Computer: Independent Mangement of my Music and Playlists

Computer Audio

Siehe auch: Airport Express , MusicBee

How I organize my songs and playlists

My Playlists (Audio) are in part very valuable for me and I want to keep them for long time periods (10 years and more).

Therefore I decided years ago to keep my playlists independently from any music player software (Winamp, iTunes, Songbird) in separate M3U files.

All my songs I keep in a single folder with sub-folders by artist – and sometimes by album as well. That “Song Folder” resides on a NAS storage (QNAP, Synology).

My M3U playlists are placed in the root of my “Song Folder”. In order to by able to easily move the “Song Folder” to some new place when the neccessity arises over time, I use relative paths within my M3U playlists.

Over time I did use different music playing software. At the moment I use iTunes. Consequently, player software must have the ability to import M3U playlists, as iTunes does (Menu: File – Library – Import Playlist…)

Checking and Fixing of my Playlists

Playlist Creator 3.6.2

When I for some reason started to rearrange the file structure of my songs (did that last time because of iTunes Match), some songs in my M3U playlists pointed to non existing files – aka “broken links”.

In the past I used “Playlist Creator 3.6.2” to fix this. With this wonderfull piece of software I can open such a M3U playlist and Playlist Creator immediately displays the playlist with the “broken” song entries marked in red. Great!

I then used to go into my file explorer and look there for the new place where that “lost sheep” may be (reasons could be I have moved the song into a sub-folder or I have changed the spelling of the song’s filename or….).. Once I have found the song file, I easily could move that from the file editor into the playlist by drag and drop.

So far so good.

Problem with Playlist Creator was: it does not support audio files in Apples m4a format – meaning I could not drag-and-drop such files into playlists. But I now have more and more such files from Apples wonderful iTunes Match service that I started to use in 2012.

listFix()

Searching the internet for a tool simmilar to Playlist Creator, but able to use m4a files within playlists, I found listFix()

http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/listfix/index.php?title=Main_Page

listFix() solves my original problem (support of m4a files) and adds an additional benefit:: When I right click on a “broken link” song in a playlist, the menue offers a “Find Closest Matches”. ListFix() then searches the entire Musik Folder and offers a little list of songs with equal or simmilar file names / file paths. I can click on my choice and voila, my playlist is fixed.

Further Thoughts: Media Library

So I finally found a solution to fix the “dis-order” in my playlists. But wouldn’t it be much better just to avoid such a “dis-oder”?

The root cause of this kind of problem is my choice of M3U playlists for long-time storage. In M3U playlists the physical path and file name is stored. If that path/file name ever changes in the future, I have to repair it, very often in multiple places, since one song often appears in more than one playlist.

Idea: Use a database oriented software as a Media Library (song library) , were a can rename song files or move song files into other folders within that Software, in order to allow that software to keep track of my changes and to reflect them automatically in all impacted playlists. Leaving the ultimate possibility to export such “managed playlists” to static M3U playlists at whish – may be for long-time archiving.

When time permits, I will look at: (my short list) for such a database feature::

  • iTunes
  • CoolPlayer
  • Foobar2000
  • MusicBee        ——————  My third try    —– decided to use it
  • MediaMonkey —————— My second try — work in progress
  • Helium Music Manager: —– My fist try ——- looks quite good for my purpose
  • Musik Cube

Helium Music Manager

  • Backend is a database  <——-  SQL Express —– MySQL —- MS Access
  • Yes, m4a files can be dragged and dropped on playlists
  • Yes, I can import my existing M3U playlists
  • Yes, I can export my Helium playlists again to independent M3U playlists
  • Yes, I can rename music files within Helium and Helium updates all affected playlists accordingly

MediaMonkey

  • Backend is a SQLite database
  • …. tests next weekend….

MusicBee