Wednesday, September 10, 2008

iTunes spurs a cleanup

iTunes doesn't respect existing directory structures and isn't very useful for files without good ID3 tags. I had little luck finding good alternative mp3 players for the Mac, so I bit the bullet and cleaned up my mp3s.

MusicBrainz was a real time saver. It's a site that stores fingerprints of mp3 files. You can use software such as their Picard to identify your mp3s. Then you can use it to group them by album, set the ID3 tags, rename the files, and move them somewhere, all in bulk. It knows what songs go in an album from its database, so if it can't automatically figure out what song/album a file goes to, you can drag-and-drop it to the right place.

Picard makes this whole process a lot simpler. What would have been days of work was only a couple of hours (for ~1100 files in ~100 albums). It is only at version 0.10, so it's still pretty rough, but it's free, and it gets the job done better than anything else I've tried.

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