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Beginners Guide To Organising

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Beginners Guide To Organising Your Library

If you are using iTunes, you may just want to let iTunes organise your music for you.

However, many users choose to take control of matters themselves. You will need to decide on a structure for your music: there was/is a very long thread on just this topic over at hydrogenaudio, try here.

Whatever structure you choose, your Ripping tool should be configurable to put the files in the right structure for you, working out the directory and file names from the tag information it looks up.

One popular choice is:


Others prefer something like:


You might also want to separate by file type (FLAC in one directory, MP3 in another) or by musical style (classical, pop and spoken in separate directories), for example:


One way of handling compilation (Various Artists) albums is:


As a general principle, making one directory = one album makes it easier for SqueezeCenter to handle - except perhaps for Classical music, see BeginnersGuideToClassical.

Note that SqueezeCenter must be pointed at just one top-level directory: so if you have several you want it to read, simply create a new directory for SqueezeCenter to look at: then put links to each of your real directories in there:

  • Windows - Create Shortcut, then move the Shortcut
  • Linux - Use the ln command
  • Mac - You need to create a symbolic link, not an alias. There are several ways of doing this. (i) Use the ln command in the Terminal. (ii) Obtain (from http://www.versiontracker.com ) the freeware program Symbolic Linker which lets one create links by a contextual menu. (iii) Obtain the shareware program Cocktail, which has a lot of powerful features, including the ability to create symbolic links.

Note: Linux / UNIX file and directory permissions

Squeezecenter runs under the user "squeezecenter" on Linux/UNIX. You'll need to make sure that your music files have their permissions set so that the "squeezecenter" user can read the files and has execute permissions on all directories within your music folder.

You can make sure that your files and directories have the correct permissions for Squeezecenter by running the following command from the top directory of you music folder (e.g. /home/joebloggs/music):

chmod -R a+rX .

This will recursively (-R) from the current directory (.) add (+) read permissions (r) to all files and directories for all users (a) (owner, group and other) and add execute permissions (X) to all directories (and any files that already have execute permissions for other users).

This should ensure that regardless of the owner and group of your music files and directories, Squeezecenter should still be able to access them.

Additionally if you have a separate directory for playlists, make sure that "other" has permission to write to that folder so that the server (user "squeezecenter") can write new saved playlists to the directory.

Example command:

chmod o+w /home/fred/music/playlists

This will add (+) write authority (w) for the public authority (o) to the /home/fred/music/playlists directory.

Other Tools

J. River Media Center (http://www.jrmediacenter.com) - Media Center is excellent for organizing your music, especially if you like to collect a lot of information about your music such as bios, reviews, lyrics, cover art, etc. You can configure exactly how you want your directory structure, and it will rename and move files based on the layout you choose.

Mp3tag (http://www.mp3tag.de/en) - Mp3tag can edit the tag info of more than MP3s - in fact, it can handle any file format SqueezeCenter can handle. You can edit tag data one-at-a-time and batchwise. You can sort and customize what tag fields it displays. A nice "save your butt" feature is that it can construct tag data from filenames and vice-versa. If you don't have an artist/album directory structure you can construct one in minutes using tag data. It also supports complex formatting queries - for example, adding a leading "0" to track numbers. And it's free.

See the complete SqueezeCenter-specific Mp3tag guide here.

See also these forum threads on library management and cataloguing tools.

Multiple Discs

Sooner or later the disc that you once thought was huge and would never be filled ... will fill up. You'll want to add another one. No problem: just add a new disc (internal or external USB2/Firewire, as you wish) and put a chunk of your library on it. Then treat this as another directory (see note above).

Contributors: Ceejay, danco, MeSue, ...