It’s amazing how difficult it is to achieve simple clarity in anything. We all admire a simple easy to understand operation of a product that seems so obvious to us when it works just the way we expect. As a designer I can tell you that’s perhaps the most difficult challenge of all: making something seem simple.
And keeping your music library simple, easy to navigate and consistent is an “easy” task if you take a few minutes and examine how you think. I did that exercise only after I built my library and found it to be hard to navigate. For example, I started out listing everything by last name first, followed by the first name. I did this consistently and it was a mess.
The first problem I ran into was “The”. I listed The Animals as Animals, The. That didn’t work well – but I sure didn’t want to list them as The Animals because when it came time to scroll through my library I’d get a long list in the T’s that didn’t make any sense:
- The Animals
- The Beatles
- The Rolling Stones
OK, so I was able to add a rule set to ignore “The” and life was good (most programs today have that rule set as automatic). Except now I had the problem I mentioned yesterday. Boys, Beach for Beach Boys.
I don’t think Boys, Beach but I do think Beethoven. I also don’t think McCartney, Paul – I think Paul McCartney.
So my library starts out with a consistent rule set that is different for the type of music.
- Classical music: Last name, first name.
- Popular music: First name, Last Name
- Groups: just as they appear on their album
You don’t have to do it this way – but you do need to think it through how your brain works. Then be consistent.