Organizing Music

Every now and then I come to the basic problem of organizing my music collection, which has grown to quite an unmanageable size. Improper ID3 tags make the situation even worse.

The more music you have, the less you listen to music you want to listen to.

Without proper tags, or information to organize the collection, all of it ends up in a soup, and when I want to listen to a particular song, or, worse, check if I have one or more of a particular kind of sing, and listen to them, I end up spending a few minutes flailing about, and then giving up, and listening to the same old favourites – time and again! The problems of having a disorganized collections include the possibility of having a very disgruntled girlfriend. “You know what, your music collection sucks, you have all this junk, and not one song I want to listen to!!”.

So, people, is there any tool that will give me a genre if I give it the Artist/Album/Track Name information?

I already have started using Musicbrainz to tag the untagged mp3s, which is a phenomenal task, given that I have over 5000 untagged songs, but I will get there someday. For now, I need a method to classify songs based on genre. The [[List of music genres]] at wikipedia gives me the jitters. I would love to have a web-based tool that will tell me what genre a song belongs to. I’ll take its word, and never contest it, I promise!

The second issue is that of setting up a tree-like directory structure for the files. Things like compilation-cds, classical music cds, and worst of all – Hindi film soundtracks muck things up very very badly. So any suggestions on a structure for organizing files into directories based on mp3 tags that works are welcome too.

I’m trying to have a conversation here, so let’s talk.

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14 Responses to Organizing Music

  1. robotgeek says:

    Hi Carthik,

    Check out Quod Libet / Ex Falso.

    While you are there, get the musicbrainz plugin.

    The default libtunepimp in ubuntu doesn’t come with mp3 bindings, so you might have to roll your own. It’s retty simple. heck, i was able to compile it myself :)

    Hope that helps,

  2. robotgeek says:

    Things like compilation-cds, classical music cds, and worst of all – Hindi film soundtracks muck things up very very badly. So any suggestions on a structure for organizing files into directories based on mp3 tags that works are welcome too.

    For this, i would recommend you to look at writing scripts which use the the cli id3tagging tools (btw, the choice is mind boggling) which can iterate thru your directories of music. For example, if your directory structure is similiar to mp3/hindi//songname -> tag it accordingly .

    Btw, i am looking at going the other way. ‘Keep my music organised’ (lifetd from itunes) script which takes the id3 tag, and moves it in the directory accordingly. I’ve all my music tagged, since i’ve been a ‘organize everything’ freak for a long time :)

  3. Carthik says:


    Yup, I already use musicbrainz to tag music. I want to figure out a suitable scheme to organize files. I will organize them using the tag information – but what structure do I set them to? – that is the question.

  4. rob says:

    I usually find

    Music\First Letter of Artist Name\Artist\Year - Album\Track - Title

    works well, leaving something like

    Music\B\Beethoven, Ludwig van\1963 - Symphony No.1 in C Major, Op.21 (Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmonike)1 - Adagio molto - Allegro con brio.mp3

    All the information’s there, there’s no redundancy, and it looks pretty. Job done.

  5. rob says:

    D’oh, it stripped out the \ (backslash then zero, if it doesn’t appear this time).

  6. Abu says:

    Hey mates, try out Mp3tag v4.2 (freeware). I have been using it for organising my mp3s. Thru with updating the ID3 tag info for the english songs. Now the big task of organising the hindi mp3s. Unfortunately, I’ve not found out a comprehensive site where I can find ID3 info for hindi songs. For english ones, mostly i’ve used Lemme give brainz another shot.. wasn’t quite worth it the first time :(

  7. tarana says:

    Hi, I am looking at websites with Hindi Songs & trying to tag my mp3s. If someone can piint me to any site where I can get ID3 Tags it will be most helpful. Even a site with a database will suffice.

  8. thegoddess says:

    I must say that your blogs are very impressive and I sure enjoy reading
    them. I have come across a tool called Media Monkey which helps organize your music collection.

    Hope this will help you


  9. Tobias says:


    take a look at:
    Very intresting for organizing music is the new container-format matroska:

  10. Rajah says:

    Mp3 book helper rocks ! Try it.

  11. DropbeaR says:

    I too use media monkey and find it to be a ball tearer!
    The more you use it the more you appreciate it…
    The only thing is Genre,yet to find anything too good for that.
    considering you can have a few different genres on one album even.


  12. ps says:

    old article, still, I just completed sorting my collection with Musicbrainz picard, at ~380GB with ~61000 tracks, it took half a year, still i think i got it done fast enough and i definetly think MB is the way to go. :)

  13. Anoop says:

    I used an open source java project (myID3) to tag the songs.
    Luckily, in malayalam, you can download all the song info from a site called I hope there will be some similar sites for hindi as well. I downloaded the whole database in xls format. Then renamed the mp3 files to the line number of xls where the song info resides. Then ran the java code(a bit tweaked), which tagged the songs automatically.

    The file renaming is a long process if you have thousands of songs, but i could not find another way.
    Hope this helps.