November 3, 2006

17 Ways to Organize Your CD Collection

Of course most of us store our music digitally on a computer or iPod these days, but some people still think having physical CDs (or even—gasp—vinyl) is a pretty neat idea. If I learned anything from reading/watching High Fidelity (book | DVD), it’s that there’s more than one way to organize one’s albums, and an occasional resorting can do wonders for the spirit. If you’re looking for a novel way to organize your discs and want some inspiration, consider these ideas. (Full disclosure: My CDs are currently organized alphabetically by performer’s last name, and, for each performer, by the original album release date.)

  1. chronologically by album release date
  2. chronologically by historical era (Bach before Bacharach before Beck)
  3. chronologically by when you purchased them (autobiographically)
  4. chronologically, grouped by life stage you associate with each album (e.g., high school, college, first job, important relationships)
  5. alphabetically by performer’s name
  6. by album cover—color, type of image, size of title font
  7. by length of album (based on number of tracks or total play time)
  8. by length of album title
  9. by genre
  10. by relationship links between performers (e.g., Elvis Costello and Diana Krall)
  11. by the frequency with which you listen to them
  12. by composer (good for classical music)
  13. by instrumentation (string quartets, solo pianos, 4-piece rock bands)
  14. by country of origin (of performer, composer, or genre)
  15. by the activity you like to perform while listening to it (cooking, cleaning, studying, romancing)
  16. by average tempo
  17. by mood (slow, ponderous albums together; peppy, danceable albums together)

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