Managing multiple music libraries

Such Detail ...

The current top voted idea on the bliss ideas forum is The ability to monitor more than one location on a computer. bliss currently only allows one folder to be specified as the root music folder within which all your music files must reside.

Why is owning and storing multiple music libraries desirable or required, and why does bliss currently only allow one root folder?

Owning multiple music libraries

Why would you have more than one root music folder? There are a number of reasons. First, you might simply have run out of space on one drive, and want to use another rather than going through the cost and hassle of purchasing and migrating to a new larger drive. Secondly, you may have folders that are added and removed from the computer regularly, for instance those housed in a removable music player. Lastly you might want to simply keep your music folders separate to distinguish styles of music, or maybe the users that own the music.

A helpful workaround for this is suggested in the comments for the idea above. In most OSes it's possible to mimic one giant music folder by referencing the individual folders within the top-level root folder. This way, when music software reads your folder it thinks the files within the references are contained within the top level folder.

On Windows these are called symlinks and on Linux the most pertinent sort of link (there are multiple types) is the soft link. Finally, on OS X, you can use soft links like in Linux (the two OSes share ancestory) plus there's the concept of aliases. Either way, they provide a means by which a master root folder can contain other folders, even if they are on different hard drives.

bliss and multiple music libraries

In the most part, bliss will play ball and creating links as suggested above will allow bliss to see, scan and work with your music folders. But this is not a total answer, at least not for bliss.

While most of bliss's rules will work there's one exception: the file organisation rule. The file organisation rule takes the tags in your music file and creates an expected location for each given file, given your file organisation pattern. It does this relative to the root music folder. Now, imagine you've set up your music folder with symbolic links:

C:\
	Music/
		Dans_Library/ [-> D:\Dans-music]
			miles_davis/
				kind_of_blue/
				bitches_brew/ 
		demos/ [-> Y:\Work\Demos]
		masters/ [-> Y:\Work\Masters]

The root music folder, C:\Music, contains a number of references to other locations, and so that becomes the music folder in bliss. Using a file organsiation pattern such as <album_artist>/<album_name>/<tracknumber>-<track_name> will mean bliss will move files to locations relative to the root, for example:

C:\
	Music/
		Dans_Library/ [-> D:\Dans-music]
		demos/ [-> Y:\Work\Demos]
		masters/ [-> Y:\Work\Masters]
		miles_davis/
			kind_of_blue/
			bitches_brew/ 

This is probably not what you wanted! If you set up different music folders on different drives because you were running out of space on C:\, for example, your C:\ drive will quickly fill up.

So, for bliss to support multiple music libraries each folder should be named individually in bliss, and bliss's file organisation should move files relative to the root of the source folder.

One step further...

An obvious extension to these ideas is to allow different rules for different music folders. For instance, the music contained with the demos/ folder above may be structured in a different way to normal music releases, and so you might want folders and files to be named differently as a result.

What this means is the music folder location for music becomes the selector by which bliss decides what rules to apply to a given album.

If an album is in said folder, apply those rules.

To get really whacky, you can also consider other elements of your music to be used. For instance, the selector could apply to all albums that are multi disc, or all "various" albums. Then, different rule sets could be applied to them. Powerful stuff!

One for the future!

Thanks to Nina Matthews for the image above.
tags: tags files music libraries
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The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.