Music collection database

Organize and manage your far-flung music collection with this free database software.

It's hard enough to keep up with a digital music collection spanning thousands of tunes over gigabytes of disk space, but what do you do if you have LP records, cassette tapes, Edison wax cylinders, and other musical media? Duck Software's Album Tracker can help music lovers get a handle on their ever-expanding libraries. It's a highly customizable music database that lets you organize your music by genre as well as title, artist, and other typical categories. It's not a music or media player and doesn't try to reorganize or convert your library; it simply lets you record, save, search, and display a lot of information about your music collection.

Album Tracker's businesslike interface has fields for entering everything from artist, title, and category to engineer, producer, and buy price. There are even fields for tracking items out on loan as well as two custom fields, but we just had to click Custom Fields on the menu bar to change the heading of any field or restore default settings. A series of Category tabs sorts collections by genre: Acoustic, Alternative, Comedy, Country, and so on. Alphabetical buttons along the bottom let us quickly access entries sorted by title or artist. Album Tracker includes several sample entries to give new users a feel for the program; we started by editing an Artist entry from "Mellencamp, John Cougar" to "Mellencamp, John," which proved as easy as selecting the field and typing in the data. Album Tracker offers some interesting extras, such as the ability to print labels, title lists, and reports as well as add image files and notes. You can also save and export data in CSV format to other databases and apps.

Album Tracker is easy to use yet offers the kind of flexibility that serious collectors require. We'd like to be able to customize the Categories tabs, and a built-in music player for identifying files couldn't hurt, either. The only real drawback of Album Tracker, or of any organizer or database software, for that matter, is that you have to enter the data, which of course requires some effort, especially if you have a large collection. But let's face it: Those stacks of used LPs aren't going to catalog themselves, and the sooner you get started on the job, the sooner you'll be done, and then it's a simple matter of updating as required.

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