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Category: Music

Digital Music Collections – the best way to manage them!

I get asked occasionally how I manage to keep up to a music collection of 21,000 tracks, which is actually about 10,000 lower than what it use to be…. You might say, I like my music, and I don’t like crap in there so I keep on top of its organisation.

Most people, and I would be one of them when it comes to purely playing and browsing your library would say iTunes is one of the best. However, when it comes to organising a collection, and keeping track names correct there has to be a better method than right click, properties, manually type name & repeat.

Well, the simple answer is there is a better method! A small program called MediaMonkey is what I would consider the best program currently out there for maintaining a library.

OK. Imagine you ripped your albums to your PC when you didn’t have an Internet connection. Not a pleasant thought to have to go through and name all them Track 1’s and 2’setc, and add the album and artist info. I know I use to manage about one album before I gave up an went to bed! But with MediaMonkey not only can you tag your music from the file name, but you can also search Amazon for the album, and get it to automatically rename an album! OK you cant find the album on Amazon? Not a problem, there is a variety of other places you can search till you find the album.

The way I find this works best is to look at the album, and ensure you have some basic info for the search to work with – album name, or artist name is usually a good starting point and that’s it. MediaMonkey will now look for the album, and show you a before and after of the track listings. No more Track 1, Track 2…. 🙂

Once you have done this task, which when I set out and did it too a matter of months as I only had the time to do a couple of albums a day I then imported my music collection back into iTunes. At this point you have a decent collection, all correctly named if you have put the time in.

Or how about when your have an album where all the track listings are in UPPER CASE! – no problem, select the tracks, and run the Case Checker!

What about organising your files from one folder, so it is sorted by Artist, then Album etc? Well again, this isn’t hard. Select the songs you want to organise, select Auto-Organise and hey presto! after setting up how you want them to be saved, the program takes all the hard work out for you.

Another feature I found useful was the iPod support, which also lets you take your music back off the iPod – Something not even Apples iTunes lets you do* (*Apart from, it will let you transfer purchased music between computers via your iPod)

It allows you to manage a music library consisting of small to very large collections (50,000+ ) of audio files and playlists*, whether they’re located on your hard drive, CDs, or a network. Organize, browse, or search music by Genre, Artist, Year, Rating, etc., and never waste your time trying to find mp3s you know you have.

MediaMonkey is the music organizer for the serious collector!

Record CDs to your hard drive with fast on the fly encoding, using a number of high-quality digital audio formats (using the OGG encoder, the LAME MP3 encoder*, the WMA encoder, or the FLAC encoder). MediaMonkey’s CD Ripper rips the CDs, automatically fills in track properties via freedb, and adds the files to your music library.

Convert audio files from almost any audio format to OGG, MP3, WMA, or WAV files, and preserve tag information when converting from OGG, MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, FLAC or MPC! The MP3 converter, OGG converter, WMA converter, WAV converter and FLAC converters can also be used to convert from other audio formats using input plug-ins.

The features are endless (well, maybe not endless but you know what I mean)… for more features visit Media Monkey Features Page.

Media Monkey is free to download and use, there is a pro version which costs about $20, or if your British like me – get it while the dollar is so high against the pound and pay about a tenner!

For more information, or to download it visit

Move over P2P, here comes Songbeat

I’ve been trailing freeware application Songbeat for a couple of days now. Songbeat, works by scouring music streaming service Seeqpod for tunes, then streams or downloads the music directly to your desktop.

To get it up and running, just install the app, it does ask for your email address but you do not need to enter anything, fire it up, and start searching.

You can choose to either stream or download any of the search results, but downloading will automatically save the MP3 to your default music folder or to any other folder of your choice.

I found the best way to use the service, was to stream the song through the program, if the quality is OK, hit the download button.

You can play back any of the downloaded files in the My Music section of the player, or in your media player of choice.

Songbeat works by grabbing results from Seeqpod, and downloads are generally very quick.

Songbeat is freeware, Windows only (a “Pro” version is available and a Mac version is coming in 2-4 weeks). Put this one at the top of the ever-growing list of ways you can download and listen to free music from the web.

The software, isn’t peer-to-peer like WinMX / Napster / Limewire are, and it works by pulling MP3s from the web. The variety of songs available isn’t as good as a P2P application, however when I played with the service I found the vast majority

Of course Limewire’s and WinMX are still out there, but Songbeat just does one thing—music — and from “downloading a virus” point of view, you’re not likely to inadvertently download anything nasty from Songbeat.

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