Photo courtesy of LondonBrad.
Following a refreshingly mild winter, spring is just around the corner and the great awakening this year comes with ongoing revolution in politics and world affairs, rapid technological advancement in entertainment, and an abundance of creative content to be absorbed in the process. It’s also a good time to clean up shop so, in honor of the annual organization bonanza, here are ten tips for tidying up your music collection. After years of growing your database to massive proportions, inevitably there are some weeds to be pulled and seeds to be planted. We’ve identified the most important factors to be addressed and our own two cents on how to go about them.
1. Delete duplicates – Pretty self-explanatory, though it’s one of those tedious efforts you never do. The solution is quite simple. In iTunes, go to File > Display Duplicates to show duplicate items in your program. If you have multiple versions of the same song, hold down the Option key (for Mac OS X) or the Shift key (on PCs) when you do it, and only exact matches with appear. Delete away!
2. Create new playlists – Make it personal and don’t do it by genre because that’s easily done within iTunes anyway. Put together mixes for moods, events, and ideas. Make a set of your favorite artists, a mix to listen to while you paint the house, put together a Best-Ofs by decade, and do subcategories for genres within genres. Need added inspiration? Check out EveryonesMixtape.com for more unique concepts such as Summer BBQ, Sunday Morning and make out compilations.
3. Transfer remaining CDs – And unless there’s some sentimental value behind them, dump them into the trash. They were already scratched, and these days, cars aren’t even coming equipped with players. Put everything onto your computer and iPad; save it into your cloud; and ring in the age of virtual goods. Unless, of course, you want to stick with vinyl. We welcome that idea as well.
4. Out with the old, in with the new – This season brings a hot lineup of great new music. First and foremost, if you haven’t already purchased Estelle’s album, do. Also, the Brooklyn-based group Fun. have been generating good attention after their track was covered on Glee, and their single is shooting up the iTunes chart. Also, new releases are on the way this month from Magnetic Fields, Xiu Xiu, White Rabbits, Kaiser Chiefs, The Ting Tings, Odd Future, The Shins, Miike Snow, The Mars Volta and Madonna, who, not surprisingly, has her own release date (March 26).
5. Get your head in the clouds – Doesn’t matter if you own a Mac or PC, it’s time to link to the sky so you can access your music wherever you are. It’s a simple step-by-step process, found here, and you can also connect to your mobile device. No more transfers or heavy storage issues, the basic service is free of charge and allows users to store data on remote servers for download to multiple devices. As of last month, there were already 100 million people on board.
6. Peruse online radio for better ideas – We may be partial, but it’s still great to sit back and let a DJ tell you what’s up. Whether you choose to self-serve with Pandora or Last.FM or stick with independent stations, online radio is great way to discover emerging artists and instantly link to their sites and catalogs. Boost your own music library with some unknown rising talent.
7. ID those mystery tracks – You know, the ones you illegally downloaded or pulled from your friend’s computer? Download Song Genie, a software program made by Apple, which “identifies unknown titles, completes missing fields, helps you clean up your song info,” and allows you to “search the web for lyrics and apply them to your music.”
8. Get rid of features to better sort via artist – We’ve all been there. You know you’ve got a song by 2Pac, but can’t find it because there are ten different artist entries for 2Pac depending on he who he collaborated with on a given day. For a more sophisticated cleanup of your iTunes, try out one of the programs listed here, which thoroughly address ailments related to MP3 tags and convoluted metadata. You could also try Rinse My Music, a free download that fills in most of the blanks, deals with grammatical delinquencies, and helps you refine genres.
9. Improve your headgear – Headphones are all the rage these days, so whether you’re a fan of Beats by Dre, Lady Gaga’s Monster Heartbeats, or you prefer a professional stalwart like Bose, get rid of that sad excuse for earplugs offered with the iPod. They only last if you never use them and the sound is so inferior.
10. Co-op with friends – Before you trash the cassettes and CDs, swap around music with friends or open up your network to explore their libraries. It’s the best recommendation service of all.