After a weeks-long journey, beginning with me digging out boxes of dusty CD's and DVD's from the garage, my media collection is looking pretty darn good!

All of the physical discs and their case artwork now live in spiffy Discgear storage units and literature albums, which I had actually purchased years ago, but never bothered to use. My collection isn't enormous, but it's definitely taking up less space on my shelf than it was in the garage!

I had already ripped most of my DVD's to m4v and loaded them into iTunes for streaming to my Apple TV and various iOS devices around the house, which works amazingly well. But now at least the physical discs are stored nicely.

The daunting task was to rip, tag, and meticulously organize all of my music. I'm still sorting through everything and deciding what I do and don't care to have in iTunes. (For example: do I really need five different cast recordings of Grease on my iPhone?) But I'm probably more than halfway done.

So far, I have 3156 songs, and only 313 of them were not matched by iCloud. Most of those are musical soundtracks and other oddities, so I'll gladly take a 90% success rate!

There are no files missing tags or artwork. This was a bigger chore than I expected. I'm far too OCD to blindly rely on auto-tagging programs that pull information from the internet, so it was a labor of love to go through and check the tags and artwork in every single file.

There are also no MP3 files remaining in my iTunes library. I have downloaded all of the "matched" iTunes versions, and re-ripped everything else to "iTunes Plus" quality (256 kbps AAC). I kept 320 kbps MP3 versions of all my CD's on a separate drive, for both compatibility and data redundancy. I backed up all of my iTunes purchases to the same drive.

I ended up buying quite a few tracks that had been floating around on my various computers since the heyday of Napster. I'm no audiophile, but for those of you too young to remember the 90's, the quality of digital encoding back then... wasn't so great. Yes, Napster served its purpose in sparking the digital music revolution, but it's nice to finally LISTEN to some of those songs!

For anyone considering going through this process, but might be intimidated by the work, it's totally worth it. My media library looks and sounds fantastic! smiley0.gif