How best to tag
People tag their music tracks in different ways and it would be nice to discover different ways.
As an example of how I do it, take Dylan's track "desolation row" from the album Highway 61 revisited:
Artist: BOB DYLAN
Album: BOB DYLAN (Highway 61 revisited)
Track title: BOB DYLAN desolation row
I find that putting the name of the artist before the track title makes it easier for me to find the track as it is usually easier to remember the artist than the track title itself. So, if I am looking for a track to play, I may not always remember the full title but I remember the artist for sure.
All albums by a particular artist end up listed in alphabetical order, and track titles the same, after the artist name. I don't use "the" for bands, so the Beatles is listed as BEATLES. Otherwise most bands would end up under "T". I have found this the simplest way to tag but I would be interested to know how others do it.
My searching (both on PC and J3) is always by Artist first. Under my primary D:\MP3 music folder (on PC hard drive) I have 523 "artist-level" folders, most of which are true "artists". This is for true, genuine, albums by an artist, or "greatest hits" collections by that artist.
I also have two special "compilation" folders at this same level (e.g. "Oldies Compilations") in which there isn't really an "artist" as such for those albums (unless you consider "Various Artists" to be an artist). In these two special folders I then put all of the assorted compilations I have, where each track is typically by a different artist.
So there are 521 true "artist" folders, and 2 special "compilation" folders at that main level below D:\MP3. My artist names for these folders are "Lastname, Firstname" or "Groupname" or "Groupname, The".
At the next lower level, all MP3 tracks are collected strictly by album title. So each album has its own folder under the artist/compilation folder. Each album title is "Albumtitle" or "Albumtitle, The". Artist name is NOT included at the front or back of the album title. I leave "A " at the front, if present. If the album is a soundtrack, I generally put " (soundtrack)" at the end of the album name. If the CD is from a multi-disk package (2-discs, box set, etc.) I add "(CD1)", "(CD2)", etc. Inevitably this requires me to adjust the album title for such discs manually, as others who've put those discs on FreeDB inevitably do it differently.
Within each album, each track is "Trackname" or "Trackname, The". I leave "A " at the front, although again I realize this is somewhat inconsistent with "The " handling.
My ID3 tags are all produced automatically by my MP3 production process, using Audiograbber as the ripper/tagger. Audiograbber is configured to invoke LAME 3.98.4 as its "external encoder", with my own command line parameters of "%s %d -q 0 -V 0 -b 64 -B 320 -m s --vbr-new", which I feel produces the highest quality MP3 sound results that I'm looking for (no discusssion please... that's for another forum).
So before the ripping/encoding/tagging process on a CD is started, inserting the CD causes Audiograbber to retrieve all the data for the CD from FreeDB. This almost always works fine, though very rarely the CD is not known and I must manually enter the information which would otherwise be auto-populated from FreeDB. I also confirm that there's a "genre" filled in that is correct.
Then, I edit the information auto-retrieved to conform to my own standards (e.g. moving "The" to the end, etc.) and correcting spelling errors, and filling in missing Release Year, etc.). Only when I'm satisfied with what I see do I start the rip/encode/tag process.
This works fine, automatically producing both MP3 files and imbedded complete ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags. For "compilations" (recognized by Audiograbber so that you can have a unique artist for each track, even though "Various Artists" purports to be the artist for the album) the only thing now left to do is correct the "Release Year" value in each ID3 tag for that track, to be the correct year. For my manual tag-editing I use MP3/Tag Studio, because I like the way it looks and works. Mostly it's just used to adjust these track year values, but sometimes I use it to individually-correct or mass-correct something, such as if I notice I made a spelling mistake or typo.
I have several different "organizer" programs (all of which allow selecting and playing MP3 tracks using Winamp), but the one I like the best is named "[mp3 explorer]" which has long-since been "orphaned" but gives me exactly what I want. Primarily, I'm searching by artist, and then optionally by album within artist, or alternatively by "all tracks" for that artist. This organizer gives me exactly that, even when the source album for a track by an artist was a "compilation" and this track was just one track on that compilation. The track still gets presented under that artist, with the compilation album as the "album", though there may only be one track shown.
In other words, [mp3 explorer] gives me exactly the same kind of search capability I now get with the J3, coming in through Music -> Artist, and then either picking a specific album or picking "[All tracks]".
[mp3 explorer] has alternative sort sequences possible as well, but the organization and presentation described above is how my mind thinks.
I also sometimes use "MP3 Manager 32", which has a very spreadsheet-looking presentation, as well as "ShufflePlay/2" which looks more like [mp3 explorer] but is different. All of these organizer utilities also support construction of playlists (for use by Winamp). They also all support custom column order arranging, and optional display/hide of ID3 items so that the display is the way you want it to look.
I use a program named Musifind Pro as my "CD Database" program. It's where my primary album cover art JPGs are stored (500x500 high-quality for virtually all of my 1000+ CDs). These same JPGs are also copied into the individual album folders under D:\MP3 as "cover.jpg", so that they display in the "album art" window of Winamp when I play MP3 music. Since this identical folder structure under D:\MP3 was copied over to the J3 (primary and external storage drives, split simply into 2 parts as physical capacity requires) these "cover.jpg" album art images also display in the "album art" window of the J3 when playing music on the J3.
But my access to music on the J3 is identical to my access to music on the PC... using an organization/search based primarily on "artist" major and then "album within artist" minor, or alternatively "all tracks for that artist" if I'm in the mood. Of course this J3 "identity" is facilitated because that's how I built my ID3 tags (derived automatically from how I name albums, artists, and tracks) and how the J3 develops its own index structure... which really duplicates exactly how I use [mp3 explorer] on the PC. So I'm right at home, and intuitively comfortable instantly with the J3's presentation and drill-down features.
NOTE #1: I NEVER search by track name from a master single list of alphabetized tracks... as I currently have 6200+ MP3 tracks, and searching by scrolling through such a list would be crazy. Similarly, I NEVER search by album name... because I have 1000+ of those. Again, too large a list to look at in one alphabetized group. Also, I don't necessarily know every title of every album I have, but I DO KNOW EVERY ARTIST THAT I HAVE (and there are only 521 of them). So the easiest way for me to get to specific music I want to play is absolutely always by artist. Below that it's then easy... either by specific album (once I see the small list of albums for that artist, typically somewhere between 1 and 12) or by "[all tracks] for that artist".
Consequently I do NOT duplicate any information (e.g. artist) in either album name or track name, because I want to "keep it simple and clean", and my organizers (either [mp3 explorer] or the J3 -> Music -> Artist) precisely duplicates my mind's thought process, facilitating the very search approach I use... with no duplicate presentation of artist name anywhere but: (a) in the ID3 artist field, and (b) also in the artist name main folder.
NOTE #2: Audiograbber is also responsible for automatically creating the "artist" folder under D:\MP3 to match the artist value in the ID3 tag, adding an "album" folder underneath that to match the album value in the ID3 tag. This is, of course, all configurable in the program but is absolutely what I do want to happen when processing a true artist's album. However I disable the "create artist folder above album folder" when processing compilations, since I've manually pointed to my D:\MP3\Oldies Compilations folder. For compilations, the next sub-folder created under this primary folder reflects only the album name, with the "create artist folder" option un-checked. So looking at \Oldies Compilations shows only a list of compilation album titles... which again is exactly what I want to happen.
Artist: Dylan, Bob
Album: Highway 61 Revisited
Track: Like a Rolling Stone
Artist: Beatles, The
Album: Rubber Soul
Track: Word, The
Last edited by DSperber; 07-11-2010 at 02:24 PM.
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