As I’ve previously noted, I have finished the acquisition phase of my CD collection. I have also completed the scanning of the cover art. The results of this have been added to Flickr and also as a series of pages for other’s benefit. To increase the benefits, I decided to contribute to a music metadata website.
I think I’d been through this before, and I had a big internal debate as to whether to use MusicBrainz or Discogs. Initially, I chose Musicbrainz, but something didn’t sit well with me during that experience and I gave it up pretty quickly. Recently, I submitted some missing information to Discogs and it went a lot smoother. So I think I’ve found my home, there. History shows I’ve said that before and ended up disappointed. We’ll see.
Discogs seems to be more of what I want anyway, because they focus on collectors, which is more and more how I view myself and my CDs. So, not only do you simply submit information, you also consume that information by tracking which CDs you own. I started doing that sporadically. I’m about half-way through with over 300 of my 600+ albums logged.
The problem is, when you are logging a collectable, you have to be very specific as to which collectible you have. In the case of albums, each album can be released under different labels in different countries under different catalog numbers. So as I was logging my collection on the website, I was pretty much choosing the most likely candidate from the multiple choices.
To be the most accurate (and there is a benefit to being accurate), I would have to have the CD in front of me to make sure I was choosing the right one, with the right label and catalog number. Instead of doing that, I decided I should record the Label, Barcode, and Catalog Number in the files’ metadata, so I can refer to them as needed. So, for a little while each day, I sit in front of my CD rack with my laptop and record that data into the files.
I had previously used Windows Media Player’s metadata feature to try and add all missing info using their metadata services. As I was going through and adding the actual info from my CDs, I discovered how inaccurate the results really were. How could an application determine what label the CD was on, when all it has is a ripped audio file? For every album I had to change from Sony to Columbia or anything else, I got really irritated. Not so much that it was wrong, because I understand how it could be wrong, but more because I could have been put in a position of giving bad information. I insist on being as truthful and accurate as possible.
One of the benefits of being accurate is that Discogs can value your collection based on prior sales of the same item. Of course, if you have a common or a rare release of an album, that can make a big difference in its value, so accuracy is important. Being about half-way through my collection, and with moderate accuracy, my collection has a median value of $1500. I have some CDs worth $60 and some worth $.75.