M. Christiansen Thursday
martinmch.com January 12, 2017
Handling a music library in 2017

The concept having a music collection has changed drastically since I was a kid. I was raised with CD collections (and from these ripped mp3 collections). These were very common, and there were certain CDs that everybody had in their collection.

When I was studying, I found the process of selecting and moving music to my cellphone was tedious. Further more, the software for managing music and playlists on my cellphone was subpar. Instead I’d pick out ~the~ 3-5 CDs that I wanted to listen to that day, and bring them and my discman. This solution worked well although carrying CDs around isn’t always practical.

Today, nobody owns CD’s anymore, and most people don’t own the music they listen to, but stream it from various providers. The ease and flexibility of this solution is very attractive. This solution has some cons for me:

Take “A Rush of Blood to the Head”, my favorite Coldplay album, as an example. I’ve listened to this entire album twelve or fifteen times this year. The album takes up 127 MB of storage when compressed in a zip file. This amounts to 1905 MB = 1.9 GB. According to Emerge, one GB of data produces 3kg of CO2. Thus my listening to Coldplay produces almost 6kg of CO2. And that’s not even counting the power used by my laptop or my speakers.

My original solution to this, was the same as it was twenty years ago. I have a folder on my PC called music indexed by authors and then by albums. That’s all fine and dandy.

But say I’m at work, and want to listen to one of my CD’s. That’s no problem, I just copy my music folder to my work laptop. This has several issues:

As of now, I have my entire music collection on a portable SSD harddrive, and a backup on my file server. To ensure the least possible amount of data usage, I use an rsync command, that only copies new files to the directory, instead of blindly copying and overwriting every single file.

This way I get the portability of moving all of my albums around weighing close to nothing, and but still have to remember my drive to be able to listen to music.

Update: I now use syncthing to synchronize my music between all my workstations. The downside to this is, that I have to reserve 50GB on each of my machines for music. Since I’m not using the 500 GB SSD for anything else, this doesn’t really matter for now.

Not everything is perfect.

Got questions or suggestions? Feel free to reach out.