One of the reasons I picked MediaMonkey as my digital music manager is because it was designed as a library management tool first and a player second. I have a fairly large collection of digital audio files in a variety of formats, types, and genres. I really needed a solution that would allow me to manage my collection in a personal way. I tried foobar. I've tried Winamp and iTunes. I tried Songbird. I've even tried Windows Media. Not a single one of them could compare to MediaMonkey from a library management perspective. I'm not going to get into the specifics of why each of the other products failed. I'm gonna tell you exactly why MediaMonkey totally rocks at digital audio library management.
In part one we're going to talk about Portability and file management.
Once upon a time before I discovered the joy of streaming audio services (http://djsizzly.com/content/music-shall-never-stop), I used to cart my music drive from home to work so I could listen to my tunes wherever I happened to be. MediaMonkey made this a joy 'cause you can customize the location of the metadata database by adding a simple line in your MediaMonkey.ini file. This'll allow you to put the database on the portable drive so that you're bringing all of your play counts, play lists, and what not with you. To pull this off all you need to do is add the following beneath the [System] section of your ini file.
Obviously you'll want to use whatever the drive letter and path of your database and not mine. If the database doesn't exist it will automatically create it. If you've copied the one that's created when you start MediaMonkey to that location it will be exactly the same as if it's on your C drive. Neat, eh?
Other reasons this is cool:
• Disaster Recovery - You're not going to lose your database if your PC goes away.
• Spontaneity - "Dude! Play some tunes!". All you have to do is install MM, plug in your drive and you can play your music on anyone's computer.
• Backup and Archiving - You can point your backup software at a single drive or file system structure and backup EVERYTHING rather than having to reassemble the piece parts.
• Choice - I like being able to decide where files are on my machine.
• This is not a hack - The official instructions for doing this are on the MediaMonkey wiki: http://www.mediamonkey.com/support/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewart...
Here's one of the neatest features available in MediaMonkey: Customizable file structures. You can define the directory structure as well as the file name format based upon the metadata of each additional track. All you need to do is go to Tools > Options > Library > Auto-Organize. This lets you define how you want your files to be organized. Each time you edit a file it will automatically change the file name or location (if you are so inclined) so all of your music is exactly where you want it to be. Even better is that it's rule based. You can set up criteria that organizes files by genre, filters (we'll talk about them more in part 3), or even playlists.
Here's what I use for organizing my "General Music" files.
This works for me but if you have specific requirements for another program that can be performed using auto organize. You can also use it to send different types of audio files to different locations. This is useful if you have a portable drive that you use for live gigs and don't want to bring all of your music to a show. It's also handy for creating a different organization structure for audio books or audio clips. The sky's the limit.
Now, that being said, I don't REALLY care where my files are 'cause I use the MM interface almost exclusively to catalog and display my music collection. The actual location of the file very rarely matters. But it might for you and if it does... Well, MediaMonkey has you covered.
Other Reasons this is cool:
• Optimizing storage - If you have oodles of smaller storage devices then you can spread your collection amongst them all.
• Ease of search - a consistent naming convention makes it much easier to find files if you need them.
I think in part two I'll go over another couple of features: Categorization and robust playlists. These are some of my favorite bits for crafting my show. Part three is gonna talk about multiple libraries and the joy that is drag and drop. Part four is all about display options and a few other neat features that are just "nice to have".
Looking for help on making any of this work? Have other features you want discussed? Is there something about MediaMonkey that makes you drool? Post it here 'cause I love comments.