How do I sort my music library?

Why Sort Your Music Library?

Sorting your music library offers several key benefits that can make your life as a music lover and DJ much easier:

Find songs faster – A well organized library allows you to locate tracks quickly and easily when you need them. Whether searching by artist, album, genre or other metadata, you’ll save time scrolling through a jumbled mess of files.

Discover forgotten music – When your library is properly sorted, you may rediscover old favorite tracks you had forgotten about. Bringing unearthed gems into new playlists keeps your sets fresh.

Create playlists more easily – With your music sorted into logical categories, you can swiftly assemble playlists by artist, genre or year for example. This helps inspire new mix ideas and share collections with others.

As noted in this Digital DJ Tips article, organizing your library expands your knowledge of your own track collection. This familiarity ultimately translates into better DJ performances and more enjoyment of your music.

Sort by Artist

Alphabetizing your music library by artist name is one of the most common ways to sort a large collection. This method groups all songs, albums, and singles together under the artist’s name. To sort by artist:

  • In Spotify, click on the “Artist” column header in your playlist or library view to sort alphabetically by the artist name from A to Z.
  • All of an artist’s albums and singles will be grouped together under their name. This keeps an artist’s full discography organized.
  • Sorting by artist name also separates songs cleanly between different artists, making it easy to find a specific musician.

Sorting by artist can be especially useful for those with large libraries spanning many musicians. It provides a quick overview of your collection by the people who created it. Some prefer this over sorting by album or song title.

If you use Spotify’s default library organization, sorting by artist also allows you to browse the alphabeticalartist list easily. Overall, it’s one of the most intuitive and convenient ways to arrange a digital music library.

Sort by Album

One of the most common ways to sort your music library is by album. This allows you to view all the tracks from a particular album together. There are two main ways to sort albums:

Chronological Order – You can sort your albums from oldest to newest based on their release date. This lets you view the progression of an artist’s discography over time. Some music players even allow you to sort by decade to group albums into the 10-year periods when they were released. Sorting chronologically can provide an interesting historical perspective.

Alphabetical Order – Most music libraries will default to sorting albums alphabetically by title. This makes it easy to scan through your library and find a particular album you are looking for. One downside is albums by the same artist may get scattered throughout the library. But overall sorting A-Z by album title provides a logical way to organize large libraries.

Many people start by sorting their main music library by artist name as the top-level category. Then within each artist’s albums, they will sub-sort chronologically or alphabetically. This lets you browse by artist while still keeping some order to the albums. How strictly you sort may depend on the size of your overall music library.

Sort by Genre

Sorting your music library by genre can help you find songs in a particular style more easily. Here are some common music genres and tips for sorting them:

Rock – This broad genre encompasses everything from classic rock to punk rock to heavy metal. Consider making subfolders for subgenres like hard rock, soft rock, etc.

Pop – Pop music tends to have mass appeal, often with catchy melodies and rhythms. You may want to divide pop into decades like 60s pop, 70s pop, etc. or moods like upbeat pop, sad pop ballads.

Jazz – Jazz has many styles within it, such as big band, bebop, cool jazz, and more. Create subfolders for different eras like swing, hard bop, fusion.

Hip Hop/Rap – Consider subfolders for geographical locations like East Coast rap, West Coast rap, or styles like gangsta rap, conscious rap.

Country – Traditional country can be separated from more modern, pop-influenced country. You may also sort by decades or make a bluegrass subfolder.

Classical – Create subfolders for periods like Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. You can also separate by composer.

Sorting by genre allows you to find exactly the type of music you want to hear. Adjust subfolder categories based on the specific genres and styles in your library.

Sort by Year

Sorting your music library chronologically by year can help you take a musical journey through time. This method groups all albums and songs together by their release year, allowing you to see the evolution of music and your tastes over the decades.

In the Apple Music app, you can sort your library chronologically in the Albums view by going to View > Sort By > Year. This will rearrange all your albums from oldest to newest. You can scroll through your library decade by decade and rediscover forgotten albums you haven’t listened to in years. Sorting by year is also useful for reminiscing about a specific era of music and easily finding albums from your high school days or other time periods.

On desktop in iTunes, you can also sort your library chronologically. Go to View > Sort By > Year to rearrange albums from oldest to newest. You can create playlists or smart playlists based on specific decades like the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. to make nostalgic playlists from your favorite musical eras. iTunes also allows you to group albums by decade under Library > Group Albums By > Decade to browse your collection by time period.

Overall, sorting your library chronologically by year is a great way to rediscover forgotten music and take a trip down memory lane through the decades. It allows you to explore the evolution of genres and artists and find hidden gems you haven’t listened to in a long time.

Sort by Rating

One of the most common ways to sort your music library is by rating songs. Many music apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and others allow you to rate songs on a scale such as 1-5 stars. This allows you to flag your favorite tracks and sort your library to put your top-rated songs at the top.

A 5 star rating system is commonly used, with 5 stars meaning you love the song and 1 star meaning you don’t care for it. You can go through your library and rate each track, then sort by rating descending to surface your 5 star songs first.

Many apps also allow you to make smart playlists based on song ratings. For example, you could make a “Top Rated” playlist in Apple Music that automatically pulls in all songs rated 5 stars 1. This is an easy way to build playlists of your favorite music.

Overall, rating and sorting by rating allows you to pinpoint the top tracks in your library and gives you more options for surfacing songs you love.

Sort by Play Count

Sorting your music library by play count allows you to see your most played songs at the top and your least played songs at the bottom. This can help you discover forgotten favorites that you haven’t listened to in a while. According to Reddit user u/ADHDK on r/shortcuts, sorting by play count and listening to your least played songs can “find some gems you’d forgotten about.”

When sorting by play count, the songs at the top are the ones you listen to most frequently. Scrolling down the list allows you to rediscover tracks you haven’t played in a long time. Sorting this way gives you a new perspective on your library and lets you find songs to fall in love with all over again.

Sort by Mood

One way to sort your music library is by mood or feeling that the songs evoke. This allows you to create customized playlists for different moods like upbeat, chill, happy, sad, angry, or relaxation.

Some tools like Emotionify allow you to sort your Spotify playlist on an emotional gradient using attributes like valence and energy calculated by Spotify. You can sort from sad to happy or from angry to calm.

Other apps like Sort Your Music let you tag songs with custom moods and then sort your library by those tags. For example, you could tag a song as “chill” or “pump up” and then view playlists of songs with those mood tags.

Sorting by mood can help you create the perfect playlist for any feeling or occasion. It allows for more customizable and emotive organization of your music library.

Using Metadata

Metadata embedded in audio files, like MP3s, can help automatically sort your music library. This metadata, stored as ID3 tags, includes details like song title, artist, album, genre, and year. By editing these ID3 tags, you can ensure your files have accurate metadata that music apps can use to sort your library.

Tools like Mp3tag and MusicBrainz Picard allow you to view and edit ID3 tags in batch for multiple audio files. You can add any missing details or fix incorrect data. Some apps like Picard can even attempt to automatically identify songs and fetch metadata from online databases.

Once your files have proper ID3 tags, many music players on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS can read these tags and automatically sort your library by artist, album, genre, etc. Apps may also let you customize the sort order. This automates the process so you don’t have to manually organize files into folders.

With clean, accurate metadata, your music library can stay neatly sorted as your collection grows. Properly tagged files also integrate better with other apps and devices. Overall, utilizing metadata is an efficient way to keep your music collection organized.

Music Organization Tools

There are dedicated software tools that can help organize large music libraries in various ways. These range from media players with advanced sorting and tagging options, to specialized programs designed for cataloging and managing collections.

Many popular media players like iTunes and Winamp include options to sort tracks by various metadata tags like artist, album, genre, etc. MediaMonkey is one such player that excels at organizing libraries, with auto-tagging features and a customizable interface to browse music.

More advanced tools like MusicBee and MediaMonkey are dedicated to managing collections, allowing for fine-grained control over metadata, file structure, tagging, album art and more. They can automatically match tracks to online databases to pull down high-quality tags and associated data.

Such programs even support advanced organizational schemes like hierarchical folder structures, multiple libraries, and customizable categories and playlists to precisely arrange your music. For large libraries, they are invaluable for getting collection cleanly sorted and maintaining order as it expands.

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