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Know How... 27

Clean Up Your Music Library

January 9 2013

Clean Up Your Music Library

Today, we're going to clean up our music library. We asked you about your favorite tools for your music and here's what you had to say:

- Steven Sarkhosh @iyaz I like TuneUp Pro (@TuneUp_media) but even then I still end of editing a lot of it myself manually. #TwitKH #ForgotTheHashtag

- Roland Alvares @iyaz on Windows I don't think you can get any better then MediaMonkey. Wish there was something similar on the Mac. #twitkh

- Thomas Gehrke @iyaz Musicbrainz Picard http://t.co/fgRuTtA6 #twitkh

We tested out each of these solutions in today's episode of "Know How..." Of course, you can always manually tag all your music and media files using iTunes or another media player program, but we wanted to see how automated solutions handled our messy library.

TuneUp
TuneUp is a pay program, but you can test it out for free on up to 50 songs. The program normally costs around $40 for an annual subscription or about $50 as a one-time purchase. TuneUp works on Windows and OS X. It allows you to tag all of your files in a batch if you'd like. The interface is simple - you drag and drop files to TuneUp from either Windows Media Player or iTunes and TuneUp will find the proper artist, album, and other song data including album art.

In our tests, we found TuneUp did a good job finding music data. However, it did use album art from compilation albums with no option to use album art from another album. So, if a song was both on a compilation and the original release, you don't have the option to pick from a list of albums. You can have TuneUp not apply album art and find your own, but that is a bit cumbersome.

MediaMonkey
MediaMonkey is a free piece of software for Windows only. There is a limited batch tagging feature - it only works on a per album basis (you can tag multiple songs as part of the same album). MediaMonkey also is a media manager/player, so if you wanted to rid yourself of iTunes or Media Player, this is a free option. Compared to TuneUp, MediaMonkey does give you the option to choose which album a song came from. So if you really want to use the album art from the original album and not a "Greatest Hits" collection, you'll have that ability.

MusicBrainz Picard
This free program is cross-platform and works on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. MusicBrainz Picard does handle batch tagging. Additionally, MusicBrainz Picard has Audio Fingerprinting which allows for very accurate music tagging. That feature is turned off by default. You'll have to go into the Options menu to activate that feature.

Wrap-Up
There is no one program that can handle tagging all your files perfectly. We found using a combination of MediaMonkey and MusicBrainz Picard could handle a lot of jobs. If you just want to have something automatically do everything for you, TuneUp does a very good job and only the most obsessive music fan may have an issue with album art selection.

If you are the obsessive type (like Iyaz), you'll probably review each song to make sure all things are tagged correctly. Don't be intimidated by cleaning up a messy library. Give it a go in batches. Spend about 10-20 minutes each session and over a period of time, you'll have everything all neatened up.

Download or subscribe to this show at twit.tv/kh.

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People: Leo Laporte