NYC Electro

How to Make Your Music Library Truly Portable – Part 2.5: Why letting iTunes manage your library is best.

After writing part 2, I realized that some people did not realize the power of letting iTunes organize your library for you. I will try to explain here as to why it is much better than managing your file folder structure yourself. Click through to read more:

iTunes organization? Those are big words...

Basically, there are two types of DJs (that use serato/tractor that is) ideas on music file management.
1. There is the guy/girl that manages his files and folders manually. This means that when they get a new MP3 or music file, they need to create a folder for the name and album and last edit the name of the file so it can be found easy in the future. Once he does that, then he brings it into iTunes (or another id3 tag editor) and edits the tag so that Serato (or tractor) can read the file and be easily found in the search or main window.

2. This is a big time saver... Once this person gets a new music file, you immediately put it into iTunes. iTunes then files it somewhere (in your iTunes library) dictated by the song's id3 tag on that file. So, you add the song, then correctly edit the song name, artist, album artist, album, etc only once and thats it.
This does 2 things. It makes your song's tags correct for Serato and the song is re-filed in the correct place by iTunes, no need for you to do the filing part. AKA, it creates a folder with artist name and a subfolder with album name in your iTunes library in the right place. You don't ever have to worry about where the actual file is, but its easy to find anytime.

Command/control I = get info

Order of importance for iTunes

So, what tags do you need to make iTunes correctly file your music? The order of importance is Album Artist (there can only be one). Artist also will get your main level artist name, but sometimes there are 2 people on the song. Like "Jay-Z and Alicia Keys" are 2 Artists on 1 song from 1 Album Artist, so without the Album Artist of "Jay-Z" then iTunes will create extra folders all over the place. Not a big deal, but put in both the Album Artist and Artist for best results, better tags = better file folders = better for all other music programs.

After Album artist, and Artist, the next most important is Album name, then finally Track Name. Make sense? Sometimes we get track names (from wherever you get music) thats like "01_SongName_1drandom". Once you fix the tag in iTunes, it renames the actual file name aslo. Its pretty awesome. No more double renaming. I have saved so much time organizing my music through iTunes.

You can select multiple files and batch edit all the info, artwork, genre, everything except the name of the track (because you have multiple tracks selected, but you knew that, right?). Of course this works best when you import an entire album. Maybe the tag is correct, but you want to batch add the artwork or genre. You can do that easily.

If you have Serato or Tractor playlists, and you swith to letting iTunes organize your files, your song links will break! Making your your outside program playlists not work. You will have to re-build those playlists. Your playlists in iTunes will be fine, they will be automatically be updated. Playlists not made in iTunes will not work anymore. The file in your Serato crate, for example, will point to the OLD location, but iTunes moved everything, that is why you must re-build your Serato crates. If all you use is iTunes playlists within Serato, then there will be no problem at all.
Trust me though, re-building your Serato playlists is not that hard and its worth it. I had a lot of playlists, but its fine because I have saved so much time with this new method of file organization. And I was able to streamline my old lists..

Another important note.
Before you put a song into a new Serato playlist (crate), make sure, in iTunes and has been correctly tagged exactly how you want it. The parts of the tag that iTunes will use to move the file into its correct folder (like Alum Artist, Artist, Album Name, and Track Name) must not change once they are in Serato or you will get a missing file icon.
But, BPM and Genre and Comments, things like that can change. Its recommended to get your tag correct the first time you edit. I leave BPM blank though. Once it hits Serato, the BPM is determined and automatically put into the id3 tag for me.

Conclusion to Part 2.5:
Its completely worth it to have iTunes manage your music files for you. Its easy, its free, its stable. Not to mention, that once you get your stuff correctly tagged, it shows up perfect in your iPod/Phone. Its just the best way to go I think.