Building a music collection used to be simple. You’d go to your local record store, browse the racks for your favorite artists, and buy their albums. If you wanted to hear something new, you’d listen to the radio or check out the latest releases at the store.
But things have changed. These days, most of us get our music from digital sources like iTunes, Amazon, or streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. And while it’s easier than ever to find the songs we want, it’s also easy to end up with a disorganized, hard-to-navigate music library.
If you’re looking to build a music collection that you can enjoy for years to come, here are a few tips to get you started.
Tips for Starting A Digital Music Collection
Below are some tips on starting and organizing your digital music collection:
Start with the basics.
If you’re just getting started, it’s important to start with the basics. That means finding a music player that you’re comfortable with and can use to organize your collection. iTunes is a popular option, but there are also many others to choose from, including Windows Media Player, VLC, and Foobar2000.
Once you’ve selected a player, take some time to add your existing music files to it. If you have CDs, rip them into digital format so you can access them on your computer or other devices. Once your music is in digital form, it will be much easier to organize and keep track of.
Create a folder structure.
Once you have your music player set up, it’s time to start organizing your files. One way to do this is to create a folder structure that makes sense to you. For example, you could create folders for different genres or for specific artists. Or, if you prefer, you could create a folder for each album.
Whatever system you choose, be sure to label your folders in a way that makes it easy to find the music you’re looking for.
Organize your files.
Once you have your folder structure set up, it’s time to start organizing your music files. If you have a lot of music, this might seem like a daunting task. But there are a few simple things you can do to make it easier.
One way to organize your files is by using tags. Tags are pieces of information that are embedded in your music files and provide details about the song, such as the artist, title, genre, and more. Most music players can read these tags and use them to organize your files.
If you want more control over how your music is organized, you can also use file naming conventions. This involves naming your files in a specific way that will make it easier to find them later. For example, you could name your files according to the song title, artist, album, and genre. I usually group my songs both digital and physical by format, genre and then artist.
Tips for Building Your Music Collection
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to start a digital music collection, it’s time for some tips on how to build your collection. You can apply these tips for both your digital and physical music collection. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Focus on A Genre or Artist
One of the best ways to start building a music collection is to focus on a particular genre or artist. If you love rap music, for example, start by seeking out the classic albums that defined the genre. As you explore the different artists and styles within rap, you’ll develop a better sense of what you like and don’t like.
The same principle applies to other genres as well. If you’re a fan of rock music, explore the different subgenres and find the artists that speak to you. By focusing on a specific genre or artist, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the music and build a collection that reflects your taste.
You do not have to stick with popular genres. For me, I started building my personal music collection around Horror Movie Soundtracks after getting the idea from an article on Sabi Pictures.
Expand Outside of Digital With Physical Mediums
Even though digital music is more convenient, there’s still something to be said for physical media. CDs, vinyl records, and cassette tapes can all make great additions to your collection.
Part of the appeal of physical media is the packaging. Album artwork, liner notes, and other physical elements can add to your enjoyment of the music. And if you’re a fan of a particular artist, you might want to collect their entire discography.
Physical media is also a great way to support your favorite artists. When you buy a CD or record, the artist gets a larger percentage of the sale than they do from digital downloads. So if you want to help the artists you love, buying physical media is a great way to do it.
There are also some practical advantages to physical media. For one, you don’t need an internet connection to listen to your music. And if your digital collection gets lost or corrupted, you can always fall back on your physical copies.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to physical media. It takes up more space, it can be more expensive, and it’s more likely to get damaged over time. But if you’re looking for a well-rounded music collection, it’s important to include physical media in your mix.
Make Backups and Digital Copies of Physical Media
One of the biggest challenges with physical media is preserving it over time. CDs and records can scratch, tapes can get warped, and albums can get lost. That’s why it’s important to make backups and digital copies of your physical media.
You can make backups by copying your music files to another hard drive or cloud storage service. And you can create digital copies by ripping CDs and records to your computer. That way, even if your physical media gets damaged, you’ll still have a copy of the music.
Of course, it’s also important to store your physical media properly. Keep your CDs and records in cases or sleeves to protect them from damage. And if you have a lot of music, consider investing in a storage system like the IKEA Kallax shelf.
I do needle drops of most of my 45 rpm records and convert them to digital. This allows me to have the best of both worlds.
Experiment and Have Fun
One of the best things about collecting music is that you can experiment and have fun with it. If you see a CD or record that you like, buy it. You never know when you might come across another great album or artist.
And don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’re not a fan of rap, for example, don’t be afraid to give it a try. You might find that you like a certain subgenre or artist. I was never a fan of Alternative Metal but have discovered some of my favorite artists are from this genre such as Sepultura and Helmet.
The bottom line is that music collecting should be fun. Don’t take it too seriously, and remember that you can always change your mind about what you like.
Conclusion for Building Your Music Collection
Collecting music can be a great way to build a well-rounded collection that reflects your taste. By focusing on a specific genre or artist, you can develop a deeper appreciation for the music. You can also expand outside of digital media with physical formats like CDs, vinyl records, and cassette tapes. And make sure to back up your physical media so it lasts longer. Finally, have fun with it and experiment! You never know what you might find.