Normally, most information regarding a track should be stored within the file, within the tags. But on the other side of that, some of the information within the name of the file is useful. When you are trying to determine how to organize your audio files, you have to figure out what strategy your audio player uses to discover music information. Sometimes, with older or less feature filled music players, you will have to include information in your file paths, otherwise the audio player will simply not identify your music. Examples of such music players are those bundled for free inside DVD players, car CD players and the like.
When you are trying to name your files, the information has to match the tag information. If the information does not match up, then your music library will get real confusing, real fast. If, on the other hand, your audio files are named correctly along with your tags, then you can organize them with any application with ease.
What Should Be In An Audio File Name?
To start off, you want to have the name of the track. If you do not correctly name the file, then you will not know what the audio file contains (music-wise).
From there, you should write the number of the track on the album. When doing so, this will help you organize your music so that the audio plays in order as you want them to. The player will read numbers first, and then the name. So if you want certain songs to play in an order, making sure you follow that format is the best way to go. Make sure that you order the tracks with a 0 in front of the number. Eg 01, 02, 03, etc. If you do not have the leading zero, some music players will sort tracks 1, 10 and 11 before track 2, because "10" et al is alphabetically before "2".
If you want to, you can add some miscellaneous tags within the name such as genre. The trouble is, this information may change, and changing filenames is more invasive than internal tags. Avoid it if possible. It will also make the audio file much longer and cause more confusion if you wish to change it in the future.
Perhaps you should take the time to replace the spaces in the audio files with underscores '_' or other methods to replace the spaces. This is only recommended because some players and file explorers do not read spaces correctly.
Here's one example of a audio file naming 'pattern':
[track number] – [track name]. [file extension]
So we would get something like:
- Within the example, the track number comes first so that the file would be correctly put in the first place position of the list of audio files
- The track number also contains a 0 in front of it, so that the order will be kept if the album or files have more then nine audio files
- The track name is there, and the spaces happened to be replaced with an underscore
- Finally, the whitespace is converted to underscores
Next you can consider the folder naming. Each track is best located in parent folders describing the album and artist name. For instance:
[artist name] / [album name]
Put them together and you have:
[artist name] / [album name] / [track number] – [track name]. [file extension]
Which evaluates to:
The_XX / XX / 01-Intro.mp3
Now that you have the whole process of naming your audio files down, now all you need to worry about is making sure that your tag input information is consistent through every audio file that you have. If you have a large audio collection, then this task will get rather difficult. When you are going to name your file names, it'd be best to keep the tags and file names separate, so that the tedious process of changing them does not take too long and increase the probability of making careless errors. There are however some existing tools out there that can help you like bliss, Jaikoz and Tag & Rename that will help you.