How do you name your files?

Hello again guys! I was thinking, what would be the best method to name my files with..
I know there are lots of ways and techniques and it's very individual, but I still wanna know, how do you name your files?

Just for example, lets say you're using the usual folder's structure: Artist \ Album \ Track.
Would you name the file as "[TrackNum] TrackName" (Ex: 01 Billie Jean), or would you give it a full name like "[TrackNum] AristName - AlbumName - TrackName" (Ex: 01 Michael Jackson - Thriller - Billie Jean) or maybe something else?

I know it's not that important because all information is being tagged to ID3, but I really want it look nice and be convenient.

I only names the songns with track and title. If rename the files with all other information, there is a risk that the file has too many characters and can not be read, for example, to decompress. But it is just an opinion

There's a point in what you're saying, but let's say you copy few files of each album into one folder in your mp3 player.. Doesn't it bother you that your files are all unsorted and has only track name?

I think the best naming would be: ArtistName - [TrackNum] - TrackName. It holds both the name of the track and the artist, it would still keep the numeration order of the album inside the folder, and if you mix few songs together it would be easy to distinguish between them.
The disadvantages are long name again, and if you mix few songs of same artist but different album, it would lose the original order.

The question you're asking is somehow a matter of personal taste. I try to simplify as much as possible so i rename in this fashion:

  • Loose tracks:
  • %artist% - %title%
    (e.g.: Spice Girls - Wannabe)

  • Albums and discographies from the same artist:
  • %track% - %title%
    (e.g.: 01 - Wannabe)

  • Compilations:
  • %track% - %artist% - %title%
    (e.g.: 01 - Spice Girls - Wannabe)

I also created a array of smart playlists within Winamp media library and i use Album List for Winamp as a jukebox to display my album collection.

Screenshots: :slight_smile:

Regular albums:
%artist% - %album%

VA - %album%

Regular albums:
%artist% - %album% - %track% - %title%

%album% - %track% - %artist% - %title%

My library is stored on an ext3 fielsystem so I don't have the same path/filename length restrictions faced with ntfs.

I also use %artist% - %album% - %track% - %title%, or at least try to. I find that Mp3tag occasionally chokes on some files when I try to rename them with this format. The error reported is either that the file could not be found or that the file could not be accessed, but the real issue appears to be that there is a file name length limit. I'm guessing on this, but I have been able to eliminate every occurrence of these errors (about 50 so far) by shortening file names, so I think I'm correct.

I also think there is some kind of limit on the combined total number of characters in the path and file name, because I discovered that the longer the path, the shorter I had to make file names. I think these limits are less than NTFS limits, because I've had problems in Mp3tag and not in Windows Explorer or other Vista functions, and I believe I've always had a path less than NTFS's MAX_PATH limit of 260 characters.

I suggest that Mp3tag be tweaked to check for, and report a clearer error on, file names that are too long either when attempting to convert tag information into filenames, or adding directories. In addition, clarification of the exact limit on file name size and any interaction with filename and path length would be much appreciated.

I use

Artist / CD Titile / %Track% %Title%

If it is a VA Album

CD Title / %Track% %Titile% %Artist% (But use the CD Title as the Artsit and Album Artsist for thr ide tags)

Although in general filenames are void and good players look at the tags I also rename my files to use them as a sort of backup store for tag information (button and zip and safety pin!).

If I should need this information I could retrieve it fairly simple if the fields are separated by (an almost) unique separator.
To my observation this is the underscore _

The underscore has the advantage that it is hardly ever used in names (the few exceptions will prove the rule) so that a function like "filename - tag" hardly ever stumbles over a hyphen, a slash (which is illegal in UNIX filesystem) or backslash (which is illegal in DOS filesystems).

A mask to retrieve the information would look like this

%fielda% _ %fieldb% _ %fieldc%

Yes, ohrenkino, you are right to use a seldom used character as a delimiter between the data parts (to be compatible it should one from the ASCII list, to be safe it should one from near the end of the Unicode list ;-)).

But let me correct a bit ...
... the delimiter you have decribed is indeed a three-character delimiter string " _ " (space, underline, space), and that costs space.
One unique character would suffice. The surrounding spaces are only for your eyes, and practically not needed.


correctly counted. Yes, it does work without the spaces around the underscore. And yes, I get sore eyes without the additional blanks, so I took the freedom to insert them as well for better visibility.

files: track - artist - title

folders: artist [year] album

I name my folders that way so I don't have to browse multi levels & my complete collection is viewable in one folder. I like the year in the folder name so things stay in chronological order. I rarely have trouble with too long paths because I keep my music in a folder at the root of an external drive. I generally strip & then retag my files using convert filename to tag.

Unfortunately & apparently Mp3tag does not allow use of brackets in the playlist formula. I tried this formula ( %artist% [%year%] %album%.m3u ) & it always leaves out the brackets so I have to add them manually. Brackets must have a purpose I don't know about.

Yes they have a special purpose (see help file). Mask them with single quotes:
%artist% '['%year%']' %album%.m3u



Leading articles removed from artist name. Album subtitle or qualifying text in square brackets. Examples:

Beatles\Revolver [24-bit]
Beatles\The Beatles [White Album]
Neko Case\Blacklisted
Rolling Stones\Goats Head Soup

Compilations folder:

_Various Artists\Album

This folder holds all VA (compilation) albums. The underscore is prepended to the folder name so that Windows displays it first in Explorer. Examples:

_Various Artists\Reservoir Dogs
_Various Artists\Sounds of Wood & Steel
_Various Artists\The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas

File name (non-compilation albums):

Tracknumber Title

No separator. Track number padded to two digits. Title with all words capitalized. No need for artist or album names, as these are immediately available in the directory path. Examples:

01 Gimme Shelter.flac
02 Love In Vain.flac
03 Country Honk.flac

File name (compilation albums):

Tracknumber Artist - Title

As above, but with artist included in the file name since the it isn't visible in the path. Examples:

01 Les Paul - Moten Swing.flac
02 Chuck Wayne - Conception.flac
03 Billy Bauer - Interlude.flac