Music Management

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time with my music lately. Re-ripping everything I own in lossless format, and also trying a bunch of new stuff via lala. The amount of data involved now is substantial enough that I would be sad if I had to rerip everything. And we are a multi-listener, multi-ipod household, so I need to provide access to the music for multiple users. Here is what I currently do.

  • Acquisition. I rip everything in flac lossless format using dbpoweramp using accuraterip to insure quality. I used to use exactaudiocopy, it is a fine program too, but I find the dbpoweramp interface a little cleaner. From this effort, I get an ever-growing store of flac-encoded content as I rerip all my cds.
  • Conversion. Unfortunately the iPod doesn’t speak flac, and the ipod hard disks aren’t big enough to handle flac. So weekly I downconvert all my new flac content to mp3 using dbpoweramp again. works pretty well in batch mode.
  • Library-ization. I take the converted mp3 content once a week and add it to iTunes on one machine, and I let iTunes rename/reorg the files on this machine only. Because I am replacing old mp3s from previous rips, this sometimes creates some cleanup work for me — dupe files, etc. I’ve tried various strategies to limit he cleanup work but none of them work well.
  • Fanout. To get the library on all machines, I currently use beyondcompare. It seems pretty fast and has an intuitive interface for me. I can save my various configs, it is pretty quick and painless to get everything in sync. this gives everyone a copy of the mp3 lib, and on their machines they can keep their own ratings, etc. Oh one key thing I also use — on my mac mini I have just started using sharepoints — makes it easy to share an arbitrary directory for network use by pc clients.
  • Archiving. I also use beyondcompare to make a couple copies of the underlying flac storage, even though no one really uses those versions directly. I did install a flac filter on one machine so I could play the flac versions directly in WMP but I rarely do that.

The next two things I intend to do are:

  • add in another hard disk to the fanout/archiving mix, and rotate it to my office, so that I have offsite storage.I’ve already done this informally but I need to make it a core part of the process.
  • look into how to export the itunes ratings from one machine to another. I personally use two machines and I’d like to keep the ratings in sync on those two. I’ve seen articles on how to do this, just need to dig in a little.
  • I also need to start thinking about how to integrate multiple ipods for my own use. my music collection in mp3 format far exceeds the storage of the biggest ipod. so far I’ve been able to keep on top of this by rating songs and dumping all the 1-stars off the ipod automagically at sync time. but with all the lala-provided discs I am trialling, I have way too much music — I want to carry around all the songs I know I like, plus all the ones I have yet to listen to. Not sure what the right strategy is here yet.