Most people refer to their physical copies of music as collections, for that is what they typically are.
Very few large collections of music are well organized. Take my own, for example. In Music Room One I have 6 shelves of vinyl and 30 of CDs and SACDs. Vinyl is organized by the amount of play each album gets: the most popular discs are on the top shelf and the least near the bottom. CDs and SACDs are loosely organized in a similar fashion: Paul’s favorites occupy an entire row in the middle, SACDs huddle together on another shelf, Reference Recordings on yet another, and the balance of more than 1,000 discs find homes where they were placed without regard to order. Specific media not in the first known groups are almost impossible to find.
My collection is not a library. A library requires some serious organization along with a system to reference, cross reference, and locate discs by multiple means: artist, genre, album, composer, works, and so forth. There is no way to organize physical media that can then be found by multiple metrics in one step. Which is why, in 1876, librarian Melvil Dewey invented an organizational system that bears his name. Originally built around massive notecard catalogs, the Dewey Decimal system relied upon numeric classifications for books that made it possible to find the literary works within the hundreds of thousands of physical copies on library shelves. Good for libraries, but not much use in our homes.
I have seen some massive musical collections in my time, but none were organized to any degree other than alphabetical and even that turns out to be rare. Truth is, most of us have the location of music within our collections memorized. Fine for us, but woe to the next person looking to find something to play. And what of all the untouched media you don’t often think of?
Which all points to why a music server is so appealing. A proper music server takes a tumble of tracks and albums and turns them into a delightful library. The improvement servers bring in enjoying one’s wealth of music is extraordinary.
PS Audio has been hard at work on building our own music server and music management program that we will launch sometime in late 2018. I’ve put together a video on the subject you can watch here.