How is your iTunes Library Organised?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by cwedl, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. cwedl macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003
    Hi I was just wondering how people arrange their iTunes Libraries?

    I personally most of my music online and tend to buy a few songs from each artist and no the whole album. Because of this I create manual playlists and folders along the left hand side for each artist and then group them via Genre i.e folder for Musicals, Dance etc.

    I have a friend that just stays in Album view because he buys all his music from Music stores and so likes browsing that way.

    The reason why I'm asking is that my playlist idea doesn't always seem to work with 300+ playlists and it's really hard to find songs sometimes, especially if you can't remember the name of the song.

    many Thanks
  2. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I use the standard iTunes list view that doesn't show the album artwork next to it. It's easier for me to quickly scroll for a song this way.

    I don't buy any of my music online. I've only bought 2 albums online because they were digital releases only. All my albums are physical cds that I've ripped into iTunes.

    I have only created one playlist before and it was for Christmas songs. I seem to like to listen to full albums rather than playlists. If I do want to listen to random songs, I put my iPod on shuffle.

    I'm not really sure if you're asking a question or just wanting to see how everyone else organizes their music.
  3. cwedl thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003
    Just wondering how people have their Music libraries organised, Even though I've had my playlists setup for years now just thinking of a change.

  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    If you catalog it properly, it's easy to find songs.
    Use the stars, genre, make notes.
  5. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    cwedl, do you ever use the Browser? (Cmd-B) You can browse by genre or artist, or both, all without playlists. With a few exceptions, it seems redundant to me, to create playlists just for one artist.
  6. cwedl thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003

    That's true it just because I find it easier to find music on my iPod that way, if I did buy complete albums it would make life so much easier. Is there away to view Albums in Album view in categories I've setup i.e. all my musicals? dance music?
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You can also make smart playlist of your genre or whatever criteria you want.

    Oh yeah I don't use that enough. Usually just do the iTunes search to filter out songs / albums / artist.
  8. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    I have auto playlists created for each artist. The reason the browser function doesn't work well for me is that I am a Rap fan. A lot of songs have multiple artists on them. So in the browser menu I have 2Pac listed maybe 20 times because he's on a lot of songs with other Artists.

    I have an Auto playlist with 2Pac in the Artist field. Here, I have one listing of 2Pac and it lists all songs that he is in the Artist field. A lot simpler for me so that I don't have to browse through 20+ 2Pac items in the Browser menu to find a song.

    I do have so many playlists this way but it is the best way that I have found that works for this type of situation.
  9. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    That's why the first thing I do if I have a song with multiple artists is move everyone from the Artist section (except for the main artist) and put them in the song title.

    Take the song "Smooth" by Santana, for example. It would look like this in the iTunes menu:

    Song: Smooth
    Artist: Santana, Featuring Rob Thomas

    I would change it to say this:

    Song: Smooth (Featuring Rob Thomas)
    Artist: Santana

    It makes everything so much easier for me.
  10. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    My entire library is organised by release date... I couldn't stand everything in alphabetical order. For artists alphabetical order is fine, but for albums I find it much easier for them to be grouped by artist in chronological order, just like my CD's are on my shelf.
  11. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    I used to have mine like that but I took the time to put all artists on a song in the artist field (Santana, Rob Thomas), then put the Album Artist as Santana. The reason why your example hasn't worked for me is that if I wanted to find "Rob Thomas" there is no way to if he is in the Song Title (or Name) Field.

    I used to have auto playlists created for each of my artists like this:

    "Match Any"
    Artist contains 2Pac
    Name contains 2Pac

    Now I have my auto playlists like this:

    Artist contains 2Pac

    For me, it's easier this way. And in my opinion looks better when displayed and makes more sense, since of course they are acutally Artists, and not song names.
  12. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008

    same here - plus when browsing your music collection with another program, or with the dreaded coverflow - it makes sense to do it that way so album art isn't missing for every other artist.

    i've been cleaning my collection non stop... and so far i'm down to 7500 songs... LIFE SUCKS haha
  13. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    As long as the Album Artist field is all the same for each album you should be good when browsing via coverflow. I haven't had any problems with missing artwork or albums being split the way I have it.

    I'm also in the middle of re-tagging my whole 50 gig library the way I've described in my other posts, and adding the correct album art for each album/song. It has been a PITA!! It's well worth it tho for an anal retentive person like myself. I've only got around 4 gigs left tho so I've made quite the dent in it.
  14. cosmokanga2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    I use playlists to make navigating easier. Then it is usually by date added or Artist.
    4 & 5 Star = Self explanatory
    All Dance, Trance... = Dance + Trance + Techno + Electronic Playlists (I had to do it this way as iTunes doesn't allow certain rules.)
    Rest are self explanatory.

    Attached Files:

  15. porknight macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2009
    yeah apple should put another field for artist featured in songs
  16. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    The other thing that I always change is when importing soundtracks. For each song in the soundtrack, the Artist is actually the artist that performs it and the Album is the soundtrack title. I always move the artist into the Song name and change the Artist to the soundtrack title.

    For example, iTunes would display a song this way:

    Artist: Glen Hansard
    Album: Once: Music from the Motion Picture
    Song: Leave

    I change it to this:

    Artist: Once: Music from the Motion Picture
    Album: Once: Music from the Motion Picture
    Song: Glen Hansard - Leave

    This also makes it easier for me to organize. I've seen people put the artist name after the song title also.
  17. Stormbringer macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    When "featuring", I do the same thing. But if there are multiple artist or if it is more than "just featuring" I put them both in the "Artist" area. I don't know what "Album Artist" exactly is, but there I put the main artist so that the album will be sorted under that artist. For instance, I think the No Quarter album of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant should be under Led Zeppelin. So I do this:

    Artist - Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
    Album Artist - Led Zeppelin

    It's not always correct, but that's the most convenient way for me. If there's a festival or something like that, I do the same thing. For instance "Divas Live" would be my Album Artist, and "Mariah Carey, Cher, Tina Turner & Whitney Houston" would be the Artist.

    My main irritation about iTunes is that I have to sort the whole thing every time again manually. I want my albums to be sorted by year, and every time I start iTunes I have to do that manually.:(
  18. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    The way you have it done explains what the "Album Artist" is. Basically, it's the person that is listed on the front of the album.
  19. sbking macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2009
  20. adameels macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2008
    Preferably Belgium at some point
    Great thread. I have some strict rules for organising my music, having a 160GB library. Much of the size consists of mix sets and podcast.

    I use the ratings system for live updating of songs as follows

    1 star - delete because (a) it sucks or (b) just finished listening to it, but not worth keeping

    2 star - mix set not worth keeping, but has good songs that need extracting

    3 star - error in song information, needs changing

    4 star - mix set not listened to yet

    5 star - awesome track or mix set

    with song titles, I often go to to check song info, but they are mostly arranged as

    Song name [ft. Guest]

    Song name [produced by Composer]

    Song name (ft. Guest) [OtherProducer remix]

    RadioShow YYYY-MM-DD - MixSetName

    PodcastName YYYY-MM-DD - PodcastName

    I use the Composer fields and the Comments fields for additional info such as an artist who is normally in a band but is doing a solo or Record Label and Record ID. I'm a DJ and I often mix vinyls with MP3s so all this info is important.

    I have a restricted field of Genres too

    I have many smart playlist such as

    'Unplayed Mixes/Podcasts' = 4 stars
    'Tunes to Delete' = 1 star
    'My Top Rated' = 5 stars
    'New Songs' = Date added in the last 2 weeks + Time is less than 11:00
    'All Mixes' = Time is greater than 15:00
    'Old Skool Classics' = Year is between 1981 and 1998
    'iPhone Music' = Playlist is 'my top rated' + Playlist is 'new songs' + Playlist is 'unplayed mixes' + Size is less than 5GB

    still need to sort out album artwork lol
  21. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    adameels, your star setting is not really intuitive.

    This makes more sense:
    0 star = not listened yet
  22. Stormbringer macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2007
    That's what I do too.

    0* - not listened yet
    1* - garbage - I delete these unless the whole album is good except a couple of very bad songs, in that case I leave the whole album
    2* - not very good, but is listenable
    3* - great
    4* - awesome
    5* - ingenious masterpiece
  23. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    congrats. you are a lot farther than i am. me and my girlfriend's music collection merged so i've had the giant task of cleaning it.

    i have a big problem because she will have music that will have 1 artist and 10 albums... with like... 13 songs - so for a lot of them that aren't worth listening to... i hit delete.

    she has never used cover flow, and you know as well as i do that "Get Album Artwork" works for less than half of your albums hah.
  24. OriginalFormula macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    I use the default list view, but make sure I have a title, artist, album, and genre for every song.

    That way, I can find a song if I need to. But I generally keep my iTunes on shuffle.
  25. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    I use the default list heavily, but recently I've been trying to replicate the experience of browsing a shelf full of CDs arranged by artist, along with a separate pile of recently purchased (hence heavily played) CDs. I've been trying to make it a bit more abstract, visual, tactile, whatever.

    First, I created a smart playlist called "--- Browse Albums ---" where all of the following rules are matched:
    * Kind does not contain Video
    * Kind does not contain Movie
    * Podcast is false
    * Genre does not contain Spoken
    * Genre does not contain Speech
    That, basically, gives me a list of all my music.

    Next, I selected this new playlist and clicked on the center 'View' button (up, beside the "Search" box). This gives me a cover-art-only view. Next, I selected "Albums" from the "Albums | Artists | Genres | Composers" set of buttons at the top. This makes sure that every CD has it's cover art shown. And that's it - I have a screenful of unique cover art arranged by artist. The nice thing is that iTunes remembers the display settings for this playlist, so whenever I return to it, I get the same view.

    Next, to get the "pile of recently purchased CD's" I just created a similar smart playlist called "--- Browse New Albums ---" where the following rules were matched:
    * Playlist is "--- Browse Albums---"
    * Date Added is in the last 12 months.
    I then applied the same "View" parameters and, voila: a smaller stack of recently purchased albums.

    Note that the "---" on the front of both playlists pushes them to the top of the playlist list. It makes them easy to find, since I use them a lot. I really prefer this "CD browsing" experience. Call me "old-fashioned" if you want, I'm too deaf to hear! :)


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