How to Organize Your Music Library


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I am not a collector of many things, but one collection that is very important to me is my music library. And if you like music as much as I do, with a collection of actual CDs, it is important to organize your music library so you can find what you want to listen to quickly and with ease.

So how do you sort and organize a music library in a way that makes that quick search a reality? It can seem confusing and overwhelming when you sit down to alphabetize albums. Some performers have a full name, some only one name, and what do you do with those compilation albums?

The first thing you need to do is divide your entire music collection into genre categories. 

For my own collection, I have four categories: soundtracks, classical, compilations and then, everything else.

As you can imagine, the "everything else" is the largest. It includes everyone from Janet Jackson to Paul Simon.

The everything else category is alphabetized A-Z, by the first letter of the artist's last name. If it is a group, i.e. The Bee-Gees, they are filed under "B." As with in a book library, the articles "of, and, the" etc. are ignored.

Soundtracks are alphabetized by title: Moulin Rouge comes before West Side Story.

Classical is sorted alphabetically by composer: Bach before Mozart.

Compilations are sorted alphabetically or by the type of compilation. For example, by decade or subject. All 80's can go together; romance or love songs can go together; "party/dance" music. It just depends on what your collection favors.


Less is more when it comes to organizing

The key to this system is the fact that I intentionally do NOT have that many categories. The problem with making too many categories is that many artists are cross-over or have careers that evolved into different genres over the years. Also, the more categories you have the more likely you will misfile an album, and then not be able to find it quickly.

The beauty of this system is it is flexible. If your library has more Blues, Country or Latin, for example, you can sort your entire collection based on the method I have outlined above. Just remember not to fall into the trap of trying to categorize like music stores do. They have the inventory necessitating such a process. Few home libraries have as much volume. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)

Of course the P.S. to this post is that with the popularity of streaming music services such as Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music, few people actually use physical music media anymore. But whether your music collection is sitting on your bookshelf or inside of your iPad, knowing what you have, and being able to find it easily, makes for really easy listening.

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