20+ years of ripping and collecting music on my computer(s) has led to a few hundred gigabytes of music files. Mostly they are MP4’s ripped from my CD’s on my Mac, but I also have a fair number of files that I ripped before I joined the Apple fold, and they are in MP3 format, as well as tracks I purchased via the Google Play Music store, Amazon, and even in the way back time, MP3.com.
Yeah, I am an old dude.
And if I was being 100% honest, there was a period of time when I was pretty active on Napster before the RIAA shut it down. In fact a fair number of rare tracks that have never been fully re-released so I couldn’t have purchased them. Tracks like Existential Blues by Tom “T-Bone” Stankus, a perennial favorite on Dr. Demento being but one of many.
Since I pay for the Office 365 subscription that comes with a terabyte of cloud sync’d storage, I really wanted to get them in some semblance of condition to be stored centrally there.
This led me to find a fair bit of oddities.
Files that were assembled from various sources - often these were rips from LP’s and the data tagging was, to be charitable, inconsistent. And that is being charitable. I spent a lot of time assembling a pretty extensive collection of Miles Davis rips from at times disreputable sources (no comment), and I spent a lot of cycles running the files through a great Mac application from Rogue Amoeba software called “Fission”. This will batch process files, convert them to a good format, and set the tags to be consistent. A godsend.
Files that I ran previously though an app called “Tune Up” - In the way back time, there was a meta data cleaning program that worked with iTunes to use AI to “fix” erroneous tags. In reality, it was a fucking disaster. It totally hosed a lot of my collection, requiring a lot of painful manual intervention. Sadly, anything that was a compilation got blown up, and spread out to individual tracks. It took FOREVER to fix this.
Minor Tagging Issues - a lot of my collection had some weirdness about multiple CD albums, erroneous genre’s set, inconsistent labeling of “Album Artist” and other tags that make it easier to find and explore.
It took three weekends to get all these things addressed, and to get my ducks in a row. But, it is all done, and all (minus my classical collection) have been uploaded to OneDrive, and are now easily accessible across all my computers and devices. I fixed the 4 different spellings of Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s name, properly tagged all the multi disc collections, properly reconstructed the collections (Things like “Grosse Pointe Blank” soundtrack) and the tribute albums all navigate fine.
I also standardized and fixed the file naming conventions, as well as renaming files with characters in the names that are not supported by OneDrive. I was surprised at the number of files with a question mark (?), the ampersand (&), the forward slash (/), and double quote (“) in the file name. All those are fine in the track name tag, but for file names on windows systems, they are verboten.
The worst of the bunch was my not insignificant collection of classical guitar music. For some reason, the prior cleaning efforts really fucked up the John C. Williams, and Julian Bream titles. And I have a LOT of that in my catalog.