How do you store yours?

I am trying to create a sensible and logical structure of audio storage to replace the, to be honest, haphazard system I am using at the moment (where the ‘temp’ and ‘new’ directories get a lot of use!) so was wondering what file structure everyone uses to store their audio files on disk?

Some options are:

[ul][li]All files in one large directory[/li]

[li]Decades (50s, 60s, 70s, etc)[/li]

[li]Genre (Pop, Rock, Country, Jingles etc)[/li]

[li]Source (Bill, Fred, George, etc)[/li]

[li]Type (Song, Jingle, Bed, Trailer etc)[/li][/ul]

Or something else?

Presumably the audio is all on the same (network?) drive?

I look forward to seeing if there is a common format or if everyone does their own thing!

Thanks in advance


First level:

Full Albums

Second level:

In Dutch -> Singles - Full Albums -> both per decade
In Singles -> per decade
In Albums -> per decade

Ooh, libraries - what a fun topic and one for much disagreement!

For a long time, I stored all my WAVs (plus 320k MP3 copies) in their own single folders but a few month’s back I opted for 0-Z folders based upon Artist. The main reason is that with 14,000 MP3s - it takes an age using XP to load a folder like that over a network! My MP3s have been used for various radio projects that required them to be organised in such a way that I could easily sift through songs suited to that particular format (ie: AC, CHR). I went for a similar approach to AudioEnhanceDPS’ way of tagging song categories: Using a field called CATEGORY, I used the / character to separate them.

My tagging originally used custom ID3v2 tags such as CUEIN, INTRO, OPENER, STYLE, END etc (something Torben would call “Attributes”!) - I’m now using my own custom library application that can use APE tags (SPL compatible) as well as BCX3 metadata and my own data format. I can also pull in the MMD XML data into the mix if I wanted :slight_smile: Personal preference is meta-data files over file-tags/headers.

With this data I can then open a list of tracks up - sort via a Genre, Year, Length, Intro and even set Cue points up. Export to CSV, M3U, PSquared/Myriad, Enco DropBox all available :slight_smile:

As far as seeing this in mAirList - I’ve never been a fan of physically moving files between A/B/C Lists as you have to be very careful what you move and when you do a schedule run (chances of a song being moved after a schedule are possible). A couple of internet stations are using my program to export their Genres to M3U and load that list into SPL Creator. mAirListDB is probably the way to go if you want a quick way of populating folders/attributes whilst being able to look for those tracks in the Browser. If Torben added an CSV/M3U Import feature - it would be very easy (using my own prog or the wonderful MP3Tag) to import based upon set criteria - dump those files to the relevent folder and so forth.

With regards to “new” and “temp” folders - some kind of holding zone for new tracks is a good move: especially if presenters are allowed to drop stuff in for consideration. In my experience, getting them to adhere to your filename format is one thing: checking for iffy VBR files and bad edits/rude words is another! It also means that nothing is scheduled until it’s been through “quality control” :wink:

This is one of my own data files - similar to a .bcx file (INI format)

[Details] Artist=MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS Cart=6893 Decade=10s EndType=e Gender=Female ItemType=SONG Opener=Opener Styles=INDIE1/POP1 Tempo=Medium Title=HOLLYWOOD Year=2010 [Information] ISRC=GB-FFS-09-00121 BPM=0 RecordLabel=Warner Music UK [Timings] Cue=0 Intro=0 Hook=42708 HookOut=55779 Segue=202546

As Charlie says, this is an endlessly fascinating question with no single ‘right’ answer, other than: DON’T put them all in on single folder, because as Charlie rightly says, that will be s–l--o–w for Windows to read, especially across a network!

So to start with, my Rule #1 would be to try to limit the number of files in each folder to a couple of thousand at most, if at all possible. If you use MMD files, remember that these count towards the total number of files in a folder (this is one reason why you might want to use a Central Folder for MMD files: see Config).

Rule #2 is: DON’T have a single top-level folder which contains all the subfolders. (For example, C:\Audio, then loads of folders ‘under’ that). Some programs read folders recursively, so you can end up twiddling your thumbs while the program reads ALL the subfolders. Instead, I’d suggest perhaps C:\CurrentMusic, C:\RecentMusic, C:\Oldies, C:\Jingles, etc.

Rule #3 is: you NEED a duplicate copy of the library on AT LEAST ONE other computer, to guard against sudden disk failure. Very embarrassing to have to say live on air 'well, I’ll play another song once our boffins have got the network working again, meanwhile let’s talk some more about today’s papers with my guests … '! Ideally, you’d have something like RAID arrays of disks on your file server(s) as well, but even a fairly simple software-based mirroring solution like AllwaySync ($30 per PC) will do the trick. Ideally, you’d have the full audio library on a) your playout PC; b) your ‘main’ file server for the network; and c) a ‘live backup data’ server PC.

Beyond those ‘golden’ rules, it really comes down to how you USE your audio files. Might you want a separate folder of Xmas songs, and/or Summer songs? Is it more important to keep each presenter’s ‘own’ files separate and easily available? You’ll almost certainly want a separate Ads folder, too. And Station Jingles. But do you want your presenter’s carts/jingles in THEIR folders, or in a Presenters Jingles folder? Only you (or actually, your station staff: librarians, rippers, presenters, producers, and techies) can answer all those questions. Get each of them to submit ideas and appoint one of each to hammer out a compromise which everyone can work with.

That’s really the best advice I can give you.

Of course, if it’s your own home PC you’re talking about … ? :wink:


Thanks for the replies so far - I expected the answers to be very much personal choice but hoped that getting some thoughts would highlight some DOs and DONTs which it has thanks to Charlie and CAD.

Once the physical storing of audio files was ‘sorted’ I was planning to move on to tagging in the database which, for the same reasons as mentioned above, will be personal preference but would probably provide some food for thought.

If I get a few more ideas then I will try to come up with a ‘best practice’ list split into ‘generally accepted’ tips and others which are less universally agreed.

I think that getting the audio file storage and database tagging right from the start will make it far easier to use and maintain the system through it’s life.

Anyone else got anything to add?