening, classical
    pop and country, Holiday, and Instumental and patriotic or anything else you can think of.
    Add “ccc” to a file name for classical. Add xxx for instumental pop. Add LLL for easy listening.
    and so forth. Now I want to load christmas music on a mp3 player. I would type mmm in the search
    box and that would bring up all my Christmas music to copy to a mp3 player. Want something to
    search faster than Windows Explore in Win 7? Use a simple program called “Everything”.
    Putting all your music in some kind of order and that order can be changed will find the same songs
    in different file names. Winamp is my favorite player for mp3’s All other players are a distance second.

  61. Shane Malone

    I am a massive fan of MediaMonkey and some select plugins. The built in autotagger in MM (which is a link to Amazon) is pretty good for more mainstream and some better known alternative acts, except in a crucial area: Genre tagging. This is where the Discogs AutoTagger ( comes in handy. Discogs has been able to tag 98% of anything I throw at it, from obscure German techno vinyls to Australian post rock EP’s and everything in between. It has massively streamlined my tagging operation (which when your music collections rocks in at 370GB, takes an age and a day).

    As mentioned previously, MM will also auto-organise your collection for you, if you like, and this feature can be configged with multiple presets that you define (Suck it iTunes). And if you don’t want to auto-organise you can do it album by album, artist by artist, or however you like.
    Another distinct advantage of MM is how it can connect to I use two plugins, the standard scrobbler ( and the amazing node ( Node is MM’s answer to iTunes Genius, albeit with a much larger database of tracks and is also entirely configurable. Admittedly, the node gets better the more you use it and, but for me (a 4 year user with 14000+ plays on account) it builds me some of the best playlists I’ve listened to in years (being not very good at it myself). There are also many other useful plugins for MM, which I’m only getting around to exploring at the moment. MM will also sync an iPod, with a useful auto-converter (which again you can set customised rules for, per device and per format) to handle those flac, wma, etc. files you may have stored locally.

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