Whip Your MP3 Library into Shape

10 years ago I made the decision to shy away from using ID3 tags with my MP3s; at the time they were new, cumbersome, and not really that useful if you already implemented good file-naming conventions. Then my library grew.

A year ago I realised that my archaic way of thinking was getting in the way of simply enjoying my now fast expanding MP3 collection (on a purely indulgent level, and in a perfectionist ‘everything has to be correct’ level). It was then that I made another decision: to correct my error, no matter how long it took. Everything had to be perfect.

Here are the tools I used (and some tutorials below that):

  • Windows
    • Media Monkey – Batch converts to MP3, Ogg, FLAC, etc.; normalizes volume levels; finds and embeds album art (and singles’ art), automatic ID3 tagging; automatic file structuring.
      Media Monkey is just a great, all-round music organiser and player. It’ll even synch with your iPod.
    • MP3Gain – For all its advantages, Media Monkey is quite a ‘heavy’ application. To normalize your volume faster, use the light-weight (and open-source) MP3Gain.
    • MusicBrainz’s Picard – Everything ID3. Artist, album, artwork, etc. I haven’t used it personally, but have heard good things. However I do wonder how it will deal with my singles collection: Wikipedia states, “[Picard focuses] on album oriented tagging as opposed to track based tagging”.
    • Mp3Tag – Another good all-round tagging utility. Light-weight too. Before I moved to Media Monkey (so I had less applications), this was my tool of choice.
  • Linux/Unix
    • AmaroK – The best all-round music application for your free OS. It does everything you need, and more besides. All crammed into a small, fast, light-weight application. Artwork support has been a bit iffy, but maybe the EmbedCover plug-in script will fix that? Don’t forget to enable SQL! (Oh, and it automatically connects to your Last.fm account; sweet!)
    • EasyTAG – I haven’t used it yet, but have a feeling it’s going to be my new best friend. AmaroK will always be my music player of choice, though!
  • Mac
    • Don’t kid yourself, you wouldn’t move away from iTunes even if I paid you. Or if I had your mother at knife-point.
  • Lifehacker’s Alpha Geek: Whip Your MP3 Library into Shape
  • Help
    • My current music library is 100% MP3. I’m trying to fully embrace the open-source culture, so some suggestions on whether or not to convert to Ogg or FLAC is most welcome… as are tutorials and any useful applications.