Database advice

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by sionharris, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. sionharris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'd like some advice for constructing a database. I'm a DJ and I play off CDs. What I want to create is an instantly searchable database of all my CDs, so if, for example, somebody requested Womanizer by Britney, I could, within seconds, bring up a list of all CDs I own with that track on and all relevant information relating to each copy of that track.

    Basically, I'll have my normal sound system and CD collection, but with my MacBook beside it to search for songs.

    I want to do it as cheaply as possible and as easily as possible.

    Thank you!
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    What kind of information do you have about each track, other than what is listed in iTunes? How is that information stored now? Obviously, with iTunes, you can search for a song and instantly find all occurrences of that song in your library, but I'm assuming you're storing information not contained in the ID3 tags.
     
  3. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #3
    There is absolutely no way I could fit all of my music on my computer. I carry large boxes of CDs around with me. I need a data-only system.

    Information not stored in iTunes would includes notes on each track, such as whether the CD is scratched, whether it's pre-mixed, who it's been remixed by, whether there is 30 seconds of silence at the end of the track, etc. - all essential for what I do. Also, mutiple genres for one track. At the moment, it's mostly written down or I attempt (badly) to remember it.

    Oh, also, if I'm doing a themed night (e.g. '80s night, rock night) then I'll need to list only songs from a certain era or genre.
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    You'd be surprised at how much music you can fit on a hard drive, especially if it's ripped at a lower bitrate. My iTunes library is mostly at 192kbps and above, which takes up more space and I currently fit 26,855 tracks in 137GB. That's the equivalent of roughly 2,000 CDs. Since you're mostly interested in the data rather than music quality, you could rip at a much lower bitrate and easily fit 50,000 tracks on a Mac HD.

    iTunes would easily and efficiently help you manage artists, album artists, genres, eras, themed playlists, composers, etc. You could even enter notes about scratches, remixes, silence, etc. in the comments tag of each song. You can search and sort by any criteria you choose and get instant results.

    Of course, it would take some work to enter all your detailed notes in any system. You could use something like a spreadsheet, but honestly, the most efficient system I could think of would be iTunes, since it's naturally designed for managing a music collection.
     
  5. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #5
    I can't afford the space and there is no way I want to rip my entire CD collection to my hard drive purely for database purposes. Also, my CD drive doesn't work at the moment, so in the short-term it's impossible.

    iTunes doesn't support multiple genres, nor does it allow me to (easily and recognisably) enter Track Name, Mix Name, Artist and Remix Artist.

    Thank you for the suggestion but it's a no-go.
     
  6. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #6
    1) Make a simple excel spreadsheet with all the data on (thats your simplest option)

    2) Make an access database (basically the same as making an excel spreadsheet in your case)


    3) Import your entire music collection at an incredibly low bit rate into your iTunes library, it wont take up much space, and if it does take up too much space simply buy a cheap $20 external hard drive and use that to store you iTunes library. (this is the option i would choose).
    I know your CD Drive isn't working, but you could just buy a cheap external one.
     
  7. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #7
    How would Excel work? Surely I'd have to do a page search and flick through the tracks, rather than have it bring up a list of what I want?

    I've considered Access, but I absolutely despise it. I'd rather not have a database at all.

    iTunes simply isn't flexible enough for what I want, plus there's the massive inconvenience of importing hundreds of CDs.
     
  8. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #8
    Your going to import songs a lot lot lot quicker than your going to type them all out and the info about them. iTunes is a blessing in your case.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    A couple more thoughts. Please understand, we're not trying to force any one solution on you, just trying to suggest something that can accommodate your needs. Remember that, while it would be "inconvenient" to rip hundreds of CDs, it would be no less inconvenient to manually type all the information you're talking about into a spreadsheet or database app. Also, there are methods that can be used to allow multiple genres in iTunes. Before you completely discard the idea of using iTunes, why not start with an approach like, "OK. Let's say I'm using iTunes. How would I make it do this... or that...?"
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    RE: database advice

    One type of app that is sorely lacking in the Mac realm right now is a simple, flat-form database for record-keeping at the personal level.

    I've seen NOTHING in the current market that satisfies these needs, at least my own needs (perhaps others will jump in to set me straight).

    Believe it or not, I still use my old copy of Microsoft Works 3.0a (with a 1993 date!), running under Classic, to handle many of my database needs.

    It was fast, simple, clean, and functional. And did I mention, "FAST", even running under Classic?
    Again, there is NOTHING currently available that compares.

    - John
     
  11. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #11
    Not really, there will be so much that I have to change. Spelling mistakes, adding extra info, it won't be any quicker. I can type up an album's worth of tracks in less time than it takes to import a CD.
     
  12. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #12
    I'm not trying to be obstructive here, but there is no way I could do that easily before Easter, as I can't send my computer away for repairs until I have a break from college work. Even then, there's no guarantee I won't have any assignments to do.
     
  13. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #13
    In an ultra low bit rate it will take a few seconds per CD, and what spelling mistakes? Apples track id system is submitted by the record companies.

    A database for what you want will require significant programming experience if you aren't prepared to go down the Access or iTunes route, personally I wouldn't do Access either, but its your decision.
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    Easter? Repairs? Assignments? Sorry, you lost me.

    Being realistic, iTunes, while not perfect, is the most elegant and efficient solution for your needs. You'd spend less time "tweaking" iTunes to accommodate your specific needs than you would trying to "reinvent the wheel" with a spreadsheet or database.
     
  15. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #15
    I said earlier in the thread that my CD drive doesn't work. It needs to be repaired. I am a part-time student and live 2 hours away from the nearest Apple Store.
     
  16. pooky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    #16
    Since no one has recommended an actual database that is native to the mac yet, I have 2 recommendations, both with significant downsides.

    1. Filemaker. Easy to use, relatively simple, nicer interface than access. The con is that it is expensive.

    2. mySQL. You can't beat the price (free). It's also extremely fast doing queries. Disadvantages are a steep learning curve, and (possibly) more cumbersome data entry.

    I haven't used Filemaker personally, but I use mySQL extensively, so if you have questions, I can help get you started.

    Either way, it's going to be a pain entering all that data. If it were me, I would seriously consider using iTunes coupled with a big hard drive dedicated to the job.
     
  17. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #17
    Try Bento - you have a 30 day (I think) trial. You define your tables and build a form to enter the data. (edit: Bento is made by Filemaker and is much less expensive)

    If you have barcodes on your CDs you could scan them into Delicious library using iSight. But I don't know what, if any, extra data you can apply to the entries.
     
  18. sionharris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    #18
    I used FileMaker at school and it was brilliant, but far too expensive for my needs. I'll have a look at Bento, MySQL and Delicious. Thanks!
     
  19. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502

    reclusivemonkey

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK
    #19
    Bento
     
  20. sawmaster macrumors regular

    #20
    Well, you can Get info by right clicking a song, and clicking Get Info on the main menu. Then goto Info tab and at the botttom is comments.
     

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