Alphabetization Is Positively Fucking Shite for (large) Music Libraries

I’ve been running Ubuntu for several weeks now, probably over a month, almost exclusively. There are a couple things I miss about Windows; I keep it installed as a dual-boot option in case it takes me more than half an hour to figure out how to do something in Ubuntu that I can do in Windows in under two minutes.

One of the things I miss the most, of course, is foobar. I’ve been using Songbird, whose Linux version runs just as well as the Windows version I’ve gotten used to. But I didn’t truly realize how lost I was without my library filters in foobar; I think if in Windows I had wanted to play something in Songbird, but didn’t know what to listen to, I would have used my foobar setup to figure it out, then searched for the album in Songbird. I did this absentmindedly enough that, now that I’m without foobar, I’m alarmed at how difficult it is to navigate my library. I’m sitting here with Songbird open, and I’ve got 1,369 artists. What the hell am I supposed to do with that?

In foobar I had mood tags and clusters based on AllMusic data, so if I wanted something upbeat, I’d just look under the appropriate moods. If that didn’t work, I’d at least find an artist who came close, and then could use foo_scrobblecharts to find anybody in my library who was up to two degrees of separation away from any selected artist on Last.fm.

In Songbird, the best I can do is browse by genre (eyeroll), or use the Music Recommendations add-on, which only lists the top five matches for the currently playing artist on Last.fm, whether or not those five are in my library; if one of them happens to be, it conveniently links me to their tracks in my library, but it’s not that frequent an occurrence.

Anyway. The short of it is, for the eightieth time: something has to be done. How on God’s green earth does anybody figure out what to listen to? Oh that’s right, everybody just listens to Coldplay and U2 and Radiohead and Sufjan and The Hold Steady and The Shins and Miles Davis. If I only had seven artists I suppose I wouldn’t be making much of a fuss either.

4 Replies to “Alphabetization Is Positively Fucking Shite for (large) Music Libraries”

  1. Valerie says:

    I only listen to Andrew Bird and Destroyer these days, because I’m tired of all the trouble that comes with having a large music library. Sometimes I’ll put iTunes on shuffle and then either it’s having a good day playing songs that fit my mood, or it’s just terrible doing the opposite so that I have to turn it off. Although sometimes I do miss being able to listen to a wide variety of music.

  2. Jay says:

    I know, right! See how bad it’s gotten?

  3. vath says:

    How on God’s green earth does any­body fig­ure out what to lis­ten to?”

    Many of us with large music collections care about the music we listen to enough to actually know what it is, so we don’t need a computer to tell us what’s thematically similar (at least according to an AMG reviewer). Creepy.

  4. Jay says:

    Caring for and familiarity with your own music collection doesn’t always facilitate easy recall. Haven’t you ever debated with yourself what to listen to, finally settled on something, then remembered later something that would have been more appropriate? Or heard some mention of an album that you love and own but that you haven’t thought to listen to in a long time, and kicked yourself for having neglected it for so long?

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