Monday, July 30, 2012

Creating a Music Library that Rocks!

Living well on a budget is not just about earning and saving money; It’s also about getting the most out of what you already own.
Great music can bring us to tears, or make us tingle with joy. Many of us have loads of CDs and/or reams of downloaded songs, but we tend to use just a fraction. Who has time to sift through it all, every time you’re in the mood for a certain tune? This article explores how to organize your music library so you have easier access to whatever you want to listen to, whenever you want to hear it.
Remember way back, when you used to make mixed tapes from your records, CDs, or the radio? Electronic music libraries allow us to select our favourite music and reorganize it in the very same way -- but in a far more efficient manner. The price of admission is a portable media player, with brand name models starting at just $50.
Step 1: Download your Music Library Software.
  • Plug your hardware (iPod or MP3 player) into your computer’s USB slot using the accompanying cord.
  • Follow the automatic prompts to download the software (iTunes or alike).
  • Select ‘desktop shortcut’ so you can easily locate your music library, afterwards.
Step 2: Create ‘Smart Playlists’. 
The beauty of ‘Smart Playlists’ is that they automatically organize your music for you.
Go to the ‘File’ drop down list and choose ‘New Smart Playlist’.
  • Choose whatever parameters you desire.
    • Sort by ‘Genre’, ‘contains’ and ‘Blues’, to create a ‘Blues’ and ‘Rhythm and Blues’ group.
    • Choose ‘Year’ ‘in the range’ ‘1970’ to ‘1979’ for a 1970’s music list.
    • A Blues song recorded in 1975 will appear in both ‘Smart Playlists’, simultaneously.
  • Tick the ‘Live updating’ box so that all the music you’ve already downloaded (as well as future downloads) automatically migrate to the appropriate groups.
  • Over-ride manufacturer designated categories by right clicking on the song. Go to ‘Get Info’, and click on the ‘Info‘ tab.
    • If your ‘Best of the 50’s’ album was issued in 1983, you may want to change the ‘Year’ to 1955, so it aligns with the rest of your 1950’s music.
    • Lady Gaga belongs to the ‘Pop’ ‘Genre’, but Mel Tormé? I’d rather his music be grouped with my ‘Traditional’ music, so I re-assigned the ‘Genre’.
Step 3: Load your CD Library.
  • If this is a huge chore you’ll never get round to, stack your CDs by the computer and regularly download them, as you work away on something else.
  • The pop-up windows will prompt you as you go and your ‘Smart Playlists’ will automatically sort everything into the appropriate categories.
  • When transferring CDs with skips, click ‘Import Settings’ at the bottom right of your screen and check ‘Use error correction when reading Audio CDs’. It’s a slower process, but your computer won’t get hung up downloading your well-loved albums.
  • To download pristine CDs at high speed, uncheck this box.
Step 4: Create ‘Playlists’.
  • ‘Playlists’ are a perfect way to group your favourites together in manageable chunks, or assemble your own albums.
  • Go to ‘File’ and choose ‘New Playlist’. ‘Playlists’ let you select specific songs to create custom groupings e.g. Celtic Music or Romantic Songs.
  • Be aware that ‘Playlists’ are manual groupings, so they take time and are more labour intensive than ‘Smart Playlists’.
Step 5: Enjoy!
You should be able to easily locate whatever music you’re after, in mere seconds.
  • Having an 80’s party? Go to your ‘1980’s Smart Playlist’ to easily access your favourite Culture Club, ZZ Top and Style Council tunes.
  • Hosting friends for a special dinner? Go to your ‘Jazz’ ‘Smart Playlist’ to locate classics from Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.
Creating your own custom Playlists will be a breeze now that you don‘t need to sort through an overwhelming jumble of tunes, to find exactly what you’re after. As with most technology, there’s so much more that you can do with it, but this will help you get underway.
Feel free to post your music library questions, or share your personal tips with the group, below. Please follow for future articles on [legally] attaining free music and burning custom CDs.

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