How do you manage your music files?

Do you manage one or multiple music libraries? I currently have to manage two libraries: one for my iPhone, comprised mostly of lossy files, and one for my network music players, mostly FLAC and other lossless files. Why two libraries, you ask? Mainly to save space on my iPhone. (But I realize this is less an issue nowadays.) Also, the iPhone couldn’t read FLAC files. I believe this has changed, but I’m not sure.

The main library is the lossless one. Here’s my workflow:

(1) I either buy an album online (ideally in FLAC or another lossless format) or, if necessary, a physical CD. If so, I rip the CD with dbpoweramp.

(2) I carefully tag all my files with Yate

(3) If I want to listen to an album on my iPhone, I convert it in MP3, using dbpoweramp.

(4) I then drag the album in the Music app, which often then proceeds to change my tags without asking me first, which is fucking annoying. I try to ignore it most of time, but when things get out of hand, I have to change back the tags in the Music app, which again is fucking annoying.

I want to simplify things.

  • Could I skip step (3) somehow?
  • Is there a way to stop the Music app’s tagging shenanigans?

What about using Music app to convert to AAC for iPhone?

You could try Waltr Pro WALTR PRO | Quickly Transfer ANY File into iPhone, iPad

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Have you looked at Roon?

That would be an option. But I don’t remember if and how well the Music app handles batch conversions, something dbpoweramp is very good at?

But I was thinking of skipping the whole conversion step altogether and dragging FLAC files either in the Music app or directly in my iPhone, if possible.

Interesting, I’ll check it out

Yes, its very good. But I’m just scratching the surface. And there’s a big update coming up… :slight_smile:

Check out Vox? I used it a lot when I was nomadic. VOX Music Player for Mac and PC: Best FLAC Player for Windows and MacOS. Mac music app Alternative.

I use Plex for my music library. I choose carefully whether to use MP3 or FLAC in my library for each album. Plex doesn’t easily support multiple versions of the same album, but it can be done.

I do miss iTunes’ ability to downsample for iPod/iPhone transfer.

I realize this is a question of principles, but I gave up on managing audio files and went to streaming instead. The issues you are facing was part of the equation when deciding to not bother with managing a local collection anymore. I have been on Tidal’s lossless tier for many years and am not looking back. Sure, the catalog sometimes shifts so previously available content may become unavailable (as on all streaming services), but on the whole, I still have access WAY more interesting music than I’ll ever be able to consume.

No need to downsample anything either, I have ample space on my 256GB phone for a huge number of lossless tracks.

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Apple devices cannot play FLAC natively, but they can play ALAC. For many years I would rip my CDs to FLAC and use those on my computer, then convert to MP3, later AAC for iPod/phone use. At some point I discovered WMA lossless files were ever so slightly smaller, so I converted all my FLACs to WMAs. I still have DVDs full of those sitting on a shelf gathering dust. I moved to iTunes music and then Apple Music and haven’t really looked back, but for a time I experimented with converting some of the WMAs to ALAC and they played fine on my iPhone.

Same. I digitized our ginormous CD collection, loaded the resulting FLAC files onto an external hard drive, did a lot of painstaking organizing, got a Roon Nucleus to serve the files to our HiFi and any devices attached to our network, and topped it off with Qobuz streaming. And … after all that I find myself using Qobuz streaming more and more, including on my phone. (Roon is great, though.)

Apple Music comes free with our wireless service, so it’s still on my Mac and my iPhone. I mostly use it to put together the occasional quick and dirty playlist for my phone.

Plex with Plexamp and Swinsian are the only good choices out there. Swinsian is good for editing your library and Plexamp for playing/discovering.

I really like Apple Music app due to how good the smart playlists feature is but it is a pain to use when you have music stored on NAS. Especially if you plan to travel. Apple Music Match is an option but it can mass up your metadata and album artwork.

I use either Fission or X Lossless Decoder for all of my batch music conversions, FWIW…

you just multi select whatever you want (shift key or command key) and convert all at once…

Interesting… I’ll check it out. I see it’s a subscription service…

I thought Plex was video files only… Isn’t it a subscription service?

Since I bought a Bluesound Node last summer, I’ve been experimenting with Tidal and Roon. Its a pretty killer combo. Plus, I can download anything I want on my iPhone… But I don’t think I could bring myself to nuke my main library… However, I would gladly nuke the other library. Managing two of them is a hassle. I’m thinking of throwing away most of it, keeping only the stuff that isn’t available on Tidal and elsewhere.

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I use beets.io for managing music. It is a command line utility program for importing files into your library and naming them properly. It uses the Musicbrainz backend to download metadata and populate the files’ tags. It requires a lot of configuration, but Mac Power users should like that. Once my files are imported with beets, Roon automatically scans them into my library where they are are accessible to all my devices. Roon also seemlessly integrates my local files with Tidal streaming. It’s amazing.

If you prefer a music organizing app with a GUI, have a look at Musicbrainz Picard which is also excellent. You can set file naming schemes and album information is automatically downloaded from Musicbrainz to populate the tags in your files.

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No, and no. It can be a subscription service, and you do need a free account to use it at all, but people like me just load up ripped DVD collections to have them available on demand. There is definitely a music section in there, but I haven’t used it.

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