It can be a challenge to maintain a pristine music collection once you've migrated to a digital library. With all the moving, copying, downloading, ripping, and transferring files that sometimes goes on, many of us are bound to end up with some duplicate tracks scattered around our hard drives. If you want to get things all nice and tidy again--not to mention clear up some space on your computer--Similarity is here to help. This fairly basic utility scans your system for music files and helps you locate and delete dupes.
Similarity is a quick and light app, with limited options during install. Once you fire it up, you'll be greeted with a minimal interface modeled after Windows Explorer. The left pane lays out an expandable folder list with tick boxes next to each path. Checking off the drives you want to be scanned gets the process started. A simple toolbar lining the top of the window presents the next steps. Clicking the play icon will begin the scan of your music files.
As with most programs that involve a comprehensive scan of media, Similarity requires a fair amount of time during the initial scan. How much all depends on the amount of music you need analyzed. The good news is that the software doesn't task resources too heavily, so you can continue to use your computer during the process.
As for this process, Similarity goes above and beyond simply comparing the track titles and other ID3 tag info for each song. Rather, it actually analyzes files based on various parameters such as bit rate, frequency, amplitude cut value, amplitude average value, and amplitude maximum among others. The program also supports a wide variety of file formats including MP3, AAC, M4A, WMA, OGG, WAV, FLAC, APE, WV, and MPC. In addition to its scan functionality, Similarity offers an integrated tag editor, a spectrum analyzer, and an automatic tag converter.
Once the scan is complete, you'll be able to view some detailed information on all the tracks that have similar selections in your library. The free version of Similarity displays measurements for two factors: the percentage of similar content as gathered from the waveform, and the percentage of ID3 tag similarity. You then have the option of deleting duplicates manually. The premium version, which costs $19.95 for a one-year membership or $34.95 a lifetime license, adds a precision comparison metric as well as the ability to automatically delete or move dupes--a worthy investment if you have a lot of musical clutter.