Whether you’re talking about LPs or MP3s, people have really different ideas about what constitutes “the ultimate music collection.” For some, it means a process of endless refinement, boiling down a set of music to the purest essentials: All signal, no noise. For others, it’s an archival process (“Why have one Bix Biederbeck CD when you could have 23?”)
It’s possible to have the best of both worlds: Maintain a large collection so you have access to everything, but create a playback system so you only end up hearing what you truly love.
I’ve been an eMusic subscriber for nearly a decade. I’ve spent a good deal of my spare time over the past four years digitizing my entire record collection, followed by my entire CD collection, followed by the large CD collections of six record-collecting friends (one of which alone was basically the Musical Library of Alexandria). All told, I’ve managed to amass a collection of ~120,000 tracks spanning ~9,100 albums, mostly in lossless format, and all with high-quality album art.
The accreted set now weighs around 2.25 terabytes – large enough to have “special needs.” Over the past four years of building the collection, I’ve picked up a few tips. Thought I’d share some of the most useful bits here, in case anyone finds them helpful.
Love it or hate it, iTunes has enough traction to be considered the “default” music player for almost everyone, so I’m going on the assumption that it’s your player too. If you use something else, power to you! Everything below assumes you use iTunes 11 or 12.
This guide is split up into four major sections:
- Remote Control (Playback techniques)
- Miscellaneous iTunes Tips (Rare B-sides)
- Digitization Notes
- Building a Server