File structure

As you browse your collection using tags, why bother about the file structure?
In principle you shouldn't but in practice you'd better do.

Tagging is using software. Software is in general not bug free.

We are prone to make errors too. One day you have all of a sudden a list of songs with unknown album or unknown artist because the tagging failed you.

In cases like this it is convenient to have descriptive file names allowing you to identify them and re-tag them properly or even use a tagging program to generate the tags from the file name.

Sometimes you miss a track from a ripped CD. If you rip to a folder per CD, it is easy to locate the missing one.

Also prefix the file name with the track number. It not only sorts nicely but also makes it easy to spot a missing track.


Media players might feature multiple libraries.
If you want to create one for classical, one for jazz, etc. you will have a hard time to fill them with the right works if all albums are mixed.

A simple solution is to use folders for each type e.g.


Point your media player to the root and you have one library containing them all.
Point to a sub directory e.g. Classical and you have a library with classical music.

A lot of ripping software can be tailored to generated file names and folder structures for you.

A common practice is Drive:\Root\[artist]\[album]\[track] - [title].xyz

(Anything between [] is the value of a tag)

If the album contains multiple artists this will scatter your tracks over as many folders as there are artist on the CD.
Likewise a lot of media players can and will alter the file names and the folder structure automatically if you change your tags.
Check these options before you embark on mass ripping or tagging as it might ruin your carefully designed file structure.


1_Franz Schubert _Schubert: Lieder, Vol. 2 (Box Set)_D. 699_Der entsühnte Orest ("Zu meinen Füssen brichst du dich"), song for voice & piano _1820_Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau / Gerald Moore


You might decide to put as many information in the file name as possible but be aware of the 256 character size limit (path + file name).
If you transfer to another PC to a location with a longer path name you can have a problem.
Likewise if you backup to a NAS.

As a NAS in general runs Linux some characters in path and/or file name might give a problem too.


Media players can do an automatic update.

In the background they query the internet database and update your tags.

If one day all of your own edits are gone, this might be the cause.