Another quick note on handling metadata. I have found that the programs that ‘consume’ metadata are often not the best ones for modifying it. bundling both in one package often makes the program complicated to use. Mediamonkey is great for ripping cd’s and modifying the mp3 tags, and for some it is great for playback. For many though, it is more than they need for playback. One can use Mediamonkey to manage an mp3 library, while using many other apps to actually play back (consume..) including an apple ipod. Microsoft’s Media Player and Apple’s ITunes both read the tags Mediamonkey puts ‘in the mp3 file’ and so need nothing other then the modified mp3 to have all of the metadata intact. If the same song is ripped in MS or Apple’s product, they put the metadata in an internal structure only and trying to move the mp3 results in a file with a database key for a filename and no metadata, ie useless to any other program other then the one it was ripped in. Also, if something happens to the index of the ripping program if it was either MS or Apple’s product… well you can guess.. *poof.* All one has to do to back up music ripped in Mediamonkey is save the mp3 files. To restore, wipe the index in the program or reload the program and point it to the parent folder for the music and say ‘index.’ In MS/Apple (if the song/album was ripped in either,) One would have to go through a complicated process of backing up the music, the index, and restoring both ‘properly.’ Not nearly as easy for someone not technical, and more of a bother for anyone who is. Note, anyone can move their whole music library to another computer and point MS/Apple player at the folder and they will index the folders ripped by Mediamonkey and all of that data will instantly work in either/both.
Media Companion looks up the metadata for movies, updates and manages the xml sidecar files, and technically can play them but isn’t the best player by far. XBMC is a very nice media player, but not so great at managing the tags. XBMC does use the same xml format that Media Companion does though, so someone can use one for tagging/managing, one for consuming. With these programs, since the sidecar xml files are stored in the same folder as the movie, all one has to do to back them up is back up the folder with the movie in it. To restore, simply wipe the index or reinstall the base app and point it to the movies parent folder and say ‘index,’ simple and robust.
In either case, each song, album, movie, etc.. is an autonomous unit with it’s metadata contained within it’s structure or in a folder with it’s metadata. One can back up 5 items, 50 items, 500 items to one location, some other number of items to another location… reassemble them however they want… it all works.
If one can wrap their mind around how these programs work with the metadata, they will see the future imo.