How is your music library organized? Use the "Comments" box to share details.

How is your music library organized? Use the "Comments" box to share details.
Alphabetically by title
1% (2 votes)
Alphabetically by artist/composer
29% (63 votes)
Chronologically by date of issue
0% (0 votes)
Chronologically by when I bought them
0% (1 vote)
By genre
5% (12 votes)
By genre first, then alphabetically
29% (64 votes)
By record label
0% (1 vote)
Some other system (specify)
5% (11 votes)
Random order---I can't find anything. Help!
11% (25 votes)
Some combination of the above
18% (40 votes)
Total votes: 219

Music collections have a way of running wild if they aren't kept organized. Do you have a good system for keeping your records and discs in order?

S.B.'s picture

Hey! If you're smart enough to read Stereophile, you can organize your CDs.

Todd Warnke's picture

First, by media type. Then by Genre, artist, and date of issue. Keep the Genres to a workable list of 8-12, otherwise you'll end up ghetto-izing some albums (i.e., Blues but not Post-War West Coast Blues). By using issue date under each artist you can track a career easily. And a good database (Keep It Compact is my choice) is also necessary if you want to keep track of songs, conductors, orchestras and recording venues. Lastly, Keep It Compact and many other new computer databases interface with CDDB ( on the Web, which makes data input a breeze.

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

Actually my CD database is sorted by Artist / Composer and then by date of issue. It's easy to maintain using Microsoft Excel, which works as well as all those special music database programs. Excel has a built-in Sort function that I use every time a new title is added. Once a month I print the whole listing and keep it on top of my CD rack.

Gino's picture

My collection is sorted alphabetically by artist and then alphabetically by album title. If it is self-titled it appears first. I would prefer to set it up alphabetically by artist and then chronologically by date of issue, but my wife prefers the first way. Either way requires a total shifting of CDs on the cabinet when new ones are purchased. The alternative is to leave space at the end of each shelf for shifting. Currently my rack is full so my next purchase needs to be a new storage unit.

ken's picture

Alphabetically organized with sub groups by genre. So classical is not mixed with the rock. I also keep my favorite audiophile cd separate.

Dan Cutcher's picture

Anyone with any suggestions? I never can find the one I am looking for until 1/2 way through the album I am listening to.

Graeme Nattress's picture

I have my collection organised by mood they enduce when you listen to them, the most common ones in the middle of the shelf, the less common to the left and right. It works for me.

Bob McNeice's picture

If I need to find something to listen to, but not really sure what I want, I want to see things organized by style or "type". Then it's just a matter of keeping the artists together. Alphabetically makes the most sense as a second level ordering.

curtis's picture

by the last time i listened to the disk; i also keep a paper list to ensure that i don't "repurchase" a cd

Brian Smith's picture

At best I try to keep CDs by genre but they have a habit of moving around in the CD storage cabinet. Because my storage cabinets are "drawers" with fixed slots for each jewel box, adding a new CD "in order" requires re-filing each CD (not a trivial task). If anyone has a solution to this problem, I'd love to hear it!

Anonymous's picture

Classical: Chronologically by style (e.g. Early->baroque-> classicism etc) then by composer's last name Jazz: Main Instrument: Guitar (albums by Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, etc), Trumpet (Miles Davis, W. MArsalis etc) and so on. Rock: Alphabetically by artist Others: Alphabetically by Artist

Curt's picture

I'm enough of a geek to imagine compiling a database with your first seven choices as fields, and then some. Then I could rearrange them, according to my whim, 'til my heart was content. However, I'm not anal enough to actually DO it.

Greg Cox, Canoga Park CA's picture

What am I supposed to say about the order I follow?? That I am a member of the Vinyl Brethren Moose Club?

Dan Thomas's picture

First I separate the CDs from the records, which I can do blindfolded just to impress my cat. CDs are then separated into broad general categories like classical, jazz and rock except for a section which is female singers (of all genres) in which I impress my female guests so as not to let them think I am just a Shostakovich-Beefheart freak. Then I seperate the classical CDs into musical eras: monodony, counterpoint, polyphony, Baroque, Bach, Romanticism, 20th Century and Modern Cacaphony; except I separate all solo piano works because of my fondness for solo piano works. With records, the categorization is somewhat different. Because I buy mostly used records for $1 to $3, I like to buy a lot of peculiar or obscure albums just for curiosity sake. Most of them only deserve to be heard once so they end up on the "back shelf" awaiting donation to the Smithsonian Museum. The best sounding sonically spectacular recordings, the ones with the bass in the back, the vocals in the middle and those lovely shimmers and tingles of cymbals and tambourines in your face, the great layered sound that makes record afficianados into "vinyl freaks" I keep handy up front so as to be ever ready to impress myself with my own hobby. So the categories are essentially emotional ones. I play the kind of music which is dependent upon my "mood" at the time and thr aforementioned categories are very expeditive. The alphabetizers or chronologists seem to be pretty fussy to me. A "fervid" listening weekend leaves me with records all along the walls and CDs strewn all over flat surfaces. Putting music back into my "categories" is a quick and easy cleanup. Anybody who's got "patience" to put the record or CD back into the the "proper" space from which it came may be more of a music collector than a music lover.

swinton's picture

Goddamm bloody things . . . where are they when you goddamm want them!!

Dixon Lee's picture

My collection is organized by the following categories in this order: Gender of lead vocalist (if applicable), Alphabetically by artist/composer, Chronologically by date of issue. Also singles are organized chronoligically after the album in which they come from, even if a single was released prior to the album. The impetus to organize my collection by the gender of lead vocalists was my preference for female singers. I've found this method to be intuitive, as well as, being faster when it comes to locating a certain recording.

Peter van Gessel's picture

I use numbered stickers and keep a registration in a database so I can use my computer to find things back. This way things also get stored in a more or less chronological way.

Paul Ladd's picture

I have 96 christian cd's and because I move around alot, I keep them in a Case Logics 100 cd nylon folder. I am looking for a larger one but can not find it :)

Bob F.'s picture

With Rock and Jazz, it's a lot easier than with Classical. List by band or solo artist. But with classical, do you list under composer? Orchestra? Conductor? Soloist? Label (for specialties)? Am using Alpha4 program in computer to keep a list, but that just keeps track. Some programs I've seen are just too complicated, too many possible entries.

Rob Malcolm's picture

My LP's are kept in order alphabetically. And my cd's are kept in random order. the artists are group together.

John H's picture

Decided that dividing by genre is an evil practice :-) Besides, what genre do you file Moby in? Similar problems with Harold Budd...

Eric Sarjeant's picture

Although the majority of my CD's are in random order, some core groups (Beatles, Floyd, etc.) are organized chronologically by date of issue.

Anonymous's picture

by genre, then alpha by artist or group.

David Schneideman's picture

Can't organize now due to having an eight month old at home who loves to take CDs off the rack's picture

I use one of those "Cubes". Excellent.

C.  Wright's picture

As I generally choose a selection based on my mood, keeping the collection arranged by genre makes good sense.

Chris Sims's picture

Every weekend its the same thing. I tell myself that this weekend I'm going to organize my CD's. So of course I never manage to find the time. Perhaps I'll try a new years resolution.

Mike McGregor's picture

compilations & samplers randomly at one end of each genre collection. Christmas music by genre only. Boxed sets in an unordered stack on the closet floor.

Peter Day's picture

alphabetically by artist then by date released though I toy with the idea of sorting by genre, but catagorizing some bands can be tricky

Bubba's picture

Music is for fun, not work!! Some people don't know when to relax, and they computer catalog and sort everything. On your own time, I don't want to work!!