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Topic: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files. (Read 1300 times) previous topic - next topic
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Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Hello, I'm currently using this folder structure for organizing my music:

Code: [Select]
+ Music/
    + Aerosmith
        + 1973 - Aerosmith
             - 01 - Track 01.flac
             - ...
        + 1974 - Get Your Wings
        + 1975 - Toys in the Attic
        + 1988 - Gems
     + Alphaville
     + Asia

I was thinking in getting rid of sub-folders and use a simpler structure, like so:

Code: [Select]
+ Music/
    + Aerosmith - Album - 1973 - Aerosmith
        - 01 - Track 01.flac
        - ...
    + Aerosmith - Album - 1974 - Get Your Wings
    + Aerosmith - Album - 1975 - Toys in the Attic
    + Aerosmith - Compilation - 1988 - Gems
    + Aerosmith - Compilation - 1989 - Best Of
    + Aerosmith - Single - 1994 - Crazy
    + Aerosmith - Single - 2001 - Fly Away From Here
    + Alphaville - Album - 1984 - Forever Young

If it's an MFSL or something special I will add a note like so:

Code: [Select]
     + Artist - Album - Name of album {MFLS Remaster}
     + Artist - Album - Name of album {DCC Remaster}
     + Artist - Album - Name of album {AFZ Remaster}
     + Artist - Album - Name of album {Vinyl}

The only downside of this method is that there will be a lot of folders inside the root Music folder. Even though I'm not sure if it's a downside.

Does any of you use a flat structure like this? Do you see anything wrong with it?

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #1
It's entirely up to you!    Assuming your files are "tagged" your player software will take care of the "organization" and you can sort by artist, album, year, genre, etc.

Personally, I have top-level folders for broad-genres with most of my music in one called "Rock & Popular" and several specialty folders for soundtracks, Christmas Music, etc.    Then every artist has a sub-folder folder with a sub-folder for each album.  Oh, I also have a top-level folder for Various Artist compilations.  

For movies I include the release year in the file name but not with music, since it's in the metadata (tags).   And Greatest Hits & compilations have songs with different years.   (I try to research the original release year of the recording so that could be when the vinyl was released.)

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #2
Get the albums sorted chronologically! And if you have, say, singles with the same name as the album, you can either take great care to use an album version tag that says CDS or CDM or CDEP or ... - or you can use the CDDB disc id (possibly like this)

Album artist {year} Album `albumversion ¶discnumber` CDDB DISC ID

I would use curly braces to distinguish from characters that occur in actual names, and you might use something else than the ` depending what you need available on your keyboard or ... for example,  ¨ or ¤ or ... you might want to avoid characters that would need to be escaped in the command-line, or you may choose not to care.
You can fill in more spaces if you like. And if you aren't afraid of unicodes, the EM QUAD.
And I would drop the ¶discnumber if the total number of discs is 1. Actually I delete the DISCNUMBER and TOTALDISCS tags for one-disc releases.
Last two months' worth of foobar2000.org ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine: https://www.foobar2000.org/

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #3
I have a couple of underlying principles:

  • Make it as simple as it can be whilst being unique, because that's all it needs to be, you shouldn't be browsing by folders (or navigating the file system) in 2022!
  • Have a single place to store all related information e.g. I have albumartist artwork as well as other albumartist metadata so I want a single place to store it and all their albums.
  • Make it easy to QA your music collection including folder structure. To achieve this my folder structure is created based on tags available in the music files themselves.
  • The folder structure should support carrying out other functions e.g. conversions from one format to another.

To that end I have a similar structure to your first one with a couple of tweaks:
  • I use %releasedate% in the folder name (although I do browse by %originaldate%) simply because it makes it more unique, as like you I have many remasters of the same album and in all but a handful of situations this resolves to a unique folder name (in those other situations I fill another tag with supplementary information to make it unique - which is used by foobar2000 to create the folder structure). I don't have any singles and only a handful of EP's, so if you wanted to add that layer into the folder structure to ensure it's unique that would make sense (but again, make sure it's also available in the tags, I often use this to subset my music when browsing).
  • I have CD[n] folders under album as I've found that having folder.jpg instead of embedded album art is more compatible with other devices/software. I've only tested 3 systems with MP3, OGG and FLAC, but found that Sonos doesn't like embedded art in MP3's with ID3v2.4 tags (and I refuse to use ID3v2.3) and MinimServer doesn't display embedded artwork for Ogg Vorbis files, so having CD[n] folders with folder.jpg means I can easily convert from one format to another.
  • My tracks are simply called discnumber.tracknumber.extension, because, well why not, it's not like I'm ever going to look at them, or search for them, and it takes memory to store those names e.g. Sonos had a hard limit of 65000 tracks, but if the folder or file names were long that maximum would be further reduced.

I do however use foobar which simplifies/automates all of the above, so you do need to take your workflow into account.

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #4
In the past I didn't care about the file system. Why bother if you have all kind of tags to browse and search your collection.

However, I use a toplevel folders like Classical, Pop, Jazz, Blues simply because I don't like multiple libraries (you have Zappa in Pop but also the Meridian Arts ensemble playing works but they are "classical") but like to filter. So filters like "Path contains /classical/" are a simple way to get classical only.

Occasionally albums are incomplete, some tracks are missing. Is this because they are missing or is it because most media players do think tracks belong to an album if Album and Artis are the same?
 I solved this by having the entire album in 1 folder.

Like wise Name might be in error e.g.
1 Andante
2 Andante
3 Finale
If you have a meaningful file name e.g.  2-string quartet no.2 - adagio, you know you have screwed up this tag.

Over time I realized that the file system can be of help when trouble shooting.
TheWellTemperedComputer.com

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #5
Get the albums sorted chronologically! And if you have, say, singles with the same name as the album, you can either take great care to use an album version tag that says CDS or CDM or CDEP or ... - or you can use the CDDB disc id (possibly like this)

Album artist {year} Album `albumversion ¶discnumber` CDDB DISC ID

I would use curly braces to distinguish from characters that occur in actual names, and you might use something else than the ` depending what you need available on your keyboard or ... for example,  ¨ or ¤ or ... you might want to avoid characters that would need to be escaped in the command-line, or you may choose not to care.
You can fill in more spaces if you like. And if you aren't afraid of unicodes, the EM QUAD.
And I would drop the ¶discnumber if the total number of discs is 1. Actually I delete the DISCNUMBER and TOTALDISCS tags for one-disc releases.


Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
Do you repeat the name of the artist in each folder, like so?

Code: [Select]
      + Music
          + First Artist
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
          + Second Artist
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name

The only advantage I think of is when I take out one album and put it on a different drive it makes sense to have the artist name in each folder.

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #6
Get the albums sorted chronologically! And if you have, say, singles with the same name as the album, you can either take great care to use an album version tag that says CDS or CDM or CDEP or ... - or you can use the CDDB disc id (possibly like this)

Album artist {year} Album `albumversion ¶discnumber` CDDB DISC ID

I would use curly braces to distinguish from characters that occur in actual names, and you might use something else than the ` depending what you need available on your keyboard or ... for example,  ¨ or ¤ or ... you might want to avoid characters that would need to be escaped in the command-line, or you may choose not to care.
You can fill in more spaces if you like. And if you aren't afraid of unicodes, the EM QUAD.
And I would drop the ¶discnumber if the total number of discs is 1. Actually I delete the DISCNUMBER and TOTALDISCS tags for one-disc releases.


Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
Do you repeat the name of the artist in each folder, like so?

Code: [Select]
      + Music
          + First Artist
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + First Artist - YYYY - Album Name
          + Second Artist
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name
              + Second Artist - YYYY - Album Name

The only advantage I think of is when I take out one album and put it on a different drive where I don't have the same structure it makes sense to have the artist name in each folder.

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #7
Do you repeat the name of the artist in each folder, like so?
I don't use such subfolders under artists. Even, each physical disc gets its own folder (see disc number) - that is a compromise, but one had to be made. For a deeper hierarchy and faster browsing of the drive, consider One folder for each first "letter" (starting with 0).
I use a separate root folder for classical music - where I by and large sort not by the performing "Artist", but by the composer. Also, I exclude that from my renaming scheme (my "common" one at least; if I want to use fb2k to rename it ... a portable version!) - because it would too often mess up with too long titles and everything.

(Oh I do use subfolders for bonus material, e.g. some download purchases come with a video - those subfolders of the album folder all have one and the same name, which I exclude from all fb2k renaming schemes.)



Last two months' worth of foobar2000.org ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine: https://www.foobar2000.org/

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #8
Do you mean something like this?

Code: [Select]
    
+ Music/
      + A/
              + Aerosmith/
                      + YYYY - Album Name/
              + ASIA/
              + Alphaville/
       + B/
              + Bangles/
              + Bryan Adams/

  

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #9
Do what you like! It also depends on how many albums you have, the first letter thing grows more useful when you have a ton of it.

Code: [Select]
µsic/
                            +0/
                                  + 2 Ton Predator {2001} Boogie ``9A0B410C
                                  + 2 Ton Predator {2003} Demon Dealer ``AC09670C
...
                            +O/
                                  + Opeth {1995} Orchid ``500F5907
                                  + Opeth {1995} Orchid `2003 remaster bonus`6310D608
                                  + Opeth {1995} Morningrise ``3D0F7D05
                                  + Opeth {1995} Morningrise `2003 remaster bonus`52117D06
...
                                  + Opeth {2001} Blackwater Park `2002 reissue bonus ¶1`650FC108
                                  + Opeth {2001} Blackwater Park `2002 reissue bonus ¶2`1F079703
...
                            +υarious/
...

Replace if necessary the second tickmark so that you get reissues appearing after the original. Your operating system and locale might have opinions on how to do that. I threw in a Greek letter for the various artists to get them at the end too.
Last two months' worth of foobar2000.org ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine: https://www.foobar2000.org/

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #10
Is this the folder to store the music you play or the original sources or both?

I'm tending to at least 3 hierarchies:
1)  the original rips
2) flacs that have all the metadata.
3) various ouput formats cross encoded from the flacs with the metadata.

3) gets loaded by players into thier own copy.

So all depends what you want / need to do



Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #11
Do what you like! It also depends on how many albums you have, the first letter thing grows more useful when you have a ton of it.

Code: [Select]
µsic/
                            +0/
                                  + 2 Ton Predator {2001} Boogie ``9A0B410C
                                  + 2 Ton Predator {2003} Demon Dealer ``AC09670C
...
                            +O/
                                  + Opeth {1995} Orchid ``500F5907
                                  + Opeth {1995} Orchid `2003 remaster bonus`6310D608
                                  + Opeth {1995} Morningrise ``3D0F7D05
                                  + Opeth {1995} Morningrise `2003 remaster bonus`52117D06
...
                                  + Opeth {2001} Blackwater Park `2002 reissue bonus ¶1`650FC108
                                  + Opeth {2001} Blackwater Park `2002 reissue bonus ¶2`1F079703
...
                            +υarious/
...

Replace if necessary the second tickmark so that you get reissues appearing after the original. Your operating system and locale might have opinions on how to do that. I threw in a Greek letter for the various artists to get them at the end too.

Surely this only makes it faster if you're only ever going to use a mouse? If you use a keyboard, or a combination of keyboard and mouse (click into Music then type the first two letters of the album artist) it'll not only be slower but you may not even find what you're after (if you forget that various artists isn't spelt with a v).

Given that you're even trying to get the folder names in chronological order of release, do you browse the folder structure to find things to play? Surely people are using foobar or an equivalent where it's easier to find the album, and simply right click 'Open containing folder' to get to the filesystem, if you ever need to?

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #12
Surely this only makes it faster if you're only ever going to use a mouse?
Or touch screen, including on a mobile.
Or if you have so many albums that Windows Explorer (or whatever file browser you use) is slow rendering it.

It has some advantages, although I don't use it myself. I use foobar2000's library viewer by folder structure, and then I see each folder (with two lines for a double CD yes). I mean, why not have Windows Explorer show me stuff in a way comparable with what I see every day in fb2k ;-)
Also in fb2k's viewer, I can also just type "K" and it will - like Windows Explorer - send me to to the beginning of K. That's not in the search window! (Which I use even more often.)
Last two months' worth of foobar2000.org ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine: https://www.foobar2000.org/

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #13
But you're unnecessarily mixing your display requirements with the storage layout, and that often leads to poor choices being made.

If we take your suggestion above, there's really no need to introduce that 0-Z grouping in the storage (unless you have a really flat folder structure and explorer takes forever to render as you suggest). I understand that you may want to see 0-Z when you're browsing via a mobile interface, but doing that anywhere else (filesystem or desktop app) is actually now slower (because you could have just typed the first letter in), and a good mobile interface already does that.
Using the Greek letter υ for various so that it sorts Various Artists to the bottom is again, purely a display issue, and you can achieve that with ALBUMARTISTSORT; by putting it into the filesystem you now need to code foobar to put Various Artists albums under υ (if you're using it for ripping/tagging) whilst also remembering to do that when browsing at a filesystem level.

Another common abuse I see is with using Genre at the root; not only are you limiting Genre to a single value per album (which you can achieve equally well by using the tag if you want), but quite often they'll also be limiting an albumartist to a single Genre as they want to group all of an albumartists works together, which is mad.

I appreciate that workflows can dictate structure, for instance Classical music is different enough to other music that it may be easier to separate them out for processing purposes, so I'm not suggesting anything other than xyz is bad, just to design the backend to fulful the backend requirements, not the frontend.

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #14
and you can achieve that with ALBUMARTISTSORT
If you use foobar2000 to move and rename directories and files (which I do), then you can also use that very same pattern to name a parent folder (which I do not) - so that is off topic to the discussion.

Edit: you would have to tweak it to get 0 through 9 into the same folder, but that is just more code. Still you can have fb2k do the job based on, say, ALBUMARTISTSORT defaulting to %artist%.
Last two months' worth of foobar2000.org ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine: https://www.foobar2000.org/

 

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #15
When I brought up the issue on reddit, saying the need to have artist folders and album subfolders was unnecessary because I have plenty of space to embed art, a few good points were made in favor of such a folder structure.

1. Less organized
2.  More difficult to transfer files
3. Embeds make bloated files
4.  Less conventional / familiar
5. Folders with larger contents cause bog downs in Windows

Regardless, I don't use folder and alphabetize to less than 2000 files per folder w/no issues and use file names formatted as %album artist% ▪ %originaldate% #%catalog number%»%disc number%-%track number% ▪ %title% and with long titled classical music: %composer% ▪ %composition year% ▪ %album%» #%discnumber%-%tracknumber%
A foobar enthusiast who's neither an audiophile, nor an album snob.

Ever notice whenever there is a thread mentioning track ratings, someone will inevitably come in to post that they don't use ratings or believe in rating music?

Re: Directory structure for organizing FLAC files.

Reply #16
You say you're not having a problem yet you've had to introduce an extra folder layer to alphabetize your tracks to keep the file counts manageable, and no doubt as your collection grows you may need to manually tweak that further depending on how many artists/albums you have fall under each letter (at the moment you have 2 folders for A and 4 for B). What decides where to put the files i.e. do you do it manually, or do you have to maintain some code to handle it for you?
What do you do for Various Artists?

You're also having to use a lot of metadata (including catalog number) in the filenames just to keep them unique.

Whilst I do use albumartist and album as folder names I only use discnumber.tracknumber in the track names because given all the characters that can't be used in filenames they'll never perfectly reflect what I've got in the tags, so what's the point. For albumartist and album I translate (via foobar) the characters that can't be used into the closest unicode equivalent so it at least looks correct, but I have often thought about just hashing them just to make it even simpler.

Would be interested to hear about your experience of using that structure with various software packages.