Maintaining a Digital Music Collection

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There's been some talk about digital music collections in the past on threads like The Data Migration Thread , but I wanted to start a new thread! dedicated solely to those of us who are actively building up (legally acquired) digital music collections. I'm not talking about buying a CD or LP and then digitizing it, but buying music natively in mp3, FLAC, or some other format. The majority of posters on ILM seem to prefer their music on LPs and CDs, and I definitely see the appeal in doing that--up until very recently, I had to have everything in CD-- but I think there might be a few others who, like me, are starting to purchase most of their music digitally.

Recently, I've decided to go (mostly) digital. The first step in this process has been culling my CD collection. I sold off a chunk of the collection in two batches, and I'm getting ready to sell off a third. My goal is to eventually have as few physical CDs as possible, and I want all of my digital music to sit on two hard drives. Most of the new music I buy is from Amazon mp3, although I'm currently searching for some good online stores that sell everything in FLAC.

I'm doing this for several reasons:

(1) I'm 22, so I'm of the generation that sees CDs as nothing more than a storage medium. I buy a CD, rip it into iTunes, and place it on my CD shelves, where it sits forever.
(2) I have a lot of books, and I'm not a fan of eBook readers, so I plan on acquiring many more books than I already own, and I don't want to maintain two physical media collections.
(3) I need less shit in my life in general.
(4) There's a lot of stuff that's difficult for me to easily acquire where I live, and I've been able to find some stuff that I've had a lot of difficulty tracking down in brick-and-mortar stores on Amazon mp3 and iTunes.
(5) A lot of artists are starting to do the whole LP + mp3/FLAC thing, and I have no desire to start collecting LPs. I think that soon enough more and more artists will start going this route as CDs sales continue to tank.

Is anyone else actively maintaining a digital record collection or planning on doing so? Where are you buying from? How are you storing and organizing everything?

As I said, I'm sure that the audience for this thread on this board is relatively small, but I'm hoping there might be at least a few others out there who are going this route, and perhaps we can get a discussion going.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:19 (eleven years ago) link

i can't even fathom doing what you're doing. seems no stretch of my imagination no matter how great will alow me to even consider the possibility paying for an mp3. sorry!

samosa gibreel, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:26 (eleven years ago) link

Keep all your favorite/best CDs, or yer gonna feel like a chump when that hard drive explodes

Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:39 (eleven years ago) link

Much more convenient for housebreakers too, like being able to carry away a whole collection in a binder.

I am using your worlds, Saturday, 22 August 2009 23:41 (eleven years ago) link

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections. Do you just chuck it all in one folder or do you take the time to set things up in an artist/album way? Do you keep multiple CDs as multiple folders or just combine it all? Do you get rid of duplicates or is that too much work? Etc.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:03 (eleven years ago) link

I trust that when you say "two hard drives" you mean one to back up the other. Wouldn't be the dumbest thing to, from time to time, dump everything to a third that you send offsite--back to your parents' house, for example. I'd also make sure you were getting everything at the highest quality possible. What seems good now, won't. And storage will someday be irrelevant.

I just use iTunes, so that takes care of the folders and files. Two external drives (one good quality for constant use, the other, cheaper, to backup the first once a week). I do try to eliminate duplicates, but that can be a lot of work. And also to maintain consistency of names and genres. There are certainly times I feel more like a database manager than a music listener.

But I still can't see getting rid of the originals. Risky. Maybe putting them in deeper storage?

Michael Train, Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:20 (eleven years ago) link

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections.

I don't have an enormous digital collection, only about 4000 songs. I organize it in a pretty standard way, I think. A folder for each artist, and then within that, folders for each album, using the format of:

year - album name

Adding the year onto the front can be a hassle if you didn't do it from the start, but once everything uses that format it's convenient because it arranges everything chronologically under each artist.

I also make sure that I have album art for each album, which has come in handy recently with my new iPhone acquisition, since you can flip through your collection by scrolling through album covers.

ZS69 (Z S), Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:34 (eleven years ago) link

My concern with acquiring material digitally is bad rips - I'm paranoid about downloading something from Amazon and hearing digital noise. I've heard reports of this a number of times; I'd rather make my own rips and have the quality under my own control.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:07 (eleven years ago) link

Z S, do you still buy many physical releases?

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:20 (eleven years ago) link

I'm more interested in how people are organizing large digital collections. Do you just chuck it all in one folder or do you take the time to set things up in an artist/album way? Do you keep multiple CDs as multiple folders or just combine it all? Do you get rid of duplicates or is that too much work? Etc.

― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, August 22, 2009 7:03 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

For right now my shit's all over the place, but I'm starting to work out in my head how I'm going to manage this . . .

I'm considering starting off by organizing by the SOURCE of the mp3. So, if I download something from Amazon, it will go into an Amazon/[artist name] folder. Then I'll copy everything into iTunes and have it copy everything into its own directory structure and sort everything for me.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:22 (eleven years ago) link

Keep all your favorite/best CDs, or yer gonna feel like a chump when that hard drive explodes

― Whiney G. Weingarten, Saturday, August 22, 2009 6:39 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

^ This is the plan, Whiney.

Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again. Wilco's a ghost is born is my favorite record of the decade, and I've barely listened to it since 2005. By then, my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

Reading his posts is like watching The Ring (kshighway), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:23 (eleven years ago) link

I buy records with pretty much all of my spare money, which isn't much, admittedly. I download everything else.

ZS69 (Z S), Sunday, 23 August 2009 01:43 (eleven years ago) link

I have about 45 DVDs on a spindle, each of which holds about 4.5 GB of MP3s (AACs, actually). I have a desktop iMac with a 250GB hard drive which has about 50GB or so of music on it, and I'm planning to burn all that to DVD pretty soon. I've also got a laptop (on which I'm typing this post) with a similar-sized hard drive, and that one's got about 25GB of music on it at present (because that's the one I import all my promo CDs to, and download digital promos to). I'm gonna burn that stuff to DVD soon as well. How many individual albums does all this add up to? Several thousand, easy.

unperson, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:08 (eleven years ago) link

my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

Yeah, I feel the same about that Wilco album. Mind you, I've never heard it.

Dom J. Palladino (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:11 (eleven years ago) link

stop ripping. bind your cds its totally hot

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:22 (eleven years ago) link

unperson: Do you still buy/collect any physical albums or are you mostly digital?

kshighway, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:24 (eleven years ago) link

Album art is always nice to have, in any form. To me, just collecting mp3s seems really sterile and doesn't have any connection to the process of collecting music. A lot of my best memories of music are of buying it at my favorite local store, or studying the lyrics. My thought process when I think about an album immediately begins with the album cover.

I guess there's nothing wrong with collecting music the way you are, and god knows, just about everyone your age was raised under the same circumstances. I personally never want to stop "collecting" music outside of the mp3 format, although I do realize there will come a day (in the not too distant future) that cars won't even come with CD players.

slagterm, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:27 (eleven years ago) link

and all your meals will come in tablet form.

Someone left the cape out in the rain (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:28 (eleven years ago) link

Do you still buy/collect any physical albums or are you mostly digital?

I don't keep many individual album CDs around anymore - one tower's worth, which is about 400 or so, plus another couple of hundred slimcase promos and things in weirdly shaped digipaks which I keep in a cabinet. Mostly what I keep is boxed sets, especially archival ones like the Anthony Braxton Mosaic box from last year, or the Miles Davis Complete Plugged Nickel Sessions set.

unperson, Sunday, 23 August 2009 02:32 (eleven years ago) link

stop ripping. bind your cds its totally hot

Yes, great idea. This works best if you put similar genres adjacent to each other (e.g., all your M0unt41n G04ts CDs next to your Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday). That way once J0hn D. gets you feeling all emo and sad, it's only a single binder page-flip to your Chris Carrabba stuff! Woo!

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:04 (eleven years ago) link

god the saddoes eager to show they've heard of me are out in force tonite eh

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:09 (eleven years ago) link

lool

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:10 (eleven years ago) link

:'(

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:42 (eleven years ago) link

eager to show they've heard of me

Seriously though -- considering I've been on ILM three years, that was hardly the point.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:46 (eleven years ago) link

dude it's all love I was just rezingin please unsad that face

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 03:59 (eleven years ago) link

How good a sound quality/how great a breadth would an on-demand music service have to be in order to consider doing away with having a digital collection at all?

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 04:28 (eleven years ago) link

I can't really hear the difference between a well encoded mp3 and a FLAC, even though I've had the opportunity to use some pretty heavy audiophile equipment in the past...tin ears, I guess. so as long as it's 200+ kbps I'm fine, which both Amazon and iTunes do now.

what are you gonna do when iTunes moves to this rumored 'Cocktail' format?

my biggest problem with a digital collection is all the metadata. do you add the lyrics? when do you feel the need to add a composer? what if you can't find a decent scan of the album art bigger than 150x150 pixels? etc.

tony dayo (dyao), Sunday, 23 August 2009 06:25 (eleven years ago) link

We've got about 80gb of music on this iMac, which runs three iPods - an 80gb classic that sits on the Zeppelin, my 1gb shuffle, and Em's iPhone. It's not backed up anywhere at the moment, because we've only just migrated to this machine in the last week. We've got an external HD that'll take it all. The vast majority of it is backed up next door on a couple of thousand CDs though, and most of our listening is probably still off CDs. I've bought a few dozen songs from iTunes, mainly b-sides, odd old singles, and things that I'd not want a whole album or compilation of. I guess those are the only ones that really NEED backing up. Everything's just organised via iTunes; I'm pretty anal about covers & tags & things. I don't think we'd ever go totally digital; just yesterday I bought The XX album on CD. I love CDs too much. But then I'm 30.

Sickamous (Scik Mouthy), Sunday, 23 August 2009 07:38 (eleven years ago) link

for all you guys backing up to CD/DVD, be careful: Up To 10% of CD-Rs Fail Within a Few Years

tony dayo (dyao), Sunday, 23 August 2009 07:53 (eleven years ago) link

I've got pretty much my entire music collection in digital form on a 500gb hard drive (with another one as backup) for iPod purposes - however I only really buy singles digitally rather than whole albums. This is partly because I like the physical object and partly 'cos the CDs I do still buy are mostly very cheap secondhand/bargain bin ones so it's cheaper just to rip from the disc. That said, I've got rid of/have boxed up to get rid of 350+ CDs this year, basically things I've gone off. I moved earlier this year and I've got slightly less room in the new house which certainly spurred me on and I'll be honest, it feels really good paring things down (I still have loads left though!).
The main reason for me buying CDs over vinyl was portability - I've always done a large portion of my listening on the move and I had a CD walkman up until a few years back. However I've started replacing some CDs with vinyl for home listening and I intend to buy more nof my new music in vinyl form (really grateful to those labels who include a download coupon with the record). I could never see myself only having a digital collection and nothing else - I'm sure I'll hang on to lots of my remaining CDs for as long as they can be played.

Gavin in Leeds, Sunday, 23 August 2009 09:27 (eleven years ago) link

(really grateful to those labels who include a download coupon with the record)

Seconding this.

I think I'm at 8 or 9TB of digital files now split evenly between audio and video and I'm probably going to go to some sort of desktop RAID 5 set up once the next generation of 2+TB drives become common. I'm more concerned with having a decent file system that can handle all that and a metafile indexer/cataloger that won't collapse when I hit it with that size of data.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 23 August 2009 22:56 (eleven years ago) link

Even if i was goin digital, I think I would throw all my CDs in storage or somethin

Whiney G. Weingarten, Sunday, 23 August 2009 22:59 (eleven years ago) link

I mean, amassing a bunch of files isn't really "collecting" anything anymore is it? It;s like saying you collect pokemon

Whiney G. Weingarten, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:00 (eleven years ago) link

For those who are on PC, Mediamonkey is the only place to go.

J4mi3 H4rl3y (Snowballing), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:02 (eleven years ago) link

"I mean, amassing a bunch of files isn't really "collecting" anything anymore is it? It;s like saying you collect pokemon"

If you have a file that isn't readily replaceable/accessible (like say something dubbed off a rare public access TV performance that only you have a VHS copy of), then it takes on more of the properties of something tangible/loseable like pokemon cards, but my thinking is that music services will increasingly make obsolete any need to keep a file or file backup at all.

For example, netflix users wouldn't bother to "collect" movies they've seen on netflix, at least not with any great frequency. (though there's supposedly some pirate group that prides itself on having backed up the entire netflix catalog)

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:27 (eleven years ago) link

i don't really consider my digital music a "collection" per se, it's just me tunes

i could (and will) quite happily be all-digital in the future. i'll probably hang on to most of my cds, boxed up and stored away, more than anything else because it's not worth the time or effort trying to sell them.

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:29 (eleven years ago) link

my digital vs hard copy purchase ratio is about 9 to 1 at the moment. i think i've bought less than 50 cds this year.

you! me! posting! (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:30 (eleven years ago) link

well but this is what begs the really interesting generational divide question. what is your collection? a series of hard-evidence signifiers about experiences you've had & can have again at will, tangible evidence of those experiences - or is your real collection the experiences themselves, and the physical collection something of an old-fashioned proof that will no longer be necessary in the future/present? nb I am from the previous gen so for me I gotta have some physical token to feel like I "own" something. but I don't think that's the only way to conceive of "ownership," and I suspect that different conceptions - no less valid - will replace/have replaced "our" conception. it's like: I don't save ticket stubs or collect/trade shows, but I do have a collection of live music experiences - that collection is the experiences themselves. digital collections are considerably more tangible than those, right?

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:31 (eleven years ago) link

xpost w/philip btw

Man Is Nairf! (J0hn D.), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:31 (eleven years ago) link

"Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again."

I cannot for the life of me fathom feeling this way about "records I love".

Alex in SF, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:48 (eleven years ago) link

At age 45, my big paradigm shift was when the artwork and liner notes shrank from 12" to 5", so I find myself strangely blasé (perfectly happy, actually) about the shift from 5" disc to digital file.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:53 (eleven years ago) link

Pardon my grammar. I'm 45, not my paradigm shift.

Hugh Manatee (WmC), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:54 (eleven years ago) link

w/r/t generational divide, I don't believe the next generation will be so alien as to maintain a digital collection against an endless buffet that makes that collection obsolete when making personal top-ten lists does all the signifying one needs (and is an activity well-enjoyed cross-generationally)

so maybe this kind of digital album collecting as if they were physical albums will be a weird hiccup peculiar to just this moment in time.

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:56 (eleven years ago) link

i can appreciate good artwork as much as the next dude but i've pretty much always listened to music the same way - compiled the best songs into whatever format i was working with at the time (tape, cdr, playlist) and listen to that, completely separate from the original artifacts. so artwork is really something i only ever looked at if i wanted to know who the producer was or something. frankly some records i appreciate more for not having the shitty artwork.

internetkonnektivität (electricsound), Sunday, 23 August 2009 23:56 (eleven years ago) link

i have a car and that is mostly why i buy cds

winston, Monday, 24 August 2009 04:21 (eleven years ago) link

Honestly, though, I usually listen to records I love 30-40 times and then I can barely, if ever, listen to them again. Wilco's a ghost is born is my favorite record of the decade, and I've barely listened to it since 2005. By then, my brain's had enough of the record for a lifetime.

How old are you? I found that after about 10 years, I bought a lot of albums I previously weeded out by favorite groups. Now that I'm digitizing my collection, it's not as big a deal. I'm still keeping 60% of my CDs. I'm ripping in FLAC with dbpoweramp, correct some tagging and make playlists with Mediamonkey, and listen in three rooms with Squeezebox. I will be able to fit everything on my 6TB NAS server with room to spare, and have everything backed up twice, one on extra drives at home, another at work. It's nice to be able to have access to everything at work.

I think it's crucial to use lossless files. You can easily convert them to another format with a batch converter without losing anything. Buying CDs is still the cheapest option, because you can get deals on them new and used for under $10 each. $1 to $2 a song for FLAC is just not an option. The CDs you don't want to keep, you can sell, and end up spending only $2 to $5 on the music.

I'm listening to more of my music more often now that I can play it simultaneously in multiple rooms. Living with someone else the past couple years, I had stopped listening later at night because she goes to sleep earlier. Now I can put on some closed headphones and have access to the whole collection from bed on the Duet remote.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 24 August 2009 13:38 (eleven years ago) link

i mean, one of the biggest obstacles for me re: digital is that iTunes keeps changing how it organizes things.

Like for a while it was just artist/song/album and then with a recent update you can put files in one pile while labeling it another with "sort by." Also my iphone used to recognize "sort by" so I'd sort all my compilations by "#" so the errant comp tracks just show up at the end. The new iPhone update no longer recognizes "sort by" and my iphone tracks are now a shitty jumble again.

Who knows what iTunes will change to? Or even if we'll be using itunes in 10 years?

patti lmaonnaise (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:44 (eleven years ago) link

where we're going, we don't need iTunes

tony dayo (dyao), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:45 (eleven years ago) link

iTunes is just a ID3 tag editor isn't it (at least for mp3 files) and it's such an 800 pound gorilla that I'm sure whatever player we'll be using in the future, Mp3-O-Matic 5000 or whatever, will definitely be "iTunes compatible"

the Album Artist field is such a life saver w/r/t rap albums...and Sort By is great for those who catalog by last name, among others

tony dayo (dyao), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:46 (eleven years ago) link

but completely useless for people that use iphones

patti lmaonnaise (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 24 August 2009 13:49 (eleven years ago) link

Roon is pricey af but worth it for automating the attribution and consistency of my music collection's metadata. I fix the errors manually but that is infrequent. Love my Sony DAP too. Convenience or sound quality ... pick one. I'll pick sound quality and music focus almost every time.

octobeard, Sunday, 14 March 2021 09:56 (one month ago) link

Tagging is only one part of it - it’s mostly the server/players support for what’s in the tags that’s lacking. You can put almost every piece of useful information in tags, but it’s doesn’t matter if it isn’t used.

- Multiple value fields support (multiple artists per song or album, multiple genres, etc) is rare.
- Release type (album/single/ep/live/compilation) also rarely supported.
- Composer/Conductor/Remixer/Producer roles, can all be stored in tags, few players use it.
- different date fields: original release year (for covers, live versions, classical compositions), recording year, release year can all be tagged, but rarely are all three supported.

Siegbran, Sunday, 14 March 2021 10:33 (one month ago) link

Spotify and Apple Music are pretty bad in that respect too, though.

Siegbran, Sunday, 14 March 2021 10:35 (one month ago) link

I set my computer up to transcode all my FLACs to ALAC

gave up and requested a refund

alac is the worst lossless codec, unless you use a checksumming filesystem or some other integrity checking method, i'd recommend switching those back to flac

chihuahuau, Sunday, 14 March 2021 12:08 (one month ago) link

i've spent years attempting to carefully archive & maintain my digital collection for the past ten years, and i agree with you, bamboo... it's been quite time consuming to keep up with metadata, album art, deciding on formats, occasionally transcoding, hard drive failures, migration from one machine to the other... if you invest in digital as a paradigm, you've to be prepared with its nature. it's hard to say whether it is volatile by nature, but the lack of universality and standards is frustrating. i too just had to convert all my lossless to ALAC just so i could fill my new ipod. that also meant refreshing & moving my library in software, which fucked with all my album art and stuff. it's all too easy to delete stuff, too, and cloud storage can be problematic. still, i'd rather this than play the vinyl game.

― maelin, Sunday, March 14, 2021 5:43 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

there is a third option

Paul Ponzi, Sunday, 14 March 2021 12:11 (one month ago) link

alac is the worst lossless codec, unless you use a checksumming filesystem or some other integrity checking method, i'd recommend switching those back to flac

― chihuahuau, Sunday, 14 March 2021 12:08

Ta - I kept all the original FLACs, and having admitted defeat on trying things Apple's way, I binned all the ALACs.

bamboohouses, Sunday, 14 March 2021 12:52 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

everything should be ripped but someone mentioned pole the other day and i knew i have the cd but it's not on the drive. so, now going through all my cds and checking them against the 4.6k in the list. starting on the cds in the bedroom, got as far as kraftwerk and found 1 other so far, Boymerang.

koogs, Sunday, 18 April 2021 21:23 (two weeks ago) link

Somehow I've misplaced an LP or cassette here and there but only when my kids were little did CDs wind up in the wrong place.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 18 April 2021 21:50 (two weeks ago) link

I've just spent half an hour wondering about the reissue of beautronics only to eventually remember i bought the vinyl. which means i'm probably missing 4 tracks.

the autechre eps in the box were different from the originals as well, so they need doing even though they are 90% the same.

koogs, Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:03 (two weeks ago) link

I have been maintaining a digital music collection for almost 20 years. Unfortunately my philosophy changes from time to time - some albums I've removed the bonus tracks to a separate folder, others I've added even more to the rip. Some single edits have been kept, others jettisoned. Some covers are of the source CD, others are of the original 7" or 12". Every now and the I come across something and fix it but for the most part I can't be bothered. At least it's all there.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:25 (two weeks ago) link

Likewise it's been over 20 years since I stopped buying vinyl and started collecting digital albums. Well over a decade since I'd stopped buying CDs as a practice. I'd never go back to physical media. The "authenticity" argument increasingly seems like bullshit to me. Do I consider digital purchases to be tangible? Sure, although it did require a slow shift in perspective. But the benefits of a digital collection are indisputable for those who don't cultivate the packaging fetishism: the small physical size of storage boxes, the immediate access based on artist or album or genre or year or label, the ability to easily share to other platforms, the ability to locate ROIOs or fan creations and legit albums in the same place, and the ability to resequence albums at will. I could never return to the limitations of vinyl, CD, or streaming.

doug watson, Monday, 19 April 2021 01:28 (two weeks ago) link

Counterpoint: can’t roll a joint on a FLAC.

Yawnsomely Literal Cover Band (morrisp), Monday, 19 April 2021 01:38 (two weeks ago) link

You can charge your vape in the USB though.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 19 April 2021 04:46 (two weeks ago) link

I’ve been thinking about starting to collect vinyl- at least a small collection and a record player. I gladly sold the *last of my CDs about 12 years ago, but since having a kid I can’t help thinking about how I used to go through my dad’s records looking at the covers and eventually playing them myself. She didn’t even know what a vinyl record is until recently, yet from the earliest age has wanted to look at the album art when listening to music on one of my apps. It also has a desert island kind of appeal: What would make the cut? Not just for me, but for her?

* (not really... I still have about 20 I couldn’t part with)

beard papa, Monday, 19 April 2021 06:50 (two weeks ago) link

in a similar album art vein, i have spent the last week getting something (an unused 6" Nook ereader) to display artist name and track title for whatever's playing on my pi jukebox (because it's usually in shuffle mode and often unfamiliar). but having a nice pic of the sleeve would improve things no end.

koogs, Monday, 19 April 2021 08:13 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah artwork is still really important. I used to wish that digital media files could support animated gifs but nah, moving images would probably quickly become annoyingly distracting. Does anyone know why there is so little artwork included with Bandcamp downloads? Is this coincidence or rather the result of some BC policy?

doug watson, Monday, 19 April 2021 10:39 (two weeks ago) link

Label/artist laziness, I think. Bandcamp allows you to upload a full booklet (even a whole book, if you want) as a PDF. Most people just include a JPEG of the album cover, though. Some of the metal releases I've bought, which have really elaborate cover paintings, have included sketches and/or alternate versions of the cover, which is sort of cool.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 19 April 2021 11:48 (two weeks ago) link

Funny, I find a lot of them go overboard on the album cover, with a really hi res version of it *embedded in every mp3*. I'll punt it out to cover.jpg when I notice. PDFs are great but rare. Weren't U2 and Apple supposed to fix that after they gifted us that album? Full digital album experiences or whatever.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 19 April 2021 12:26 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/u2-working-apple-new-music-format-thats-impossible-pirate-n207491

I forgot there was some piracy aspect. Wonder what they were on about. Songs of Innocence feels like more than 7 years ago.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 19 April 2021 12:33 (two weeks ago) link

I find a lot of them go overboard on the album cover, with a really hi res version of it *embedded in every mp3*.

I think Bandcamp, not the label, might be the ones doing that, because when I first upload an album I have to do it as WAV files (which you can't attach an image to) and give them the art separately. They do the MP3 (and AAC, and other format) encoding on their end.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 19 April 2021 12:37 (two weeks ago) link

if you can listen to it, you can pirate it, this will always be the case, not surprised Bono is one of the few still tilting at this particular windmill.

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Monday, 19 April 2021 12:48 (two weeks ago) link

can't pirate your music if it's so terrible everyone immediately deletes it

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 19 April 2021 13:52 (two weeks ago) link

As long as you can play the file on a computer then it's simple for someone to capture the data and convert it to one of the usual formats.

skip, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:29 (two weeks ago) link

I think Bono is at the forefront of making unlistenable digital music

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 19 April 2021 14:31 (two weeks ago) link

This was some talk from 2014 that didn't go anywhere. I only remembered them talking about some more immersive experience and wondered what they were on about. Didn't mean to kick off piracy talk. I didn't remember that. Weird, after iTunes purchases went DRM-free in 2009

I guess we have Apple to thank for digital purchases being so bare-bones, usually.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 19 April 2021 14:32 (two weeks ago) link

sometimes a bandcamp download will have a PDF with some cool stuff in it (although never the one thing I DO want, which is a lyric sheet) but it's definitely the exception not the rule.

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 19 April 2021 14:35 (two weeks ago) link

harvey wiliiams was using bandcamp to distribute zines recently, ie all pdf, no music. although i think he had to put up some fake track because it couldn't cope with having nothing.

yeah, here: https://harveywilliams1.bandcamp.com/album/p-is-for-pop-music

koogs, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:48 (two weeks ago) link

(the other one, https://harveywilliams1.bandcamp.com/album/singleminded is raising money for waterman's art centre in brentford which is famous for... being the place where 'an evening of contemporary sitar music' (dreamweapon) was recorded)

koogs, Monday, 19 April 2021 14:54 (two weeks ago) link

that's a cool idea, using Bandcamp for PDF zine distribution... since it's set up for purchases <$1 and pay-as-you-like!

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 19 April 2021 15:02 (two weeks ago) link

he needs to get on the itch.io wagon, you can sell anything there

Nhex, Monday, 19 April 2021 15:26 (two weeks ago) link

but but that BC zine thing has a certain charm to it. i'm gonna suggest it to my partner jasmine and see if she might like to start a project :)

davey, Monday, 19 April 2021 15:28 (two weeks ago) link

still going through cds trying to find which ones aren't ripped. i did find the previous hard disk of flacs, which has saved a bunch of work but i've still got a long way to go.

for instance, found a shelf full of Wire Tapper cds, 10 of which haven't been ripped* and those are the worst - various artist cds (so already twice as much information to input) and largely foreign names - for every

After The Rain / Distance III

there's a

Bersarin Quartett / Perlen, Honig Oder Untergang

(*oddly they have been ripped because i have the oggs for them, but not the flacs)

and so many Mojo, Uncut, Word, Melody Maker, NME, Select, Guardian cover cds. everything up to 2012 appears to have been ripped already

and got cddb lookup working again though - the freedb server i was using got shut down but the gnudb mirror works.

koogs, Sunday, 25 April 2021 13:04 (one week ago) link

about 1/3 of the way through now and have found about a handful of things that have so far escaped the ripper (pole, a selecter compilation, upsetters, boymerang) but do have an ever-growing pile of dnb mix CDs to come back to later.

also need to think of how to treat the things i bought as mp3s, how to differentiate them from the things i converted to mp3 (which are just taking up space). do i convert them to flacs and save those? that way i have one master format.

koogs, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 03:30 (two days ago) link

slsk the FLACs, perhaps

assert (MatthewK), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 03:51 (two days ago) link

i bought a sony dream machine from the charity shop last week. happiness is an ipod classic in its dock.

maelin, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 09:52 (two days ago) link

slsk the FLACs, perhaps

this
i keep cd rips, purchased downloads and p2p downloads in separate directory hierarchies

don't convert mp3s to flacs unless you like wasting space

chihuahuau, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 17:29 (two days ago) link

my thinking is that such a conversion would be lossless, i wouldn't lose any quality. and it would simplify all my scripts.

my dedicated 4TB MUSIC disk is one of the few places i'm not short of space. 1.5TB spare! i'm hoping to be able to back it up to a 2TB drive i have (storing just the masters, not the transcoded versions i use for my portable player)

koogs, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 17:40 (two days ago) link

mp3s are already lossy; you can’t recreate the missing data by converting them to flac— it will just create much larger files of no better quality

mookieproof, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:15 (two days ago) link

yeah, i know. converting them from mp3 to flac doesn't lose any more data, it's not double-encoding so they will be as good as the original mp3s (and no better) but more convenient to work with.

koogs, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 18:51 (two days ago) link

i would have thought that any kind of transcoding is bad news? i converted all my FLAC to 512 AAC for ipod and kept whatever 320 mp3 i had left around...

maelin, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 20:56 (two days ago) link

why would a flac be any more convenient to work with than an mp3?

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 21:01 (two days ago) link

it's bad news when it's between lossy codecs and even then most of the time it will be audibly harmlesss, just very bad practice

lossy to losseless works as koogs says, i personally wouldn't do it but they're aware of the consequences and have a reason for it

chihuahuau, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 21:09 (two days ago) link

My Squeezeboxes are getting long in the tooth so I'm going to experimentally build a Raspberry Pi-based knockoff... just retired my Windows 10 Media Server I was serving music from and swapped it out for a Raspberry Pi 4 with and SSD drive attached, uses like one-fifth the power and is unobtrusively stuck to the wall behind my computer monitor instead of taking up valuable shelf space!

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 22:13 (two days ago) link

> why would a flac be any more convenient to work with than an mp3?

it's more that two master file formats are worse than one. i have a bunch of scripts to bulk tag, and keep things in sync and transcode the masters down to a format suitable for walking around with (oggs for the clip zip) and having to switch tagging / transcoding program based on source file type is a pain.

(oggenc actually knows about flac format and will accept it as input and copy across all the tags, very handy. with mp3s you'd have to use an intermediate wav file and handle the tags separately. or learn ffmpeg but life's too short)

koogs, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 23:03 (two days ago) link

the mp3 masters that i have are probably a dozen Amazon purchases from before bandcamp / boomkat was a thing. add the odd compilation that people have done me. and some more recent things where buying the flacs didn't make sense for one reason or another (19 or whatever autechre live sets...). i doubt it's 5% of the total. but even 5% is hundreds.

koogs, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 23:08 (two days ago) link

my experience has been that (ffmpeg + Google use case + batch) is usually significantly less hassle than converting everything, or manual workarounds

assert (MatthewK), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 23:09 (two days ago) link

i have a bunch of scripts to bulk tag

fwiw i have wine installed almost exclusively for using foobar2000, that takes care of all audio related tasks except, weirdly, playback because for a few months now i don't get any sound output. multi-threaded mass conversion, tagging and replaygain scanning of all formats is a breeze though

chihuahuau, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 11:41 (yesterday) link

is there a database of "canonical" flac or raw checksums people generally use to make sure their rips are the best?

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 21:30 (yesterday) link

yes, there are 2 even, one of them offering limited error correction capability in addition to detection:
https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=AccurateRip
http://cue.tools/wiki/CUETools_Database

strictly speaking, they're not databases of flac checksums, they're use specially made CRC algorithms that allow different CD pressings that are time-shifted during manufacturing but are effectively the exact same master to validate against each other

chihuahuau, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 23:11 (yesterday) link

there was, until quite recently, an eac/xld logchecker available at h++p://eachelper.atwebpages.com/Analyzehtml.php

anyone know if it exists anywhere else publicly? (i know there are similar things on private trackers)

mookieproof, Wednesday, 5 May 2021 23:43 (yesterday) link


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