sorting my mp3 collection - a couple of questions

I have about 10 gigs of mp3s from various sources, which is a huge mess.

Now it's time to sort out the stuff and I want to do it by the most common guidlined.

  1. What is the most common resolution used for album art? (What resolution is iTunes using?)

  2. What is the most common way to add album art? Embed it into the mp3 file or at folder.jpg to the folder?

  3. Are there any common guidelines for genres? (again, how does iTunes handle it?)

  4. What is the most common bitrate nowadays?

  5. What are the most common naming conventions for mp3 files? Is it still "Artist name - Song.mp3"

iTunes I think uses about 600x600, though I only used the program for about 2 at the beginning of the year so I can't positively say. The artwork Windows Media Player finds for you is in 200x200 max.

It really depends on your preference and set-up really. If you've got a plenty of storage and like having large artwork, then go for it. Question 2 could impact this question as well.

I personally embed it in the MP3s as well as have a folder.jpg. Though, I use the low quality 200x200 images WMP finds. This again depends on a few things such as if you use a portable device, what does it support? Linking all the MP3s of an album to one image can certainly save space, which could be something to keep in mind.

Once again, the biggest factor is storage and preference. If you've got plenty of storage space to burn, then going with a lossless format or a 320kbps MP3 would probably be good to keep a (near)exact copy on your computer.

The consensus I've seen when it comes to MP3 and having a good trade-off between storage space and quality seems to be Lame Encoded VBR at the V2 setting. I'm currently debating on whether to continue my practice of 192kbps MP3s or switching to a VBR set up.

How detailed do you want? "Artist - Title.mp3" works for some, specially when all they have is random things. If you've got a collection of full albums, then splitting in folders might be a good idea. "Band (Album Artist)\Album\Track - Title.mp3" could be a good set up.


There's some personal opinion from me as well as some of what I've observed to be acceptable at some other Music sites. I'm sure someone else will be along to give an opinion of their own.

BTW -- This should have probably went into the "Off-Topic" area since there's nothing really MP3Tag related.

thanks mate

I guess the main reason, why need all this information is to make my mp3 collection "future-proof", for example I don't want to have to update all the album art, because the resolution would be to low for the iphone 4... if you know what I mean

I guess the best bet is to follow the exact conventions that iTunes uses (even though I dislike that program)

Hmm. Now who/what for you make your collection? For listening/browsing yourself or for iTunes-fans? I think is good enough to find out and use consequently any simple and clear way to order your substance, and there is a more than good tool to reorganize anytime, if necessary.

Other hand I think that is not a good idea to store any data in that place, where it is not needed for the convenient use (pics, lyrics in musicfiles...). The best way (for/by me) to organize in directories, filenames with care on conventions of possible target platforms, and use tags (what also readable with anytag in Total Cmd or mostly in Explorer) to store more precise, detailed information on most intresting names, titles, dates, for the ability to identify the content of a musicfile anytime. By this style you can store in that directories at any level any kind of so detailed informations and as many as you want, over-hyper-metadata relative to your stuff (full list of staff, covers, photos, disco/biographies, articles; also errorchecking codes; etc.), and it's kept organized; if you are ingenious you can do that like a realy database, without indifferent but huge data embodied in the container really made for music.

Naming conventions? Be as short as possible, don't write redundant or indifferent data, don't use undecodable codes, acronimes, replace characters only when necessary (e.g. not so nice to use dots instead of spaces). Something like this, but mostly you will read your codes...

And so on, which bitrate is in fashion? Doesn't meter. Depends on fileformat, codec, environment, the listening target: as you like; the ear what you usually use to listening music, is yours -- you must know the way of use.

The convention for naming is to have each album in its own directory. Many tools and media players assume you have albums organized like that. For multiple artist albums you'll want to make sure that all the tracks for the album get grouped together in the same directory rather than spread out by artist.

Common naming patterns are:
[artist][album][track#] [track name]
[artist] - [album][track#] [track name]

For multiple artist albums group them by something like Various Artists
Various Artists[album][track#] [track name]

The more important matter is having proper tags. If all your songs are tagged properly you can use Mp3tag to rename all your files later to a different naming pattern. So the naming itself is not important. Spend your time making sure your tags are good.

I standardized on 500x500 for my album art with a few at 600x600 if the album art has small text or other small details. It isn't practical to go much larger than 600x600 because of the way that CD album art is printed. The album art is printed with little dots (see descreen for info). The album art needs to be descreened when scanned and then shrunk down to get rid of the dots. You can't go much bigger than 600x600 while still getting rid of the dots and getting a clean image. Album art at 1000x1000 or bigger almost always looks worse than a properly scanned image at 500x500 or 600x600.

I save the album art in the tag for each file. That is the easy way of making sure the image stays with the file. The disadvantage is that you end up saving the same image multiple times for the same album. If the album has 12 tracks you end up saving the same image 12 times. For a large collection that can result in several hundred MB of "wasted" storage.

Common bitrate depends on your purposes and needs. If you have a flash memory based MP3 player then small size is still important. You don't want to overdo the bitrate cause then you can't fit as many songs on the MP3 player. For my needs I have gone with V1 (~210 kbps VBR) or V2 (~190 kbps VBR) with LAME. I can't hear the difference between those settings and the original WAV file. There is no need for higher bitrate for me.

If you have more storage space than you know what to do with then use a lossless codec like FLAC or WMV Lossless, or whatever lossless codec your player and tools support.