Wednesday, 29 May 2024

How to Organize Your Music Library on Your PC

Of the countless files stored on our PCs, a significant number contribute to our digital music collection. While music streaming services have gained popularity, there are still many people who enjoy curating their libraries with hard-to-find songs and bootleg recordings. However, most people neglect to properly organize their music collection. How many times have you tried to find a favorite track, only to have a jumble of files with generic names like “Track 001_” cluttering your screen? It’s time to take control and organize your music library efficiently.

What are Music Tags?

In simple terms, music tags (popularly known as ID3 tags) are a means of embedding additional identifying information into digital music files such as MP3 tracks. Initially designed for MP3 files, ID3 tags are now used with various audio file formats like AIFF and WAV. These tags allow you to add details such as album name, artist name, genre, year, rating, and album art to your music files. By tagging your music, you can easily search for specific tracks and create a more organized and manageable music collection.

How to Tag and Organize Your Music Library

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to add identifying tags to your music library. Let’s explore each method:

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Automatic Method

The automatic method involves using software programs specifically designed to scan your music files for existing identifying information and reference online CD information databases for missing details. This method is ideal for those with large music collections spanning thousands of songs from well-known artists.

Automatic Method Illustration: MusicBrainz Picard

One of the best applications for automatically tagging music files is MusicBrainz Picard. This free and open-source software can retrieve metadata using both existing tag information and acoustic fingerprints. It can even work for tracks without any existing metadata. By connecting to the MusicBrainz open-content music database, which catalogs information about 1 million artists and 15 million recordings, MusicBrainz Picard ensures accurate tag information.

To automatically tag music files using MusicBrainz Picard:

  1. Add the music files or folders to the application and use the “Lookup CD” button to connect to the MusicBrainz database.
  2. Preview the tag information found in the right pane and confirm it. Right-click on a song/album and click “Save” to add the tag information.

These steps offer a basic understanding of MusicBrainz Picard’s capabilities. The application can be enhanced with plugins that enable the use of tags from genres and fetching cover art from various online sources.

Manual Approach

The manual approach requires looking up information about individual songs on the internet and manually adding it to the music files using tag editor applications. This approach is more time-consuming and suitable for music libraries with a few hundred songs or for tagging music from lesser-known artists.

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Manual Approach Illustration: MP3tag

Mp3tag is an excellent tag editor application for manually adding ID3 tags to music files. It supports numerous audio file formats, including MPC, OGG, AAC, and offers features like batch editing of tags and automatic playlist creation.

To manually tag music files using Mp3tag:

  1. Add the music files or folders to the program using the “File” option. Clicking on a file in the listing will open its editable tag fields in the left pane.
  2. Find the metadata information for a track on the web. You can search for the song’s name on Google to gather information ranging from the artist name to genre. Online CD information databases like MusicBrainz or even Wikipedia are valuable sources. For album artwork, you can use Google’s image search or websites like AllCDCovers. Add the information via Mp3tag and save it.

If you’re looking for similar tag editor applications, you can also use Tag&Rename and TagScanner. Additionally, Windows Explorer allows basic tag editing. Right-click on an audio file, open its Properties dialog box, and click on the “Details” tab to edit tag information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do music tags help organize my music library?

    • Music tags allow you to add identifying information such as album names, artist names, and genres to your music files. These tags make it easier to search for specific tracks and create a more organized and manageable music collection.
  2. Can I automatically tag my music files with software applications?

    • Yes, there are software applications like MusicBrainz Picard that can automatically scan and tag your music files by referencing online databases.
  3. Is there a manual method to tag music files?

    • Yes, you can manually look up information about individual songs on the internet and use tag editor applications like Mp3tag to add tags to your music files.
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Having a well-curated music collection is a joy, but it becomes frustrating when you can’t find a specific song among a disorganized mess of files. Take the time to tag your music using either the automatic or manual methods discussed above. These methods will help you organize your music library, no matter its size. So go ahead, try them out, and enjoy a more streamlined music experience. For more information about Eireview and other technology-related topics, visit Eireview.