Keeping Your Music Folder Clean

iTunes Tips
It pays to poke around in your music folder from time to time to eliminate inconsistencies. Yesterday I had a look and found two folders for Jane's Addiction: "Jane's Addiction" and "Jane_s Addiction". I had a look in iTunes to confirm that there is one artist with that name.

Here's what I think happened. I ripped one CD with iTunes 4.1 and the other with 4.2. It seems that with 4.2, Apple changed the way the app names folders to make them more compatible with Windows. As far as I know, Windows is picky about certain characters in filenames, whereas Mac OS doesn't care unless it's a colon or slash. I've seen the use of the underscore in music folders on a PC in place of certain characters.

I didn't like there being two folders for the same artist in the music folder, so I selected all the songs from both albums and renamed the artist to "Janes Addiction". Then I renamed it again, this time with the apostrophe. When I looked in my music folder again, both albums had been combined into the artist folder "Jane_s Addiction".

I didn't want to risk confusing iTunes, so I didn't alter the folder structure directly.

by japester on Feb 07 | 7:00 am


ok then...

This is good news, I'm sure of it!

I recently moved my music collection to a server, one with a nice RAID.

Since RAID isn't backup in the traditional sense, I also organized the collection into, give or take, 4 GB chunks so I could burn them to DVD for backup purposes. When I started this, I filled them to capacity. Then iTunes added the album art feature. Ok, that was good news too, but now I had to reorganize my backup. I couldn't just add the art then re-burn, because they would have been larger than the size of a DVD! That's why I won't push the envelope anymore.

Ok, back to the naming convention. I've done some speed tests. NFS vs. Appletalk vs. Samba. Appletalk was the fastest pretty much across the board. (The server is an AMD K6/2 300 Mhz running Linux.) Yes, in 2004, that machine should have been retired long ago. But it still functions well, so I have no incentive for replacing it. At this point, you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with naming conventions. Well, both Appletalk and Samba have restrictions with regard to filenames. When I was moving my files around, I wasn't able to use Samba or Appletalk because it wouldn't transfer to the server without error (because of unsupported characters in filenames.) I had to use old school UNIX tools (which I'm all too happy to use) but that doesn't work well for Joe Average nor my mom, both of whom want drag and drop.

SO, now that they are paying more attention to file naming conventions, I might actually be able to use the fastest possible protocol to get to my music. Assuming I go through the entire collection and 'fix' all of the existing file naming, umm, bugs?


P.S. For those of you interested in my DVD backup scheme:

My first disk is named 'd0001 20040102' for example. I like to include the date that the disk was burned in the folder name, so I know how long it's been since I've backed it up. 20040102 is, hopefully obviously, Jan 2, 2004. I try to hit exactly 4 GB, usually erring on the lower side. Who knows, maybe iTunes will add a lyrics feature in the future. Maybe I'll be able to scan in ALL of my album art, not just the front cover.

by David Peterson on Mar 03 | 5:57 am

By the way, you can have multiple artwork. See my article on the subject.

by japester on Mar 03 | 7:47 pm

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