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4.3. Music Store

4.3.1. Overview
4.3.2. Building or Updating a store from filesystem
4.3.3. Arranging your collection
4.3.4. Dealing with multiple stores
4.3.5. Handling file metadata
4.3.6. CDDB Support
4.3.7. Audio CD
4.3.8. Podcast support

4.3.1. Overview

The Music Store is a simple database of all your music. The central philosophy of this program is that you have a large storage (ideally an entire hard drive or a separate partition) to store all your music files. This is not necessary for the program to work. The audio files can be scattered around your system as long as you have read permissions to them. However, it is strongly recommended that you devote a separate directory for all the music (for example, /music would be a convenient place to store files that are owned by root, but readable by all users). Moreover, you can maintain several collections on different machines this way, and share them with other users via NFS, while keeping a (probably smaller) collection on your local hard drive.

In these central directories, create subdirectories for each artist you have CDs from. The directory names do not have to contain the exact names, you can for example create /music/ledzep for Led Zeppelin, /music/crimson for King Crimson, /music/hendrix for Jimi Hendrix and so on. In these directories, create subdirectories for each CD you have. Once again, the directory names for the records do not need to fully contain the record titles; they can be short and without spaces and special characters.

Into the directories of records, you should rip the CD using the built-in ripper of Aqualung, tagging the files and adding the record to the Music Store as part of the process. See this section for details.

4.3.2. Building or Updating a store from filesystem

Aqualung comes with a Music Store Builder facility, which allows you to easily create a store from your existing audio files. This is essential if you already have a large music collection on your harddrive. Please make sure to read this section to understand the concepts and usage of this feature.

4.3.3. Arranging your collection

Each store, artist, record and track has fields you can fill in via bringing up the Edit dialog for that item. The Visible name is obviously the string that will appear in the Music Store tree, and in the Playlist. The Name to sort by is a string key used for sorting items on the same level of hierarchy (all artists, records of a given artist, and tracks of a given record).

For artists, you should enter the same here as the Visible name for ordinary band names (you can use copy & paste to do that, or simply press ENTER while the cursor is in the visible name entry). However, for some artists you will enter a slightly modified string: `Mayall, John' or just `Mayall' for John Mayall, for example. This is to ensure that `John Mayall' (which is the visible name) appears between `Mahavishnu' and `Morphine', and not somewhere near `Jethro Tull'.

Records have a Year field to store the release year. The Name to sort by field should usually be this year, but you can use explicit numbering or whatever you like as well. If multiple records of an artist have the same year (double albums, multi-CD collections, or just multiple studio albums published in the same year), you may use e.g. `1969-1', `1969-2', etc. to keep them in proper order.

As for tracks, a two-digit, zero-padded decimal numbering would be excellent for the sort key. If you added tracks to the records using the aforementioned Auto-create tracks from these files feature of the Record add dialog, the tracks will be automatically numbered for you this way.

Last but not least, every item has a Comment field that may contain multiple lines of text, and is perfectly optional to use for any store, artist, record or track. When you have entered something in this field, it will be displayed in the lower area of the Music Store window when the corresponding item is selected in the tree. Use this to store miscellaneous data, such as birth dates of artists, or comments like `Recorded live at Royal Albert Hall, ...' or `Digitized from original LP' for records, and movement subtitles for tracks that have them.

4.3.4. Dealing with multiple stores

As mentioned before, you may maintain several collections of audio files on several machines. Each collection is arranged in an artist/record/track hierarchy, and appears under a store item in the Music Store tree. The metadata describing one collection is located in one file on your filesystem.

On the Settings / Music Store page you can specify several database files whose content is intended to appear in your Music Store. If a given file is unavailable, the corresponding store item will be missing from the Music Store. If the file is readonly, you can play the music, but you won't be allowed to change (add, edit, remove, etc.) the items in the store. Finally, if you have write permission on the file, you will be allowed to change the items.

The order in which the stores appear in the Music Store is the order of the corresponding database files in the list. The list can be reordered via drag & drop.

4.3.5. Handling file metadata

The program can read and write all sorts of metadata (normally referred to as `tags' in everyday speech) embedded in the audio files themselves. To see such metadata for a particular track, you will utilize the File info dialog accessible from the Music Store (right-click popup menus for Tracks, or press `i') and the Playlist (right-click popup menu for Playlist entries, or press `i').

When you open the File info dialog from the Music Store, you will find buttons to the right of every metadata field that was read from the file (unless the store is readonly). By pressing these buttons, the associated data will be imported into the corresponding field of the relevant Track. For metadata fields that don't have a corresponding field in the Music Store, you can append their contents to the Comment field as a catch-all solution.

Please make sure to check out the comprehensive guide to Aqualung's metadata capabilities.

4.3.6. CDDB Support

Aqualung supports retrieving matches from a CDDB database, as well as submitting new records or updating existing ones. The features are available by right-clicking on a record in the Music Store and choosing the appropriate menu item.

The CDDB query option starts a query (which can last a bit long if there are a lot of matches), and displays a dialog with the search results. It tends to work even if you have already encoded your audio files in a lossy format.

If there are multiple matches, you can select any of them using the combo box at the top of the dialog. The displayed fields are all editable, which is useful in case you find no fully acceptable match, but want to use one that is almost perfect. The track names can be edited by double-clicking on the desired track, or single clicking on an already selected entry.

By pressing the OK button the track names of the currently selected lookup results will be propagated into the Music Store. The artist name, record title and year are not automatically set, but can be imported using the Import as Artist, Import as Title and Import as Year buttons on the right. Record title and year can also be imported as sort keys, after you once pressed the corresponding import button. Other data (category, genre and extended data) can be appended to the comment field of the record in question using the Add to Comments button next to the appropriate text entry.

The CDDB submission option brings up a dialog which contains the artist, title, year, category, genre and extended data fields, and the track list. All fields (including track names) are editable. The artist, title, year and category fields are mandatory, the genre and extended data are optional. Track names should be all set as well. You are also recommended to comply with the naming rules when submitting new records.

4.3.7. Audio CD

If Aqualung was compiled with Audio CD support, a store called `CD Audio' appears as the first store in Music Store. This special store contains a node for each drive in your machine. Detecting hot-swappable devices such as external USB drives is supported, so you don't need to restart the program after plugging in your drive. Aqualung will notice not only the change of discs in devices, but device changes themselves, too.

When you insert a CD in a drive, the corresponding node will contain the audio tracks on that disc. The artist, record and track names are automatically set from CD-Text information if found on the CD, or a CDDB lookup.

The drive nodes have options available from the popup menu for adding content to the Playlist, manual CDDB lookup and submission just like normal album nodes do. They have some further CD specific options as well.

The most important feature is ripping the CD. Choosing Rip CD... from the popup menu will bring up a dialog with several options broken into notebook pages. The Source page is for selecting the tracks to be ripped, and specifying the artist, record and track names. If the CDDB lookup was successful, these fields are initialized appropriately. On the Output page you can select the directory where to put the audio files, and optionally the music store to which you would like to add the ripped CD. The destination directory must be empty; it is best to create a fresh new directory each time you rip a CD. Only music stores with write permission are offered, so you might not see all of them. The desired file/encoding format can also be selected, along with settings concerning quality, such as compression level or bitrate. The supported destination formats are WAV, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and MP3. There is also an option to set whether the files should be tagged with metadata. (WAV does not have a tagging mechanism. Other formats are tagged according to their native tagging mechanism.)

CD Ripping always happens with maximum available speed and with error correction modes manually set before every run on the last page titled Paranoia. Here you can basically choose between safe and slow ripping, and faster, but more insecure operation. The latter might be useful if you know by experience that your equipment is reliable, and the CD you are about to rip is not scratched or dirty. Even so, it is probably a good idea to use the available extra error protection unless you are really in a hurry.

It is possible to display information about the inserted disc (CD-Text), or the drive itself (general info, reading or writing capabilities, etc.). The tray can also be ejected, if the driver supports this operation. Note that ripping and playing a CD at the same time is impossible for obvious reasons.

4.3.8. Podcast support

If Aqualung is compiled with podcast support, you will have a store called `Podcasts' in your Music Store. All feeds you are subscribed to will show up as nodes under this store. Subscriptions can be made using the Subscribe to new feed right-click menu of the `Podcasts' store.

When you subscribe to a feed, you need to enter the URL of the feed and a directory where to put the downloaded files. Supported feed formats are all versions of RSS and Atom.

Aqualung can automatically check for updates and download new files. The check interval can be specified in hours, with a 0.25 hour resolution. The automatic update facility can be disabled for a feed by unchecking the checkbutton before the name of this option.

There are three different limits that you can apply on a per feed basis. All of them are optional, and can be turned on/off with their respective checkbutton.

If some files need to be deleted due to limit constraints, the oldest one will be removed first to keep fresh material available as long as possible. Once you have subscribed to a feed, you can edit the check interval and limit settings using the Edit feed menu item.

New feeds are appended to the `Podcasts' store. They can be reordered later using the Reorder feeds menu item of the `Podcasts' store.

There is a check menu item called Automatically update feeds in the `Podcasts' store popup menu to globally enable/disable automatic feed updates for all feeds. If unchecked, the Edit Feed dialog will show a note about this option being disabled instead of the feed's own check interval.

When a feed is being updated, its title is changed to indicate how many new files are to be downloaded, and shows the completion ratio as well. You can abort an update process by clicking the Abort ongoing update right-click menu item of the feed in question, which is naturally available only during updates.


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