Five reasons why the Beets music organizer is awesome

Beets, the music geek's music organizer

I’ve been using beets for approximately a year now, and I absolutely love it. For the uninitiated, beets bills itself as, “the media library management system for obsessive-compulsive music geeks.” In other words, you run your gigs and gigs of haphazard, dishevled, scraggly MP3s / M4As / FLACs through it, and out come spiffy, wholesome, metadata-complete™ tracks / albums / collections on the other side.

Not impressed yet? Then take a look at 5 reasons why beets is awesome:

1. It’s command-line based

Beets is the only fully-featured music organization tools that’s command-line based. I’ve used things like MusicBrainz Picard in the past (which is great in it’s own right!), but it can take a lot of time and manual work to organize a giant collection of music.

Since beets is command-line based, you can quickly and easily run commands (programmatically, even) to import, query, or play your music, as well as do things like fetch album art, fix incorrect titles / artist names, and even list albums that have duplicate and/or missing songs.

##Some examples include:

Quickly list all of The Black Keys albums I own:

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❯ beet list The Black Keys -a
The Black Keys - Attack & Release
The Black Keys - Brothers
The Black Keys - El Camino
The Black Keys - Magic Potion
The Black Keys - The Big Come Up
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
The Black Keys - Your Touch - The EP

Show all of the albums I have that were released in 2014:

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❯ beet list year:2014 -a
A-Trak & Milo and Otis - Out the Speakers
Above & Beyond - Anjunabeats Vol 11 (Mixed By Above & Beyond) (Cd 1)
Above & Beyond - Anjunabeats Volume 11 (Mixed By Above & Beyond) Web
Afrojack - Forget the World
Afrojack & Martin Garrix - Turn Up The Speakers
Iggy Azalea - The New Classic
Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
...

Quickly queue up & play all of my Ryan Hemsworth tracks in my default player:

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❯ beet play Ryan Hemsworth
Playing 7 tracks.

Beets, playing Ryan Hemsworth in Vox

2. It will fetch all the music metadata you will ever need

Beets can pull in the following metadata automatically for you (and more!):

  • Album artwork
  • Song lyrics
  • Genres
  • Tempos
  • Acoustic fingerprints
  • Last.fm tags

It leverages music databases like MusicBrainz, Discogs, & Beatport to ensure that the metadata is as up to date and correct as possible.

3. It can transcode audio files

Beets even lets you transcode audio from one format to another. This is especially useful if you’re an audiophile looking to convert your lossless FLAC / ALAC files to something more space-efficient, like 320 CBR MP3s.

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❯ beet convert -ak Darkside Psychic
Darkside - Psychic
Convert? (Y/n) y
...

4. It can check for duplicate and missing songs

Amassing a music collection over a long period of time (in my case, 15+ years) inevitably means that you have duplicate songs or even have albums with missing tracks. Beets can quickly notify you of these.

This will surface albums with at least one missing track, and list the number missing:

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❯ beet missing -c
Above & Beyond - Anjunabeats, Volume 8: 1
Architecture in Helsinki - Fingers Crossed: 1
Battles - Tonto+: 1
Beirut - March of the Zapotec / Holland: 5
...

5. It’s open-source & highly configurable, so you can customize it to your liking

There’s a passionate community of developers behind it, which means that it’s both open for suggestions and constantly being improved. And you can even add your own features or roll your own plugin(s).

Check out beets’ Github repo here.

Parting thoughts

Beets is a superb tool for the more technically savvy music collector or audiophile. Yes, there are other tools that do similar things (MusicBrainz Picard, Jaikoz, TuneUp, Mp3Tag & MediaMonkey come to mind), but you won’t find the flexibility and customizability of beets anywhere else.

Using beets already? Let me know what you think, down below.