How do you organize your digital music files?


Staff member
So I am trying to clean up this mess which I call my music library, but when I encoded most of my CD's, I didn't bother sorting them etc. I am looking for examples of folder structures etc., so feel free to post away! Thanks!
Mine are all organized by this directory structure:

Artist > Album > Track

Everything is under one main music directory except for classical - those are under a classical directory. Otherwise, all rock, jazz, blues, etc. are mixed together under music.

Tracks are all named with the track number as the first characters: 01 - The Beatles - A Hard Days Night.mp3. This allows them to be sorted correctly by programs that use file lists. Each album directory also has an m3u playlist with the tracks in order.

Except for a few, all 5100 tracks were ripped from my CDs (got to finish the job sometime). All ID3 tags were edited at ripping time to make sure they are correct. I occasionally come across an error.
Mine is pretty simple but not too many (if any) use it.

goes a little something like this:
/.../artist - album/track # - artist - song title.mp3

I know a lot of people like to sort by year, genre, etc. but it always seemed overkill to me. Then again, I encode to mp3s which would cause some people to label me a heathen.
What do you guys do with compilation albums? I have a bunch of those, and I am not sure how to deal with them, since I do sort by Genre/Artist/Album name.
My ripping is pretty automated: I stick a disk in, it autorips, and then ejects the disk. I don't even have to wake up the screen saver.

I rip with Exact-Audio-Copy and encode with LAME. It is setup to create a Artist/Album/Track directory structure, and also creates a .m3u file. It uses the CD serial number to fetch the track information from

Someday I will expand on it to fetch the cover art, but I don't yet know how.
I put compilations under the artist directory "Various Artists" or the name of the set of CDs (like "WNKU Natural Alternatives") - not great, but it's better than nothing.

The individual tracks have the correct artists in the ID3 tags. At home, I use the directory structure to browse and play music. But, in my new portable player, everything is sorted by tags. So, I have a lot of artists listed with only one track. I'd just as soon not have those show up in the artists list.

I also have a small jpeg in most artist and album directories called "folder.jpg" with cover art and artist pictures. I don't have very many things that use them - they are there for "completeness," not because I really need them.
How timely.. Something must be in the air in Upstate NY, as I spent the better part of yesterday and some of today organizing my MP3's and updating the tag information with Musicmatch 10.

BTW- Musicmatch's supertagging is the best that I've found. I select 100 at a time and it goes out and updates the tag info along with album cover. After they are tagged, I use Musicmatch to rename them all with the same format:
Artist, Title, Album.

My structure under the MP3 folder:

'69 and Earlier
Classical or Instrumental
Mello (Wife's folder that I've put soft music into for her playlist)
New Music
Rap - Dance

I have 1,274 (of my over 10,000) songs in the root of the MP3 folder that don't necessarily fit into the above folders.

With all that said, the way I classify the songs primarily is with Winamp playlists. I keep the main playlists setup with folders, but many MP3s fit into different playlists, so it's a long manual process to classify the first time, and then I just add new music. Newly ripped music sits in the New music folder until it can be properly tagged, sorted and added to the appropriate playlists.

I am pondering a better solution, such as the rating system, but my playlists are excellent at the moment, with the only pain being adding and sorting the new music.
Like those above, I use a disk-based system along with Winamp-style .m3u playlists that I use on Winamp, Audreys, and Slimp3s. I rip with EAC and encode to MP3 at 160k with LAME. I also use the track number on my filenames, but I don't add the artist in there - it's in the path info as ..\Artist\Album\tracknumber - trackname.mp3

On my file server where the files are stored, I run a nightly script that creates an "all.m3u" list by listing all the subdirectory contents. I run most of my background players in random mode using this list, so this catches any new additions to my library automatically. The file server also runs the Slim Server for my Slimp3s, which looks at the same file collection and uses the same playlist files.

I did find a nice little utility for tags and cover art that fetches the cover art and lyrics from various sites, but I haven't yet put up the bucks for it and it is now out of the trial period. It does batch processing, as well. It's called mp3tag, and the web site is $24.95 or $19.95 for an MP3-only version.

I use Winamp 5.x's playlist management system for much of my selecting and swapping. In the Winamp Media Library/Local Media/Audio area, you can sort and highlight on almost any tag info, create and bounce to playlists with a right-click on your selected tracks, etc.
huggy - I'd be interested in hearing more about your scripts to auto-generate your playlists. I have about 7 playlists that I routinely use (mine, wifes, both, concert preps, etc) and have been thinking through the automation of automatically adding songs... hasn't been easy so I've been manually doing them as needed.

Also - has anyone else had success with changing the classname for multiple winamps running at the same time (as described in the how-to). Doesn't seem to work for me (but I'm not running Girder, I use Auto-It)... WinAmp starts but still has the name Winamp... not winampX as I need.
Nevermind on the WinAmp... I switched to JRivers Media Center. Much nicer and easier to automate... and supports multiple zones by itself.
Yep... was about to suggest that bfisher. I was considering doing the WinAmp multi-zone trick for a while, since I am already familiar with girder, but I decided to try an M-Audio Delta 410 sound card and JRMC myself. I was foreseeing way too many problems with drivers, setting it up, and then trying to make sure that I was controlling the correct zone.

And just to add to the thread's original storyline..


I just had to make sure that the ID tag info was correct... the frontend takes care of the rest :angry: That, and the fact that when I listen to a particular artist, I dont care which album the song is from.
Rupp, in my case I use MusicLobby which is a front end to J Rivers Media Center player. Much easier to use MediaCenter for rip, coverart and catalog than to also use Media Player. I do have Homeseer MediaPlayer plugin running, but never use it as MusicLobby is a notch better than a webpage.

I use WMP to rip and get album art, but use Winamp to play. I have not yet found a good way to control WMP via PowerHome. I've tried using SendKeys, but that proved to be unreliable. For control, I use Winamp's support of Windows Messaging. I also use the Browseamp plugin for Winamp which allows independent control from a browser and supports HTML skinning. Browseamp is also used to determine if Winamp is playing or not for pausing music for announcements.

I have WMP set up to update file info, and this "fills in the blanks" on other tracks in my library (tag info and cover art).

My filing format is the typical Artist/Album/Song, and works well for me so far.
Treetop said:
I decided to try an M-Audio Delta 410 sound card and JRMC myself.
If you haven't used the Delta 410 yet - I highly recommend it.... once it's working, it's awesome. Win2k had issues with interupts, but once I sorted them out - it's really nice...