Dedupe Music Automatically. Should You?

Dec 30, 2019 | Music, Software

Can you dedupe music automatically?

There are a number of tools out there, including new ones like Crate Hackers, that offer the opportunity to dedupe music automatically. Some just tag and remove files while others combine it into a single folder. But the real question one should ask is if you should go down this route.

The Positives

Well there is really just a couple positives to dedupe music out of this but they are important. If done perfectly you no longer have copy after copy of songs in your library just wasting space. And while storage is cheap, it’s not infinite. This helps to make searches easier

The Negatives

I wanted to get the positives up there because there are far more negatives to talk about, some that can literally leave your head banging on your desk.

  • Faking out with bitrate. You may delete a better copy of a song. Even though you can tell by bitrate what COULD be a better song, it does not guarantee you that IS the better song. It could be an inferior quality of rip, it could be an original vinyl lift that does not have the fidelity of properly sourced song.
  • Different pitches. It could be a sped up or slowed down song from what you are used to it playing as. See KC and the Sunshine Band – Boogie Shoes for an example.
  • Bad files. The BEST song could have artifacts
  • Re-recordings. There could be re-recordings of the song that come out on top. Lots of artists have re-recorded their music and you may want to keep only the original, or even keep both. See Taylor Swift as an example. There are also alternate takes that became the more popular song. See Everly Brothers – Dream as an example.
  • Remixes. You could be dealing with dozens or more of remixes of the songs in question. You may have a personal favorite, you may dislike a particular remixer.

The fact of the matter is it’s nearly impossible to detect which is the better quality song without personally listening. Leaving your files to brute-force deduping can be a recipe for a bad time.

If You do

If you do embark on this endeavor to tidy up your library, be sure to back up your library and have an immediate way to recover. Once you go down this path there is no going back if you don’t have something to recover from.

Best To Do It Manually

The reality of this is all is that sometimes it takes an ear to do it. And while the task may seem daunting programs like Virtual DJ does a pretty good job identifying the dupes. Then it’s just giving it a listen, and tag what needs to go. That is the sure fire way to preserve your library while getting rid of the junk.


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