Old 13th November 2004, 03:04   #1
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Change how ML tracks songs

I'd like to join the chorus of voices having big problems with song tracking being dependent on path.

Heaven forbid I ever decide to move my music collection off of the C drive to a larger one - I'd have to re-rate the entire collection. (Playlists I could fix with a text editor and a search-and-replace, but ...) In addition, renaming a file to fix a typo, or shifting things out of an Incoming directory, nukes all the play/rating info. This is already biting me in the butt as I try to simultaneously sort and rate my 5,000+ track collection.

Can I prostrate myself before the altar of the llama and suggest that the database uniquely identify songs by some system not relying on pathname?

Tracking by ID3 tag seems a natural suggestion, but I'm aware it would create its own set of headaches (such as not being available in all formats). So here's my thoughts on what form a replacement system could take:

A combination of easily accessible information, such as filetype, file size, creation date, and checksum (if this is a trivial thing to calculate, anyway), can be used to deterministically generate a unique File Identifier Number. A separate table could track correspondences between FIN and pathname.

Data can be stored in the database based on this FIN. Every time a call for extended data is made, the FIN is freshly generated and checked against the database. If the FIN exists, it's all good. (Even if the file has been moved!) If the FIN doesn't exist but the pathname is in the correspondence table, it can safely be assumed that something's happened to modify the file (such as writing a new ID3 tag), and the data can be moved to the file's new FIN.

This has the benefit of tracking files both by pathname AND by other factors that would survive a move or rename. Please, please consider it or something like it. My music collection will thank you.

(Any other suggestions or expansions on the basic idea?)
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Old 13th November 2004, 07:56   #2
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Two ways to move your entire library (both require the Library Import/Export Plugin):

1. Export your library as XML. Use a search-and-replace to change the paths in the export file, then move your library, then re-import the edited library file and run a "Remove all dead links" in the library.

2. If you have iTunes (Bob forbid), import your Winamp library into iTunes, tell iTunes to organize music library, then move music library, then send the library file back to Winamp.

Neither way is exactly easy, but both are possible, as I have used them both. Hope I've helped!

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Old 13th November 2004, 08:43   #3
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To save ratings my style, mass edit the rating into the comment field. IE: Rating=4, then when you re-add everything run a search for Rating=4 and mass rate everything that comes up.

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Old 13th November 2004, 10:25   #4
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Those are excellent workaround suggestions! Thank you both!

The comment field suggestion in particular - although I'll have to browse my files by comment field in the ML to make sure I'm not overwriting anything important - is likely to save me a tremendous amount of headache. (I'm not moving my entire library just at the moment, but I am shuffling around a bunch of stuff within it.)
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