As I enjoy my music collection and work towards sharing it with you, there is some software that is particularly helpful and I would highly recommend for working with your own music collection.
To Play a song...Winamp is my all-time favorite way to play music. Windows Media Player and RealPlayer just aren't nearly as great. I have both Winamp 2.8 and Winamp 3 on my system right now because 2.8 outputs data to my website with a plugin from dosomething, and I love that. And 3 has some great enhancements, but I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. So I'm going back and forth depending on what I'm doing. With great skins and amazing plugin options, it really is an amazing tool, and its free!
To Find some songs...I admit it - I test out music before I buy a CD. I've found so many great artists through Peer-2-Peer programs, and then a lot of the time, I've gone and purchased the CD because of that. Here's some of my favorite programs for searching:
- KaZaa Lite is currently the best software that I've found for searching. It is ad-free (except the page you download it from) and seems to find me the best selection of songs.
- Limewire - when I can't find something on KaZaa Lite, I go to Limewire. I'm not as comfortable with the interface, but its still fairly good.
- Morpheus - I used this for quite some time, and found it to be pretty good. But they started blocking things too actively for it to be productive. They may make a comeback.
To Organize your songs...I use a folder system in a mapped drive to sort my music. I have things categorized down between the type of music (same categories as are on this site - some are Christian, popular, lilith, heavy, 80s and 90s.) Then inside of each folder, each major artist has a folder. Inside each artist, there's a folder for each album that I have or have many songs from. Then I rename filenames so they read like this: Artist Name - Song Title.mp3.
Recently, I've been finding some tools to help me out in this. PsychicMP3 is a renaming software that connects to cddb and gets the album information. It really was a big help in my starts to organizing, as I could sort my songs by album easier. It doesn't always play nice with WinXP, but the authors of the software ensure that the next version will have some great new features AND work nicer with XP.
I also have downloaded mp3boss and Song-DB, but I haven't worked out all the kinks in how they work.
To Capture your songs...If you already have a lot of CDs, but you'd like to have them on your hard drive for mixing purposes, you need a ripping program to turn them into MP3s or WAV files.
I highly recommend CDex - it works great, and even connects to CDDB to fill in the extended tags of your music files.
To Share your songs...Once you have great sets of music that you'd like to use for introducing friends to new artists, you'll need a burning program to put the songs onto a CD play with a CD-RW drive.
Since most CD players still don't recognize mp3 format as something they can play, you should convert your songs into WAV files - CDex can do this for you, too.
Then get into a burning software and select the tracks you want to burn. I use Nero, a program which came with my CD-RW. Its the only listed program that isn't free!
If you want to be really fancy, you can get a CD Stomper and labels for your printer. I have a Memorex stomper and set of labels and it works great on my printer.
Enjoy your music collection!