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douggoss
08-10-2014, 01:02 AM
Hello

After a recent system crash I find myself re-installing iTunes and all my associated music. Seeing as how it was a mess (albums duplicated, missing songs and artwork, etc...) I thought this would be a great time to clean everything up before importing into iTunes.

I currently have: E:Music (about 1500 cd's ripped to FLAC using dbPA) and I:DD (stands for Doug's Digital files, all MP3 or FLAC files purchased and downloaded as opposed to the converted FLAC filess. Have about 600 of these).
Reading thru a recent thread this would be similar to music/lossless and music/lossyonly. So I do have the lossy and the lossless already separated into different folders on different drives (due to space)
I want to convert all my FLAC files (in E:Music) to an I:losslesscopy folder using Batch Ripper to convert the FLAC files to Apple Lossless files to be played on my iPhone.

For "information" I have a spreadsheet with all my music listed (Artist, Album, Source (could be CD or Amazon MP3 or Concert Vault MP3, etc...), number of tracks, bitrate (at least as much as I can believe what shows but that is a thread for a different day), etc... Within the spreadsheet I also have the Digital files broken into subfolders such as iTunes, EMusic, etc.... and within each are the artists and albums.
That said, I have already ran Album Art and Accurate Rip from this site and have noted on the spreadsheet which tracks are corrupted, rip errors, not in Accurate Rip, missing covers, etc...
I also went thru iTunes and marked which ones had errors, missing songs, missing artwork, etc... Very time consuming which is why I would really appreciate some advice on how to proceed.

I think the first thing I need to do is "clean up" all my files, I have MP3Tag but am really a novice at it. I assume I should go through each folder (E: and I:) and correct any bad or missing data (Artist>Album>Track *, Track Name).
If I pull the file up on MP3Tag and make these changes and save does that save back to the directory on my pc?
When I look at the names they are different, for example it shows Alan Parsons Project, The (under artist), and either The Alan Parsons Project or Alan Parsons (under Album Artist), looking through several albums I have.
- Should I copy and paste to make these all the same? and is there a way to do so other than one at a time?
- On some albums as I flip through songs, some show a cover while others do not, looking at the same album. For example tracks 1 & 2 have no cover but tracks 3 - 10 have a cover. How would I fix this?
- Many albums do not have artwork. I know when I rip them using dbPA I can copy and paste one in. How would I do this after the fact now? Would I copy and paste the artwork into the album folder or just import into iTunes and let it take care of finding covers? My gut feeling is to do it at the source folders as opposed to letting iTunes do it.

THANKS so much for any advice. Once I get the file cleaned up I will have a few more questions about actually running the batch convert process.

Spoon
08-10-2014, 05:45 AM
Step 1 remove duplicates
Step 2, improve tags for those than need it
Step 3, add missing album art.

Note if you let iTunes find the covers, these covers will be held internally in iTunes not the files, so if you move to a new computer, you lose the art.

garym
08-11-2014, 01:54 PM
First, it seems you should do less entering of info in a spreadsheet and more fixing your tags themselves. Keep in mind that with good tags, you can easily CREATE a spreadsheet with all your data with a few mouse clicks. It's hard to follow what's messed up in your files. I'm thinking that it is your TAGS that are not correct. You can fix your tags with either mp3tag or ID TAG UPDATE in dbpa. With differing problems you probably need several steps. Here's some things to get you started (and I'm using mp3tag as an example):

1. add all the directories for an artist to your active window.Open up all the files with artists, then locate the ones that are similar but not the same (i.e., Alan Parson's project) and then highlight all these and simply copy/paste or type the ARTIST name in that you want for all of these. Then click save. Now all these files will have exact same formation of the Artist name. If you want to use varying artist names but still have them grouped by a master name (e.g., Miles Davis Quintet, Miles Davis Sextet, etc., but all listed by Miles Davis) then use also an ALBUM ARTIST name (Miles Davis in this case).

2. For album art, load up the album you want, right click on the album art picture and "COPY" then highlight all the tracks within the album and click on album art section on screen and click PASTE. This should embed all the album art within each track of the album. You can also use PerfectTunes to read all your files and suggest ALBUM art. This will find art and even better versions perhaps. I'd fix all my tags FIRST.

3. Once you have your tags perfect, you can use mp3tag (convert tags to filename) or dbpa convert to [audio arrange] to batch create directories, subdirectories, and file names (e.g., 01 - Something - The Beatles, etc.) based on your tags. Then your file names and organization will be what you want on your hard drive (in addition to your tags being correct).

Play around with these tools with an album or two to get the hang of what you're trying to do. If you use mp3tag, they have their own forum with helpful info and other users.

douggoss
08-12-2014, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the replies. A bit of clarification and a few more questions:

I started using a spreadsheet when my music collection got too big to remember (that and I came down with CRS!) as well as a way to document which cd's I had ripped to my pc. I have it on dropbox and look at it when I am shopping in a cd store. It also gave a way to tell where I purchased any MP3 files. I can see now that you could convert the tag info to a spreadsheet.

I am converting to lossless because I'm a bit anal about music as I was a musician for years. I don't mind the trade-off of having less music on the iphone to listen to in the car as long as the quality is better. And, seeing as how my FLAC files are on my E drive and the Apple Lossless will be on my I drive it will also serve as a backup for the music.

Now for the questions:
Spoon mentioned getting rid of duplicates. I assume this is music I might have on both CD and MP3? There are also songs I may have on several cd's (like the original cd and a greatest hits cd). I would assume I would leave these alone being tagged under separate albums.

As for cleaning up the tags, I have sorted by Artist, Album Artist, Album, Disc, Track *, Title and Cover and cleaned these up. Are any other fields important? I started to clean up the Year column as I have some that read 1997 for example and others that read 1997 01 28. Is it important for these to all be same format as well?

Also regarding tags I see them in two different formats in the Filename column. For example Steely Dan - 02 - Aja.flac (artist - * - name) but also 04 Planet Of The Abts - Off The Hook.flac (* Album - Title). Does this matter as long as I have the other columns right (Artist, Album Artist, Album Disc *, Track *, Title and cover)?

Thanks again for the advice.

Spoon
08-12-2014, 11:33 AM
You would be suprised where duplicates come from, I have in mp3 and also where ripped originally in APE (with a non secure ripper) then later ripped to FLAC.

garym
08-12-2014, 03:41 PM
I am converting to lossless because I'm a bit anal about music as I was a musician for years. I don't mind the trade-off of having less music on the iphone to listen to in the car as long as the quality is better. And, seeing as how my FLAC files are on my E drive and the Apple Lossless will be on my I drive it will also serve as a backup for the music.


Backups are good. Probably more than one. I'm fanatic about this. In addition to complete copies at 3 different locations in use (home, work, weekend place), I also have 4 backups on drives that are not typically connected to anything, stored at 3 different locations.



Spoon mentioned getting rid of duplicates. I assume this is music I might have on both CD and MP3? There are also songs I may have on several cd's (like the original cd and a greatest hits cd). I would assume I would leave these alone being tagged under separate albums.

the PerfectTunes dedup function can help. But I want my complete albums, so I wouldn't want to randomly dedup. For example, I might have a song on the original album, also on a greatest hits album, also on a soundtrack album. I would want to keep all these intact as complete albums.

Regarding lossy and lossless. Best to have these separated into different parent directories. Something like:

x:\music\lossless\artist\album\tracks....
x:\music\lossy\artist\album\tracks
x:\music\lossycopies\artists\album\tracks...

I have all my FLAC rips in the lossless, my purchased, etc. lossy files in the lossy directory. I point my home system at both these directories for a complete copy of my library. Then I have a mirror of all my FLAC files in the "lossycopies" directory. I can point itunes at my "lossy" directory and "lossycopy" directories and then have my complete library on lossy for my iThings. And in the mp3 copies in "lossycopies" I have a field in the tags that notes "From FLAC" so that if these files ever get unorganized I can easily sort to see which lossy files are actually from FLAC files I already have (versus LOSSY files I have that have no FLAC counterpart).


As for cleaning up the tags, I have sorted by Artist, Album Artist, Album, Disc, Track *, Title and Cover and cleaned these up. Are any other fields important? I started to clean up the Year column as I have some that read 1997 for example and others that read 1997 01 28. Is it important for these to all be same format as well?

Those are all I really care about with the exception of Genre. You might add that as well (my preference, keep the list short...i've tried it many ways and being too specific (e.g., latin jazz vocal female) is endless; i tend to do jazz, rock, pop, country, folk, classical, opera, spoken word. year is not particulary clean for me, but I do try to fix when I have time or notice something. I typically put just the year. But many players will read the year from the tag even when it includes longer date (e.., 1997 01 28).


Also regarding tags I see them in two different formats in the Filename column. For example Steely Dan - 02 - Aja.flac (artist - * - name) but also 04 Planet Of The Abts - Off The Hook.flac (* Album - Title). Does this matter as long as I have the other columns right (Artist, Album Artist, Album Disc *, Track *, Title and cover)?

What you are talking about here is not tags but Filenames. These are two different things. Once your tags are cleaned up you can automatically make your filenames consistent by rewriting the names and/or moving to correct directories with convert to [arrange audio] or with mp3tag (convert tag to filename, using filter something like:
.\%albumartist%\%album%\$num(%track%,2) - %title%
or
.\%albumartist%\%album%\Disk %discnumber%\$num(%track%,2) - %title%

I prefer a filename system that is separate directory for ARTIST (or album artist), then separate subdirectories for each album. Then under the album the tracks with a name of "01 - first track title", 02 - second track title, etc. (if multiple disk CD, I have a separate subdirectory for each disk (disk 1, disk 2, etc.). For compilations, I skip the artist directory and just have a COMPILATIONS parent directory with album subdirectory, and the tracks within the album as "01 - first track name - track artist"

douggoss
08-14-2014, 05:57 PM
THANKS again for the great advice. I'm still plowing through this and have some questions specific to tags (so that they will work with iTunes)

For some cd's I see tags (for a single disc) 1/1 and for others just 1. Is there a right or wrong way for these? Or does it even matter on a single disc?

I have been working in MP3Tag and see that I should use compilation for things like soundtracks or "Best of 1974" but I see no way to do this in MP3Tag? Is there a way or would this have to be done in iTUnes?

Finally, I am unsure how to tag multiple cd's. For example Frampton Comes Alive is a 2 disc set with 8 songs on disc 1 and 6 songs on disc two. In the disc number should I number them 1 & 2 or 1/2 & 2/2? I thing but not sure if I do it 1 and 2 they will show as separate cd's in iTunes and if I do it 1/2 & 2/2 they would just show as 1 cd? Lastly, how would the songs be numbered, 1 - 14 or 1 - 8 on the first disc and 1 - 6 on the second?

Thanks again for the help.

garym
08-17-2014, 06:53 AM
THANKS again for the great advice. I'm still plowing through this and have some questions specific to tags (so that they will work with iTunes)

For some cd's I see tags (for a single disc) 1/1 and for others just 1. Is there a right or wrong way for these? Or does it even matter on a single disc?

I have been working in MP3Tag and see that I should use compilation for things like soundtracks or "Best of 1974" but I see no way to do this in MP3Tag? Is there a way or would this have to be done in iTUnes?

Finally, I am unsure how to tag multiple cd's. For example Frampton Comes Alive is a 2 disc set with 8 songs on disc 1 and 6 songs on disc two. In the disc number should I number them 1 & 2 or 1/2 & 2/2? I thing but not sure if I do it 1 and 2 they will show as separate cd's in iTunes and if I do it 1/2 & 2/2 they would just show as 1 cd? Lastly, how would the songs be numbered, 1 - 14 or 1 - 8 on the first disc and 1 - 6 on the second?

Thanks again for the help.

For single disk albums, I leave the disk number blank. For multidisk albums, I make it 1/3 (if, for example a 3 disk total album). In addition, the Album NAME should be exactly the same for all 3 of the disks. I like this approach because the multidisk album will show in a player as one album (but with multidisks). So if you select Frampton Comes Alive album to play, it will play both disks (in order!).

In mp3tag, to add COMPILATION=1 tag, load up album(s), select, right click, select extended tags, then create or locate the COMPILATION field, and enter a value of "1" (without the quotes). Then save. On the left side panel of mp3tag, I've edited it to show several fields in addition to artist, album, track, etc. I included COMPILATION and ALBUM ARTIST in this panel. I forget how I added this to the left panel as it was long ago. But it was easy and based on some instructions I must have found on the mp3tag program or searching the mp3tag forum.

EDIT: in mp3tag, click on TOOLS, then OPTIONS. Then select TAG PANEL. Click the icon with the "star" for add field, then add: COMPILATION, DISCNUMBER, ALBUMARTIST, COMPOSER (one at a time). Then tick the options at bottom to display cover art and display directory switcher. Then select OK at bottom of screeen. To show this panel on left, in menu option VIEW, tick TAG PANEL.