The personal website of Paul James

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 www.mediamonkey.com

2 Comments

  1. Don

    Timely post – I’m looking into options to getting all my CDs onto hard drive storage. I’ve got the capacity now, just need to decide on the software config.

    I’d be interested to hear if you looked at any other options before deciding on Media Monkey.

    My plan is to stick with iTunes, primarily because of the “AirTunes” capability with AirPort Express: I have 3 for streaming music around the house. I plan to use FLAC as my audio source format, encoding with EAC & replay with iTunes through the Firefly media server (transcoding to ALAC). Might sound a bit obtuse but keeping the source FLAC should help me to keep my options open.

  2. Mary Blighthouse

    Hi Don,

    I’ve tried a lot of media players out, and I still use iTunes as my standard media player, although the recent updates to MediaMonkey mean I will be giving it another go at replacing iTunes.

    Other media players I have tried, there are lots… I’ve been around on this internet for a lot of years now.

    Winamp – This was a preferred player, and I switched to iTunes from here – reason for changing over was purely the fact it seemed sluggish when you have so much music but it was nice.

    Windows Media Player – meh! I’ve never been a fan of this one, and nor do I ever think I will be unless they make some radical changes to the library.

    iTunes – much loved, just not the organisation tools that you need with large collections.

    I’m sure there are more, but the old gray matter is failing me now.

    I’m going to go through soon what I use to play videos, I only installed this system at the weekend, and already I think I have managed to find myself with at least 4 media players for playing the various formats – music is always so much easier, as you tend to be using MP3, which is universal to all players 🙂

    Let me know if you have heard of any other players, and I’ll have a play with them.

    I’m also in the process of investing in a Mac – well I say investing, I’m investing time in making this machine duel boot with Vista and Mac OS-X, so I’ll be able to have a play with the mac variants too soon 🙂

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