MP3 Organization

So after some discussions with Pokernut at work about the subject of creating a high quality music library (not that this doesn’t come up every few months with me and various friends and/or coworkers) and his plan is to rip everything to a lossless format so that you only have to rip your CDs once. I’ve ripped to mp3, to ogg, and to other formats, and it’s a valid argument. If you rip to a lossless format you can convert to other formats, you have the one golden master that can be then converted to whatever file format you want, without the need to re-rip.

A good thought says I.

My problem is that I have a few different types of music and organization can be a bit of a pain. I have the following directories on my music server:

Files in mp3 (and the occasional OGG) format which I’ve, well, aquired from various sources. These are tagged correctly through musicbrainz and have what I consider highly accurate tag information.
Files which I’ve ripped to high quality OGG. These are tagged as well.
Audiobooks for the car, not really carefully tagged.
Files that are not not available to be tagged through MusicBrainz (albums haven’t been put in there yet, or my version doesn’t match the MB version, complete, tagged live albums and so on). Theoretically I will look through this dir every once and a while and re-check to see if I can tag them.
Completely untagged files from wherever, mostly new stuff that’s waiting to be tagged.
In theory the replacement for complete-rip when I re-rip my files to FLAC or lossless AAC

The question is, should I “contaminate” my aquired mp3s with my own rips (or contaminate my own rips with my aquired mp3s)? I’d like to have one place to get music for my music library.

I want to obviously separate off the unsorted directory, this is separate. The Untagged directory is a good question though…. it’s got good music in there, just not with the correct id3 tags (or just not processed through MusicBrainz yet). However, the question is how to integrate the Lossless/complete-rip files and the tagged files. I want to be able to see them all so that I can go into iTunes or Rhythmbox or whatever and just add all files from one location on the fileserver so I know I’m getting all my music. Should I keep the actual directory trees separate? IE: a dir of lossless and a dir of lossy? This might make sense so that I know what’s mine and what to delete if the feds come knocking on the door. Can they be combined with a symlink farm of some sort? So /Lossy/U2/War/* is linked into /tagged/U2/War.

But then there’s the problem of duplicates, should I only have one copy of a song in an album, or should I keep both a lossy and lossless (one is easy to copy to my mp3 player, one is good as a master)? Maybe the lossless is kept completely separate and a high quality mp3 is created from each, and that is put in with the global collection of music? But then mp3 or ogg? Ogg is a higher listening quality, but isn’t supported on my mp3 player.

Anyone else dealing with this and have any tips or pointers to organizing with this sort of mix? I guess my problem is that I want this available for anything from anywhere, instead of having a concise goal of “music to listen to at the computer” or “music to collect for my mp3 player”.

3 Comments on “MP3 Organization”

  1. Well, I’m still undecided about that 🙂 Under linux you get decent aac lossless support through gstreamer under gnome, and FLAC is a well supported format. Under windows you get AAC through itunes and foobar2000 and flac only under winamp and foobar2000.
    It’s a good question 🙂 The better lossless format has has the better tools for converting to mp3/ogg/etc.

  2. Can’t you just create a playlist (M3U) that has what you want? Then you could create some simple perl/shell scripts that parse directory listings, and some sort of action file, to generate combined listings.
    By looking at the ID3 tags (using MP3::Tag from CPAN) and the directory/filenames, I think some nice playlists could be quickly generated using various criteria. Eg, do a search for “Genre equals Rock” AND “Year between 1990 and 2000”, and push the resulting file names into rock_90s.m3u.
    I’ve got a perl script that recursively generates playlists for /mp3. If the directory path is in $name, then /mp3/${name}/_${name}.m3u is created, containg a list of everything under /mp3/${name}. Works for any depth. I got sick of waiting for my mp3 car player (with its slow CPU) to parse and create its own playlists on the fly.
    There’s sure lots of stuff on Google about “lossless audio”. Now you got me thinking… Even 256+ kbit/s isn’t the same as the original CD… so I’ve been thinking of re-ripping CDs and storing them as lossless, with a script to generate MP3s for my carplayer.
    Symlinks would work… but aren’t cross platform. So if you burn a CD or use a FAT32 based player gadget, your hooped.