To have CDs on a shelf is the worst way to keep a relationship with the music you love. It takes time to find the music you want to listen right now and even more time to keep it physically organized. Not to mention the work involved on putting it on your portable player (iPhone etc).

It actually takes out almost all fun of experiencing music. You should stop earning CDs and focus on digital music.

With computers and music in digital formats this situation changes. It’s almost as the shelf itself is capable of playing music in a way that you never have to move it from there. It has endless space, can be easily re-organized and the music there is ready for your portable player.

The file system structure (folders and their files) is the first step on creating this organization. So I’ve defined a set of major musical styles that I love and created folders for them. This is how Digital K7 is organized:

  • Pop — from Rock to Synthpop to Electronic to Heavy Metal to Reggae, it is all here.
  • Jazz, Fusion etc — this is the place for all modern instrumental music that doesn’t fit anywhere else, not just plain Jazz.
  • Classical— the great composers as Bach, Mozart etc are here, but this is also the home for modern composers such as Arvo Pärt and Philip Glass.
  • World — folk music from all parts of the world such as Celtic, Andean, Flamenco and collection as Putumayo live here.
  • Ambient — music for relaxation or that mimics nature or for meditation or simply calm music.
  • Lounge — soft music as the Café del Mar or Buddah-Bar collections are here.
  • Brazil — I’m Brazilian, Brazilian music is great so it’s natural to have a section dedicated for it in my collection.
  • Brazil Fusion and Jazz — here I put instrumental music played with Brazilian rithms, as Choro, Moda de Viola, Frevo, Brazilian acoustic guitar players as Ulisses Rocha or fusion groups as Nó em Pingo D’Água etc.

This structure is not always perfect and sometimes I’m not sure if artists as M83 should go into Pop or Ambient or Lounge. But hey, music gets more interesting when artists mix styles !

The point about this structure is to keep it small and generic. For example, I don’t think it is good for my collection and my usage to have separate folders for Blues, pure Jazz and Bluegrass. In my organization all go inside Jazz, Fusion etc because these aren’t styles as expressive as Brazilian Fusion and Jazz in my collection.

Inside each of these top folders, I have a folder for each artist, which then contains his albums sorted by the year each was released. As seen in this diagram: