On average, Americans spend more than 16 hours each week listening to music. If you spend that much of your time listening to your favorite tunes, you likely have strong opinions on what makes a great music library. Should it have a variety of different artists and genres or do you prefer a more curated collection?
Regardless of your answer, knowing how to organize your music library is key. So, how can you organize your music library in the best way possible?
We have the tips you need! Keep reading to learn organization tips, whether you use a Mac computer or a Windows device.
1. Create an Organized Folder System
The best way to get started is to set up a central location for all of your music files. If you’ve never tried to organize your digital music library before, there’s a good chance that your music files are all over the place. So, the first step is to put it all in one place.
To do this, create a master folder with a generic name like “music.” Once you’ve created the folder, you’ll need to move all of your music files into it. You’ll want to put the folder in a place that’s easy to find in the future, like your desktop.
From there, you’ll want to create subfolders. You can decide how you want to organize those subfolders, as long as it’s a file system that makes sense in your mind. For example, you might create subfolders based on genre or decade. Again, this should still be kind of high-level and not too specific.
Now, it’s time to create your next set of subfolders. Let’s say you decided to do your first level of subfolders by genre. You might have them organized by rock, pop, country, electronic, etc. Then, within each of those folders, create an artist folder. After that, you can drag all of the files you have for a particular artist into the correct subfolder.
Using a logical folder system will make it so much easier for you to find any given song at any given time. And, it will make it easier for you to know exactly where to put new files as you add to your music collection.
2. Identify and Update Unnamed Files
After you’ve moved all of your music into the appropriate subfolder, you’ll probably realize that there are a few leftover files that are unnamed. This makes it impossible for you to know where to put them within your new folder structure.
If you only have a few unnamed files, you can pretty easily listen to them yourself and rename them as needed, so you can organize them. However, if you have dozens or even hundreds of unnamed files in your collection, manually listening will be too time-consuming.
Fortunately, there are some automated programs available that can “listen” to audio tracks and identify the song title, artist, genre, and more. It’s worth looking into some of those programs to help you save time as you organize your music library.
3. Develop a Naming Convention
Once you’ve identified every track and put it in its appropriate folder, you should come up with a file-naming system to use across the whole library. Just like when you created your folder structure, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Just make sure you come up with a system that makes sense to you and use it consistently.
For example, you might update all of your music files so that they’re named as: artist last name, artist first name, album title [year of release].
Now, you’ll need to update the files accordingly. While it’s a tedious task, it’s well worth it to make it easier to find and identify what’s in your collection in the future.
4. Take the Time to Curate Your Collection
Now that your collection is filed correctly, you’ll want to spend some time curating your collection. Start by identifying any duplicate files. If you have multiple files for the same tracks, you’re just taking up valuable space on your computer. Use a program like MacPaw Gemini 2 to remove your music duplicates to free up space.
After that, go through the remaining files and see if there’s anything else you want to delete. Over the years, it’s only natural to accumulate some music files that you no longer care to listen to.
In that case, why have those files in your music library at all? Delete anything you’re no longer interested in so that you only have the best of the best in your music collection.
5. Continue With the Upkeep
Following these steps to organize your music library is no small task, but it’s well worth it in the end. However, all of your hard work will be for nothing if you don’t keep up with it as you add new music to your collection.
Set yourself up with a good foundation by following these steps initially. Then, when you have new files to add, immediately put them into the appropriate subfolder and update the name of the file based on the naming convention you created.
By doing all the work upfront, adding new music to your library will be a breeze, as long as you continue to follow the best practices you’ve set up.
Organize Your Music Library Today
After reading through this guide on how to organize your music library, you should have the knowledge you need to take your music files from a jumbled mess to a thoughtful, organized collection.
Now, you can do the fun part of creating playlists and listening to your music.
Interested in reading more tech-focused content like this? Be sure to check out our other articles before you go.