Music library management can be an entirely frustrating experience, especially if you have years of unorganized music waiting to be sorted and labeled properly. Poor music library management will come back and bite you later when you’re listening to music on-the-go and you can’t navigate your songs without confusion.
Fortunately, there are a few great tools made specifically to help you in these things.
I purge my music collection on a regular basis so I, admittedly, don’t have a huge music library, but it’s still large enough that I avoid organizing it due to the inevitable headaches. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be if I actually had dozens of gigabytes of music. If you can sympathize with these frustrations, here are some tools that will cure those headaches.
Sometimes you just need to start over from scratch. Maybe the ID3 tags across your music library have no rhyme or reason to them and they do more harm than good. Or maybe you just want a clean slate on a few albums so your automatic tagger can do its thing. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just need a tag remover. ID3 Remover does that right away.
Open the program, drag and drop whichever files or folders from which you want to delete ID3 tags, and click “Remove.” Done. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
MP3Tag is a lightweight program meant to aid you in managing the metadata for songs in your library. MP3Tag supports most of the common metadata formats including ID3v1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, iTunes MP4, WMA, Vorbis Comments, and APE Tags, so you’ll have no problems managing your music regardless of the type of music you have.
MP3Tag has a few advanced features to make your life easier if you so choose to use those features:
- Full Unicode support when editing tags.
- Batch tag editing for when you need to edit multiple songs at once.
- Album art downloads for completing your music library’s polish.
- Tag data imports from popular music databases, including Amazon, MusicBrainz, discogs, and freedb.
- Rename files based on tag information and import tags from filenames.
- Export music library lists and reports to HTML, RTF, and CSV.
- Supported formats include MP3, AAC, OGG, FLAC, MP4, WMA, MPC, OPUS, APE, OFR, OFS, SPX, TAK, TTA, WV.
Use MP3Tag if… you just need a one-time library metadata revamp and don’t need many advanced features. MP3Tag is great for batch editing tags and album art, yet lightweight enough that you aren’t bogged down by extraneous features you’ll never use.
For those of you who don’t know, MusicBrainz is a wonderful central database full of CD information and metadata. MusicBrainz Picard is an open source program that taps into the MusicBrainz database and matches up various songs and albums according to what the database says. Unlike most auto-taggers, which rely on filenames and album types to make their matches, MusicBrainz operates with acoustic scans of the songs themselves.
Features you’ll find in MusicBrainz Picard:
- Excellent support for Unicode.
- Uses audio fingerprints to identify songs.
- Automatically tags songs based on the MusicBrainz database for accurate results.
- Tags your audio files using an album-oriented approach for maximum organization.
- Functionality can be extended through plugins.
- Supported formats include MP3, OGG, FLAC, AAC, MP4, WMA, WAV, MPC, APE, OFR, WV, and SPX.
MusicBrainz Picard is one of the most popular ways to fix up a disorganized music collection. Fortunately, the MusicBrainz Picard website has a quickstart guide on how to use this program to auto-tag your music library in just a few minutes. If you’ve never used it before, I highly recommend it.
Use MusicBrainz Picard if… you didn’t like MP3Tag for whatever reason. Whether it was too simple, didn’t match your expectations, or maybe you just didn’t like the interface. There’s a lot of overlap between MP3Tag and MusicBrainz Picard and I’d say it mostly comes down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for a music player and music manager all wrapped into one, MediaMonkey is exactly what you want. Keep in mind that MediaMonkey is not a lightweight music player like Foobar2000 and it has no intention of being so. Instead, it’s designed to be powerful and feature-complete and it really shows.
As far as music management capabilities, MediaMonkey offers a lot:
- A built-in tag editor that not only manages tag data, but also sets lyrics, edits artwork, organizes virtual CD details, and more.
- A built-in automatic tagger that looks at contextual information (such as filenames and folder structures) to set tag and artwork data without requiring you to input details manually.
- Organize your music library into more than just playlists: collections. Your library can have multiple collections and each collection can have multiple playlists. Great for those of you with huge libraries that defy traditional ideas of organization.
- Volume normalization for when some of your songs are too loud or too soft. MediaMonkey has two types of normalization: Volume Leveling, which plays all songs at a consistent volume, and Per-Track Volume, which changes the volume of a particular track only.
- Automatic file renaming, which is immensely useful for converting filenames into the pattern that you’ve been using for the rest of your music library (for example, Artist – Album – Track Title).
- Supported formats include MP3, AAC, OGG, WMA, FLAC, MPC, WAV, CDA, AVI, MP4, OGV, MPEG, WMV, M3U, PLS, and more.
The $24.95 Gold version offers even more features.
Use MediaMonkey 4 if… you want an all-in-one package that handles nearly every aspect of music management. Not only does it manage your song tags and metadata, MediaMonkey 4 is a full blown music player and library. If you only need to revamp your tags, MediaMonkey 4 would probably be overkill.
Music library management can be a daunting task, but don’t let it overwhelm you. With the tools outlined above, you’ll be able to clean up your collection in absolutely no time, making it easier for you to navigate your albums and find the songs you want when you want them.
Note that these tools are for managing MP3 collections and not MP4 files ! There’s a massive difference between the two, and you should definitely be aware of that.
Image Credits: Tapes via Flickr