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.