Old 17th November 2016, 12:54   #1
Zeekid
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Do I need an m3u8 file for Winamp?

I started using Winamp in the 80's when things were simple. Download a song, put it in your library and play. Now, not so much. Here is where I would appreciate some constructive advice.

I'm running windows 7 and using the windows music library for storage. I use EAC for converting my cds to flac. Then I run them through MusicBrainz Picard.

In EAC, I create a m3u8 file for Winamp. Is this necessary or will Winamp take care of itself when I "rescan"?

Also, I now have reached over 10,000 songs and things are starting to get cumbersome. Would some of you heavy hitters tell me how you categorize your library and why it works for you? Do you have any tricks or advice for setting up your music library? I'm as old as dirt and really want to clean up my library to pass it on to my grandkids who love my "Rock n Roll" music.

Sincerely,

Zeekid in Virginia, USA
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Old 17th November 2016, 16:50   #2
Aminifu
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A m3u8 file is a text file list of the file names of the songs that have been digitized. This list may or may not also include the storage location (pathname) of each digital file in the list. M3U8 files can be used as playlists with Winamp and other digital music players. Location information must be included in playlists when the files are stored in places that the digital music players do not automatically know where to look for them. You can use Windows Notepad to view and edit m3u8 files.

With 1 exception, Winamp does not automatically make a m3u8 file. Winamp does automatically make a m3u8 file containing all the items that are listed in it's playlist editor panel/window when Winamp is shutdown. This m3u8 file is used to repopulate the playlist editor when Winamp is restarted.

The key to managing a large music collection is using metadata. Metadata are bits of information called tags that are stored within each digital music file. Some tags are pre-specified to contain specific information, like the song title, artist name, album name, year of release, song composer, and so on. Other tags are general purpose and can contain any information you want, within limits. The number and type of characters each tag can contain varies. Use the internet to look for the details on what tags each digital file format that you use supports.

Winamp's tag viewer/editors (and 3rd party taggers) let you see what tags are already specified within each of your digital music files and change what they contain if you want to. 3rd party taggers can use the internet to look for information and try to automatically put tags in your files. You need to check if the information added is correct. Winamp is currently not able to use the internet to look for tag information.

After all your digital music files contain the correct information, in the tags that you care about, then you can use the Winamp media library to use these tags to sort your music in various ways that are useful to you. For example, you can sort by genre, or by genre and year (or decade), or by artist, or by artist and genre and year (or decade).

You can also use the Winamp media library's history options to keep track of other information associated with each of your digital music files, like the number of times each file has been played and the dates the files were last played by Winamp. This information can also be used with or without the metadata tags as sorting filters. For example, you can sort for all files of a particular artist that have not been played for a long time, or all files played during a particular week (or month), or all files that have been played a little or a lot.

These sorting filters can be very simple or very complex, the choice is yours. Each sorting filter can be saved as a smartview. The sorting views that you can select on left side of the Winamp media library panel/window under the "Local Library" heading are default smartviews. You can edit these smartviews (not recommended) or add more based on the sorting filters in them or based on completely different sorting filters. Each time a smartview is selected, the media library records are searched and the files that match the smartview's filtering are listed.

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Last edited by Aminifu; 17th November 2016 at 17:59.
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Old 18th November 2016, 10:40   #3
Zeekid
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Aminifu - Thank your for your thoughtful and comprehensive tutorial! I now understand the function and modification of the m3u8 files with Winamp. Is there any consensus on categorizing a music library? Yes, I can see it varies by individual tastes but is there a general method of doing this?
Should I keep them in one big file or separate the albums into an ABC folder order? 95% of my music are complete albums (50% various artists). Any suggestions?

I really appreciate the help!!
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Old 18th November 2016, 16:16   #4
Aminifu
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Your file storage scheme should depend on how you look for files to play, imo. Do you remember songs by the artist and song title, or by the artist, album, and song title, or by some other way? Sometimes I can't remember a song's title or the album it is on and can barely remember the artist. I believe any storage scheme you use should have a set of rules that you always follow, which are easy to remember, and allow you to find stuff relatively quickly.

If you use metadata tags in your files and usually use the filtering and/or search features within Winamp to have it find the files you want to play, then any storage scheme should work equally well. But I don't recommend putting everything in 1 folder. If you usually manually look for the files you want to play, then I recommend using a folder for each artist (under a root music folder) and sub-folders beneath them for each album (and 1 additional catch-all sub-folder for the artist's songs that don't fit a particular album). Most apps that automatically sort and store music files use the "artist - album" storage scheme. The tricky part of using an "artist - album" scheme is determining a consistent way of handling compilation albums (those with various artists).

I put tags in all my files and mostly use the filtering and search features within Winamp. I also make playlists to suit various needs; like a mix of dance music with complementary beats per minute, or a mix of nice background music that lets me mostly focus on other tasks, or a party mix that alternates between groups of fast, medium, and slow dance music, and so on. I use 28 sub-folders under a root music folder for storing my music; 1 for each letter in the English alphabet and 1 for all numbers. I then use the first letter in the first names of the artists (including articles) for each song to determine which letter folder to put them in. For example, the songs of all artists whose names starts with "The", I put in the "T" sub-folder. All the songs by "Prince" and "Phil Collins", I put in the "P" sub-folder. The songs by artists that refer to themselves by a number, I put in the numbers sub-folder. For example; "3rd Force", "98 Degrees", "10CC", "3LW", "50 Cent", and so on. For duets (and other multiple artist songs), I use the sub-folder that matches the 1st letter of 1st name of the artist that starts singing (or playing) first.

If an artist's name (or song title) starts with an article, Winamp skips over it when making an alpha-numeric list. This may look a little strange until you get used to it. The sorting starts with symbols, followed by numbers, then letters. For example; for the artist "The Beatles", the "B" in "Beatles" is used (followed by the remaining letters) for sorting instead of the "T" in "The" and the artist name is listed as "Beatles, The". The song title "The Way You Make Feel" is listed in order, but the sort starts with the word "Way" and for the song title "The "In" Crowd" which is also listed in order, the sort starts with the quotation mark in front of the word "In".

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Last edited by Aminifu; 18th November 2016 at 18:07.
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Old 21st November 2016, 10:35   #5
Zeekid
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Aminifu, Thanks again! Because you took the time to enlighten me, I will use your suggestion to bring order to my chaotic music library. I can see that your file order logic makes sense and will help me immensely!

I am very grateful!!

Zeekid
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