Aside from his storied history of mastering downloadable software and ensnaring cyber-ne'er-do-wells around the globe, Power Downloader is also a longtime music collector. Since the very first 78rpm record he received as a young boy on Christmas Day untold years ago, Power has combed the stacks of record stores everywhere he travels. From Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beatles, and the Stooges to Arcade Fire, R. Kelly, and The White Stripes, Power Downloader has acquired a gigantic music collection that now also lives on his PC, portable MP3 player, and via software, any connected computer, or iPhone in the world.
When the digital-music revolution was only beginning to brew, Power took the opportunity to transfer a large number of his vinyl LP records to his PC using the free software Musicmatch, since acquired by Yahoo. Although he doesn't buy nearly as many records now as he did during the wild disco '70s, he still manages to acquire more than a few in the course of his adventures. Today he uses the free software Audacity to record his audio directly from his turntable to his PC using a preamp and a RCA-to-headphone adapter.
For ripping CDs, the options are numerous. Power's first choice is still the tried and true CDex, GPL-licensed software that very simply converts discs into lossless WAV files, compressed MP3s, or patent-free OGG files. Some users complain about slow transfer rates, but Power's more concerned with quality regardless.
Through the years and batches of albums, CDs, and free digital downloads from sources like Download.com Music, Power has collected music files on his media PC that vary wildly in file name structure. Some are Artist-Album-Song, others Artist-Song, and many others simply song names as file names, with no artist info at all.
To standardize his digital music files, Power fires up the extremely useful free utility File Renamer Basic. This fantastic freeware lets you automatically find and replace terms from file names, delete a certain number of character from the beginning or end of the file, and directly edit ID3 tags for your music files. Even better, the app will automatically rename files based on their ID3v1 or ID3v2 tags. Insert the keywords you'd like to use to create the filename, select the files you want to rename, and voila--instant normalization of filenames.
Finally, to listen to his gigantic music library anywhere he goes, Power uses the free app Simplify Media, which lets you share your iTunes or Winamp libraries with any computer (or iPhone) with a connection to the Web. Those measly 160GB iPods aren't enough for Power's massive collection (plus you know he's got video). Using a home-networking system, multiple external hard drives, and DVDs full of archived tunes, Power has years and years of music to listen to, no matter where his adventures take him.