Building Your Collection

I would be very interested to hear how other long-standing (legacy) collectors have built their collections using Music Collector, particularly with respect to CLZ Cloud and Core.

My initial collection was based on an import by Collectorz of a database I had created using Davilex software after a windows update caused that to stop working - can’t recall when, but maybe 20 years ago. Again can’t recall whether the CLZ Cloud and Core existed back then. Circa 2000 items in the collection so I was very grateful that Collectorz could rescue the data I had entered.

Since then all my albums have been entered/updated manually with artwork chosen from that offered by MC search or covers I have scanned. This way I know my muc file reflects the exact release I have and data important to me. Collection size now is 5000+ and includes many CDs created by myself with a nominal label ‘Home Records’. I have never linked my collection to the Core and admit that only recently have I read the pdf manual (v19) on how Cloud & Core function.

I perform my own regular back-ups of the entire MC folder in My Documents. If I were to back-up only to the Cloud it looks like just title and some personal information (which I never enter) will be stored.

In building my collection I have adjusted titles, subtitles, notes and release dates to ensure my collection is displayed the way I want it , e.g. Ace have a series of themed CD releases under the broad heading of Beat Girls; by titling each ‘Beat Girls – individual name’ and not having a date all are displayed together. Another e.g. : Original release and multiple re-issues of an album (eg 9 Sgt Peppers) are all displayed together rather than spread about by release date.

Thoughts re moving on from MC: it seems that using a web based (or mobile) app which relies on my cloud upload will display limited data. If I link to the Core I will get its version of what my albums might be (‘factual’ data) rather than what I have entered (may of course be the same). Don’t know how ‘Home Records’ would be accommodated. I appreciate a huge amount of time and effort has been spent in developing the Core & Cloud and that you can’t have a 1000 versions of each album as created by individuals.

It might be interesting to save my collection with an alternative name, set all artwork to custom, press the link to core button and see what happens. Or maybe best not!

I do hope to continue using Music Collector as I too have spent many many hours building my collection.

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I’m not here to answer your question with respect to how other people have built their collections, but I really need to correct a couple of things here:

If I were to back-up only to the Cloud it looks like just title and some personal information (which I never enter) will be stored.

That is not true. Most fields just sync from Music Collector to Music Connect/Cloud and are your own. That includes titles, subtitles, notes, release dates, original release dates and many more fields.

If I link to the Core I will get its version of what my albums might be (‘factual’ data) rather than what I have entered (may of course be the same).

Your home records will just get synced, with most fields synced, including tracks/track artists and all that.

Oh and your covers, front and back, they also get synced. Just make sure to click Tools > Maintenance > Mark Images as Custom to make sure they all get uploaded if you made them “your own”.

It seems that every day I’m seeing a big big misunderstanding here on the forums from old skool Windows users who claim that stuff like “tracks” doesn’t sync, or “characters/creators” can’t be created. Which, in the far past, was indeed true, but Connect is being developed on so much, and a lot more fields now sync.

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Thank you very much for clarifying several uncertainties which I had expressed based on my reading of the manual particularly of the Cloud back-up.
I need to read the book again as it’s the synced relationship my collection ↔ cloud ↔ core which is unclear.
I wouldn’t want to corrupt the Core with my self created Home Records CDs or my custom titled versions of normal releases which could create duplicates maybe?

Core is our central online music database, the database that is searched when you add albums.

CLZ Cloud is online storage for your personal data.
Syncing to cloud never affects Core.

Thanks again. Having never used the Core to add albums it certainly wouldn’t make sense to link my collection to it now.

As I said I’ve been delighted with the way MC records and presents my collection using the data I have entered. Long may it continue.

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I see you have been using the software since 2005, and you never used Core? So how have you been adding new albums that you purchased?

Please read 2nd and 3rd paras (and maybe 5th) of my initial post. That’s how I got going and my journey since.
I do apologise for my misinterpretations of what’s in the manual.
PS the worries I expressed were based on the fact that my collection is not linked to the Core and what the manual said about that.

Which page in the manual (can you share a link) said that? I would like to review and possibly update/change that, because that feels like old information!

Sorry don’t know to link - I’m looking at a pdf.
Page 104 says: Without linking, your album entries will show up as simple Title entries, with just your personal data. No musicians, label, genre, format.
Page 105 says: Good to know: You can upload and keep unlinked albums in your CLZ Cloud. Unlinked items will show up online with just some basic information and will include your personal data, including the cover image that you may have added yourself to the unlinked album.
You’ll be pleased (surprised!) to hear I bought a new CD yesterday which I added by scanning the disc. The core gave me Title, Artist, Date & Barcode; also tracklist or was that from the disc itself?. Important to me are label, catalogue number, genre & cover art so I added that lot and submitted the changes to the core for review.

That is wrong. Musicians, labels, genre, format are in fact synced (but a long time ago they weren’t).

I’ve changed it in the online manual (won’t show up in your PDF right now though), but that manual page does need some tweaking because it is severely outdated information that I’m seeing there. Sorry about that!

If the day ever comes that I have to consider moving on from my Music Collector desktop app, Connect is the obvious choice. I, too, worried a lot about what I’d lose if all of my painstakingly-entered data wasn’t synced. For me, Songwriters is crucial. I no longer have a radio program where Songwriters formed the material for many programs, but it’s still at the top of my list, right after track titles and times.

When CLZ began their cloud venture, Songwriters was not a synced field. Now it is, and it seems that all of the data I find personally important is preserved, so that objection no longer applies.

Like you, I’ve got a lot of customization in my 1200-strong collection (small compared to yours, but many many hours of work in getting it to its present state). I no longer have trepidations about losing data on a switch.

So focusing exclusively on Music Collector (and I’ve been using that since 2007 with Movie Collector), my collection encompasses 2584 entries, and the earliest data was a spreadsheet import via an export from my own database created in FileMaker.

I started with the numbers (0-9) and updated things that were brought in, so that the data was correct and reflected MY preference for things, that often clashes with what CORE brings down. I use the data provided by CORE when it exists (so many Japanese releases are never found), and focus on key collection management data, like main artist naming, title and subtitle, sort title, and important dates, then I scan my cover art, since there is often disparity in quality and what is coming in isn’t always my release image. Because my scanner is defaulted to 300 dpi the images in Music Collector always need some back end work to resize them to a similar scale as what works–but Windows has PowerTools with image resizing, and I can keep both sets of imagery in a separate storage area, after using other software to rename to original, since the resized images have extensions to show size type–e.g. (small). All that imagery is then also put with any digital rips of media for image reference.

I put effort into notes where I store details about the release, using the original purchase source (if online) to ensure I have details like the track list there, since manually entering the tracks where they are missing or just not filled because the disc is imported via the “read disc option” and only a count of tracks found, but the actual disc is not actually found [Apple iTunes finds them, pretty much all of them, so no idea why it doesn’t work for Music Collector].

While I could waste lots of time on track and other ultra detail information, that’s not what I want from this database, it is used to ensure I know what I have, what specific thing it is, how much I paid for it, and where I got it from.

Since I need to be able to use this data to ensure I know what to buy and what I have when I’m out shopping, I either need it portable, so I have the mobile version, but I only use the web version as an intermediary for synchronization, because other methods of synchronization have atrophied in the XYZ Collector software.

Out of the 5 Collection types I have software for, Music takes the longest time to make entries, because most new acquisitions are from Japan, so I need to track down versions both in Japanese and English, and at times fix the bad data imports that don’t properly come across in text. Needing to try to find an entry by doing a disc scan also takes time when the UPC is not apparently found.

With Respect To the Music Cloud data, since I don’t want the cloud version, I won’t pay for the software, so I can’t see the UI elements that purportedly reflect a match with data that syncs from Music Collector. The “free” version view does not indicate that all data is present and only shows the front image. Though a review of CLZ Music Mobile shows back images and the notes data, so it must be getting most of the data in the sync operation.

As for a future where effort on Music Collector is deprecated and only a web version of the product available–that will be the end of the relationship, because all cloud is ephemeral and we, the users, have zero guarantee for it’s survival. What I run in my environment, backup locally, and have on hand is real–just like the media I buy and enter into these databases, on my PC. I don’t use the default user folders to store my collections, since that is not ideal or portable in the environment, so configuration is set to use server shares, which live on NAS and are backed up and replicated, and protected with tight network and endpoint security.

Since the desktop product allows export of the database to an HTML view, I can even host my own web view of the data on my web server, which means a loss of sync to CLZ xyz Mobile is also not an issue.

All data can be seen in the CLZ Cloud site. You can add columns to the list view and when you select an album, all data for that album is shown in the details panel.

On top of that, there is a free 7-day trial of the Music Connect software too, so you can also check that out in full should you want to.

Our CLZ Cloud always allows you to export your data to a local file, either CSV or XML, so there’s that.

Do you mean how have we built and maintained the catalogue or perhaps how have we used the software to inform our purchasing decisions?

I started with Music Collector in about 2012. At the time I had about 800-1000 CDs and about the same in vinyl records. I’d started streaming with a Squeezebox Touch a couple of years prior, my CDs had all been ripped to a server and put in storage, and I was focusing digital purchases on downloads (never liked plastic jewel boxes). My inventory management consisted of a list of albums on an excel spreadsheet. Getting up and running with MC involved a combination of importing from the spreadsheet, adding from Core by artist and title, and scanning files. I have a fair number of albums from lesser known or regional folk artists and I recall at the time a significant number of titles not being in core and having to either add them manually or by scanning files. Many of these are probably now in Core, but I still occasionally run into things that aren’t in Core. I also added the mobile app when it became available, and it’s matured into a very useful app.

I too have customized my collection quite a bit. Besides the obvious personal data (purchase store, price paid, used condition, etc.), I’ve added data that Core does not provide, such as original release date, original label for reissues, musicians, orchestra, conductor, chorus, etc. I also find genres are often a bit of a mess - everyone has their own ideas of genre, and sometimes that’s what we get: everyone’s ideas. Likewise artwork is often low-res and problematic: vinyl releases with someone’s phone picture of the album with the shrink wrap still on and hype stickers obscuring the title or catalog number, reflections of someone’s head and phone, etc. For a majority of vinyl I end up finding a better photo of the actual release on Discogs or taking a better quality picture myself. The other area that often requires customizing or fixing is artists: albums with multiple artists all listed together in one field; classical releases with composer, conductor and orchestra all lumped into the artist field, etc.
I don’t mean to list these issues as major concerns, they’re not: with any crowd-sourced data there are going to be inconsistencies, anomalies, and poor or incorrect data. Core is usually a great starting point, but for a clean inventory some curating and customization is necessary. Also Core is currently excellent at finding most albums, but the more regional and self-produced artists are still often missing, and new classical releases sometimes aren’t readily available. In these cases I use the scanned file data.

Over the years I’ve really enjoyed using both MC and the app. I investigated a number of options before committing to MC and it was hands down the best, and I’ve also referred it to a couple of friends and helped them get up and running. My collection has grown to about 3200 albums, 40% vinyl/60% digital. I probably do the majority of adds and maintenance on an iPad, using MC on a Mac for those things the app can’t do. Since Alwin has made it clear that MC is going away, I’ve been trying Connect and, although I prefer not to be always working on line, it’s a good program. When the time comes I’m sure I’ll move, although a bit grudgingly, to Connect, but in the meantime I’ll continue to use those features only available in MC and look for workarounds for the gaps in Connect.


I started cataloging my collection in 1998 with Keep It Compact, the fore runner of Music Collector. I’m one of those that, for my music collection at least, likes a lot of information. I enjoy the time spent entering information, regardless of whether it syncs or not.

As Core is a user driven database, a lot of the CDs that aren’t in Core for my collection I have added. They are mostly classical CDs from small European labels and organ music from small American labels. I’m fine with that. I can get quite a bit of the information I’m looking for other places online so I add it to my MuC, on my desktop. I, too, scan images to replace poor copies and spend time with Microsoft’s now defunct Image Composit Editor for my LP covers.

While I whole heartedly embrace Connect for my comic, book, and movie collections, I still rely on the desktop version of Music Collector for my many CDs, LPs, and digital files. I’m diligent in backing up data files and images and use Connect to sync to my phone when shopping or doing some editing while on-the-go. I have been, and will continue to be, a happy customer of CLZ. That said, I wish they weren’t so pushy about mothballing a platform that I’ve been using for decades when their replacement doesn’t add up. I’m okay with what I do to keep up my end of things. I like doing it. But just because I have a problem with Music Collector doing something doesn’t mean I should jump ship and immediately go on line.

Thus endeth my rant. I relinquish my soap box.


There are really two themes being expressed here: one is that many of us still see extra value in a local desktop app that can be customized and retains access to local resources like CD drives and music files. For us it’s truly not a question of what Connect can or cannot do, it’s the fact that MuC does everything we need, and when you’ve got it all, what’s the incentive or need to change? I’m one of those. (Not a complaint, just a statement of fact; we know where we stand).

Second is the important one: I’d guess between the three of us commenting here so far, we’ve probably got over fifty years of combined use of this great product, and it’s allowed us each to tailor our collections’ catalogs to our own needs and desires. I really enjoy reading these other stories of the different approaches to curating, and the central theme of using such a versatile tool to do it.

Maintaining your catalogue; for which I have found it excellent (starting in 2005).

Well, that is a serious problem then. Because that means the entire discussion about Connect is fruitless. No matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter how many features we add to Connect… you will always stay with desktop because “why change?”.

Guess we are shit out of luck then :slight_smile:

I remember buying v1 after an enthusiastic review on a hi-fi forum, was that 1998?. Prior to that I’d been using a Word document. Originally I was just listing what vinyl and CDs I owned but over the years it’s become so much more. The ability to customise the data fields and create new ones has been invaluable and now I use the database to inform buying choices, and collate interesting facts about my collection.
The stats function tells me over half of my collection is Classical and as such I’ve had to create Date Span fields to allow me to order the collection by date of compostion, especially with compilations, rather than the less useful Release date.
Recently I’ve been buying Downloads predominantly and the Add File function has been my main way of adding new albums. A lot of music on Bandcamp is download only and as such will never make it to Core and can’t be linked.
The Update /Link to Core function helps but only to a very limited extent. Mainly it rarely contains any information I use. A full list of musicians, the recording studio, meaningful genres, composition headers in the track list, that sort thing, so I end up still spending a lot of time manually adding information. And in worse case scenarios Core has actually overwritten data I’d added with erroneous entries (admittedly not for a while) but I don’t really trust it to do what I need.
Fortuantely the Pick Lists make short work of much of this.
But the more information I can add, the better the database works for following random ideas, e.g Who’s my most common Sound Engineer (Tony Faulkner) or which orchestras has a particular lutenist worked with.

From a very basic catalogue MC has become a very useful and sophisticated tool and is flexible enough to allow me to use it as I like rather than as Alwin envisaged and for that I’m grateful.

When the time comes I suppose the move to Connect won’t be too painful but at present I’ll lose my two vital User Defined fields so I’m happy to wait until I can

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