Need Help Organizing 140,000 MP3s

svillardi
svillardi used Ask the Experts™
on
Hi,

I am at my wits end trying to get this collection in shape.

I need a software program that not only allows me to rewrite the tags, but actually moves the files based on the tags.  I have totally freaked out because I have deleted songs when I thought I was just removing them.  Thank god for backups.

I am trying Tune UP, however it may save the tag, but it doesn't rewrite the file name or move the file where it belongs (Artist > Album > Track-Song Title.

There are just so many different software titles which I have used and I haven't been able to find one that does it all.  Tried ITunes, WMP, etc....

Thanks,
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Top Expert 2006

Commented:
have a look at mp3tag http://www.mp3tag.de/en/

Top Expert 2006

Commented:
Ive used mp3tag a couple of times for some basic usage. its pretty good for what I used it for

there is also yammm which I havent used but seen it mentioned here a few times Yammm, http://mikinho.com/yammm/



things mp3tag can do but not sure it can do full directory moving

Batch Tag Editing        Write ID3v1.1, ID3v2.3, ID3v2.4, MP4, WMA, APEv2 Tags and Vorbis Comments to multiple files at once.              
Support for Cover Art       Download and add album covers to your files and make your library even more shiny.              
Import from Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz       Save typing and import tags from online databases like Amazon, discogs, freedb, MusicBrainz, and more.              
Replace characters or words       Replace strings in tags and filenames (with support for Regular Expressions).              
Create Playlists automatically       Create and manage playlists automatically while editing.        
Rename files from tags       Rename files based on the tag information and import tags from filenames.                    
Export to HTML, RTF, CSV       Generate nice reports and lists of your collection based on user-defined templates.              
Full Unicode Support       User-interface and tagging are fully Unicode compliant.              
             Besides these main features Mp3tag offers a variety of other functions and features ranging             ranging from batch export of embedded album covers, over support for iTunes-specific tags like             media type or TV Show settings, to combining multiple actions into groups that can be applied             with a single mouse click.       


Author

Commented:
A quick look at the features doesn't look like anything special.  Any more ideas?

Thank you for the help.
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Commented:
I think you'll need a custom program to do what you want.
mp3 Tag editor will help on changing the tags and file names but manually by batches.
Then you'll need a program to read the tag or file name and move the file where you want, I haven't heard of a program doing that.
iTunes does EXACTLY what you want, if you check the box, "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" in Edit/Preferences/Advanced.

If you check that box, then when you change a song's tags from within iTunes, it will move/rename the file (as far as directory/folder location on your hard drive) consistently with the tags.

Alternatively, you can change the files tags from OUTSIDE iTunes, and iTunes will then relocate the file when you import the file into iTunes' library.

Author

Commented:
Really?  Do you have a choice of the fields it organizes by?

Author

Commented:
Also, how will iTunes filter duplicates? I looked at their duplicate options and it leaves much to be desired.
You don't have a choice of fields it organizes by.  It will organize into Artists, then into subdirectories by  Album (using "unknown album" if the album field is blank), then song.

ITunes duplicate filtering is not great, you're absolutely right.

Author

Commented:
So your suggestion is to use mp3 tag and then drop them in iTunes onced finished?
My suggestion would be to delete the library in iTunes (but of course not the songs/files themselves...just the iTunes catalog, which is really a set of pointers to the files.)

Then, using whatever software works best for you to change ID tags, manipulate the ID tags as you see fit.  Do just a few files, for test purposes, to make sure that the tags you're manipulating are the ones that iTunes pays attention to.  (As I'm sure you know, there are a number of different tagging formats.)

Then, open iTunes, and make sure that both "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized" and "Copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library" are checked, in Edit/Preferences/Advanced.

Then, import your test files into iTunes, either by using File/Import, or by dragging and dropping.  Check to see if the files have been copied into the iTunes directory structure in the way you want.  (The root of the directory structure will be the one showing in the "iTunes Media Folder location" under Edit/Preferences/Advanced ).

If so, you're doing it right... continue the process for the rest of your songs.

Author

Commented:
Ok what will happen with duplicates?  Same song, same artist, same album. Different source. What will happen to the file.
The file will be COPIED from wherever it is now to the directory structure whose root is shown in Edit/Preferences/Advanced.   So once you're done, you'd delete all the mp3's that aren't in that directory.

If you want to be sure not to have duplicates when you're all done, create a new, empty directory in your My Documents directory, called "iTunes Organized" or something.   Then, make that directory the one referred to in iTunes in Edit/Preferences/Advanced/ under iTunes Media folder location.

Now, when you import your songs into iTunes after having set the tags the way you want them, they will be imported (copied) into this directory.  So when you're done, you should be able to delete all mp3's that are not in this directory, because they're all duplicated there.   (Of course, before doing the deleting, make absolutely sure that they've been copied!  They will be, if you've checked the two boxes referred to in the earlier post.)


OH, and I see there's another point to your question:  If you have the same song twice, from different sources, and you import both versions into iTunes, then if you've set the tags EXACTLY the same on both, you'll overwrite the first one with the second one.  

Author

Commented:
I will test tonight!  This is awesome if it works!!  Thanks!! Points tomorrow probably!!
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
Ok. not sure whether you tried mp3tag or not or whether you based your quick look at the features by reading info only.
but to try answer your question here

I need a software program that not only allows me to rewrite the tags, but actually moves the files based on the tags.  I have totally freaked out because I have deleted songs when I thought I was just removing them.  Thank god for backups.

When you start MP3Tag, if you find by parent directory (look on left hand side directory prompt), it will find all mp3's under that directory and list them for you on the right hand side
You can order them by the columns available to you i.e.name, folder etc - that way it can help you find dups
You can very easily change the tag info and do batch updating of tags by selecting multiple files
You can move mp3's to different folders by right clicking on the files and selecting move


Where it doesnt move based on tags (I don't know about iTunes) you can very easily move it yourself

Another thing is the tag sources which will find tag info for you from a few places.
Look at the conversions available - Filename to Tag and vice versa

Personally I think it is a very good tool so am unsure what you feel is lacking. Perhaps automation of moving files or something?


Author

Commented:
Well I was disappointed with the results. I took an Harriet that I knew I had lots of dupes for and after following your instructions, dragged them into iTunes. The new folder started to fill up as the songs were entered into the database.

Then I grabbed my second folder which seemed to have the same albums - but named different. As in "album" bs "album - remastered".

So the dupes made sense at this point.

Then I used an add-on called Tune-Up to auto clean the tags so that all duplicate albums MATCHED (tag-wise).

I watched in great anticipation as the organized folders of iTunes seemed to disappear, thinking - PERFECT! - dupes are gone....

But they weren't. They simply created "songname 1".

While I guess I could do a find for songname 1 it sort of defeats the purpose.

Thinking about trying it outside of iTunes tonight.

Rats, OK, but other than the generation of the "extra" files with the "1"'s, it works...   It should be fairly easy to delete all of those by searching (in Windows Explorer) for files with 1.mp3 as part of the filename, and then deleting everything that's found, though, right?

Author

Commented:
Well there's more to the story.
I couldn't just delete the extra files with ^1.mp3 because I saw that some of the duplicate files actually were at a higher bitrate. So now I had to find yet another software product which let me look at all the files using a multi sort hierarchy.

Thank goodness I knew about mp3 collector because it does just that.

So now I have to buy another hd to copy all the files locally so I can find the dupes, change the tags so the same songs are in the same album folder, then sort the albums by bitrate and finally copy them back to my mediacenter.

I think.

Author

Commented:
Well there's more to the story.
I couldn't just delete the extra files with ^1.mp3 because I saw that some of the duplicate files actually were at a higher bitrate. So now I had to find yet another software product which let me look at all the files using a multi sort hierarchy.

Thank goodness I knew about mp3 collector because it does just that.

So now I have to buy another hd to copy all the files locally so I can find the dupes, change the tags so the same songs are in the same album folder, then sort the albums by bitrate and finally copy them back to my mediacenter.

I think.

Author

Commented:
Well I am still in the process as vistas search capabilty is awful. I have thousands of duplicates. Will send an update soon.
For SUPERFAST searching, try "Everything", here:

http://www.voidtools.com/

You'll be AMAZED.



Top Expert 2006

Commented:
by the way, you didnt tell me what was lacking in mp3tag. big thing I see that isnt covered is automatically finding and removing dups. I had a look at mp3tag but looks like it is not yet supported but this link mentions some other products which may help http://forums.mp3tag.de/lofiversion/index.php/t6779.html

Only way I know how to remove dups in mp3tag is manually in that you can sort by filename, path, tag, artist, title. From the list you can then remove the dups. I have about 20gigs worth. I have been using mp3tag to get tag info as well as dups but removal has been manual. I first categorised my mp3s within windows explorer eg created folders like rock, pop, 80s etc then moved mp3 folders there. Then am using mp3tag and dbPowerAmp to help sort out the missing bits, remove dups etc.

I found this recently http://abeetech.com/mp3-duplicates-finder/howto_find_duplicate_mp3_files.htm I have not tried it nor do I know anything about it but looks okay. Like with anything new, I always security scan it first and try to find reviews on it before using it

Author

Commented:
Itunes helped mostly, but I still have duplicates.  It looks like it will still be a manual process.

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