Get back in touch with your music collection

Welcome, you have arrived at a hobby site containing discussion and free open source software for people with moderately large personal music collections.

Common themes found here are:

  • tools and strategies allowing you to engage with your music collection with more intimacy, just as you could when the collection was smaller
  • and tools to assist the dinosaurs amongst us; those of us who still inhabit the album era by listening to whole albums as a general preference

Much of this is aided by the collection and use of your play history, aggregated from across all of the devices and locations where you listen to music.

Large stack of cds
… Musical hide and go seek

… A “Magical Mystery Tour”

My interest in my own play history comes not so much from any personal need to produce my own Hit Parade, but more from a desire to be able to identify and browse a filtered view showing the just growing list of my tracks or albums which have fallen out of recent rotation. This aids engagement with a large music collection, by bringing it back to a more intimate scale. It provides better browsing, and therefore enjoyment of the whole breadth of a music collection.

For this site to be of much interest you would probably need to be a customer of, or open to, at least one or more of the following companies:

  • – a great free, Internet based, service which can aggregate all your music play counts from across most listening platforms. It can graphically chart your play history, and analyse your musical taste to suggest new artists, or put you in touch with people with similar musical tastes. … But it cannot identify your tracks or albums which have fallen out of recent rotation, as it doesn’t know which albums you actually own
  • MediaMonkey – a nice PC-based facility for ripping, browsing, cataloguing and tagging your music collection. It knows what you own, but it has no knowledge of any track plays you listened to outside of the MediaMonkey environment
  • Sonos HiFi system – seriously good kit, with rock-solid multi-room sharing and synchronising facilities, but with disappointing problems … no access to your play history, and has a tired and lame music browsing facility
  • Microsoft – the AlbumPlays suite of tools run on a Windows PC, although Sonos owners may run the track play detection component on a small cheap Linux device to avoid the need to keep a PC running

The software and discussion here pertains to the above vendors, addressing the following deficits with workarounds and enhanced options.

  • obtain your album and track play counts either:
    • import them from, whose free service can aggregate your play history from across a wide range of music platforms, including your PC-based players, many mobile music players and streaming services, as well as any Sonos units you may own
    • and for Sonos owners, AlbumPlays can also harvest your Sonos play history directly from your Sonos units
  • store your album and track plays either:
    • into your MediaMonkey database
    • or elsewhere on your PC in raw format, creating potential for importation into some database or application other than AlbumPlays or MediaMonkey
    • and for Sonos owners; there is the option to replace the Sonos facility which scrobbles your plays counts to, because the native Sonos behaviour has some unfortunate limitations such as loss of control, loss of information, and a limitation of just one account per household
  • use your play history
    • use MediaMonkey to design and browse your own custom indices to sort or filter your music collection; some examples could be:
      • albums that you haven’t heard for a year
      • or albums you have only heard once, and not for at least six months
      • or your albums by Artist, sub-sorted by date last played, or play frequency
    • and use AlbumPlays to auto-refresh and publish playlists designed using your own selection criteria, like those examples listed above
  • and something for Album Focused Listeners
    • AlbumPlays offers facilities for those who listen to whole albums, rather than just mixed track playlists:
      • lift MediaMonkey from being just a track level application; add whole-album level tags for consistent play history like “album play count” and “date the album was last played”
      • these tags are available for use as playlist selection criteria, and for when creating browseable filters (aka MediaMonkey “collections”)
      • monitor album plays to guard against, and correct, any skipped album track plays. If left uncorrected these would distort album level play history tags
      • facility to produce album-level playlists. These are designed to be quick to browse, and to select & queue an album meeting the playlist selection criteria

Interested? …. here is a short overview of the benefits available