Mauriat Miranda     mjmwired

Cleaning My Digital Music Collection

I spent almost 4 weeks cleaning my music collection. It was one of the most tedious, time consuming, frustrating things I've done on my computer.

I started by systematically re-ripping every CD I own. In my foolishness a few years ago many, if not all, of my albums were ripped in the Ogg Vorbis format which led them to be incompatible with my MP3 player, a Creative Zen Vision:M. Anyway for ripping I started with free ware options, but their reliance on the often error filled "freecddb" forced me to pay $20 for a utility that gathered proper CD information. That was the easy part seeing as I only have a few dozen CDs.

Then came the hard part, sorting through all the files which I had accumulated. I had to eliminate the duplicates and the songs I really didn't enjoy any more. Then I fixed up file names to better match a somewhat consistent file naming scheme. Then came the ID3 tag issue. I would say that almost 75% of the single tracks I had some type of error. Worse yet, 10 years ago when I first started with MP3's I would put "MJM" somewhere in my music. Why? I was a dumb college student. And then last year when I first got my MP3 player I had all sorts of quirks with IDv1 tags and IDv2 tags. So inconsistency was abound. The "Auto Tag" feature in Winamp was pretty helpful, but even that created funny matches.

I did totally reset my Creative Zen which lost all music, videos and worse: my playlists. Well I considered that the playlists would all be wrong anyways.

Anyway once I finished, I backed it all up to my server. Then I copied it to my Creative Zen. Oddly, I found that syncing through Winamp messed up the album art for the full album rips. So I had to use Windows Media Player 11 to sync with the album art. Once done, I used Winamp to transfer the remaining files. Of course after copying a few thousand files, I realized that certain characters were lost a plus "+" became a dash "-". Well I didn't bother fixing those.

At least I could listen to music again in the car or at work when the people across the cubes need to talk really loud about their diminishing stock returns. Unfortunately the lack of playlists is incredibly frustrating as I haven't found a good application that can manage the same playlists on both PC and MP3 player. Suggestions anyone?

And after all that, I still have plenty to do. Many albums belong to one of my brothers so I couldn't find the original. So next time I meet up with them, I need to get some CD's. Also I didn't bother cleaning up the separate sets of MP3's for Christmas music, comedy routines, self help CD's and a few hundred Hindi songs that I couldn't correct if my life depended on it. But for the time being I don't think I care much if those show up on my Zen.

Almost everyone I know who has an MP3 collection says that they've been meaning to this ... eventually. Yeah, I know what that's like. About 10 years on my TODO list and I'm almost completed.

Posted in: Music, Technology,


  • Shean on September 4, 2008 ~ 05:17 PM

    I do believe (not 100% sure) that the ipod uses synced playlists (in some strange format). Although I really regret having bought an ipod because of the lack of support under netbsd, i do like how the playlists sync auto-magically with itunes on windows. I hope this is what you were looking for ^^