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How to add folder with mp3 files to music library

image Friend of mine sent me course of lectures recorded as mp3 files. All files untagged and named alphabetically. I decided to add folder to my music library to listen it on iPod. Should be easy. Now, here is a quick quiz: what will happen if you open some popular music management software, say iTunes or Zune, and do “add folder to the library” thing?

As naive and inexperienced in this music business, I thought iTunes will verify that files untagged, create album named same as folder and add files with tracks sorted on file names. What else would it do, right? Wrong. iTunes created album, renamed some of the files and shuffle them in random order. Zune didn’t do better – it split folder in 4 albums and randomly stick files inside them. I spent some time trying to figure out logic behind this madness, sure there is one. But I didn’t find it and gave up.


Anyways, if you find yourself into this situation and want to avoid headaches, this is what works. Key here is that you need to tag files before moving them to library. Both iTunes and Zune suck in custom tagging, which explains why we have whole bunch of mp3 tagging utilities. Download any of them, I used foobar 2000, and then open folder, select all files, right click, properties. In metadata, add album name, artist etc. Then click tools and select auto track numbers. Done – add folder to iTunes or Zune and this time no surprises, you get your album added just the way you tagged it. Other tag utility can do it slightly differently, but they don’t do much else and it should be easy to figure out how to tag multiple files.

Comments (6) -

  • Robert

    3/23/2010 2:38:38 AM |

    Actually, you can tag the files in iTunes and have iTunes put them in one place. After you add the mp3's to iTunes, click on the "Recently Added" smartlist, select all newly added files and do Cntrl-I to edit metadata. Enter the same album name and artist for all. Then rename each track as you wish. If you have "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" checked, iTunes will then put back all the files into one physical folder (named after artist/album) and rename the files based on the track names.

    • rtur.net

      3/23/2010 1:11:22 PM |

      Thanks for pointing this out Robert. I actually got to that screen, what pushed me over was lack of auto-numbering. Clicking through 36 tracks one time is not a big deal, but I decided having good tagging utility will spend me time down the road. And less time I spend in iTunes better I am.

  • Todd

    3/23/2010 9:49:08 PM |

    I too, being naïve to how all this music storing works, have hit upon this problem. You would think it would all be so simple but when I tried it, admittedly only in Itunes, I had the same issues and more or less gave up after becoming very frustrated that it wasn't as simple a process as I felt it should be. Glad to see I'm not the only one! I may well now try again, thanks for the advice. Todd

  • Tracey

    6/7/2010 9:51:07 PM |

    I have the same issue on my Logitech Squeezebox system and it drives me nuts!  The only practical solution seems to be to spend time custom tagging like you described.

  • Kampot pepper

    6/26/2010 5:06:04 PM |

    I always surprise between the simplicity of IPOD and the complexicity of ITUNES!
    Concept of Apple is not the same..
    Kampot Pepper

  • Denver Website Designs

    7/29/2010 6:22:37 AM |

    I think if itunes can do the work of automatic arrangement on PC, it should do the same work on iphone as well...I think the "Apple" should join now with "Facebook" to overthrow the Microsoft and give us much better environment for work...:)

Comments are closed