I went shopping last Monday, 25/08/14.
The Warehouse had some new titles in.
I went mad.
6x 10 CD boxes @ $20 each, all 40's-60's American, lots of names I've never heard of, which in this context is a good!
1x 3 CD box @ $10 each, seems to be 3 separate 2000's Flamenco CDs repackaged. Modern but traditional, not "Fusion" diluted stuff.
63 CDs at $130 = $2.06 each.
I will probably already have maybe up to 20% of these tracks, but at that price WTF, or "dafuq?" as I saw in Urban Dictionary recently :-)
Now the question arises: How do I find out what of this music I already have?
A. What there is on these CDs, in a searcheable form
B. What I already have on CD, and as .mp3 files.
We can discount my LPs and cassette tapes for the moment I guess, there are hundreds but they are old enough to be pretty much burned to my memory already. It is the CDs and downloaded .mp3s under consideration, especially CDs, as since I gave up alcohol I have been buying heaps of compilations of old music, mostly from before my time so to speak.
I used to run a freeware catalogue program from Maniac Tools, but maintaining it was more trouble than it was worth, as I wasn't using it for what it was for, which is managing physical media. Thus I was constantly having to get it to scan my drive for new files instead. I never reinstalled it after my last hard drive fried. Most of the time Microsoft's Explore file list and search is fine, if clunky. (I still miss XTREE. I could write a whole post on File & Directory programs, some other time!)
Then a while back I went mad on 50s & 60's girl groups, leading into female solo vocalists as well. I downloaded some collections of .mp3 files, but also bought a number of two and three CD box sets. Some I ripped entirely to mp3, others were cherry-picked for the female artists.
I was left with the problem of many duplicates. I took a laborious path of searching on the web for track listings, pasting them into a spreadsheet, then using a file and directory program to make directory folder file lists of the downloaded ones, pasting them into the same spreadsheet, and using sorts to find duplicates, about 45 which I then manually deleted. Thinking on it, maybe I should have stuck all the files into one folder, sorted by title and artist, deleted dups and re-sorted by album and track again. I don't know, a lot of files had no album names as they were singles, or had dup track numbers and individual album names that they were picked from, etc. (I now use a fantastic freeware Kid3 for correcting file properties, I could write another whole post on what I learned about the .mp3 IDV2 & IDV3 file tagging system as well, some other time!)
Anyway, I ended up with about 350 files. I wanted them kept in their album folders, so an m3u playlist was the answer for accessing them to play. Now I have a collection which comprises some I have as .mp3 only , and some which I also have the CD of. When I make the odd addition, I have to load the playlist, add in the new file, re-sort the playlist and save it.
If I want to integrate this new 10-CD "Rock N Roll Girls" above, I need to come up with an easy method. Then there are the other 50 CDs. 1250 tracks in all. 3.5 to 4 GB worth of .mp3s, if ripped. The thing is, I am not really fussed about ripping CDs, it is not that much effort to put them in a drive when I want to hear them, AND CDs SOUND A LOT BETTER THAN MP3s!!! Most of my .mp3 files are of stuff I don't have on CD.
Ripping all these CDs just to get searchable listings would probably fill up the remaining space on my old computer, although there is plenty of other storage.
An old desktop running Windows XP, with an 80GB hard drive on a workstation in the lounge, hooked up to the stereo system. That is why it is full of an 18 GB My Music folder.
A new laptop running Windows 8.1 with a 450 GB hard drive for the bedroom hooked up to an awesome system with 2x 35W + 1x 130W woofer, which nearly blows me out of bed! There is almost nothing on that big hard drive, all the music comes from the always-on lounge computer wirelessly.
A 1 Terabyte USB drive. This is for back-ups, I don't want to thrash it every day playing music files.
Just catalogue the CDs, rather than ripping them, catalogue the MP3s, then I have searchability of all the music without wasting effort ripping CDs.
So..... the other night I looked for free music catalogue software and downloaded one I thought would be great, into the laptop so I could set up next to my CD shelving, researched USB external CD/DVD drives and bought one in my break at work for $99. (This is to avoid thrashing the one in my laptop.) I had already run the Catalogue program, and it was blisteringly fast, reading off and listing folder and filenames for about 7,300 files in about 2 seconds flat.
Then last night I got home, got set up, stuck the first CD in the brand new drive, fired up Cathy, the catalogue program, amd lo and behold I get a listing: -
The fundamental flaw: -
CD publishers have for years been missing out on marketability with CDs. There is a whole mini-industry of software involving going onto the net to get CD info.
Why, oh why do they not just add it to the bleeding CD? I know when the CD came out in the early eighties there were only computers like the Commodore 64 (I had one, yay!), but later on, in 1996 CD-text was introduced, backed by Sony. However, very few manufacturers have taken advantage of the facility.
Audiograbber (see sidebar) says the disc above has no CD-text.
Do I have a Sony disc to compare?
Just tried a Columbia CD bought '99, but Copyright '91, reissue from LP '69. No dice.
You can get freeware that gets info from the Net when ripping CDs.
You can get freeware that catalogues files but doesn't consult the Net.
Can you get freeware that both reads the disc and gets info on-line for the catalogue? Will these cheapo compilations above be in the on-line databases?
I have downloaded and tried two more freeware programs with no success. One looked promising but was too old and could not run on my Windows 8.1 machine. The other was adequate but buggy, would not edit some created records etc, etc. Found a newer version, installed that, restarts etc, etc. I must have wasted at least 6 hours farting around with this stuff. I have even installed OpenOffice just to see if it would open the buggy database file to see what was wrong in it. OpenOffice could open the file, but was no help.
I finally bit the bullet and actually purchased a program. This is unusual for me, only the second piece of software I have ever purchased apart from that bundled with hardware.
I downloaded a trial version first, which allowed cataloging 100 albums. Then, like a dunce, I loaded it with all my .mp3 files in one go. It looked great, and I went to try loading a CD only to find I had exhausted the trial album quantity already. Doh!
I decided to take a punt and buy the program, just to get on with things, as it looked great anyway. Then, by accident I forked out NZ$62.95 for the Pro version instead of NZ$37.95 for the Standard version. However, this did not worry me in the slightest, as with the Pro version I can do even geekier searches and sorts, even create my own fields. This, if I ever get the time, would be great for Flamenco, as the music is classifiable into rhythmic and melodic forms. That is, just as American music has Waltzes, Polkas, 12-bar Blues, Boogie-Woogie, Hymns, etc; Flamenco has Fandangos, Rumbas, Tangos, etc. each with different rhythms, moods and occasions for singing.
Ref. A more comprehensive list of Flamenco forms.
(Update 12/10/14: I have so far catalogued 17 Flamenco albums and have created a Field called "Flamenco Palo" to record the abovementioned "forms". You can also, and I have, record separate guitarristas and cantaores against individual tracks within collection albums.
I have a program called Audiograbber which says:
The following CD-TEXT info is recognized by Audiograbber:
· Genre, one of the following predefined genres:
· Genre information, any text string with additional genre information.
· Identifier, any text string describing the disc.
· Performer, artist or singer.
· Track name.
· Message, any text string with a comment about the track.
· UPC/ISCR, disc identification code.
There is a page here that gives an indication of the depth of functionality the program has.
I have already added 3 of the 10-CD sets above (see also * below), and a few Flamenco CDs from the Nineties to test the databases. All have been found one way or another, via barcode, catalogue number or scanning the disc, even something as obscure as this, which I bought in a guitar shop in London in 1996 or 7.
There is also a facility to save the database to the cloud, and make it visible to others.
(Update 12/10/14: Flamenco catalogued so far.)
It has cost me $162, but soon I will be able to check if I do have anything else by such obscure rockabilly artists as Janis Martin, a real find who appears on Track 3 of Rock-A-Billy, Rock And Roll & Hillbilly (Disc 04 - Boppin' The Blues)
I noted the lyrics mentioned a woman with a wooden leg, did a lyrics search for "wooden leg" and came up with Peg Leg Woman by the Ike Turner Band, vocal Willie King VITA 123, 1956. It is on YouTube and the sounds match exactly. Yes, that will be the Ike of Ike & Tina Turner fame.
Then there's track 16, Mojo Man (Sundown) L. Sundown. 2:20.
This turns out to be "I'm A Mojo Man" by some cat actually called "Lonesome Sundown", 1957.