These things seem to go in cycles. I spent four posts looking at ways you could cut the cord and, while this is not a series, it is still my second post about getting your music library organized. Perhaps it is simply because mine is such a total mess. Regardless of my personal procrastination with music libraries I do sometimes try and fix it up and I have an array of apps I have found over the years to aid me in my quest to accomplish this hopeless task.
The last time around, I talked about MP3Tag (my favorite app by the way), but this time around I wanted to show you an app I found even before that — MP3 Renamer. In fact, this was one of the first ones to become a staple in my armory to combat that dreaded, bloated pile of music that I both love and hate.
Download and Getting Started
MP3 Ranamer is a free utility that is licensed via the GNU General Public License (GPL). It is available thanks to the wonderful folks over at SourceForge, who make these things possible. Please visit them and show some love for all they do for us.
One you have downloaded and installed the 12.8 MB file — if you are using Windows 8 then you you may need to click “more info” and “run anyway”. A word of warning — you will need Java installed. If you do not have it then you will be prompted to install upon first run. You may need to carry this task out by right-clicking and choosing to “run as administrator”. Java can be tricky to get the program to recognize so be patient.
The UI, or user interface, is very simple. There are no extras here, just the basics, and it was not designed to pretty — it is just a utility. To that end the app looks as though it were designed in the 90’s, but it still works perfectly well. We are not looking for beauty here folks. That’s good because the app has not been updated since 2007, but it will run just fine in any version of Windows including the latest — Windows 8.
Across the top are three options for grabbing a file — file frame, ID3 and user entry. Below that there are two boxes. The left is for options you want and, by default, all are enabled. The right box is for the aforementioned user entry. Pay attention to the options here so you don’t make a big mistake with a music file.
Finally, at the bottom you will find two more boxes that display original and fixed information, with several buttons as well as a large FIX IT button.
Get Your Files
Now let’s get started for real here. The first thing you will want to do is add your music files. You can do so by using the Add Files button, but the best option is to simply add the entire folder by clicking the Add Folder button. Browse to the folder where your music is stored (the program is capable of working across a network, so don’t worry if the folder is on another computer) and then wait for the library to load. Depending on the amount of music you have this could be quick or not so much.
Now get your library in shape
Now choose a file and click the FIX IT button. You will get a dialogue box with several options — Accept the suggested change, Play the file in question, Delete this file and Allow me to enter a file name. A word of warning here: this dialogue box is hard to get out of, so once you begin this process, be prepared to make changes! Otherwise you will need to Ctrl-Alt-Del to get out of it.
There are not a lot of limitations in the app, if you do not count the user interface, but the one I have found is a big one. You see, the program only recognizes MP3 files, which is a bit of a problem. Many of us have ripped music in WMA format — especially Windows users. Many more have probably purchase their music through Apple’s iTunes, which means the songs come in .AAC format. Both WMA, AAC and others will not be recognized here.
Other apps to consider
There is no shortage of apps out there that claim they can spiff up your music library. Some are legit, while others are either a scam, or worse, malware. MP3 Renamer is a good legitimate program, although it may be becoming dated, but for now it still works well.
If you plan to stick with free then you can also consider MusicBrainz, which I highly recommend, in addition to my previously reviewed MP3Tag.
For paid services, which may be necessary if you have a big mess to clean up, then both Media Monkey and TuneUp Media work fantastically well and do a great job of automating the process.
The app is simple and old school, but it still works, which is the most important part of all of this. As I stated in the previous section there are other, paid, apps which can take care of these tasks and even automate them, but that is important only if you have enough files to warrant the cost.
Otherwise MP3 Renamer is a solid solution, especially compared with another free apps like the previously reviewed MP3Tag. What are your favorite ways for straightening up your music library? Let us know in the comments below.