Your guide Alex Cox says…
“MusicBee is your go-to app for managing a music library on your PC”
1 Download it
There are two versions of MusicBee: the one we’re covering here can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store by searching for ‘Musicbee’ and clicking the Get button; the other is available from https://getmusicbee.com. They don’t differ hugely, so you can follow along with either. Once you’ve installed the Microsoft Store version, click Launch to run it, or find it in your Start menu.
2 Setting up
Set your language, and click Next. MusicBee immediately offers to seek out your collection. By default it’ll look in likely folders – in this case, the Music folders under both the logged-in user and your PC’s public library – but you can also specify a folder if you keep your tunes elsewhere. If you’re an iTunes or Windows Media Player user, check the appropriate boxes.
3 Library basics
With your music imported, you’ll see MusicBee’s All Artists view, which lists every track in your collection. Clicking individual artists on the left will drill down to just their tracks, or you can click the Album Artist text above that column and select Albums if you’re looking for more detail. Double-click any track in the main list to play it, then use the controls in the bottom bar.
4 Grab artwork
If you have albums which don’t have the proper artwork, click MusicBee on the title bar, go to Tools, and select Artwork Downloader. Select ‘album covers’ in the upper section of the window, which will highlight any albums for which you’re missing artwork, then click Preview. Pick an image that fits, then select the next album in the list and repeat. Click ‘Save All’ when done.
5 Tag them up
MusicBee’s tagging system pulls relevant information about your tracks from the Internet and adds it to their meta tags. Start by going to MusicBee > Tools > Tagging Tools > Show Files With Missing Tags, then select your deficient files using [Ctrl] + [A]. Right-click one of the selected tracks, and hit [Ctrl] + [L] to start filling in the missing tags.
6 Add lyrics
MusicBee can do more than just tag your tracks. Right-click a song, go to ‘Auto-Tag by Track’, and you can use Update Missing Lyrics to pull in the words and help you sing along. Once you’ve done this, get your track going by double-clicking it, and click ‘Now playing’ at the top of the MusicBee window – you’ll see some artist artwork, the album cover, and the song’s lyrics.
Rename your tracks 7
Even if you’re not planning to use MuscBee as your primary player, it’s intelligent enough that it makes sense to let it loose on your music files and use its tags to rename them properly – that way you’ll be able to find things later, and other players will play nicer with your tunes. Select all your tracks with [Ctrl] + [A], then press [Ctrl] + [R] to access MusicBee’s file organisation screen.
8 Customise naming
Leave everything as it is for now – MusicBee’s default is to take your library and make a clean copy in its own folder, leaving your original files as they are. The one thing we’d recommend tweaking is the naming template box. Duplicate ‘<Album Artist> - <Album> - ‘ after <Disc-Track#> to add that information to your filenames, then hit Proceed to fill up your new folder.
9 Stream it
After something new to listen to? Head to MusicBee’s radio tab. You’ll first need to select a streaming method – Icecast, Soma FM or SHOUTcast, for example – then pick your chosen genre in the left-hand box. Look for a station in the list with the highest ‘kbps’ number possible, and double-click it to start streaming. If you like it, click ‘Add to Library’ to save it as a preset for later.
10 Skin it
MusicBee’s iTunes-esque look isn’t the only option, so if it’s earned its way into your default player spot you might want to tweak it to your liking. Head to MusicBee > View > Skins and pick a look that suits you. If you want more design options, check out https://getmusicbee.com. There’s a wide selection on offer in the add-ons section, as well as more visual extras. ■