How to Organize
Your Music Using ITunes (PC/MAC)
These methods are in no means written in stone and
are definitely not always correct, but they have worked for DJ C-Zer (http://www.djczer.com)
99% of the time. There is no
real “quickie” way on how to organize your music. Especially if you
have over 50k (200gb) of songs like myself. So, with that here it goes….
Before opening up iTunes,
know your music. Know your music and most importantly know your music!
If you are one of those guys that just rips from CDs and Vinyl well
damn it, good for you because you’re just on the right track to organizing
your music. You should be connected to the internet so that the CDDB
(Music Database) can correctly tag your artists and song tracks. By
default, iTunes does not rip to MP3. You
must set this setting and I typically am satisfied anywhere between
192+ (quality). So a screen shot for these
settings in iTunes (Located in Preferences
-> Edit -> Advanced Tab -> click on sub tab “Importing”.
Your settings should look like this:
the other guy that watched your best friend spin with all his digital
music and copied all his mp3s, well go back to the beginning of this
paragraph and know your music! It will take the latter a longer time
to know it because like anything else, if you don’t know your music,
you’re not going to get organized.
Once you know your music, create folders for Genres!
Not Artists. Don’t let iTunes handle your
music, or else all will fail. So the best way to do this is to make
sure before importing your tracks, that you have “Keep iTunes
Music Folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes
Music folder when adding to library” unchecked. If you have this checked,
then you’re asking for trouble because since you didn’t tag all your
music like you were suppose to, iTunes will
create folders by artists and if your tags aren’t correct, it’ll be
Ok so now that you got all your music sorted out.
Here’s an example of what my music looks like in folders by Genres.
Some Folders have depths of different Genres like my Spanish folder….
So now you get the idea. This makes life easier when
you have all your music organized in folders by Genre. Why? Because
lets say you don’t want to carry all your music on your laptop. You
can simply drag the Genre Folders from an external drive or network
in your laptop when you need to do a gig that requires that specific
genre. The above collection is on my server at home and that server
backs up the collection on another server. To give you an idea of
why I take backups so seriously J.
There is no cheap data recovery method, but if you backup, well then
that’s hours and hours of hard work being saved. I heard that DJ Jazzy
Jeff carries 2 laptops and 3 external drives for backups. Smart
cat. Not all of us are ballas like
him, so we must improvise and shop at our local swap meet (el
swap meet!) and buy stuff cheap.
Ok, so now you got your
Genres all sorted out by the names “you are familiar with”. It doesn’t
have to be perfect, as long as YOU know where everything is at.
The next step is to create and verify all your tracks
have the proper genre tag before actually creating a “Smart Playlist”.
So go into iTunes and create a folder (CTRL+N)
Click on the
new playlist you created “temp”
Drag and drop
your “Genre” folder you created earlier. In this example I’ll use
As you can see some of the song names contain “Charlie
Parker”, so this is not a completed Genre yet. Do notice the Genre
field, they all say Jazz and the BPMs
field all are tagged nicely (MixMeister
Another trick is to click on Library at the top…
Then click on Edit -> Show Browser (Ctrl + B)
This is a nice method to clean up all your music
at once! Yes, that’s right, even after you have sorted your Music
by Genres, and you’re not happy with the tag information, then you
can do it all here.
Notice that above I have 49 Genres in this example. If I click on
AlternRock, it will show me all the tracks
with AlternRock in there:
But say you’re the type of person that just doesn’t
like to have TOO many genres, so you keep it all generic as Alternative.
All you have to do is ‘Select All’ the songs in that list (Ctrl+A),
bring up your menu to ‘get info’ and click on Get Info.
You will see a ‘Multiple Song Information’ dialog
Where the Genre says ‘AlternRock’,
type in Alternative, click OK and then all your music in this list
of ‘AlternRock’ is set to the list of ‘Alternative’. iTunes
will automatically notice that you no longer have any songs with the
Genre ‘AlternRock’ and will therefore remove it from the “Browser
of Genres”. I just cut my Genres down to 48 instead of 49. Continue
doing this for all your sets. Yes it’s a lengthy process, but believe
me when I say it, “When you do it the right way, you will thank yourself
later because you know exactly where everything is at”
You are now able to create smart playlist
that will bring in your Alternative music.
Steps to create smart playlists:
Click on File -> New Smart Playlist
In the new dialog box, set your settings like the one below.
3) Notice a different color icon for the ‘Smart Playlist’. Anytime you bring in new music, delete all your
temp tracks (it won’t delete the actual mp3, just the link to it)
and then drop in the new tracks into temp. Name them by Genre like
stated above and you’re set to be organized in no time. Smart Playlists
do live updating which means they will hold your newly imported tracks…
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